Saturday, May 23, 2020

Played ?

You can't help thinking BBC News has been a little 'managed' by its sources overnight. The Mirror/Guardian 'exclusive' on Dominic Cummings' travels with his family dropped at 8pm. The hacks had put their story to No 10 six weeks ago, and got no response. ITV News had an online package by 9.15pm and led News at Ten. Sky News led at 10pm. Radio 4's World Tonight led with the story. 

The BBC's 10pm bulletin found no room for the story in its headlines (1 minutes 15 seconds long), and confined itself to a one-minute live piece with political correspondent Leila Nathoo, nine and a half minutes into the broadcast.  Editor Paul Royall re-tweeted the two-way as his most important story at 1045. 

In theory, Laura Kuenssburg is 'off' on Fridays. Her first tweet on the subject came at 8.27pm, confirming that the Cummings had travelled to Durham, but stayed 'in a separate building', and her source said "it is not true that he was spoken to by police". Was she part of an editorial discussion that this was not a lead ? 

This morning, Laura had been given additional information - the first correspondent to reveal: 
-small number of people in No 10 knew that Cummings had gone to Durham, not stayed in London -seems it was his sister who had offered to help with childcare when he and his wife fell ill
-family stayed in separate house + had no contact in the end.  This was shared with Today programme listeners first at 0810am, and spookily cut most of the legs off a subsequent interview with the SNP's Ian Blackford. Mishal Husain morphed into a very uncomfortable devil's advocate, asking what Mr Blackford would have done if he and his wife had coronavirus and a small child to look after... 

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