Today Programme – Stourton Out, Justin Webb In

I’m sure others will have their say on this. Ed Stourton has been dropped from the Today programme to be replaced by North America correspondent and frequent star of this blog Justin Webb.

Isn’t Today anti-American enough ? Obviously not.

Mark Damazer said: “Justin has been an outstanding voice on Radio 4 News and Current Affairs output. His work in the United States has been one of the joys of the network.”


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53 Responses to Today Programme – Stourton Out, Justin Webb In

  1. frankos says:
    Randall was pushed out of the BBC and I wonder why. They can’t live with the truth!


  2. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    Ed Stourton ‘devastated’ to be sacked from Radio 4’s Today programme


  3. George R says:

    The BBC:

    1.) subsidised multicultural propagandist,
    2.) waster of licence-payers’ money,
    3.) employer of dubious moral standards:

    “BBC presenter Ed Stourton sacked from ‘Today’ programme..but only finds out when a journalist asks him about it”–finds-journalist-asks-it.html?ITO=1490


  4. Miv Tucker says:

    Given that this is the Today programme, should we really even care?

    Thus, in thinking about Stourton and Webb, I’m reminded of Dr Johnson’s comment about deciding the point of precedence between a louse and a flea.

    And given that this is the BBC, not known anyway for its tact and delicacy in handling its employees’ careers, should we really care even less? Presenters of both the Today, and other, programmes, get shafted with equal brutality (and seeming regularity), length of service notwithstanding.

    I wonder how many remember the pleasingly avuncular former Today presenter Peter Hobday, who was summarily despatched one day?

    And what about Radio 2’s Jimmy Young? And the latest word is that the immensely popular Ken Bruce is about to be axed to make way for some Radio 5 Manchester refusenik.

    Stourton should really have expected his career to end in no other way: as the other old saying goes, when you sup with the Devil, take a long spoon.


  5. Gerald Brown says:

    One small glimmer of a positive about the news regarding Justin Webb is that his oleaginous smirk will be removed from our television screens. This web site should also be busier than ever with examples of BBC bias!


  6. DB says:

    In defence of Justin Webb (words I didn’t expect to be writing), purely in broadcasting terms I think he might be an improvement on Stourton, but I would much rather he replaced Naughtie. Webb co-anchored one of the Today programmes from America during the presidential election and I remember thinking how well he handled the task – the format worked far better with him as a presenter than the usual nonsense of flying Naugthie all the way over to the States to hobnob with Democrat politicians and famous Democrat-supporting journalists. The downside is that Webb comes with baggage; he isn’t anti-American, he’s anti-right wing Americans and, as we’ve all documented here in recent months, he has trouble keeping his prejudices under control. A team of Webb and Naughtie as co-hosts during the 2010 mid-terms (when Sarah Palin will be seeking re-election in Alaska) offers the prospect of Today descending to Now Show levels of contempt for the American right.

    (Wouldn’t it be nice if just one BBC journalist pointed out that Obama thrived in a state where the governor is a big fucking crook and political corruption is second nature, whereas the much-derided Governor Palin achieved her success by facing down the vested interests in her state?)


  7. Ron Todd says:


    Nice idea more chance of me getting on the next moon mission.


  8. Robert S. McNamara says:

    Nice idea more chance of me getting on the next moon mission.

    Never give up the dream! I – despite having no advanced degrees in physics, aeronautical engineering etc., no ‘stick time’ and no relevant expertise whatsoever – expect to get called up to the Astronaut Corps any day now.


  9. Cassandra says:

    Perhaps ex comrade Stourton will be so irked that he exposes the TOADY show and its grubby NuLabour ties!

    Comrade Webb gets his ‘reward’ for spreading his lies and poison about the USA and Stourton gets the ‘bums rush’ for reasons we can only guess at, perhaps he tried to cling to a remaining shred of humanity and journalistic integrity so the BBC high command punished him?

    The BBC is a dark grubby and nasty little empire of parasites with all the moral stature of a pack of hungry sewer rats!

    Come on Stourton, they betrayed you, return the compliment and shop these scum, you know you want to!


  10. disillusioned_german says:

    Now I know why Al Beeb love the Obamessiah: The parallels between the inner workings of Al Beeb and the democratic Chicago / Illinois machine are mind-boggling.


  11. John Bosworth says:

    All that “reporting” from the USA was worth it. It’s always about careers and promotion, isn’t it?

    But, remember Justin, stars rise – and fall.


  12. DB says:

    Stourton gets the ‘bums rush’ for reasons we can only guess at
    Cassandra | 13.12.08 – 4:51 pm

    Stourton slagged off the Queen Mum recently which, apart from the poor form of slating the dead mother of our head of state, reminded everyone of his own aristocratic background. Even John Prescott, interviewed by Stourton on Today, took the piss out of him – and let’s face it when Prescott gets the better of you, you’ve got problems. Stourton comes across as a typical guilt-ridden liberal cultural cringer who can’t shake his sense of white privilege. His real problem, though, is the fact that when people think of Today the first names that come to mind are Humphrys, Naughtie and now Davis (Montague would appear to be safe from the cut for box-ticking reasons.)


  13. Dick the Prick says:

    Fuck it – 1 less twat.


  14. Sewer Rat says:

    “The BBC is a dark grubby and nasty little empire of parasites with all the moral stature of a pack of hungry sewer rats!”

    Sir.How dare you? I shall sew.


  15. DB says:

    If the BBC is in the mood to scrap big names I’d like to suggest getting rid of the part-time post of World Affairs editor (aka the John Simpson book signing tour). That should save a few hundred grand.


  16. tony says:

    Just when they were going to change the title of the programme to “Climate change daily”.
    Good riddance.
    Maybe a good time to petition the Today programme to get Peter Hitchens to co-present it.


  17. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    Ed Stourton speaks of shock at BBC sacking
    The broadcaster, Ed Stourton, said he feels “winded” by the BBC’s decision to sack him from the Today programme.


  18. David Preiser (USA) says:

    DB | 13.12.08 – 3:40 pm |

    Justin Webb is no more anti-American than an anthropologist is anti-Neanderthal. They both think their subject matter is a fascinating species, in their own way, in their own time.

    I guess ol’ Justin will no longer have to dine with people who toast “Death to Al Qaeda!” He’ll be as ready to delouse and exfoliate as any jungle adventurer once they’re back home.

    But will he miss his youngest child’s US accent as it fades away under the influence of the British fee-paying school where you just know Justin will send his kids? Probably about as much as I will miss his blog.

    Mark Damazer’s high opinion of Justin Webb speaks volumes about BBC editorial policy, and bias.

    If anybody starts to miss ol’ Justin’s keen insight into the US scene, just check out the Washington Post, The Nation, and The Huffington Post. The content is at least usually more coherent, and you won’t have to listen to his voice. Some say it cuts glass.


  19. Chuffer says:

    Sir.How dare you? I shall sew.
    Sewer Rat | 13.12.08 – 6:31 pm |

    It’s a stitch-up.


  20. Dick the Prick says:

    Sir.How dare you? I shall sew.
    Sewer Rat | 13.12.08 – 6:31 pm |

    It’s a stitch-up.

    You can’t pin it on me. Thr case is threadbare.


  21. boy named sue says:

    Sewer Rat | 13.12.08 – 6:31 pm |

    She sued my old blue jeans


  22. joe bonanno says:

    beat me to it with that quote.

    can we, the taxpayer, decide what oureslves what the joys of the network are.


  23. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Will we ever hear the likes of Michael Gove’s black eulogy to The Prime Monster from Justin Webb?

    “The Prime Minister may believe, in his more modest moments, that he is Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the truth is that he is closer to a political Max Mosley: he thinks he is king of the world and he has clearly got money to burn, but all people remember is that he got a terrific spanking in German.” (Hat tip Ian Dale)

    That is worth paying for, and it’s free. Instead we pay to listen to charlatan Webb and his leftie sneering. God I wish this government would go and the BBC with it.


  24. Martin says:

    Ron Todd: You never know Ron. After all who’d have thought the BBC would employ a man with a degree in English as their ‘Environment Analyst’?


  25. The Beebinator says:

    Q the music, Kool and the gang – celebrate good times

    another Beeboid bites the dust…absolutely fantastic news

    dont let the door hit your arse on the way out teddy


  26. The Beebinator says:

    suppose ted will get a job writing left wing crap for the Guardian now, or maybe become a spin doctor for zanulab


  27. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    I expect that Stourton will now do a Rod Liddle and come over all Libertarian now that he’s free from the straightjacket of BBC groupthink.

    Pity that these weasels cant speak out when they are taking the BBC shilling. Tossers!


  28. The Beebinator says:

    im sure them threatening letters Al Beebs telly tax collectors send out fall foul of s4 public order act, abuse/threatening words


  29. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    Utterly beyond comprehension.

    Webb was terrible on Breakfast TV and appalling as a reporter from North America. I turn off immeidately rather than listen to him.

    This has the smell of Common Purpose all over it. Presumably Ed didn’t go on the courses…….?


  30. Edwin Greenwood says:

    I shall miss Posh Ed. His relaxed patrician tones disguise a polite persistence in interviews, often more effective than Naughtie’s toadying and the Great Humphrys’ increasing tendency to play up to his rottweiler reputation. As to Davis, the man is like a Scottie dog on speed, bouncing off the walls yapping “Look at me! Look at me!”.

    Oh, I nearly forgot la Montague. A pleasant enough woman, but do you really notice she’s there? The “totally unacceptable” conclusion, broached by some naughty on-line commenters, that she might be there for box-ticking reasons, does have a certain plausibility.

    I look forward with morbid fascination to the first episode of the Today programme co-presented by Davis and Webb.


  31. George R says:


    “BBC has treated me worse than Jonathan Ross, says ‘Posh Ed’ after ‘Today’ sacking”


  32. Ralph says:

    Ed Stourton was the most impartial person on Today, and they are replacing him with someone who has a history of producing biased rubbish for left wing politicans during an election.

    Anything happening in the spring?


  33. Laban says:

    “I shall miss posh Ed”

    Be fair. Sarah’s posh too.


  34. Grimer says:

    I stopped listening to the Toady programme a long time ago. I feel so much better. No more ‘waking to stress’ and shouting at the radio.

    Seriously, stop listening/watching and the BBC will be gone in no time.


  35. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Oh dear Bush’s visit has been spoiled:

    BBC: “Shoes thrown at Bush on Iraq trip President Bush’s farewell visit to Iraq is marred by an incident in which two shoes are thrown at him during a news conference”

    These worthless BBC shite pulled the same tired journalist cliche on the warm visit between Bush and Sarkozy That time it was reported as “marred”, by a gun discharged by a security agent. Oh what a pity, its been spoiled.

    Connect the dots. Whenever the great Satan appears, whatever the event, the BBC is on hand to report its been “spoiled” by some trivial event. Do they think we can’t see through this deceitful narrative?

    As I posted before, I wait in vain for a speech by “The Prime Monster” (think Ian Paisley accent)which is spoiled by a BBC journalist passing wind during the climax of the keynote speech. “Oh dear. Gordons speech was spoiled today when….”.


  36. sawtooth says:

    I doubt if the BBC would mind about Stourton “slagging off the Queen Mum”, as DB suggests above. Anyone who recalls the BBC’s coverage on the afternoon of the Queen Mother’s death would recognize that he was merely following house-policy. Stourton’s reference to her as “a ghastly old bigot” simply means that she did not conform to the BBC’s outlook.

    A more plausible explanation is the one offered by Ralph, above, — the BBC are replacing him with Justin Webb as “someone who has a history of producing biased rubbish for left wing politicians during an election.”

    This would be analagous to Gordon Brown’s recall of Mandelson and Campbell. Both the BBC and the Labour Party know that the next election will be crucial to their chances of survival.


  37. Robert says:

    ASL: no doubt if the visit had not been “marred” by the shoe-throwing, BBC would have reported that it was a glowing success, as they usually do when G. Bush is involved


  38. George R says:


    “Stourton’s sacking was crass, says BBC colleague”


  39. RR says:

    What’s the betting Stourton will be looking to get the Serjeant slot on next year’s “Strictly Come Dancing”?


  40. DB says:

    I doubt if the BBC would mind about Stourton “slagging off the Queen Mum”, as DB suggests above.
    sawtooth | 14.12.08 – 8:43 pm

    The point I was trying to make was that his comments about the Queen Mother drew attention to his own aristocratic background, an uncomfortable situation for the “progressive” BBC.


  41. David Preiser says:

    On the heels of Stourton contrasting his plight to that of Jonathan Ross, and so many viewers feeling that he was dropped because of class prejudice and dumbing down at thne BBC, this seems like a good opportunity for one of our moderators to invite him to post a little something here.

    Does anyone else think Ed Stourton might be in the mood to speak out about a little BBC bias? I mean, his situation seems to tick so many of our boxes: class prejudice, Toady, Justin Webb being rewarded for severely biased and dishonest reporting (as predicted on this blog), personal opinions given out in “light-hearted banter” rather than honest news….

    Just a thought.


  42. George R says:

    ‘Evening Standard’, Londoners Diary:

    “Why Ed Stourton was knifed by his old university chum”-


    “There is simmering outrage among Radio 4 colleagues on the ‘Today’ programme about the way the BBC has treated Ed Stourton. The posh but amiable presenter was sacked last week after ten years on the show without even being consulted by his bosses – he heard the news in a car park in Harrogate from another journalist.

    “‘If this sort of thing happened at, say, the Post Office, we’d be onto it like a shot,’ says a veteran of the Today programme.

    “‘It’s the kind of thing we’d be expected to investigate thoroughly and excoriate the individuals responsible and hold them to account, but the daleks who run the BBC think they can get away with it. There is a unanimous feeling that it’s just not acceptable for the management of any company to settle the future of any employee without involving them. Everyone finds it shocking. We are all fond of Ed. He has played it straight. He is understandably upset and devastated.'”

    “Even the mild-mannered Libby Purves has weighed in ‘The Times’ this morning excoriating the decision.

    “It’s particularly puzzling that the man who wielded the knife was the controller of Radio 4, Mark Damazer, who was a contemporary of Stourton’s at Cambridge and later at ITN, where the two men were trainees in 1980.”


  43. George R says:

    “The first rule of sacking: show some respect” (Libby Purves)


  44. DB says:

    Lefties at the BBC would not tolerate a grandee as senior presenter and Jim Naughtie, Sarah Montague and Evan Davis may not pass the Damazer test.
    So bring on Justin Webb, whose liberal credentials were shown when he criticised John McCain and Sarah Palin in the recent US presidential campaign.

    I tell you what, I could write that Londoner’s Standard Diary, me. And I’m pretty damn sure whoever does write it reads this blog – and the comments.


  45. George R says:


    “The BBC knifed Posh Ed because he refused to cover up his background”


    “His first wife was a baronet’s daughter which will have occasioned much tutting. Perhaps worst of all for the BBC intelligentsia, Stourton shows alarming signs that he still ‘does God.’
    “For the BBC, Stourton’s openly gay co-presenter Evan Davies sends out a better message.
    “Stourton has reflected that he has done nothing wrong and been sacked, compared with Jonathan Ross making an obscene phone call to a pensioner and merely being suspended for three months.
    “But he is surely not so naive as to believe that the BBC retains and recruits broadcasters on the basis of merit.
    “What used to be termed BBC English has been all but systematically eradicated from the Corporation. ”
    (Harry Phibbs).


  46. katherine says:

    Poor old ed.Too white,too posh,too english,too heterosexual


  47. George R says:

    Max Hastings –

    ‘What the sacking of Posh Ed tells us about the BBC’s hang-ups over class’

    “Ed Stourton is a clever man who usually knows what he is talking about. It should not matter in the slightest degree that he possesses a ‘posh’ accent.

    “If the BBC is in reality removing him from ‘Today’ for other reasons, then it has only itself to blame for the row which has erupted.

    “The Corporation’s shameless populism, incited by the commissars of Labour’s Department of Media, Culture and Sport, is daily made apparent.”


  48. Sarah Jane says:

    Hmm, while this doesnt reflect well on various managers at the BBC (and in particular one well-known interferer) I am not totally sure it is about ‘poshness’.

    Justin Webb has hardly been hauled in from the local council estate has he?

    I guess he did go to the LSE…

    However yet again, the senior management of the beeb has misjudged the mood of normal, white, middle-class, license-paying Brits, alienating the people it used to be able to take for granted. It really is a joke how many times this has been achieved over the last couple of years.


  49. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Sarah Jane | 16.12.08 – 1:00 pm |

    Sure, it’s not Ed Stourton’s cut-glass accent alone that got him fired. But while Justin Webb may not speak like an Ipswich monkey, he is certainly not going to bring any seriousness to the show. His “analysis” is generally on the superficial side, he has a rather lightweight demeanor, and is quick with the little jokes and snarky comments. Which is exactly what they want at Today, isn’t it?