BBC’s Nick Robinson sparks row over impartiality tweet

Here’s what was said

BBC journalist Nick Robinson who is the presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme has created a row over impartiality in tweet he posted Thursday, against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in his first general election speech.

Robinson posted a tweet saying: “No-one should be surprised that @jeremycorbynis running v the “Establishment” & is long on passion & short on details. Story of his life.”

This sparked an immediate backlash where Labour activist Eoin Clarke slammed Robinson on twitter saying: “Details here Nick. Please do try and be impartial.”

Law lecturer Paul Bernal of the University of East Anglia said over twitter: “Nothing makes me more sympathetic to Corbyn than seeing how @bbclaurakand @bbcnickrobinson behave towards him. And I’m no Corbyn fan.”

Gareth Davies who works for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a in a tweet to Robinson: “You may be right but is this an appropriate tweet for a prominent BBC journalist?”

Journalist Peter Oborne said on twitter: “If Nick Robinson wants to enter politics he should step down as presenter of the Today Programme.”

Robinson hit back defiantly, saying on twitter: “Curiously this seems to have upset some. Don’t think Jeremy would disagree with a word. Details may follow but never been his speaking style.”

He added in another tweet: “Oh dear. Merely meant that people should expect Jeremy to do now what done his whole life – ie give passionate anti-establishment speech.”

A Labour source told LondonLovesBusiness Thursday: “We would hope when we enter the pre election period on 22 April that the media will call time on their character assassinations and start to concentrate on Labour’s policies, where we beat the Tories on every issue.”

Robinson has since posted a statement on Facebook explaining his view point of what had happened.

Robinson said: “When I tweeted earlier that people should not be surprised by Jeremy Corbyn’s approach as it was “the story of his life” some read it as being perjorative and evidence of that establishment sneering. I meant no such thing.”

“My point was that the Labour leader is doing what he has done for decades and what brought him huge and unexpected success in his party. So no-one should expect him now to change his approach.”

“I, on the other hand, will read my tweets twice to check they don’t read as if I mean something I never intended. What’s more I’ll constantly remind myself that this campaign is likely to produce lots of moments where people cry ‘that’s not fair’.”

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