News reel Bloopers: Number 10 Press Officer tells off journalist - while camera was still running

Cameron's media chief rebukes BBC reporter over Leveson coverage
Downing Street tensions with BBC revealed after leaked video shows argument between Craig Oliver and Norman Smith





Tensions between the BBC and Downing Street over its coverage of the Leveson inquiry have been revealed after a video of a five-minute dressing down of a senior BBC correspondent by David Cameron's director of communications was leaked.

Craig Oliver told Norman Smith, the BBC's chief political correspondent, he was "genuinely shocked" by the bias in his coverage, adding he thought the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, would be "rightly deeply upset".

Oliver said: "I have rarely seen such partial reporting of the debate."

He also revealed that he had complained to senior BBC executives over Smith's earlier coverage that day, and had been given undertaking that it would be less partial.

The BBC camera was left running during the discussion between the two men in Downing Street last Friday and has been leaked to Guido Fawkes' website.

The leak will worsen relations between the BBC and Oliver since such conversations are normally kept private. The video was initially removed from YouTube but then re-posted by Guido Fawkes.

Smith holds his ground and politely refuses to acknowledge there has been any bias in his coverage of Friday's cross-examination of Jonathan Stephens, the permanent secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Normally such arguments, quite frequent between spin doctors and journalists, happen on the phone, and it is rare to see daily battles between government communications machines and reporters played out in public.







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