In its attempt to find pro-European Union voices after David Cameron’s car crash town hall performance tonight, the BBC used a tweet from a spoof Conservative MP’s Twitter account.
The corporation’s live blog of the Sky News event was being run by Jackie Storer, a freelance journalist who has previously worked for the European Union-funded Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
After the debate, as Ms. Storer was looking to post updates supporting Mr. Cameron’s disaster performance, she uploaded a tweet from ‘Peter Mannion MP’.
Mr. Mannion however, is not a real person. In fact Mr. Mannion is a character from the BBC political sitcom The Thick of It – something you might expect a journalist covering a national political debate to know.
The Thick of It is considered ‘must watch’ for Westminster politicos in the same vein as the West Wing in the United States.
Ms. Storer’s website says of herself: “I specialise in writing high-quality, well-researched and thought-provoking news items and features for broadcast, print, web, social media and corporate clients. Adaptable and enthusiastic, I’m adept at generating ideas, networking, spotting commercial opportunities and turning complex data into
“Adaptable and enthusiastic, I’m adept at generating ideas, networking, spotting commercial opportunities and turning complex data into compelling copy, often under pressure and to tight deadlines.”
Prior to working for the BBC, she lists her employment on her LinkedIn profile as: “Senior Corporate Communications Adviser” at the CBI.
The big business-backing CBI has received over £1m in EU funding since 2007.
Ironically, Mr. Cameron’s performance tonight might well be compared to a scene from the Thick of It which shows Mr. Mannion cracking under questioning from students: