Putting aside the disgraceful insensitivity of choosing such a traumatic incident as the host of her lies; whilst the BBC having to admit that its political editor fabricated a story to smear the leader of the opposition is a significant event, the admission will probably not have the impact that you might expect. Firstly, the BBC buried the story in its ‘Entertainment & Arts’ section, rather than ‘Politics’ or ‘UK’ sections. The choice of wording for the admission headline carefully downplays what occurred, leaving readers with less of an impression that Kuenssberg lied to the public and intentionally manipulated footage to misrepresent a politician who she has received sustained criticism for demonstrating a clear and consistent bias against. Importantly, Kuenssberg broke impartiality rules, an unequivocal admission that Kuenssberg does indeed have a bias against the opposition leadership and that she has exercised it in her presenting. Has Ms Kuenssberg been sanctioned by the BBC?
Most significant of all is the rather simple fact that this incident is one where we know, with certainty, that Ms Kuenssberg doctored her ‘report’ to present a lie to the public and represent it as truth. How many others have occurred? Are we to believe that Ms Kuenssberg had a rush of blood in the editing suite and decided to create a fictional account, something she had never done before, and to present it as ‘news’? Are we to also believe that Ms Kuenssberg came to the decision to fabricate a story AFTER the footage and interview with the leader of the opposition was in the can? I’d argue that it would be a fair presumption that the BBC’s political editor designed her interview to cynically elicit an intended response from Jeremy Corbyn, to match the narrative that she had already set her self towards and that it was not her first time at the rodeo.
Journalism (and I include Ms Kuenssberg in that category as a cursory nod towards the fact that she was named journalist of the year at the Press Gazette’s British Journalism Awards in December 2016) is littered with scandals of journalists making up stories; a Pulitzer prize winner handed back their prize after it broke that their story was fiction. Erstwhile political idiot and serial national embarrassment/disgrace, Boris Johnson was fired by the Times for lying. Michael Gove is a ‘journalist’. That journalists lie is not news but the level of deception spun by the BBC’s political editor is a grave abuse of position and trust and the clear casual nature with which the incident has been received by the BBC does not inspire confidence. We expect tattle from the rags pulped out by billionaire media barons but the BBC is meant to adhere to standards. Those who followed the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign coverage by the BBC have also cried foul. For the rot to be so high up the content producing chain at the BBC, what confidence can be had of those who hired and direct Ms Kuenssberg? In fact, given the ‘quality’ of the prime minister since 2010, what confidence can be had for any of the BBC’s senior appointees since that time? David Cameron’s relationships with disgraced ‘journalists’ seems endless.
It is doubtful the BBC will take any action against Ms Kuenssberg or her immediate boss.