The BBC has appointed the former editor of the left-wing HuffPost UK, who shared social media posts critical of Brexit and Boris Johnson, despite the corporation’s new director-general Tim Davie having said impartiality and representing the views of all Britons should be prioritised.
The BBC confirmed on Wednesday that Jess Brammar, who has worked for ITN, HuffPost, and on BBC programmes Newsnight and Question Time, had been appointed as the new executive news editor for BBC News Channel and BBC World News, despite, as its own article admits, “an impartiality row over her old tweets”.
In the now-deleted Twitter posts, Brammar, who had been the editor-in-chief of HuffPost UK until April of this year, had compared Brexit to the American TV series Better Call Saul, “but less funny or interesting or enjoyable” and made other remarks critical of Prime Minister Johnson.
Brammar was also one of the major editors of the left-wing press, along with the heads of the Financial Times and The Guardian, to condemn the Society of Editors in March because it had said, while still under the leadership of its chief executive Ian Murray, that Meghan and Prince Harry were wrong to attack the British press and claim it was bigotted. Murray was later forced to resign following massive pressure from his peers for defending his industry against accusations of racism.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 5, 2021
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg had said in July that the prospect of the BBC hiring Brammar “damages the whole perception” of impartiality, saying: “People like Laura Kuenssberg make their professional reputations on being completely impartial. Then the BBC management goes off and starts suggesting it should hire someone from a left-wing outlet, and that damages the whole perception of independence and impartiality at the BBC.”
However, the BBC’s Director-General, Tim Davie, defended Brammar’s appointment, telling the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention that all BBC journals must leave their politics “at the door”, adding: “I think we’re in dangerous territory if previous political positions, tweets, goodness knows what else, rule you out from BBC jobs.”
“We have been clear, when it comes to the BBC you leave that behind and you absolutely deliver impartial coverage and that is what we are here to do,” Davie said.
“For all of us who do have concerns about the way the BBC has been going, bring it on. Just get more like her. That will hasten its demise even quicker,” Tory MP Craig Mackinlay told MailOnline.
How is this not blatant racism? https://t.co/iMDQk1z8FA
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 21, 2021
The BBC has come under massive criticism in recent years in relation to accusations of metropolitan-liberal bias. Members of the public have also increasingly become disillusioned with having to pay the TV licence — effectively a tax for watching live broadcasts — to fund the BBC, with a poll from June 2020 finding 50 per cent of Britons wanted the licence to come to an end, and for the broadcaster to fund itself through a subscription or advertising.
Another survey from 2019 found a lack of trust in the broadcaster, with a plurality, 48 per cent to 44 per cent, saying they did not trust BBC journalists to tell the truth.
Indeed, research in recent years by the think tank Civitas and News-Watch claimed in their analyses that BBC Radio 4’s flagship radio news programme Today had suppressed Eurosceptic opinions in favour those that backed membership of the European Union.
The intensity of accusations came to a head in the summer of 2020, both over criticisms of the BBC’s apparent sympathetic coverage of the Marxist Black Lives Matter protests — at one point downplaying one demonstration that saw 27 police officers injured as “largely peaceful” — which gave energy to the #DefundThe BBC campaign, and the threat to make substantial changes to the patriotic classical music event the Last Night of the Proms, moves that were later reversed follow massive public backlash.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 27, 2020