Telegraph's Allison Pearson Slammed After Criticising Sky News Reporter Beth Rigby's 'Upbraiding' Of Boris Johnson

"No idea why you feel the need to be so unpleasant to a fellow journalist doing her job."

A Daily Telegraph columnist has faced fierce criticism from fellow journalists after claiming Boris Johnson was “upbraided” by a Sky News reporter at his leadership campaign launch.

On Wednesday, Sky’s political editor, Beth Rigby, prompted jeers from Johnson’s supporters after she quizzed him about his decision to describe Muslim women as “letterboxes”.

Rigby asked: “You brandish your Brexit credentials, but many of your colleagues worry about your character.

“You brought shame on your party when you described veiled Muslim women as letterboxes and bank robbers.

“People who have worked closely with you do not think you’re fit to be prime minister.”

Mid-question, Johnson asked her to repeat herself after suggesting she was asking about his “parrot”.

Some commentators suggested Johnson was patronising female political reporters after he also described a question by the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, as a “great minestrone of observation”.

In the aftermath, Allison Pearson, a writer for the Telegraph, the daily newspaper in which Johnson writes a weekly column, highlighted Rigby’s diction as “very unclear”.

Rigby, who has faced questions about what she calls her “estuary accent” that she has cheerily dismissed, responded that her diction was “ok” and brushed off the suggestion she “upbraided” the ex-foreign secretary.

Fellow journalists, including former Financial Times colleague George Parker, came to Rigby’s defence.

Pearson also took aim at Kuenssberg ...

... for reporting that Rigby’s question caused “jeers” - it was a phrase used in most reports, including on HuffPost UK - and labelled her question “shamefully biased”.

Again, journalists took exception, particularly over the claim that ‘there will be trouble’.

Here’s how the BBC responded:

Pearson herself faced questions over her opinion piece on the Johnson launch.

It included the line: “When Boris enters a room, the molecules rearrange themselves to make room for the sheer force of his personality.”

The Telegraph’s presentation of Johnson’s speech on its front page was also markedly different from much of Fleet Street.

Johnson is paid £275,000 annually for his weekly column in the newspaper.


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