In Depth

Instant Opinion: BBC has ‘let down people who believe in it’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 3 December


The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Peter Oborne in The Guardian

on broadcasting impartiality

In its election coverage, the BBC has let down the people who believe in it

“More bigoted statements emerge from Johnson’s press clippings – such as his claim in 1995 that the children of single mothers were ‘ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate’. Yet he continues to brush off complaints, as he did, again on The Andrew Marr Show, with his offensive comparison between Muslim women and bank robbers. No previous prime minister or party leader would have survived. But Johnson doesn’t merely survive. He flourishes. How? Partly it’s because he combines membership of the traditional British establishment with celebrity status among the contemporary media elite: Eton, Oxford, the Bullingdon Club, the Conservative party, the Spectator, and flashier parts of the City. He knows what to say and who to say it to.”

2. Rosa Prince in The Telegraph

on a Trumpian headache for the PM

How can Boris Johnson survive a presidential visit that promises chaos?

“So far, the Prime Minister’s approach to this whirlwind has been to play ostrich and pray for minimal devastation. There are no press conferences planned, perhaps no one-on-one meeting, an occurrence thought unique in the long history of Anglo-American diplomacy. Mr Johnson is even rumoured to have requested the President avoid openly endorsing him, aware that if he is the ‘Marmite candidate’ at this election, then Mr Trump is whatever Marmite becomes when it is distilled over molten lava by monks for a hundred years. What fun to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation - and pity the poor flunky forced to deliver the message.”

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3. Jill Filipovic on CNN

on the maltreatment of women in Washington

Trump’s attack on Lisa Page reveals his misogyny

“[Former FBI lawyer] Lisa Page has had enough. The President of the United States has spent two years smearing her, turning her into an emblem of the supposed ‘Deep State’ that is out to get him and undermine his presidency. Trump and his band of sycophants, both in elected office and the right-wing media, have painted Page as a homewrecker and a traitor - the former for her private affair (the GOP critique of this, given the instances of infidelity and scandal in its own ranks, is rich, by the way) and the latter simply because she privately expressed distaste for the President. These hypocrites have turned a once-anonymous government lawyer into a symbol of everything they hate. The President and his allies ruined her life.”

4. Andrew Mitrovica in Al Jazeera

on Canada’s next top official

Chrystia Freeland: Trudeau’s heir apparent

“When Trudeau inevitably departs - voluntarily or involuntary - his successor will already have been anointed, if Canada's corporate media could cast the deciding vote. The gooey love affair between Chrystia Freeland and her many fawning suitors in the fourth estate has been on cringe-worthy display since the journalist turned politician. The former foreign minister has exploited that almost unconditional affection to heighten her profile nationally with a determined view to one day be called prime minister.”

5. Paul Krugman in The New York Times

on the regional differences in life and death

America’s red state death trip

“The past few decades have been marked by growing divergence among regions along several dimensions, all closely correlated. In particular, the political divide is also, increasingly, an economic divide. As The Times’s Tom Edsall put it in a recent article, ‘red and blue voters live in different economies’. What Edsall didn’t point out is that red and blue voters don’t just live differently, they also die differently.”


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