Emily Maitlis praised for ‘powerful’ Newsnight intro slamming ministers over coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 11:01 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:05 09 April 2020

BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis gives powerful speech slamming ministers for their language around the coronavirus. Photo: BBC Newsnight

BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis gives powerful speech slamming ministers for their language around the coronavirus. Photo: BBC Newsnight

BBC Newsnight

Newsnight broadcaster Emily Maitlis has received an outpour of praise for her “powerful words” on the coronavirus pandemic as she introduced the current affairs programme.

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During the latest programme, Maitlis slammed government ministers for using language around Covid-19 such as a “great leveller” and something that can be survived through “fortitude and strength of character”.

Emily said: “They tell us coronavirus is a great leveller. It’s not. It’s much, much harder if you’re poor. How do we stop it making social inequality even greater?”

The broadcaster pointed out it is those with the lowest income on the front line who are most likely to catch the virus, where she adds: “rich or poor, suffers the same, this is a myth that needs debunking.”

Maitlis’ words caught the attention of thousands around the country and many have taken to twitter to praise her for what one user described as “the strongest minute of current affairs TV since Coronavirus started”.

A twitter user wrote: “Massive respect to Emily Maitlis for pointing out that the pandemic does not affect us all equally and that we have to rethink the fundamentals of our social contract.

“Huge, disproportionate impact on the lowest paid, the most economically precarious, the most socially vulnerable.”

Another who commented on the opening of the programme said: “This news segment delivered by #emilymaitlis catches with clarity the hard truth of health, social and political issues linked to #COVID19.”

Others described the opening message as “extraordinary” and “brilliant” as she “spoke for the nation”.

But despite the praise for Emily’s “powerful” words that “needed saying”, comments online have also been met by those who say more journalists and media outlets need to do the same.

One posted: “The Emily Maitlis Miracle. These words were brilliant and most definitely needed, but this needs to become the norm. #COVID-19 #NHS,”


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