JOHN Humphreys has launched a savage attack on the BBC – accusing corporation bosses of behaving like “out-of-touch Kremlin commissars”.
The veteran Welsh broadcaster lifted the lid on “institutional liberal bias” at the Beeb just two days after retiring.
John Humphreys has accused the BBC of being ‘out of touch’[/caption]
Humphreys, 76, who spent 33 years on Radio 4’s flagship news show Today, said he’s now free of “the BBC Thought Police”, reports the Daily Mail.
In his memoir serialised by the paper, Humphreys claims the corporation’s rules have prevented journalists expressing opinions.
Humphreys faced demands to quit when he was embroiled in the Beeb’s 2017 gender pay gap row.
It emerged his deal of up to £650,000 was nearly two-and-a-half times that of female co-presenter Mishal Husain’s £250,000.
In January last year he famously agreed to take a pay cut along with five other high-earning men at the BBC.
That same month he was heard in an off-air recording joking about his high salary in a conversation about his colleague Carrie Gracie, who quit her role as BBC China editor in a dispute over unequal pay.
Humphreys said he argued with BBC bosses, insisting Gracie appear on the Today show as an interviewee and not a presenter.
I despaired. This wasn’t just poor news management. It made the Kremlin circa 1950 look sophisticated.
He said: “Today had to report it, just as it would any other big story.
“I said as much to my boss. There was the sound of some throat-clearing, and then: ‘Umm — no — It’s been decided that she’ll still be presenting.’
“I said, ‘Well, at least I’ll be able to grill her about her claims — should make a bloody good interview’.”
But Humphreys was told that option had “been ruled out”.
Humphreys said: “I despaired. This wasn’t just poor news management. It made the Kremlin circa 1950 look sophisticated.”
Final pictures of John Humphrys with former and current presenters on Radio 4’s Today show[/caption]
The Remainer said bosses also “badly failed” to read Britain’s mood on Europe and “couldn’t grasp why anyone voted toe leave the EU”.
Recalling the day after the 2016 referendum, he said: “Leave had won – and this was not what the BBC had expected. Nor what it wanted.
“No nods and smiles when the big bosses appeared. No attempt to pretend that this was anything other than a disaster.
“I’m not sure the BBC as a whole ever quite had a real grasp of what was going on in Europe, or of what people in this country thought about it.”
In his book, A Day Like Today, Humphreys also said the BBC was terrified of offending “fashionable pressure groups – usually from the liberal Left, the spiritual home of most bosses and staff”.
He writes: “So is there some grand conspiracy orchestrated by a group of sinister Lefties?
“I don’t believe that for a moment. That there is a form of institutional liberal bias, however, I have no doubt.”
John Humphrys and Jenny Murray at BBC Portland Place for first ‘Today’ programme to be broadcast on a Saturday, 3rd January 1987[/caption]
Remain-voting Humphreys said BBC bosses failed to read Britain’s mood on Europe[/caption]
Humphrey’s final today show aired on Thursday.
He announced his departure in early 2019, telling BBC Radio 4’s The World at One he should have left the show years ago but clung on for fear he would miss it.
His final interviewees were former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair.
Humphrys has interviewed UK politicians including every Prime Minister from Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May, excluding Boris Johnson.
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Speaking to former Today presenter Sarah Montague, John said: “As you know, when you do this programme it dominates your life, not just because you have to get up in the morning so many days a week, but all the time, you have to be obsessed – I think that is the right word – with what’s going on out there.
“You have to read everything and listen to everything and all the rest of it. There are so many things you think ‘oh I could have done this, I could have done that’ and I’m never going to do them if I stay on this programme.”
He has been Today’s longest-serving presenter.
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