Did a BBC host cross the line into “sneering and bullying” toward guest, UK columnist Rod Liddle?
That’s what a viewer thought, prompting the viewer to complain to the BBC about the July 15, 2019 interview between host Emily Maitlis, guest Liddle, and another guest, Tom Baldwin. The three were discussing Brexit.
The BBC agreed that the interview wasn’t “even-handed.”
A BBC spokesperson told iMediaEthics: “We note the findings of the ECU ruling.”
In a recent ruling from the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit, the BBC found it was fair for Maitlis to challenge Liddle on his views, and that Maitlis didn’t obviously show what her opinion on the matter was. However, the BBC found Maitlis was “insufficiently clear” in explaining her challenges of Liddle weren’t personal.
For example. Maitlis asked Liddle if he thought he was “a racist because many see you that way” and added his columns include “consistent casual racism week after week,” according to Press Gazette. Maitlis also argued, “You’re not angry that we haven’t left, you say that the Remain argument was that all Leavers were basically racists and xenophobes.”
“It was insufficiently clear that this was not Ms Maitlis’s view of Mr Liddle but that of his critics, and the persistent and personal nature of the criticism risked leaving her open to the charge that she had failed to be even-handed between the two guests,” the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit ruled.