Journalists and news anchors are held to an ethical standard of remaining neutral and non-partisan in reporting breaking news, or news stories in general. However, the public is aware that not all journalists or news anchors abide by this rule of impartiality on-the-air. For example, CNN published an article detailing a recent journalistic scandal in the United Kingdom at BBC News.
BBC News is the latest news network to be embroiled in a media bias scandal. This past July, a BBC News anchor named Naga Munchetty broke the network’s editorial rules by alleging that President Donald Trump has a racist motive in one of his tweets. The tweet in question was when the president told several female minority lawmakers to “go back” to the “places from which they came.”
Munchetty, in a broadcast about the president’s tweet, said, “Every time I have been told, as a woman of color, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism. Now I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.” She then added people in the United Kingdom would be “absolutely furious…that a man in that position feels it’s okay to skirt the lines with using language like that.”
BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards, David Jordan, said that it is “probably unwise” for BBC employees to call people liars or racists. The Executive Complaints Unit at BBC issued a mixed decision, saying that it was “entirely legitimate” for the news anchor to discuss her own experience on-air, but was at fault for inferring possible motivations of Trump’s words.
In other words, BBC gave Munchetty a pass on relating her own experiences with racism on-air, but she was unprofessional when she decided to inject her own opinion on whether the president was racist.
Despite the importance of journalists and news anchors to remain neutral, CNN noted that other BBC journalists, BBC’s competitors, and some politicians criticized BBC for reprimanding Munchetty for expressing her opinion on-air. It is hypocritical of journalists and news anchors to claim impartiality, but then to push for partiality and bias when it aligns with their political beliefs.