Thursday night’s BBC Newsnight programme featured a scandalous backdrop showing Jeremy Corbyn against the Kremlin skyline – a depiction of the Labour leader that clearly echoed right-wing trash media ‘Kremlin stooge’ smears, in obvious breach of the BBC’s impartiality obligations:
On Friday’s night’s programme, author Owen Jones took Newsnight’s Evan Davis to task about the ‘disgraceful framing’ of the narrative around the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
Jones also referred to the observation of sharp-eyed Twitter user @duckspeech that Newsnight had not merely added Corbyn’s image to the backdrop – but had also photoshopped his hat to make it more closely resemble a Russian hat.
Davis denied the accusation – even pausing the discussion to repeat his claim that the image added to the skyline was authentic. Watch the video below and decide for yourself:
The hat in the Newsnight composite has clearly been enlarged upwards for effect – and Corbyn’s coat darkened so he looks more like a Russian politburo member. Here’s that close-up as an animated gif:
An amendment to a hat might seem to be trivial and the BBC being caught doing it merely amusing. But the BBC tampered with reality to create a perception – one clearly intended to be negative.
And then denied it.
Jones went on to list numerous examples of cases in which Corbyn and Labour had taken a genuine firm stand against Russia when the Tories fought to avoid doing so and were taking huge donations from Russian oligarchs/
But Newsnight on Thursday ignored these, while altering an image to strengthen the false impression that Corbyn is the one close to the Russian state, rather than the Conservatives.
That fundamental breach of impartiality is no laughing matter – it’s a breach of the trust of members of the public whose licence fees fund the Corporation misleading them.
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