Nick Robinson versus the world

29 May 2013

Nick Robinson came under attack last week after quoting a government source’s description of the Woolwich bombers’ appearance. Writing in tomorrow’s Spectator, Robinson recalls the storm:

‘A glance at Twitter revealed, however, that those words — despite being a quote — had outraged some who thought they revealed a prejudice that all Muslims look the same. One witty tweet asked if the man playing at Wembley in Bayern Munich’s no. 7 shirt looked Muslim. Franck Ribéry is French, he’s white and he’s Muslim.’

You might have thought that there were bigger fish to fry last week; but the easily-offended, on both sides of the aisle, busied themselves by taking offence:

‘The next day a new round of condemnation began. Why had I bowed to pressure? Why had I responded to Muslim oversensitivity?’

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So, was the BBC political editor leant on? Apparently not:

‘As it happens, I had not discussed the idea of apologising with my bosses, let alone been ordered by them to do so.’

Robinson has stern words for those who saw the apology ‘as another example of the modern curse of political correctness.’ On the contrary, he saw it as ‘something very old fashioned and very British — courtesy.’

Look out for Nick’s notebook in tomorrow’s edition of the Spectator, which also contains the latest Steerpike column. Subscribers will not have to look far for either, but non-subscribers can join us here.

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Show comments
  • NedMissingTeeth

    “Memo to the BBC: The killers were shouting “Allahu akbar” as they struck. Yet when complaints rained down on the BBC about Mr. Robinson’s word choice, he felt obliged to atone. One can only wonder at people who can be so exquisitely sensitive in protecting Islam’s reputation yet so utterly desensitized to a hideous murder explicitly committed in the name of Islam” – Wall Street Journal.

    • Shazza

      If the BBC, the Guardian, the politicians admit that the civilised West has a problem with islam, they will have to do something about it. Better to bury your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away.

  • chris_xxxx

    “So, was the BBC political editor leant on? Apparently not.”

    And I believe in the tooth fairy.

    • JunkkMale

      The time has long passed when what the BBC (in the form of its staff) utters must be true simply because they are saying it.

      But in their world belief is all that’s needed, albeit rather unidirectional depending on the topic. Certainly proof is never going to be available, especially of a negative, but there is always the power of speculation. And the BBC can’t really complain if this takes place, as they do it an awful lot themselves.

      I’d err more on Anton’s interpretation above.

      Thanks to Pollard and Rose we have had tantalising glimpses of the market rate corridors of power and their internecine antics, so media veteran but social media ingenue Nick probably ‘gathered’ well enough what was required as the media equivalent of a single-round chambered Webley was whispered, no redactions needed, in those same corridors, maybe pondering how a younger, blonder, more hirsuite and equal opportunity box tickingly time it may soon be to get that gel from SKY over with her CV for a chat.

  • allymax bruce

    It’s always amusing, to watch the ‘British’ Establishment lemmings try to understand ‘their lot’ in the ‘Charade’.
    There is no people more detached from reality, than those, like Nick, that are Establishment lemmings. They sell their soul in this world, to be tortured in the next.

  • Rainsboro

    It’s almost admirable the way in which the bien pensant left has changed the narrative. The BBC and Guardian line has evolved very quickly, we passed the point where the EDL are just as bad as Jihadis over the weekend. The Nick Robinson retraction started the ball rolling, today’s Guardian had the inevitable Seamus Milne blaming the warmongering west and a John Denham piece on combating extremism was illustrated with a photo of people who definitely weren’t of Muslim appearance.
    The only good thing to come out of all this is that an increasing number of people I meet and talk to are no longer falling for the bullshit and are starting to realise that we are facing a real threat from Fascism, and the fascists are of Muslim appearance,

  • neil

    “muslim appearance”? what a donut

    • bengeo

      50/50 chance of getting it wrong.

      Christians account for 53% of the African population compared to the 46 % represented by Muslims and the 8% represented by traditional African religions.

    • Sue Ward

      As I said at the time, if you shout “Allahu Akbar” you would appear to be Muslim. Ipso facto, you are of Muslim appearance. Not that hard was it?

  • Curnonsky

    Fear is a kind of courtesy.

  • Anton Dantes

    They didn’t need to lean on him, he’s had it drummed into his head from day one – if a Muslim is offended an immediate apology is required (BBC rules 101)

  • sarahsmith232

    i don’t believe it, he was leant on alright. by the same BBC PC extremist loons that took ‘This Week’ off the air ’cause Andrew Neil introduced Dianne Abbot and Michael Portillo as the custard cream and chocolate digestive of late night telly.

  • Tron

    Many on Twitter were more upset by the phrase “muslim appearance” than the sight of a dead man in a London street with a blood soaked muslim standing over him.

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