Tower Hamlets resident and part-time council worker Shanene Thorpe has just given us all a lesson in how to tackle unfair and biased coverage in the media.
Last week Shanene was interviewed by the BBC’s Newsnight team as part of a story about the impact of government welfare reform. She took part in good faith. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the Newsnight reporter, Allegra Stratton who quite clearly had her own agenda from the outset. The consequence of that was a report that depicted Shanene as a benefits scrounger. The report was essentially an opportunity for Newsnight’s new political editor to grandstand her rather reactionary onions – and was as far removed from what the BBC should be doing to present a balanced view as is possible.
This kind of unfair reporting happens all the time. I know how unpleasant it feels like to be on the receiving end. Normally journalists like this just get away it.
But not this time!
In cooperation with Change.org Shanene organised an online petition demanding an apology which by Wednesday had gathered over 22,000 signatures! Because of the pressure Newsnight have issued the apology she asked for. Perhaps they might now also apologise to Councillor Rabina Khan, Cabinet member for Housing, who was interviewed – but whose views clearly didn’t quite chime with that of reporter, Allegra Stratton, because she was unceremoniously dropped from the report.
Well done Shanene! You have just struck a blow for victims of biased media coverage everywhere.