BBC Newsnight chief silenced as he is told to delete tweets
BBC Newsnight chief is silenced and told to delete tweets sticking up for new anti-Brexit boss Jess Brammar who is embroiled in a bias row
- Lewis Goodall silenced after tweeting about row over new BBC appointment
- Reprimanded after standing up for new executive news editor Jess Brammar
- Following criticism of her appointment, Goodall, 32, fumed on Twitter: ‘Not going to share it but yet more unhinged misogynistic attacks on Jess Brammar’
A senior BBC journalist has been silenced after wading into a row over bias at the top of the news department.
Lewis Goodall, policy editor of BBC2’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, was reprimanded last week after standing up for new executive news editor Jess Brammar.
Her appointment to the hugely influential role, as revealed by The Mail on Sunday last weekend, has provoked controversy as she is well known for holding anti-Brexit views and has been critical of Boris Johnson.
But following criticism of her appointment, Goodall, 32, fumed on Twitter: ‘Not going to share it but yet more unhinged misogynistic attacks on Jess Brammar.’
He described a ‘campaign against her’ which he said needed to be ‘called out’.
His tetchy intervention clearly overstepped the mark with his bosses – who are acutely sensitive to any allegations of bias – and they told him to delete the tweet.
Lewis Goodall (pictured), policy editor of BBC2’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, was reprimanded last week after standing up for new executive news editor Jess Brammar
Brammar, 38, got the job despite warnings by a BBC board member that the national broadcaster ‘had been culturally captured by the woke-dominated group-think of some of its own staff’. But she has a loyal band of noisy supporters in the Left-wing media, and her partner, Jim Waterson, is media editor for The Guardian newspaper.
Initially, it was reported that Corporation board member Sir Robbie Gibb, a former BBC journalist and Theresa May’s head of communications when she was PM, tried to block her appointment because he felt it would shatter fragile relations with the Government.
Ms Brammar previously worked for the news website Huffington Post, where she promoted a series of controversial opinions including an article suggesting that black people would leave the UK if Mr Johnson was elected PM in 2019. She has also described Brexit as being like a TV comedy drama but ‘less funny’.
There have been further concerns among some BBC staff that the selection process was not open and fair and fell foul of Corporation policies – but a spokesman for the BBC denied this. Brammar herself has remained silent after deleting at least 16,000 old tweets, which included her observations about Brexit, ‘black Brits’, an under-funded NHS and claims that the term ‘woke’ was a ‘dogwhistle’ phrase.
Following criticism of her appointment, Goodall, 32, fumed on Twitter: ‘Not going to share it but yet more unhinged misogynistic attacks on Jess Brammar’
Corporation chiefs have been keen to ensure their news staff do not appear biased on social media
In June, Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis was reprimanded for breaching impartiality rules after sharing a tweet which criticised the Government’s response to the Covid pandemic.
Despite her partisan past, Ms Brammar has plenty of media allies – described to this newspaper as a ‘Leftie lynch mob’ – who have defended her.
Others giving their backing include Goodall’s Newsnight predecessor Chris Cook, now a senior reporter at the Financial Times and a neighbour of Brammar in South East London; ex-Newsnight journalist Matthew Stadlen; former Labour party special adviser Ayesha Hazarika, and ex-Buzzfeed politics reporter Marie Le Conte.
The row has proved a headache for BBC director-general Tim Davie. When he took up the job last summer, he vowed to end political bias in the Corporation’s news coverage and banned employees from expressing ‘partisan’ views
He told staff at the time: ‘If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media, then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC.’
Brammar, 38, got the job despite warnings by a BBC board member that the national broadcaster ‘had been culturally captured by the woke-dominated group-think of some of its own staff’
One of his key priorities, he said, was to prioritise impartiality as the embattled broadcaster sought to rebuild its fractured relationship with the Government and defend its licence-fee funding.
Mr Davie, who cut his political teeth as deputy chairman of the Hammersmith & Fulham Conservative Party in the 1990s, has made it clear that the status quo could not continue, saying that the BBC needed to ‘accelerate change’.
Senior BBC colleagues are worried about the Brammar controversy triggering wider criticism about BBC bias and that efforts by the news supremo’s friends to try to burnish her image will backfire against the Corporation.
Many fear that Ms Brammar’s views will be always be used against the BBC, forever raised in any cases when it is accused of political bias.
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