It is my habit to defend the BBC from its ideological enemies, but that’s hard in the Naga Munchetty race row (resolved, sort of).
The BBC got it deeply wrong before belatedly attempting to put matters right yesterday.
Leaving race aside for a moment, at least we can accept that this furore was built on a barrage of complaints. Oh, hang on, not a barrage but one. A single complainant is said to have started all this. One moaning misery. One member of the awkward squad.
Couldn’t that single complaining viewer have been written to and politely told that their views had been considered, but as no one else had complained, the matter wouldn’t be taken further?
That would have saved time, embarrassment and face.
The corporation originally sanctioned the Breakfast presenter for breaking impartiality guides with her comments regarding Donald Trump’s racist remarks about four Democrat politicians whom he suggested should “go back where they came from”.
Asked by fellow presenter Dan Walker how she felt about this situation, Munchetty spoke her mind but only in a restrained fashion, saying: “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.”
After Munchetty was officially ticked off, the BBC was bombarded with complaints about the way she’d been treated, including an open letter signed by many leading Britons of colour.
On the orders of director general Tony Hall, the BBC has now done an about face. Munchetty is no longer sanctioned as the BBC tries to climb out of a hole of its out making; a self-made crisis, a self-dug hole, if ever there was.
This follows the revelation by the Guardian yesterday that the original complaint had been about both presenters. For weird reasons, as the complaint passed through the bureaucratic machine, it was singled down to Munchetty. The complaint is said to have referred to both presenters, but named only Munchetty, so she was the one punished (now unpunished).
As a way of making a terrible decision worse, this couldn’t be bettered. Both presenters were criticised, yet only the black woman was put forward for an official warning. This new twist seemed to suggest that the BBC is clueless about race; strapped down by its own rules and unable to move freely.
I just hope the single complainant wasn’t a Mr D Trump of Washington/New York/a golf course somewhere.
One final thought on the BBC news right now. Unlike many others, I still have no complaints about Laura Keunssberg. She’s doing a good job in difficult times, I’d say.
What I’d like to complain about is all those awful vox-pops on every night, nearly always from Leave constituencies where serial moaners have their largely incoherent say all over again.
Serial moaning Remainers hardly get a look in.
We now know what everyone thinks about everything, and no longer need to have it waved in our face every night. Enough with the vox pops already.