BBC News Presenter Apologizes To Nigel Farage On Air For “Inflammatory Language” Accusation

BBC News boss Deborah Turness’ proclamation late last week that “we will make mistakes” during the election period appears to already be coming true, with a leading news presenter being forced to apologize to Nigel Farage this afternoon.

Geeta Guru-Murthy said the Honorary President of British political party Reform UK had used “customary inflammatory language” this morning during a report on a Reform UK press conference.

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Several hours later, she appeared on BBC News to apologize, stating: “Earlier today we heard live from Nigel Farage speaking at that election event and when we came away from his live speech I used language to describe it which didn’t meet the BBC’s editorial standards on impartiality. I’d like to apologize to Mr Farage and viewers for this.”

Farage is not running for anti-immigration party Reform UK but he is by far and away its best known member. A key voice in the victorious Brexit campaign and a former I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestant, he came under fire over the weekend for saying a growing number of Muslims do not share British values.

The apology taking place a few days into the general election campaign is reflective of just how difficult the campaign is going to be to cover for the broadcasters.

In a post titled How we are covering the UK General Election late last week, Turness wrote: “During a six-week campaign, with the hundreds of hours of programmes we will broadcast, and the thousands of words we will publish, it’s inevitable we will make mistakes. And when we do we will hold our hands up to them, we will correct them, and we will transparently explain.”

As Guru-Murthy was apologizing, the BBC was unveiling its election night lineup, which will be led by Laura Kuenssberg and Clive Myrie. Along with ITV, it is one of two broadcasters that will host election debates between incumbent Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition leader Keir Starmer, potentially with smaller parties such as Reform UK. The election will take place on July 4.

Earlier this month, Guru-Murthy withdrew her legal action against the BBC over a botched hiring process to the rebooted BBC News channel. Four other women have proceeded with their action, although complaints over gender pay discrimination were thrown out by a judge.

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