At around 7.45 this morning, BBC Radio 4’s ‘flagship current affairs programme’, interviewed Dylan Jones, the editor of GQ magazine. GQ have just released the cover of their latest magazine, due for publication next week, featuring a picture of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
Jones was allowed several minutes to describe Corbyn in a variety of disparaging ways, from a ‘grandpa’ pushed around by his ‘minders’ to a ‘wizard of Oz’ character lacking in substance, as well as describing the supposed disillusionment of young GQ staffers who had expected him to be able to ‘turn water into wine’.
Jones was also allowed to describe the interview as ‘torturous’ and to describe Corbyn as ‘myopic’, ‘divisive’ and shallow, claiming that when asked he was unable to name his business advisers or any book he had read.
All without serious challenge or probing from his BBC interviewer.
The interview prompted a ‘pile-on’ by the usual suspects, such as right-winger Julia Hartley-Brewer and pavlovian Corbyn critic Jane Merrick. But it was challenged by some who are not known as fans but know more about him, such as Buzzfeed’s Jim Waterson, who identified the dissonance of the claim that Corbyn could not name advisers, or books he had read:
Indeed. Or that he simply didn’t trust GQ not to misrepresent such details and was taking a cautious approach. Rightly so, in light of the magazine’s editor going onto national radio this morning to talk him down.
The Huffington Post has already been able to verify that Dylan Jones was not even at the interview and was at best reporting hearsay. But as Buzzfeed’s editor, Janine Gibson, pointed out above when she responded to her colleague, there was another, quite major issue with Jones’ comments.
The fact that he is closely linked to a Tory party that is currently terrified of Corbyn and desperately scrabbling around for a way to undermine him:
Jones’ Wikipedia entry describes his support for the Tory party. The Times reported in 2008 that he paid David Cameron almost £20,000 to write the former PM’s biography.
Not exactly a neutral (non-)witness.
This is, of course, far from the only time that the BBC has ‘failed’ in its responsibility to fairly represent the leader of a major political party.
The BBC’s Newsnight programme was forced to issue a public admission of its ‘mistake’ last week, when it broadcast what it said was Corbyn’s response to Philip Hammond’s Budget speech – and the SKWAWKBOX revealed that it showed an eight-month-old clip instead.
Then BBC News subtitles showed Corbyn’s speech congratulating Prince Harry on his engagement – and substituted ‘Hezbollah’ for the words ‘his brother’.
Now we have the BBC interviewing a Tory about Corbyn – and failing to mention either that he is a Tory or that he did not see the events himself.
One such ‘slip’ can be a mistake. Two in ten days could be considered a coincidence.
Three times starts to look like a pattern.
The SKWAWKBOX asked Radio 4 why there had been no mention of Jones’ Tory affiliations in the interview and why he was not probed about these or his second-hand knowledge of events. The station has not so far responded.
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