BBC executives object to comments made by Emily Maitlis following her recent criticism of how the company handled her Newsnight speech about Dominic Cummings.

Aitlis, 52, joined the BBC in 2001 and ran Newsnight programming from 2006 until earlier this year.

Last month, she gave a MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival in which she criticized the BBC’s response to the 2020 Newsnight installment, in which she began the episode by saying that Dominic Cummings, then chief adviser to Boris Johnson, was rocking. He said he “broke the rules” on his down trip. She told Durham, “The country can see it, and we are shocked that the government can’t see it.”


BBC Director Tim Davey (Hannah McKay/PA)

Speaking to an audience in Edinburgh, Maitlis said the BBC “tried to appease” No. 10 by issuing a quick apology for her monologue, noting that her introduction was “actually ever-deserving”. I got a lot more attention than I did,” he said.

The company’s executive director, Tim Davey, considers her an “outstanding journalist”, but disagrees with her criticism of the BBC’s treatment of Cummings’ monologue.

Appearing before the Commission for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Tuesday, he said political interference within the BBC and the process by which Newsnight decided to apologize for her speech were two separate said it was something.

The broadcaster received more than 20,000 complaints and determined that Maitlis violated its fairness rules, saying in a statement:

Davey said he supported Newsnight’s decision, adding: I was not the Executive Director at the time, but I am sure that this was the right decision. ”

“Emily is an excellent journalist. I respect her opinion, but I disagree with this.”


BBC Chairman Richard Sharp (DCMS/PA)

Speaking before him at the DCMS session, BBC President Richard Sharp said it was “completely wrong” to suggest that Maitlis had “failed to follow due process”.

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he said: And she was working on a very important issue. It was a global question of how news worked in an environment of heightened political tension.

“She responded to the BBC, clearly referring to specific issues relating to the United States. There was not.

“Of course, I am familiar with the details of the process. I can say that I was wrong.”

“Maybe it also reflects the fact that I disagree with her views on impartiality, which means she can lead with her opinion and follow the facts.” maybe.

“The question as to why both we and ofcom later found that we had adequately addressed this issue was because she led her own views, and as a great journalist, her instincts It wasn’t wrong, the problem was. The role of the BBC is to present the facts to the audience in an impartial manner so that the audience can make their own opinion.”


Robbie Gibb (right) and former Chief Whip Julian Smith (Stéphane Rousseau/PA)

In a clear reference to Theresa May’s former communications director, Sir Robbie Gibb, Maitlis said in McTaggart’s speech: A BBC rival to GB News, he now serves as the BBC’s impartiality arbiter. ”

Mr Davey said that Lord Robbie’s role within the BBC is that of a Board member and that all members of the Board feel they need to support him and the executive team in providing impartiality. rice field.

Speaking at the DCMS session, he said:

When discussing Lord Robbie, who previously liked a tweet that DCMS committee members described as “party-political,” Sharp said non-executives “should seek to avoid getting involved in controversial issues.” said he was qualified to do so. .

He added:

Sharpe added that Lord Robbie did not actually like the tweet in question, but was informed that he accidentally hit the “Like” button while scrolling through his Twitter feed.

The chair also said that Maitlis, who appears to describe Lord Robbie as an “active Conservative agent” within the BBC, is “totally wrong”, noting that the former BBC presenter had so pointed out. said he was “disappointed.”

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