A BBC presenter has said she is “haunted” by the bogus claim that she assisted the phenomenal rise of UKIP under Nigel Farage by giving the party’s former leader so much airtime.
BBC presenter Samira Ahmed made the comments in a podcast for a separate organisation while interviewing Private Eye editor, Ian Hislop. The blatant bias will further fuel anger at the BBC over its army of partial presenters and reporters, which has risen to new heights after two BBC breakfast hosts sniggered at a minister’s flag and portrait of the Queen hanging in his office last month.
In a bizarre reversal of host and interviewee, Ahmed unloaded her frustrations about UKIP on her woke-sounding podcast, How I Found My Voice. Unprompted, Ahmed told Hislop that Newswatch, a BBC programme that she presents had received complaints of “building up” UKIP and Farage by giving the party and its iconic leader too much coverage. The complaints were aimed at Newswatch and the BBC as a whole.
“I’m haunted by that and I remember talking to editors about it,” she added.
Appearing to try and temper Ahmed’s extraordinary outburst, Hislop rejected the notion only people “who are considered absolutely acceptable” should be invited onto panel shows, “that’s untenable and slightly dangerous. And also, there is a problem — and this is the same problem as giving people the vote I’m afraid — that if you allow people airtime, which they probably are allowed, people might like them.”
The name of Ahmed’s BBC programme is ironically similar to “News-watch”, the organisation set up by Lord Pearson to monitor and expose bias at the BBC. In its most recent analysis, News-watch found that of the 73 outside contributors invited onto BBC news programmes in early July, 38 (52%) were “broadly pro-EU/anti-Brexit” while only 21 (29%) sat on the opposite side of the debate. 14 (19%) were neutral.
Ahmed’s comments further underline the important work performed by Pearson’s News-Watch – he is UKIP’s only ever peer and now sits as an independent. The public broadcaster is brimming with biased journalists.
Director-general, Tim Davie, who is still relatively new to the job having started the job in September last year says he is trying to stamp out rampant bias. One headline measure has been to try and stop BBC personalities from showcasing their political views over Twitter and other online platforms.
The corporation’s employees were told: “If your work requires you to maintain your impartiality, don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’.”
The podcast is yet to drop online, although the Times has heard the exchanges between Hislop and Ahmed, and says she is thought to be a full-time BBC staffer, even though on LinkedIn she describes herself as a freelancer.
The BBC said: “All BBC news and current affairs journalists must avoid appearing to express personal views. We have discussed the video [of the event] with Samira and she is clear that she was referring to being ‘haunted’ by the number of complaints rather than trying to give a wider commentary.”
Ahmed’s podcast, which is produced by Intelligence Squared, comes across as unashamedly woke and globalist. Previous guests include David Lammy, Jon Snow, big Remain financial backer Richard Branson, Cambridge Analytica “whistleblower” Chris Wylie, and John McDonnell.