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:
I'd love to see evidence for Robert Peston's assertion the BBC follows a Mail/Telegraph agenda. It strikes me he is talking garbage
— Tony Gallagher (@gallaghereditor) June 7, 2014
Time to improve your own public relations, boys.