During an interview with Harriet Harman on today’s edition of BBC2’s Daily Politics, presenter Andrew Neil took an unprompted swipe at the New Statesman, asking the Labour deputy leader: “What’s the logic of saying that the online site of the New Statesman should come within this regulation, a site which has no great influence in Westminster, but that Guido Fawkes, probably the most influential site in Westminster, should not?”
Neil previously interviewed Guido on the programme (29 November) and allowed him to falsely claim that his site attracted more traffic than the New Statesman. Last week, the NS site had 229,472 visitors and 594,710 page views, compared to Guido’s 125,395 visitors and 586,147 page views.
But then Neil is hardly a disinterested party. He is currently chairman (formerly chief executive) of Press Holdings, the company that owns the Spectator magazine, so perhaps it’s not surprising that his usually forensic mind let him down on this occasion. Based on the most recently published figures, the Spectator website, which includes Guido Fawkes blogger Harry Cole among its contributors, attracted just 380,000 unique users a month in 2011.
If Neil wants to use his BBC platform to do down the NS, he should at least declare his interest in doing so.