BBC's Laura Kuenssberg criticised for reporting that a Tory aide was 'punched'

BBC's Laura Kuenssberg criticised for reporting that a Tory aide was 'punched'

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg and several other high profile broadcast journalist have been heavily criticised for their reporting of an incident outside of Leeds General Infirmary on Monday evening.

After Boris Johnson refused to look at an image of Jack Williment-Barr, a child with suspected pneumonia, lying on a pile of coats due to the lack of beds in said hospital, health secretary Matt Hancock made an unplanned visit to the facility.

Upon exiting the building Hancock was confronted by a small group of irate Labour activists who yelled at the Tory and his aides before he was whisked off in a car.

In the aftermath, one man continued to shout at one of Hancock's aides who had remained behind and began gesticulating and pointing at Hancock's car which was now in the distance.

While, his back was turned the Tory aide, without looking, accidentally walked into the hand of the protestor. Neither man appeared to sustain any injuries from the very brief encounter, nor was there any further aggression between the two.

However, initial reports from the incident claimed that the Tory aide had been 'punched' by the activist and was later 'arrested'. Those reporting the chain of events including Kuennsberg, plus ITV's Robert Peston and Paul Brand.

When footage of what had transpired came to light, the likes of Kuenssberg and Peston did reiterate their stories, clarifying that the protestor didn't punch Hancock's aide and apologised for their earlier tweets.

Kuenssberg then later added that she had received the information from two different sources but didn't disclose who they were.

This entire situation and the reporting on the story from the journalist has created widespread anger, leading to the hashtag #punchgate trending on Twitter.

Many , including other journalists and politicians, have lashed out at Kuennsberg, in particular, for her tweets, accusing the BBC of concocting a 'fake news story' in order to shame the Labour activists.

Some people are now using the aforementioned hashtag to remind others of what the original story was about, i.e. Boris Johnson refusing to look at a picture of a sick child lying on the floor of a hospital because there were no beds available.

Kuenssberg hasn't tweeted about the story since and it should be pointed out that due to her prominent position in the media, she is often on the receiving end of more criticism than most, despite simply reporting on the stories and information that she receives.

Earlier this year she changed her Twitter bio to read:

I know it's fashionable, but even in 2019 there is nothing big or clever about shooting the messenger - tweets or retweets here aren't necessarily my view.

HT The National

More: Jeremy Corbyn praised for defending BBC's Laura Kuenssberg after she was booed​

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