In my May 6 blog I mentioned an ‘awful woman’ presenting the recent local election results on BBC1 TV, whose commentary was so fixated with Jeremy Corbyn and what the results meant for him, in a continually negative way, as to entirely skew the whole event, and to lose all sense of balance and objectivity. She made me angry listening to her. Since then I have learned who she is: Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor; and that her presentation of the election results has provoked a petition signed by 35,000 people (but not me: I wouldn’t) to get her sacked. So I wasn’t alone in my disapproval.
Unfortunately some of the complaints against her were couched in abusive sexist terms, the effect of which has been to smear all her critics with the stain of misogyny, and – as I understand – to detract from the force of the complaints themselves. The petition has even been ‘taken down’, so it won’t now go through. (See the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/may/12/bbc-bias-labour-sir-michael-lyons.) Liberals and progressives, including Corbyn himself (that good man!), are all up in arms defending her against the ‘trolls’. So the point of her anti-Corbyn bias is lost, and she will no doubt be allowed to continue presenting politics for the BBC in the way she does.
‘God’ knows – as do my feminist partner and close friends – that I’m no sexist. But I do get irritated when prominent people are protected from reasonable criticism by the fact of their sex, or race, or religion, and the assumption that it’s an underlying prejudice against these characteristics of theirs that lies behind the criticisms. It’s similar to the way that critics of Israeli government policy are often vilified.