09 April 2020

Newsnight's Emily Maitlis impresses viewers with opening monologue on coronavirus myths that 'need debunking'

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis stunned viewers with an opening monologue condemning 'misleading' language around coronavirus.

She hit out at the oft-quoted claim that Covid-19 is 'a great leveller', saying that was a myth that needed debunking, as the illness impacted the poor more than others.

She said: "The language around Covid-19 has sometimes felt trite and misleading. You do not survive the illness through fortitude or strength of character, whatever the Prime Minister's colleagues will tell us.

"And the disease is not a great leveller, the consequences of which, rich or poor, suffers the same. This is a myth that needs debunking.

"Those serving on the frontline right now, bus drivers and shelf stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shop keepers are disproportionately the lower paid members of our work force.

"They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed. Those who live in tower blocks and small flats have found the lockdown tougher, those in manual jobs will be unable to work from home. This is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare and it's a welfare issue with huge ramifications for public health."

Viewers took to social media to empathise with Maitlis's comments.

Louise Oliver wrote: "Brilliant stuff here, however, in answer to your final question, Emily...TAX RICH PEOPLE Even a one-off proportionate payment from your average billionaire would provide axis shifting economic stimulus. Oh, and also, don’t vote Tory #taxtherich #emilymaitlis #ToriesOut"

While Foglia Verdemela wrote: "It was utterly refreshing and necessary. Too many journalists have become the establishment and their reporting have become so pedestrian and superficial. I applaud Maitlis for having something to say and say it well she did. #emilymaitlis #LockdownLondon"

And Morten Meyerhoff said: "Well said #emilymaitlis and kudos to #bbcnewsnight on #covid19. Crisis require clear language and real action."

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