‘Sexism’ accusation against anti-Kuenssberg campaigners is a classic diversion tactic

A petition asking the BBC to sack Laura Kuenssberg has been signed by nearly 40,000 people [Image: REX Shutterstock].

A petition asking the BBC to sack Laura Kuenssberg has been signed by nearly 40,000 people [Image: REX Shutterstock].

How do you deflect accusations of bias against the BBC’s political editor? By accusing her accusers of sexism, it seems.

And there may well be truth in the claims of Jane Merrick and Jess Phillips. But don’t their comments ignore a fundamental issue?

What about the accusation against Kuenssberg?

This Writer considers the BBC’s political editor to be hopelessly prejudiced in favour of the Conservative Party. It is an issue that has nothing to do with her gender, skin colour, religion or any other such defining factor.

She simply can’t keep her own politics out of her work. For a reporter, that is a fatal error and This Writer cannot understand why anybody would want to support her in it – least of all a Labour MP like Ms Phillips.

If Kuenssberg wants to turn every report into a pro-Tory opinion piece, then let her become a pundit. Stick her on the Daily Politics or This Week with Andrew Neil and give the political editor’s job to somebody who can do it impartially.

As for anybody who has expressed themselves in sexist terms while complaining about her: Those people have made it easy for Merrick and Phillips (and, no doubt, others) to dismiss the valid concerns of thousands of BBC News viewers.

Not only is the expression of such views a disgrace, they also do a huge disservice to everybody who simply wants the BBC to tell the news, without fear or favour.

A campaign to sack BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg over her coverage of Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of misogyny and sexism.

More than 35,000 people have signed a petition posted on campaigning website 38 Degrees claiming Kuenssberg is biased against Labour, most recently in her coverage of last week’s local and regional elections.

However, many of the comments by those sharing the petition on Twitter have used offensive and sexist language, with further abuse in more private Facebook postings.

Former Independent on Sunday political editor Jane Merrick said Kuenssberg’s questioning of what the results meant for Corbyn was justified and the petition was ridiculous, but that the BBC’s first female political editor faced an extra layer of sexist criticism. “She has been called a whore and a bitch on Twitter,” said Merrick. “Nick Robinson used to be accused of Tory bias but he never experienced this level of nastiness.

“Of course, not all Corbyn supporters are sexist, far from it, but there is a core of hard-left misogyny that comes out against women when Corbyn is under pressure – such as the abuse against Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips. Jeremy Corbyn said back in September he wanted a ‘kinder politics’ so he should condemn these vile attacks against a respected and experienced journalist.”

Source: Campaign to sack BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg accused of sexism | Media | The Guardian


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10 thoughts on “‘Sexism’ accusation against anti-Kuenssberg campaigners is a classic diversion tactic

  1. Roy Beiley

    Always going to be like that. Same people who could not or would not distinguish between Zionism and anti-semitism. Read just part of what is being posted, mix it up with your own pet prejudices and then go into rant overdrive.

  2. Lynn Dye

    I made an official complaint to the BBC regarding Laura Kuenssberg, but did not use any sexist language, nor would I ever do so. I can’t be the only person to have made a reasonable argument that the political editor should be neutral in her news reports. Makes me wonder what answer (if any) the BBC is going to give me, and others on the same page. They can’t brand us all as sexist, some of us are women!

  3. Phil Lee

    Well, I could clearly see the bias, and I didn’t know until you posted this what gender the political editor at the BBC was!
    Surely using her gender to defend her is the sexist action here!
    Should she be immune from well-deserved criticism just because of her gender?

  4. casalealex

    PMQs today 11/5/16

    Lucy Allan (Telford) (Con)

    Respected journalist Laura Kuenssberg has been subjected to an online hate campaign, which appears to be a sexist witch hunt to silence her. Increasingly, this is a tool used against people in public life by those who take an opposing view. Will my right hon. Friend condemn this kind of harassment, and will he work with media and social media platforms to preserve the right to speak freely without intimidation or hate?

    The Prime Minister

    We must be able to speak freely and we must have a robust and lively democracy, but some of the things that people say on Twitter, knowing that they are in some way anonymous, are frankly appalling. People should be ashamed of the sort of sexist bullying that often takes place.

  5. Matthew Smith

    I did a Twitter search using TweetBot for recent tweets mentioning the name Kuenssberg and the words bitch, whore, c*** and rape. These were the results:

    bitch: Ten results, 6 of them genuine (i.e. calling her a bitch rather than talking about others doing so), and 3 of those appeared to be from women
    whore: Five results, one sort-of genuine (“media whore”)
    c***: Four results, 3 of them genuine (the other putting the word in her mouth, about Jeremy Corbyn)
    rape: No results

    There’s another petition which is still up on Change.org and that has nearly 8,500 signatures, so 10 insulting tweets hardly proves that the whole campaign is riddled with misogyny. This is something her supporters have blown up out of proportion.

    1. Peter Jackson

      The word Whore especially when prefixed with another term such as ‘media’ isn’t necessarily a sexist term although it’s certainly a nasty insult, and perhaps unacceptable.

      Whore: A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain.


      The other worrying thing, other than the abuse being a very small proportion of the total, is that anybody could respond with abusive messages with the sole object of removing the petition. Better just to remove unreasonably offensive messages and carry on IMO. This incident has shades of the false accusations of antisemitism the other week. Since the left has such a higher moral reputation than the right, any misuse of the media is far more damaging to them. Could you imagine a similar UKIP petition, it would be difficult to find any comments not offensive!

      1. casalealex

        I totally agree with deleting offensive comments made by signatories of petitions. Many of us sign petitions in good faith, not even making any comments – just signing – as the petition usually says what we feel. It is not fair to shut down a petition just because of, overall, a very few ill conceived comments which only need to be deleted by the main petitioner.

Comments are closed.