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“Talking garbage”: Mail deputy editor responds to Robert Peston’s views on right-wing press

Following the BBC’s economics editor lashing out at BuzzFeed, PR, advertorial, and right-wing papers last week, the Mail’s deputy editor responded that he was “talking garbage”.

Robert Peston. Photo: Getty
Robert Peston has riled the Mail's deputy editor with his comments about rightwing papers dominating the news agenda. Photo: Getty

The BBC's fiery economics editor Robert Peston ruffled the media's feathers last week in his British Journalism Review Charles Wheeler lecture by decrying the media's use of advertorial, "massively popular" stories on sites like BuzzFeed, and the influence of PRs on journalism.

But his comments against rightwing newspapers dominating the media in a Q+A session following the speech have caused the deputy editor of the Daily Mail, Tony Gallagher, to take a stance against Peston on Twitter.

Peston lamented that his employer, BBC News, is "completely obsessed" by a news agenda set by newspapers, citing rightwing papers the Mail and the Telegraph as examples of publications to which the BBC is "pandering". He said:

It’s a challenge, the issue of the herd and pandering [to it]. Technology makes it much, much easier … to know what stories matter to people... My entire career has been spent arguing with bosses that something they didn’t know about, or care about, mattered. Being a journalist, a lot of it is about battles... There is slightly too much of a safety-first [attitude]. If we think the Mail and Telegraph will lead with this, we should. It’s part of the culture.

The BBC journalist said he feels it's "most frustrating" the way BBC News is "completely obsessed by the agenda set by newspapers".

Gallagher, who was previously editor of the Daily Telegraph, responded on Twitter:

Time to improve your own public relations, boys.

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