Tom Watson’s hissy fit cannot justify Laura Kuenssberg’s irresponsibility

Laura Kuenssberg: All the animosity would go away if she left her political bias at home.

Laura Kuenssberg: All the animosity would go away if she left her political bias at home.

This Writer is one of those who argued against Tom Watson when he appeared on Twitter in support of Laura Kuenssberg.

It should be made clear from the outset that he wasn’t “bombarded by Twitter users” as a result. Anyone with as large a following as Mr Watson who passes such a controversial comment may expect a high volume of responses.

My own belief is that the spontaneous response to Ms Kuenssberg didn’t undermine Mr Corbyn’s speech, but rather underlined his message that the BBC’s reporting of him is irresponsible.

I said as much in my own tweeted response: “Did you not realise that she was being hissed because Laura Kuenssberg does her job so badly?”

Tom didn’t deign to respond directly to me, although his “I understand people hold many views on how she does her job but… hissing at her because of those views is wrong” may have been an indirect reply. It’s full of weasel words, though. People didn’t hiss at her because of their views but because of the way she does her work. And his description of it as “wrong” is his own opinion and no more valid than those he was attacking.

I was then challenged by a Watson follower called Mark Smith, who wrote: “We gain nothing from booing like that – boorish and pathetic.” Again, that is nothing more than the writer’s personal opinion.

I countered by pointing out: “Maybe, but also direct and heartfelt.” As it clearly was. Mr Smith then went away.

Meanwhile, Tom clearly wasn’t having a good time, and ended up transmitting his sarcastic “hissing revolution” tweet.

So first he tried to set his own opinion above those of the rest of us, then in response to his self-dubbed “hissing revolution” he had a hissy fit.

This is not fitting behaviour for the deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader, has criticised party supporters who booed and hissed at the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg at a speech by Jeremy Corbyn, saying it undermined the leader’s message.

The senior Labour MP said he was embarrassed at the “rude and inappropriate” behaviour when Kuenssberg was doing her job.

Watson made his views about the incident clear on Twitter, saying: “Hissing is not the answer and it undermined Jeremy’s message.”

He added: “I understand people hold many views on how she does her job but … hissing at her because of those views is wrong.”

Throughout the evening, he was bombarded by Twitter users defending the right of the audience to show their upset at Kuenssberg through hissing and booing.

Watson replied to many of them, sometimes sarcastically, telling one person: “Oh yes I can see it now, the hissing revolution. I think you might be onto something there. Please write it all up in a pamphlet.”*

Perhaps Mr Watson should have taken a leaf from Jeremy Corbyn’s book. When Ms Kuenssberg was hissed, he quieted those making the noise and then responded courteously. The point had been made and he knew he didn’t need to make a drama out of it.

Meanwhile, social media news site The Canary presented the other side of the story, and did it rather well:

The mainstream media has closed ranks to protect the BBC’s Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg, but the public aren’t falling for it.

On Thursday, Labour supporters who contribute to Kuenssberg’s wages (through the TV licence fee) expressed criticism of her biased coverage by booing and hissing when she began to ask Jeremy Corbyn a question.

There has since been wall-to-wall media coverage condemning the Labour supporters and protecting Kuenssberg from criticism.

160603 pro-kuenssberg articles

Criticism of Kuenssberg and the BBC’s political coverage is entirely legitimate. The bias stems from a number of issues:

•A business- and Conservative-oriented regulatory body and leadership.
•The Conservative government squeezing the broadcaster’s budget, leading its journalists to fear for the salaries and way of life they have become accustomed to.

And the manifestation of these fundamental issues is very clear to social media users.

From smearing supporters of a petition calling for Kuenssberg to be dismissed as sexist to deflecting public criticism of her, the media has clearly endeavored to protect the journalist from accountability.

But the public really aren’t buying it.**

Examples of the public not buying it followed, and they were many.

This, from Die Originale, was fairly representative: “The booing and hissing of Laura Kuenssberg wasn’t an attempt to stifle free press, it was an attempt to hold it to account.”

‘I’m alright Jack’ tried sarcasm: “How dare these people speak out of turn, express any criticism of Laura Kuenssberg or any public figure; don’t they know their place?”

Possibly the most pointed came from This Writer’s old friend Kanjin Tor: “The people defending Laura Kuenssberg after a midly & very British show of disapproval by the audience would probably defend Lord Haw Haw.”

Tom Watson should ask himself if he really wants to be among them.

* Source: Tom Watson criticises Labour activists who booed Laura Kuenssberg | Politics | The Guardian

** Source: The media closes ranks to protect the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, but the public aren’t buying it | The Canary


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33 thoughts on “Tom Watson’s hissy fit cannot justify Laura Kuenssberg’s irresponsibility

  1. NMac

    The “booing and hissing” certainly lets these people know exactly what the public at large thinks of them and their arrogant attitudes.

  2. jeffrey davies

    “Gain nothing from booing like that – boorish and pathetic.” hmm see tories they do worse

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That would be one of the many pro-Kuenssberg pieces that popped up after the event.
      It was an expression, by those who were present, of the widely-held public opinion.
      You’re saying you would only be happy if all the general public were there and they had all hissed as well, which is unrealistic.

  3. Phil Woodford

    The idea that the booing and hissing lets people know what the ‘public at large’ thinks is laughable. It shows what left-wing Labour activists – drafted in specifically to support Jeremy Corbyn – think. And these people once again prove themselves to be completely out of touch, worryingly paranoid and anti press freedom. Laura K is an outstanding journalist who has faced a lot of sexist trolling on social media, but will keep on doing her job professionally. I wish the same could be said of Corbyn.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There’s so much wrong with this comment it beggars belief that you’ve even bothered to post it.
      Look at the “sexist trolling” claim. When the hysteria about this was at its height, another commenter on this blog ran a check and found just 10 tweets that might be described as sexist or misogynist. Among the comments on the 38 Degrees petition that was taken down due to claims of “sexist trolling” there was just one such remark. One too many, certainly, but amidst tens of thousands of posts on the social media, not “a lot”.
      The people who booed Laura Kuenssberg weren’t “completely out of touch”. The afore-mentioned petition gained more than 35,000 signatures in a matter of days, and would have had many, many more if it had been allowed to run its course. Many people are very angry about her biased reporting.
      And what makes you suggest that the people at Corbyn’s speech were “left-wing Labour activists – drafted in specifically to support Jeremy Corbyn”? Couldn’t they just be Labour supporters? Yes they could.

      1. roybeiley

        Although I dislike Ms K for her biased form of professional journalism, I tend to agree that hissing and booing at her is not right. It is the sort of thing done at football matches when a specific player is targetted because of some previous misdemeanor.I think it sends a pretty clear message from Vox

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Don’t you think she should be criticised for her misdemeanours?
        Bear in mind that this woman continuously and intentionally misrepresents the Labour Party in every report she presents about it.
        The hissing she got was a spontaneous display of disapproval by the people who were there – it wasn’t pre-planned and indicates the strength of feeling amongst those who were there. It is also an expression of free speech.
        I wasn’t there myself, and I probably wouldn’t have done it if I had been, but I’ll defend to the hilt the right to do it of those who did.
        I’m concerned that you would want to stifle it.

    2. Bernard Crofton

      I went through 94 pages or so of comments on the petition. I found one who referred to her as ” this woman”. That was the only thing I found in the archived file that could be described as sexist.
      Where is your evidence?

      1. Phil Woodford

        Err… how about the evidence from the guy who actually set up the petition? He said: “As a result of the sexist trolls who have attempted to derail my petition, I have decided to take it down.” Was he imagining it? Perhaps your analysis is more detailed than his?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Serious questions were asked regarding his about-face. Perhaps you should ask him to get in touch and tell us what really happened?

  4. casalealex

    Every PMQs aired is a lesson in how to misconduct oneself in the hallowed halls of Parliament. If they can get away with it, why can’t we, the people?

    8/3/16 This is my email to John Bercow, Speaker of the House:


    I have written to you recently, and previously, about my utter disgust at the appalling scenes I constantly witness during Prime Minster’s Questions.

    From my point of view, I find that the Conservative benches are the main instigators of the incessant barracking of the benches opposite.  

    And, I have to say, I find your allowing of, at times, the most prolonged deafening and unseemly diatribe,  from those who are supposed to be sober and responsible executives of the running of our country.

    You appear to quite enjoy it at times, and often take an unconscionable amount of time to call the rabble to order.

    This weekly farce sickens me, and anyone wishing to become involved in politics will be hard pressed to have any respect for these so-called “Honourable” and “Right Honourable” persons.

    I really do think it is time for you to call a halt to this weekly pantomime, and if they cannot bring themselves to respect their position, they should at least respect the electorate whom they are supposed to represent.

    Yours sincerely

  5. Terry Casey (@tcliverpool)

    To those writers who decided to protect Keunssberg with their attacks on Labour supporters, Why have you not done your job? as reporters why did you not question the booers and hissers as to why they did it, surely that is what you are paid for, not to to make assertions but to investigate, as was said above 35,000 people had their voices stolen with claims of sexism towards Keunssberg sadly following others recently silenced on other topics with claims of Anti-semitism, we are witnessing many problems being overlooked by shaming those that question what is happening in the world, the MSM are at present a joke of an institution.

  6. Nick

    Laura Kuenssberg: is far from brilliant her claim to fame is to be able to wind people up

    she herself never brings anything positive to the table my daughter knows her well

  7. Jane Manby

    It was the most mild booing and hissing and lasted a few seconds, it was hushed very quickly by JC a reflection of the respect he is held in. They were not expressing the views of the wider population but their own. Booing and hissing to show your dislike of someone and their behaviour has a long tradition in Britain. It conveys deep held disgust at an individuals behaviour and is used sparingly by the British and that alone should be a reflection of how deeply unhappy people are with this woman. You have to do a lot to upset the British to that extent. Tom Watson often sits behind JC smirking at the barracking he gets from the Tories so clearly has no real objections to even worse kinds of behaviour. He has blown it out to be bigger than it was we can only guess at his reasons for doing so

    1. Phil Woodford

      I love the idea of the muppets booing and then being shooshed by the saintly JC. As if he’s done nothing to encourage their ridiculous paranoia!

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Which, of course, he hasn’t – because they aren’t ridiculously paranoid.

  8. Bernard Crofton

    What you omit is what happened after the hissing. LJ delivered her question, following a long detailed speech from Corbyn on the EU. He had made several headline promises on Labour policy. He had criticised the PMs whole approach to Europe and justified the refusal to share a platform with him, that had obsessed the press in the previous few days.
    As the senior BBC journalist present LK was one of the first invited to ask questions on the speech. Instead she asked a question about some Trade Union official (I had never previously heard of him and don’t remember his name) who had apparently made some criticism of Corbyn’s leadership of the party. That is not journalism, that is LK pursuing an agenda.

  9. mrmarcpc

    Kuenssberg is a typical arrogant, polarising, deluded, ignorant, pompous, hypocritical, tory bitch who should shut her gob and be removed from her post now because she is not impartial and competent!

    1. Phil Woodford

      Your use of the term ‘bitch’ just confirms my view that most of the leftwing opposition to Laura K is sexist trolling. Corbynistas can’t stand the fact that a female political journalist is a lot brighter than their beloved Jez.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        It is inappropriate to use the example of one individual to denigrate an entire group. I have remonstrated with mrmarcpc on many occasions about his use of such terms, but he persists in them as an individual choice. He does not represent Corbinistas any more than I represent Nazis.
        Ah, but I see your comment is meant humorously, as you suggest that Laura Kuennsberg is brighter than Jeremy Corbyn. Very droll.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        With mrmarcpc, use of the word “bitch” is not sexist. He applies it equally to men and women.
        I do reject comments I deem to be beyond the pale, including comments from mrmarcpc.
        You are trying to tell me how to do a job that you don’t understand. Stop.

      3. Phil Woodford

        You’re right. I couldn’t possibly understand the pressures of running a political blog with a number of very eccentric followers. It must be hell. I’ll let you get on with it.

  10. hayfords

    Kuenssberg is an excellent political journalist. She does make critical comments about Corbyn, but does the same regarding Cameron. The left seems to take it personally when Corbyn gets flack.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Like Ms Kuenssberg, you are not being fair. The amount of criticism she levels at Jeremy Corbyn is totally disproportionate in comparison with what she has recently started saying about Cameron. That is not excellent political journalism. It isn’t even acceptable journalism.

    2. Phil Woodford

      The turning point was when she made mincemeat of him over the Shoot to Kill thing. From that moment on, the Corbynistas knew that Jez was a sitting duck. So the strategy was to undermine Laura by pretending she was biased. As Hayfords says, she’s just doing her job too well for their liking.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Have to admit I don’t recall that.
        Do you have a link to the relevant material so we can all review it and decide for ourselves what she did or didn’t do?
        There wasn’t any strategy – or at least, not at first. People simply objected en masse at a reporter showing unjustified bias for one political party against another.

      2. mrmarcpc

        Mike, Phil, you don’t like what I post, then don’t read it, I don’t always like what you post either. I’m no sexist, if Kuenssberg was a man, I’d still call him a bitch because regardless of gender, she is a tory lackey who does the bidding of her far right wing masters, the tories are all bitches to the corporate world, both male and female, they all bend over and do as they’re told when big money is involved and tells them what to do, that’s the right wing way and all who are connected, like their allies Kuenssberg, do as they are told and pucker up!

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        I have to read what you post. This site is moderated and always will be, because many people can’t behave themselves if they are given the responsibility to do so.
        Your own use of language has caused me to delete some of your comments in the past.
        But in this instance I was defending you. You do your own cause no good at all if you can’t see that.

      4. mrmarcpc

        I know the site is moderated by yourself and I know you were defending me, I saw that and do appreciate that, I try not to use very strong language on here but sometimes the behaviour of our government and their allies makes me so upset and mad sometimes, I can’t stop myself, I will try not to use it from now on, thank you for the support Mike, please know I have the greatest respect for you.

Comments are closed.