Sunny evening, 6 June 2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Journalistic accountability

As we (in the UK) know by now, there have been major changes in personnel at the BBC. This was brought about because the Newsnight programme did not do proper journalistic checks before broadcasting a programme that appears to have been defamatory.

Well, of course when you're a journalist, you have to check and countercheck. However, why didn't that numbskull Philip Schofield, of ITV1 fame, not do his checks on the card with names that he handed David Cameron the other day? More to the point, what is he still doing on that featherweight This morning programme? Names were (allegedly) legible on the card for a second, as it was passed by Schofield to the prime minister. These names were culled off the Internet, where rumours were flying aplenty about the name of the former Tory aide who is alleged to have abused boys at (or from) the Bryn Estyn home at Wrexham, North Wales. Off the Internet, the greatest rumour box on earth? If heads are rolling at the BBC, then we should also see (metaphorically speaking) the heads of Philip Schofield (and his team at This morning) impaled on the gates of ITV HQ.


  1. Phillip Schofield is not a journalist. He is a TV presenter, his role is to present what the editorial and direction teams of the programme give him scripts for. He is an employee (whether by employment contract or freelance contract) as much as you may be for your employer. We could reasonably say that he should perhaps have said "I'm not comfortable with this" but he has a right to assume that the stuff he is given to present on has been properly checked and given to him as fact.

    1. Ah but Philip Schofield said:

      "it took me about 3 minutes last night to continually find a list of the same names. I have those names there – those are the names on a piece of paper, you know the names on that piece of paper. Will you be speaking to those people?"

      Which implies he was performing the investigation. Granted it might have been scripted, but if you're claiming to be an investigative journalist then you need to take responsibility for your actions.

      ITV do need to take responsibility for their actions and heads should roll for this as they broadcast the names of individuals.