If all nations’ flags are supposed to be equal, it seems the BBC’s bosses think some are more equal than others.
The Corporation has attacked its own newsreaders, Naga Munchetty and Huw Edwards, for ridiculing the current policy of Boris Johnson’s Tory ministers to hang a Union Flag behind them whenever they’re interviewed.
Tell you what, Tory Tim*, is this better for you?
The Munchetty controversy arose after a BBC Breakfast News interview with corrupt (see past articles) Tory Housing Minister Robert Jenrick, who – of course – had made sure a Union Flag was visible behind him. Co-presenter Charlie Stayt passed a comment about it which she enjoyed, conspicuously:
The incident prompted some anti-Conservative social media users to post messages on Twitter that Ms Munchetty graced with a ‘like’ – and it was this that dropped her into trouble with her bosses.
She later wrote on Twitter: “I ‘liked’ tweets today that were offensive in nature about the use of the British flag as a backdrop in a government interview this morning. I have since removed these ‘likes’.
“This [sic] do not represent the views of me or the BBC. I apologise for any offence taken.”
So it seems the BBC wants people who fly their flag to be treated with respect.
Why, then, did it treat Huw Edwards the way it did when he tweeted a tongue-in-cheek response to the row?
BBC bosses ordered Edwards to take down a tweet that said – well, see for yourself:
— Rob Thomas (@RobThomas14) March 19, 2021
Several hours later, Mr Edwards tweeted this:
Gutted. My pro-flag 🏴 tweet has been cut down in its prime. By order. But it will be back tomorrow 🏉 — by popular demand. 🏴 Meanwhile enjoy this magnificent flag — one of my favourites. 😇 #SixNationsRugby #FRAvWAL pic.twitter.com/f1RY9xIvNJ
— Huw Edwards (@huwbbc) March 19, 2021
Do you think he was being altogether serious in that last comment?
The Corporation’s contradictory attitude has sown more than a little confusion:
What do you call a country where the Governing Party is angry about jokes about the flag but relaxed about 100,000 avoidable deaths? The UK.
— Bob Morgan #BLM 💙🇬🇧 🔸 (@Bbmorg) March 19, 2021
Broadcasters of colour, historians of Black history, enslavement and Empire, the National Trust, the Proms, on and on. And yet they have spent billions and 100k plus are dead.
— Prof Kate Williams 💙 (@KateWilliamsme) March 20, 2021
So Naga Munchetty was censored for laughing at the size of someone’s flag and Huw Edwards was censored for having a flag. Is there now only one true flag and we must not laugh at anything about it? There must be a word for that?
— Rachel (@rachelsmith999) March 20, 2021
Could No. 10 please publish guidance on what we are allowed to make jokes about, like and laugh at #thankyou.
— Jessica Simor QC (@JMPSimor) March 19, 2021
Particularly confused, it seems, was Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who appears to have indulged in overkill, just to be sure:
Gavin Williamson wins the flag wars by having two transplanted into his ears. pic.twitter.com/A9k681AI1F
— James Doleman (@jamesdoleman) March 19, 2021
*Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC, is a former Conservative politician at local level.
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