The BBC’s Disinformation Correspondent Marianna Spring is facing claims that she lied about her experience on her CV, which would make her responsible for some ‘disinformation’ of her own. The Mail has the story.
According to a report, about five years ago Ms. Spring was trying to get work as a freelancer in Moscow for U.S.-based news site Coda Story.
An article in the New European said when she applied to the website’s Editor-in-Chief Natalia Antelava in 2018, she said she had worked alongside BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford on covering the “perception of Russia” during the 2018 football World Cup.
Her CV reportedly bragged: “June 2018: Reported on International News during the World Cup, specifically the perception of Russia, with BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford.”
According to the New European, Ms. Antelava, a former BBC journalist herself, is said to have rebuked Ms. Spring after checking out the claim.
Ms. Spring is said to have sent an email apologising for her “awful misjudgment [sic]”.
She is said to have written: “I’ve only bumped into Sarah whilst she’s working and chatted to her at various points, but nothing more. Everything else on my CV is entirely true.”
The young journalist added that she was a “brilliant reporter” and in their emails also admitted there was “no excuse”.
She said her only explanation was her “desperation to report out in Moscow” and thinking it would “wouldn’t be a big deal”, which she admitted was “naïve and stupid”.
In the email exchange published by the New European, Ms. Antelava told her: “Telling me you are a brilliant reporter who exercises integrity and honesty when you have literally demonstrated the opposite was a terrible idea.”
The Coda Story boss, who is understood to have not proceeded with the job application, is said to have added: “I am sure if you use this as a lesson, things will work out.”
Spring, who has a BBC podcast called Marianna In Conspiracyland, became the BBC’s Disinformation and Social Media Correspondent last August and is part of the painfully on-narrative BBC Verify ‘counter-disinformation’ team.
It’s not clear at this stage what the New European‘s source is for the emails. Were they leaked by someone at Coda Story? It’s hard to see how else they got into the public domain.
The BBC declined to comment to the Mail on Thursday.
Worth reading in full.
Stop press: The Telegraph reports that a colleague of Spring has replied to a user on X who had accused Spring of having “zero credibility” and called for her to be sacked following the allegations of CV embellishment.
Philly Spurr, the Head of Communications for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, replied to the user: “You’ve sent five consecutive tweets saying this now. How is ‘Be kind to each other!’ on your profile working out for you?”
The Telegraph notes: “Her response appears to mark the first time a BBC employee has publicly acknowledged the claims about Ms Spring. The BBC has otherwise declined to comment.”