Left-wing broadcaster Channel 4 has taken a firing shot Liz Truss’s Government after top journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy defended the use of the word ‘b******s’ when describing Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claims that the mini-Budget fiasco was not primarily responsible for sparking market meltdown.
The Business Secretary had yesterday insisted that the ongoing economic turmoil was ‘much more to do’ with the Bank of England’s failure to raise interest rates in line with the US rather than Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s actions.
Speaking to Channel 4 News last night, Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett described Mr Rees-Mogg’s claims as ‘pretty much b******s’, adding: ‘I think that for the most part it really was the budget and the way it was delivered…which sparked the beginning of the crisis’.
Mr Guru-Murthy initially apologised for the use of the bad language, before he appeared to backtrack by insisting the word was defensible under Ofcom rules.
He told viewers the media regulator ‘describes it [b******s] as medium language’, adding that it is ‘potentially unacceptable, less problematic when used to mean ”nonsense”’.
Channel 4, which was launched in 1982 by Margaret Thatcher to provide a not-for-profit fourth television service for Britain alongside BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, has come under repeated attacks from Conservatives who complain that some of its output is biased against the Tories.
One MP said despite being home to many much-loved shows, it ‘sealed its own fate’ with years of ‘one-sided’ Left-leaning news shows.
It has been funded by advertising and sponsorship deals since the outset, with revenues of around £1billion, boosted recently by a surge in traffic to its All 4 streaming platform where the biggest watched shows are The Great British Bake Off, Gogglebox, SAS: Who Dares Wins as well as its archive of shows including Father Ted, The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinners and Peep Show.
Speaking to Channel 4 News last night, Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett (left) described Mr Rees-Mogg’s claims as ‘pretty much b******s’. Krishnan Guru-Murthy (right) initially apologised for the use of the bad language, before he appeared to backtrack by insisting the word was defensible under Ofcom rules
Mr Guru-Murthy told viewers the media regulator ‘describes it [b******s] as medium language’, adding that it is ‘potentially unacceptable, less problematic when used to mean ”nonsense”’
The Business Secretary had accused Today programme presenter Mishal Husain of failing to meet the BBC’s impartiality standards after she suggested the mini-budget had unleashed the market turmoil (pictured on ITV’s Peston)
Earlier, the senior Conservative accused Today programme presenter Mishal Husain of failing to meet the BBC’s impartiality standards after she suggested the mini-budget had unleashed the market turmoil.
Mr Rees-Mogg sought to claim that the Bank of England’s decisions on interest rates had caused the turbulence, rather than Mr Kwarteng’s plans to borrow more to fund tax cuts.
Ms Husain said there is a ‘very serious economic and investor confidence picture that has been sparked by the mini-budget’ as she questioned the minister on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Rees-Mogg told her: ‘You suggest something is causal, which is a speculation.
‘What has caused the effect in pension funds, because of some quite high-risk but low-probability investment strategies, is not necessarily the mini-budget – it could just as easily be the fact that, the day before, the Bank of England did not raise interest rates as much as the Federal Reserve did.
‘And I think jumping to conclusions about causality is not meeting the BBC’s requirement for impartiality, it is a commentary rather than a factual question.’
He added: ‘I’m saying it’s primarily caused by interest rate differentials rather than by the fiscal announcement.’
Financial experts have roundly rejected the Business Secretary’s analysis that interest rates were to blame for the market turmoil.
Deutsche Bank’s chief UK economist Sanjay Raja told the Commons Treasury Committee the mini-budget on September 23 was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’.
Mr Raja argued there is ‘absolutely a global component’ to the chaos but was adamant there is an ‘idiosyncratic UK-specific component’ as well.
He said the ‘trade shock’ because of Brexit is a factor, and added: ‘You throw on the September 23 event, you’ve got a sidelined financial watchdog, you’ve got lack of a medium-term fiscal plan, one of the largest unfunded tax cuts we’ve seen since the early 1970s, it was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back.’
Resolution Foundation chief executive Torsten Bell was clear the huge package of cuts should not have happened during the current febrile financial environment.
‘If you spend the summer telling people you are intending to abandon fiscal orthodoxy, if you then announce a package that dumps fiscal orthodoxy, then if you say on Sunday you are going to keep doing it, then I don’t think any of this should be a surprise to any of us that this is where you end up,’ he said.
Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, said: ‘The origin of these problems seems to have been caused mainly by the mini-budget, because of market reaction to that mini-budget, because of uncertainty about the Government’s plans.’
Journalist Alan White shared the clip on Twitter, where it has now raked up some 2.5 million views and amassed more than 63,600 likes.
‘Incredible scenes on channel 4. Worth staying for the last five seconds of this,’ he wrote in the caption.
Commenters rushed to express their views on Gillian’s overview and laugh at the interaction.
‘A great moment,’ one user wrote. ‘Krishnan displays some brilliant comic timing. Nice to have something to laugh about for a change…’
Journalist Alan White shared the clip on Twitter, where it has now raked up some 2.5 million views and amassed more than 63,600 likes – with many other users admitting they found the moment hilarious
‘That last five seconds had me in stitches,’ another added.
A third penned: ‘Wow. Absolute gold. Especially for those depending on subtitles, it seems.’