Kuenssberg finding kills her reputation, if not her career

Last Updated: January 19, 2017By

Laura Kuenssberg’s report misrepresented the Labour leader’s view, the Trust said [Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].

Despite withdrawing an initial verdict on this complaint, the BBC Trust has had to release it anyway, indicating that the Corporation has been unable to find any excuse for her behaviour this time.

Ms Kuenssberg’s boss, Tory James Harding, is livid – well, he would be. But his words ring hollow. If “BBC News reported on the leader of the Opposition in the same way it would any other politician”, is he saying they can all expect similar breaches of impartiality?

And the finding that there was “no evidence of bias” and the story was “compiled in good faith” simply indicates that Ms Kuenssberg is habitually inaccurate, doesn’t it?

Calls have been raised for Ms Kuenssberg’s removal as BBC political editor but these will fall on deaf ears as Tory James is happy for her to treat Mr Corbyn as she has in this instance (obviously – look at his comments).

But her reputation is seriously damaged and she would be wise to double-check every word she utters from now on – particularly about politicians she, personally, does not respect.

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, inaccurately reported Jeremy Corbyn’s views about shoot-to-kill policies in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, according to the BBC Trust.

The BBC regulator concluded that Kuenssberg report for the News at Six in November 2015 breached the broadcaster’s impartiality and accuracy guidelines, misrepresenting his view on the appropriate use of force against terrorist attackers.

The item included a clip of the Labour leader stating: “I am not happy with a shoot-to-kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counterproductive.”

Kuenssberg had presented that as Corbyn’s response to a question put to him on whether he would be “happy for British officers to pull the trigger in the event of a Paris-style attack”, but the Trust concluded that Corbyn had been speaking in a different context.

The Labour leader had been responding to a question asking whether he would be happy to order police or military “to shoot to kill” on Britain’s streets – and not specifically regarding a Paris-style attack in the UK.

In response to an earlier question specifically about the use of shoot-to-kill in the event of a terrorist attack in London, which was not used in the programme, Corbyn had replied: “Of course you’d bring people on to the streets to prevent and ensure there is safety within our society, much better that’s done by the police than security services, much better we have strong and effective community policing, neighbourhood policing and a cohesive society that brings people together.”

The Trust found that the inaccuracy was “compounded” when Kuenssberg went on to state that Corbyn’s message “couldn’t be more different” to that of the prime minister, who was about to publish anti-terrorism proposals.

In its finding the Trust also said that there was no evidence of bias or of intent on the part of the senior BBC journalist, however.

Source: BBC Trust says Laura Kuenssberg report on Corbyn was inaccurate | Media | The Guardian

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  1. Franklin Percival January 19, 2017 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Does anybody believe the ‘News’ output of the BBC anymore? It seems to me that its own reputation is irredeemably besmirched.

  2. Neilth January 19, 2017 at 11:56 am - Reply

    If there’s no “evidence of intent” in Kuenssbergs reporting then this is perhaps even more worrying in that it demonstrates an unconscious bias that she doesn’t even know she should be addressing.

    • Mike Sivier January 19, 2017 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Quite right!

  3. NMac January 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    No evidence or intention of bias. What nonsense such selective reporting can only be an intention to be biased and deceive people.

  4. Paul Kinnear January 19, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    It’s now officially on record that she misrepresented Corbyn, but also that she showed “no bias”..? SO I guess that means she’s just incompetent then, and should be sacked either way.

    • David Marley January 19, 2017 at 11:23 pm - Reply

      Totally agree with you, she is treating viewers like fools, most of us can see through her biased reporting, I have no trust in the BBC making unbiased reports, blatant dishonesty by this woman, incompetent and should be removed from our screens.

  5. mohandeer January 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I remember may years ago a muslim being shot to death by police only to have it verified that he was guilty of – nothing. He had no connection to the Birmingham underground attacks(or whatever it was at the time – feel free to correct me).
    If Corbyn was less than enthusiastic about a gun toting US like police force appearing on Britain’s streets, he’s not the only one, count me in.

    • Barry Davies January 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      Well Birmingham doesn’t have an underground, and the only muslim I can remember being shot to death in Birmingham a few years ago was shot by a ukrainian migrant outside of a mosque.

  6. Sven Wraight January 19, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    I wonder what the BBC would consider evidence of bias or intent. These days, I just use it for the headlines: that way, I know with what nonsense they’re infecting people.

  7. Stuart Armstrong January 19, 2017 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    BBC reporters are supposed to report the news, not make it up to suit their own political bias, surely that’s the responsibility of the Ministry of Propoganda, so shouldn’t she be working for them.

  8. Terence kelly January 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    The BBC is taking a battering and people like Laura Kuenssberg are responsible for that. She would never have been appointed years ago, standards have slipped so far.

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