Peston: BBC failed to understand impatiality in run up to EU vote
THE BBC failed to understand how to be impartial in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016, ITV’S political editor Robert Peston said.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Mr Peston said the BBC didn’t steer viewers to determine the “loonies from the geniuses” in its coverage to run-up of the Brexit vote two years ago.
He also said how he directly told Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn he was “uncomfortable” with the party’s lack of urgency to clear issues of antisemitism.
Mr Peston said: “I love the BBC but I did feel that during the Brexit campaign they slightly got confused about what impartial journalism meant. It is the role of the journalist to say ‘we’ve got these two contradictory arguments, I’m now going to revise which of these is likely to be closer to the truth’.
“The problem with the BBC was during the campaign it put people on with diametrically-opposed views. It didn’t give any help in assessing which one was the loony and which one was the genius.”
Mr Peston described the speed of the Labour Party’s disciplinary action against members who made antisemitic comments as unsettling.
He said he told Mr Corbyn that the slow pace of not dealing with the deep issues within the party made him “feel uncomfortable” and thought the leftwing party leader is “incredibly naive”.
He said: “I’m not a religious Jew, but all my family are Jews. I identify as a secular Jew. I have been profoundly uncomfortable with how long it took the Labour Party to sign up to the standard IHRA definition and all its examples of anti-semitism.
“I don’t myself think Jeremy Corbyn is anti-semitic. I think he is genuinely naive. I’ve told him how uncomfortable I was with how slow they were to start dealing with this problem.
“I am concerned as to how slow Labour have been to address this.”