Now that is over, can we get back to the actual issue? And, meanwhile, is it a coincidence that the BBC had themselves and Lineker in their headlines instead of the Immigration Bill?
Many people were pleased that Lineker had used his huge following to shed light on such an important moment, while others said it was putting the spotlight on the BBC rather the actual problem with the immigration bill..
Impartiality has always been a touchy subject, one which the BBC prides itself on, however there have been many times that they have breached their own due impartiality guidelines. Impartiality can make people do crazy things, many Journalists and employees of large organisations refrain from voting just to maintain their idea of it. Social media is not public or private which is causing problems for leaders of organisations, can they control what people say? The answer is simply no; however, they do their best job at monitoring it and cracking down on people who write about controversial subjects.
On the 7th of March Lineker shared his views on the Immigration bill via a tweet, which caused uproar for the BBC and himself. The controversial tweet read “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by German in the 30’s, and I’m out of order?”. Lineker compared the language around Rishi Shunak’s small boats policy to Germany under the control of Nazi’s in the 1930’s. It was agreed by the BBC that he would step back until they had agreed a clear position of his use of social media.
The BBC were left in a sticky situation over the sport packed weekend, with Tim Davie, the BBC’s director general, left drowning in a pool of backlash he created himself after having Lineker banned. Steve Wilson, one of the Match of the day commentators then announced that he would be stepping back from their duties to show solidarity with Lineker. Following this, other presenters also stepped back meaning sport programmes were filled with pre-recorded podcasts and footage. Match of the day had a running time of twenty minutes instead of its usual sixty to one hundred and twenty minutes. Football focus was also dropped when presenter Alex Scott stepped back.
Although I am glad Lineker wants to speak up for those who cannot, I think that the point he was trying to get across was completely ruined by the news organisations running stories on him and the BBC instead of the shocking new Immigration bill. No one can expect people to say the right thing all the time, everyone’s human and humans make mistakes. What I do not think was a mistake was how all the light was taken from such a life changing bill for so many people, is that not a beautiful coincidence for Rishi Shunak and the government?
The BBC have stated that they know there are “grey areas” in their guidelines, which they will be doing an immediate review on. No matter how fine lined and clear they manage to make their guidelines, the impartiality saga will continue, at the end of the day, people will say whatever they want to.