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Chris Packham in fresh BBC bias drama

Chris Packham in fresh BBC bias drama
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for the Natural History Museum
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BBC star Chris Packham has been no stranger to controversy in recent years. The Springwatch presenter has faced repeated accusations of bias, having retweeted Angela Rayner’s tirade against ‘sickening’ Tories, described those involved in hunting and shooting as ‘the nasty brigade’ and actively campaigned against the killing of ‘pest’ birds in the UK.

But now the broadcaster appears to have turned his guns on the wrong target after starring in an advert singing the praises of a left-wing news website, Double Down News. Packham opens the promotional clip with an apparent dig at his own employers the BBC by claiming:

It’s becoming, sadly, increasingly difficult to find integrity, honesty and truth in news. But the one place you can find it is on Double Down News.

Mr S wonders what Packham’s broadcasting colleagues make of such a jibe and its implicit assumption that their work is lacking 'integrity, honesty and truth'. The environmentalist’s words are featured alongside three of the most outspoken socialist MPs in Parliament – Zarah Sultana, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell – as well as other left-leaning commentators like Guardian columnist George Monbiot and Peter Jukes, founder of Byline Times.

Double Down describes itself as ‘the Future of Journalism’ working to ‘Serve the People not the Power.’ Its website claims ‘unless we create our own progressive media we have no chance’ with a quick look at Double Down’s Twitter feed gives some inclination as to such a future looks like. 

Of the current situation in the Middle East it claims that Palestine has been 'occupied for 50 plus years, imprisoned in world's largest open prison, attacked periodically & wilfully slaughtered' while frequent criticisms of individual journalists feature too such as one tweet asking 'Laura Kuenssberg: What is the BBC journalist’s relationship with the truth?'

Asked for comment a BBC spokesperson told Mr S: 'Impartiality is the cornerstone of the BBC. We have introduced a series of measures to reaffirm this, including new training for all staff, and ensuring everyone knows what’s expected of them.'

Given the new BBC Director-General Tim Davie claimed last year that he is prepared to sack presenters who make major breaches of impartiality guidelines on social media, Steerpike wonders what, if any, repercussions Packham will face for endorsing such a website.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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