Public Broadcaster, Private Celebrity

Source: Quillette
by John Lloyd

“[A] BBC presenter really should not use social media to make a political statement, especially an incendiary one invoking Nazi Germany, even if it is not directly related to his own output. As for the free speech, many hundreds of thousands of British citizens are forbidden from expressing their political beliefs in public. Civil servants are sworn to develop the political programme of the government of the day, whatever they think of it. The prohibition on commentary becomes implicitly stronger the more senior an official is — a permanent secretary of a ministry who sent a tweet censuring government legislation in the terms Lineker used would be unemployable for the rest of his life. So, yes, Lineker breached the BBC’s guidelines on political impartiality, no matter how one reads them.” (03/15/23)