Writing the occasional Blog is easy. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, a thought surfaces and, if I’m lucky, hangs around until I wake up in the morning and can get it on the screen. But being a regular blogger is not so simple, there is constant struggle to find new ideas. There is a limit to the number of times I can write about the antics of Jeremy Corbyn and the deluded people, many of them Jews, who surround and support him. So, this morning I turned yet again for inspiration to that treasure chest of stories, The Telegraph. As usual, the anti-Semitism sweeping Britain was the main topic of the paper’s front page, not much Hope and certainly no Glory in today’s Mother of the Free. The stories were so upsetting that I almost missed this – “Surgeon punched doctor in head in row over whether Laura Kuenssberg is attractive enough to be on BBC”.
The headline was encouraging – no Corbyn, no Labour Party anti-Semitism, no Jews falling over themselves to condemn the Middle East’s only democracy or fantasizing over an imaginary ‘Palestine’. This could be it; the subject of today’s blog.
We in Israel have had many bad experiences with the BBC. I still remember back in 1973, in the early stages of the Yom Kippur War, listening to the BBC World Service almost gleefully reporting Israel’s demise. It was already clear from our own Israel radio reports that the worst was over, and we were pushing the enemy back. Over the years, while Israel has prospered, financial pressures have brought about the demise of many of services offered by the BBC. The once proud World Service has stopped broadcasts in Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Malay, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai.
And, in recent days, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has accused the BBC of deliberately issuing false reports about the situation on the Gaza border. A typical BBC sob-story tells of a pregnant woman and her child killed by Israel in Gaza, but with no mention of the massive Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli civilians that provoked Israel’s defensive airstrikes.
But, whatever issues we might have with the BBC, why were two medical practitioners fighting over Ms. Kuenssberg? The two had been drinking for some eight hours in a Spanish bar when the surgeon hit the doctor around the head, knocking off his spectacles. They were, we learnt, engaged in a “vigorous debate” over the BBC’s political editor’s “lopsided smile”.
Even I was puzzled by the idea that someone is not attractive enough for the BBC; has it become a beauty contest, a fashion show? I was tempted to try an 8-hour drinking session to help me understand the two doctors’ positions, but I needed quick answers. It was time to close a gap in my knowledge; who is this unattractive Laura Kuenssberg?
In 2015, Kuenssberg, a Scottish journalist, became the political editor of BBC News, the first woman to hold the position. A glance at her biography showed an ordinary-looking woman; nothing to get excited about but no reason for a bar brawl. However, further reading revealed that it was not only her smile that was lopsided; a viewer (that’s right, just one) had complained that she was biased against the Labour Party in general and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in particular.
The BBC took this complaint very seriously and, in 2017, ruled that Kuenssberg had broken impartiality and accuracy guidelines in an interview with Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC News at Six. She had stated that Corbyn’s message (on police use of firearms in terrorist incidents) “couldn’t be more different” from that of the prime minister Theresa May, who was about to publish anti-terrorism proposals.
At this point, I was starting to find Kuenssberg more and more attractive; as a broadcaster she was clearly on our wavelength. But today’s Britain is not ready for such views. During the 2017 general election, the level of online abuse, mainly from supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, was such that Ms. Kuenssberg had to be provided with a bodyguard.
I had the material for my blog, but try as I might, I couldn’t keep Jeremy Corbyn out. I hope that Britain and the Labour party will have better luck.