EMILY Maitlis has again broken the BBC’s impartiality rules, by sharing a Piers Morgan anti-government rant over Covid failures in the UK.
The Newsnight presenter was rapped by her bosses, months after her “biased” tirade over Dominic Cummings “breaking lockdown rules”.
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She was criticised for lacking impartiality after sharing Morgan‘s message that said: “If failing to quarantine properly is punishable by 10 years in prison, what is the punishment for failing to properly protect the country from a pandemic?”
The government has previously come under fire for PPE shortages, as well as failing to protect care homes and NHS staff. The UK’s total Covid death toll is currently 128,100.
The Newsnight presenter had retweeted this message to her 425,000 followers back in February.
The Times wrote at the time that Maitlis was one of 12,200 people to do so but later deleted it from her timeline.
The Daily Mail reported that the BBC Two presenter has again been reprimanded by her bosses, for breaching strict impartiality rules.
Despite Maitlis deleting her retweet within just 10 minutes of posting it, someone complained about it.
The BBC’s editorial complaints unit upheld the allegation against her.
It said: “The retweeted material was clearly controversial, implying sharp criticism of the Government and there was nothing in the surrounding context to make clear that Ms Maitlis was not endorsing it.”
Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, had earlier said that she appeared to be ignoring the broadcaster’s guidelines about impartiality by sharing Morgan’s tweet.
He told the Mail in February: “Whatever [the BBC’s director-general] Tim Davie has said to Emily Maitlis about the charter and the guidelines, it would appear it hasn’t sunk in.”
The BBC’s guidelines tells staff: “Sharing or retweeting material from other people is part of what social media is all about.
“But consider that it can give the appearance of endorsement by you or the BBC, so context might well be needed.
“A ‘retweets aren’t endorsements’ or equivalent disclaimer in your bio won’t be enough on its own.”
The complaint came months after the BBC was bombarded with more than 40,000 complaints in just two days after Maitlis broke the impartiality rule with a rant about Dominic Cummings.
Views flocked to lodge their anger at Maitlis’ monologue about Mr Cummings’ controversial trip to Durham, despite Covid lockdown rules.
She also accused him of blind loyalty to his then No 10 adviser – which was putting Government messaging on coronavirus at risk.
After an investigation, police found that Mr Cummings’ trip did not break lockdown rules.
“He was the man, remember, who always got the public mood, he tagged the lazy label of “elite” on those who disagreed,” Maitlis said of Mr Cummings during the programme’s opening on May 26.
“He should understand that public mood now. One of fury, contempt and anguish.
“He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can no flout them.”
She also criticised Mr Johnson and other ministers for supporting Mr Cummings.
“The Prime Minister knows all this, but despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it,” she said.
“Tonight we consider what this blind loyalty tells us about the workings of Number 10.”
The presenter was publicly reprimanded by bosses the next day for “overstepping the mark”.
The broadcaster said in May 2020: “The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output.
“We’ve reviewed the entirety of last night’s Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism.
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“We feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.
“As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.
“Our staff have been reminded of the guidelines.”
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