Former BBC reporter Patrick Howse speaks to those inside the corporation after Byline Times asked the BBC about its lack of coverage of Jennifer Arcuri’s new revelations of a four-year sexual affair with the now Prime Minister
Jenifer Arcuri’s new revelations about her affair with Boris Johnson have gone largely unreported by the BBC.
The story appears to have everything – sex, betrayal, abuse of power, lies told in high places – so, on the face of, it is somewhat surprising to find it covered only grudgingly, and at the margins of the BBC’s huge range of output.
It is, however, completely consistent with the corporation’s desperation to avoid a fight with the Government, and has roots going back far further.
Some point the finger at Millbank, the offices of BBC Politics, while others believe that it comes from higher than that and that the Director-General himself is playing a role here.
Whoever is behind it, it translates into a narrative which …
- Starts off with dismissal – ‘oh, that’s not a story’.
- It then moves onto ‘well, that might be a story, but it’s not for us to break it’.
- Lastly then onto (a few days or weeks later) ‘oh, that’s an old story – we all know that already’.
But the BBC’s big political hitters haven’t wanted to touch this and other stories with a bargepole – presumably being too busy retweeting what Downing Street tells them about how marvellous everything is.
There are of course some Conservative appointees in the BBC’s upper echelons – including the Director-General himself and the Chairman. So it is possible that this is some sort of attempt to suppress anything damaging to the Government, at least to some extent.
However, it is more likely that this all comes from fear. Top BBC managers are absolutely terrified of the Government and are bending over backwards to appease it.