Webbe takes BBC to task for avoiding her input on PoliticsLive

Labour NEC member – and Disputes Panel Chair – Claudia Webbe challenged the BBC after the Corporation’s Jo Coburn tweeted a claim that her Politics Live programme had been unable to obtain a Labour representative for a show in which it yet again recycled the story of ‘Labour antisemitism’:

As Disputes Chair and a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), Ms Webbe is probably the second most senior party figure with direct involvement in Labour’s disciplinary process. As Labour general secretary Jennie Formby reports to the NEC – and not to the ‘PLP’ – Ms Webbe was the most obvious invitee for the topic.

So why wasn’t she contacted? A BBC spokesperson told the SKWAWKBOX:

We approached the Labour Party Press Office to see who could come onto the show to talk about the PLP criticism of the Labour leadership over anti-Semitism. They didn’t offer Ms Webbe or anyone else connected with the party available for the programme.

‘They didn’t offer Ms Webbe’ cut no ice with Ms Webbe. She told the SKWAWKBOX:

I am not employed by the Labour Party, I don’t have a ‘handler’ in the Labour Party. The BBC have never in the past gone via the Labour Party to reach any member of the NEC. The BBC have my contact number and details. This feels as though they deliberately decided not to make any effort to provide an alternative and/or more balanced view – and by they I mean Politics Live as well as the BBC generally.

It’s as though no one at Politics Live tried at all and this appears quite deliberate.

The absence of a Labour representative and the programme’s failure to follow normal procedures to contact an NEC member were not the only issues with the programme.

As centrist Ayesha Hazarika reinforced false claims that Labour has been slow dealing with complaints, the programme displayed a banner claiming that the motion by right-wing back-benchers had been passed unanimously:

While this claim has been propagated by all the so-called ‘MSM’, it is entirely untrue. As the SKWAWKBOX revealed, there was no vote at all on the motion, merely a question from the ‘PLP’ chair whether any of those present intended to vote against it. As many attendees would have probably abstained and nobody voted at all, the BBC’s banner was factually false.

Despite more than one request to provide a comment on this failure of accuracy, the BBC did not respond.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Yet again shoddy work – at best – by the BBC resulted in viewers receiving a skewed version of events and denied Labour the right of reply that serious journalism requires.

Claudia Webbe deserves credit for addressing the issue head-on and frankly.

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  1. ……..…… and it looks like the Labour Party Press Office needs to get its act together. Who’s staffing the party’s press office, Blairites?

    I remember at the last GE that several journalists whilst complementing JC’s press office also complained bitterly that the party press office was a waste of space.

    1. loftkarlsson 06/02/2019 at 11:30 pm

      It is difficult to see how that would help with getting the party’s message out there, letting the lies go unchallenged is not a good look. I would advocate the opposite approach of the party being able to put forward well briefed politicians to present Labour’s message at every opportunity.

    2. If they boycotted the BBC, the logic would be to boycott all the MSM – the BBC hasn’t been particularly outstanding in ignoring or distorting the facts of the ‘antisemitism’ scam.

      … and that wouldn’t help the case. Imagine all the accusations being made, and the report always containing ‘The Labour Party refused to comment’.

      As several of us have said, the Party needs to get on the attack the falsehoods vigorously rather than first placate then take it’s bat and ball home.

    3. The Blairite wing of the PLP could never do that. That would mean going cold turkey through lack of self-publicity!

  2. labour should make a complaint against the BBC and/or report to Occom for its deliberate neglect in inviting a labour representative. And in making false claims. I’m am sick of nothing being done about all this misinformation bring propagated by the BBC and MSM

    1. Or the Labour Party’s press office could get their act together. If we do manage to secure a GE before Brexit then the efficiency of the Labour Party’s Press Office will be crucial.

      Unfortunately there appears to be a complete lack of co-ordination between JC’s Press Office (which appears to have a good reputation) and the Party’s Press Office which seems to be devoid of any strategic goals and gives the impression of lacking any sense of purpose.

  3. Yes but the party press office could have directed the BBC to her – yet more slanted SB advertising

    1. “I am not employed by the Labour Party, I don’t have a ‘handler’ in the Labour Party. The BBC have never in the past gone via the Labour Party to reach any member of the NEC. The BBC have my contact number and details……”

      Did you somehow miss THAT bit KC?

      PS Don’t recall seeing you on SB before……

      1. Steve’s point still holds – the BBC could have been pointed in the right direction by the press office.

  4. all this about anti Semitism, where were all the comments when ed milliband was getting remarks made about him being Jewish when he was the labour leader. it was all over fb and social websites.the national newspapers made insidious comments. the hypocrisy is staggering. I read woeds like we don’t want a yid or a kike running the country. not a peep from anybody about this. yet it should have been pcked up in and had something done about it. people who profess to express their outrage at labours perceived inaction are awful, they do not give a hoot about anti semitism

    1. Exactly Maria…… and the fact that they DIDN’T is just further proof – if anyone needs it – that their outrage as such, is not only disingenuous, but in fact faux outrage. As for Wes Streeting, he has lied and deceived the public on a number of occasions so as to further his – and his Blairite Tory buddies – agenda of undermining the leadership and, as such, should be suspended from the LP. Enough is enough!

    2. I agree with you, Maria about this sudden eruption of ‘concern’ by a convenient alliance between the right and the Israel lobby.

      But it’s the situation that the Party has to deal with and, as I and others have said, it’s not doing too well at the moment in terms of its strategy.

    3. Ay yes Maria, but Milliband was the right kind of Labour leader. Not only Jewish but als, more importantly, not a socialist!

  5. I think we have to expect that as either the Brexit crisis worsens or Labour gets nearer to being in government these sort of things will continue to happen.

    Any shortcoming in any part of the Labour Party to represent itself will be jumped upon – hopefully the Labour Press Office will think wider about how they respond to requests from the media and the parts of the Labour Party who are not routinely involved in media representation but believe they have something vital to say, in certain circumstances will remind that Press Office of their contact details and what they think they can reasonably respond to in the media.

    Overall it maybe an indicator we are getting nearer to a Corbyn style Labour Government – presumably the leadership is ready to demand a proper response from the BBC immediately they are in Government and therefore controlling some of the processes that sustain the BBC’s own functioning.

  6. Shoddy as usual from the BBC but sadly it sounds like shoddy from the press office as well. That Coburn really is a piece of work though,perhaps she is auditioning for the Humphrys berth on the Today programme.

  7. I see that figures released today show that the BBC Radio is still shedding listeners at an alarming rate. The Today programme audience for example is down to just over 6 million a week. That’s one million people per day who tune in to the programme at some stage for an unspecified period – not 6 million people who listen to the programme from start to end every day.
    The BBC continues to inflict real and permanent damage upon itself. It’s arrogance and claim of political impartiality is kidding fewer and fewer people.

  8. Nicky Campbell on radio 5 has just criticised other BBC outlets for misrepresenting Mr Tusks remarks and said reporting him as saying there is a special place in hell for all brexiteers as being potentially dangerous.

  9. Anger at the BBC is justified in terms of the way that it simply goes along with the taken-for-granted Westminster journo gang-bang trope.

    But – big but – it is doing what all the rest of the media does, and, as said, it’s not all to do with anti-Corbynism. It’s also to do with timidity over stepping outside the consensus that is shaped by the Israeli Hasbara initiative. In the past the BBC has been under some massive assaults for what we would consider reasonably balanced reporting – ask Jeremy Bowen.

    I fear that they have now given up, and go along with the crap that is the standard line because that gives a quieter life. Don’t underestimate how ‘The Lobby’ works, and how persistent and organised is the propaganda.

  10. I hope I live to see the BBC stormed like the Bastille, live on air.
    When licence payers finally understand that they’ve been paying for their own brainwashing there’ll be no holding them back.

  11. I watched another episode of this show featuring a debate on so-called ‘fake news’. With spectacular irony, one of the guests was Tory mp, Ben Bradley. The fact that Bradley was forced to apologise for, and retract a defamatory tweet claiming Corbyn was a spy didn’t arise once. So a debate about the dangers of ‘fake news’ with a proven perpetrator of fake news actually on the panel! The BBC’s political programming is a joke!

  12. When will the Labour Party, especially the Press Office, realise that we have gov’t by Media? The BBC is one of the most powerful ‘perception changers’ that has ever existed; there appears to be no resistance.

  13. Oh dear. Troll rule book:
    1. Ingratiate yourself with other posters.
    2. Present something positive.
    3. Stick knife in and stir them up and try to get them to say/do something that is not in their best interests – in this case set rank and file against Labour Press office.
    4. If criticised use swear word and act the victim.
    Perhaps this was just the BBCs ignorance of the Labour Party?
    One wonders if some journalists bunked the critical thinking classes in journalism school commonly known as Holding Truth to Power?

    1. Bazza 07/02/2019 at 1:05 pm

      It would be difficult to argue that the party’s press office has covered itself with glory. The press office will play a crucial part in any GE campaign and failing now is not going to help get Labour’s message across.

      If the people running the press office aren’t up to the job or have a problem with supporting the party’s current policies or leadership then they should be replaced. We don’t want a repeat of the situation we had in the last GE where campaigning in marginal seats was restricted because of a lack of support and funds from a RW Labour HQ.

    2. Spot on Bazza , its very obvoius now with the usual trolls , notable how the usual M.O is start off +ve But and it is always there.. the But …. now here comes the knife , the oh so well reasoned pitch and that planting of the seeds of doubt.Game plan obvious and clear as day now.
      Very well summed up Bazza.

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