The boss of the BBC received a savage grilling from a room full of Tory MPs on the organisation’s refusal to brand Hamas as “terrorists” in their coverage of the war.
HuffPost UK revealed last week that director general Tim Davie would make the rare appearance in front of the 1922 committee, a parliamentary group made up of only Tory MPs.
Opening the meeting, Davie said he needed the “help and support” of the MPs to make sure BBC stays “strong”, adding that it “hurts” when people say the corporation is “not patriotic”.
But his bid for support was not well-received and Davie was attacked on the organisation’s refusal to brand Hamas as “terrorists”.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick told Davie he has “never been so disappointed” in the BBC and that the Jewish community were turning away from the organisation as a result of their coverage.
Jenrick went onto demand that their editorial policy around use of the word “terrorist” changed - a suggestion rejected by Davie.
However, the director general said he conducts regular reviews into all topics and how they are covered across the BBC, adding that migration is the next topic he will review.
Speaking to journalists outside the committee room, Davie’s spokesperson said that using this word would “make the journalism [they] do very difficult” as they need to be able to acceport from every country.
“Becoming a branch of the government line would be damaging,” he added.
After the committee, an angry Tory MP told HuffPost UK that the whole thing was “mind-boggling” and that he found Davie to be “completely tone-deaf”.
“No progress was made in that meeting whatsoever,” said the MP.
“It was just utterly mind-boggling. He is completely tone-deaf and the session just wound everyone up even more.”
“He just sat there on the defensive rather than accepting any of our criticism. It was a total joke.“
The same MP was in different spirits before the meeting, and was heard jubilantly saying he was “so excited to finally tell the man what he thinks” and that the prospect was “better than Christmas”.
Another Tory MP said: “I just don’t understand what his purpose is. He is a waste of space and so is the BBC at this point”.
“That was the biggest load of bullshit,” exclaimed another as they exited the room.
The BBC have maintained that they were invited to sit on the committee in July this year, and that it was not in response to their coverage of the Israel-Hamas war.
Speaking outside the committee room, Davie’s spokesperson reiterated: “It’s very normal for us to meet with various groups and committees. It’s not strange or out of the ordinary”.