Hello BBC people. And hello too to Sky News, ITV, Channel 4, and all those radio stations that do talk and politics. Yes, I know it’s none of my business who you invite on all those shows. But that’s not the point of this post. Yes, you have the freedom to give platforms to whomsoever you want. The flip side is that everyone else has the freedom to not only call you out over those choices, but to point out that actions have consequences.
For years now, all of you have, to a greater or lesser extent, given airtime to some of the most vicious bigots, rabble-rousers and shit-stirrers known to humankind. Most of these are on the fringes of the Tory Party, represent UKIP, or in the case of one or two notable examples, are just in it for Themselves Personally Now. At first it all looked like good, clean, knockabout fun. Not any more. And we know where it’s going.
All we need to do to figure out where this leads is to look across the North Atlantic, to where Combover Crybaby Donald Trump - much courted by the Tory right and Kippers - has made hate speech into the deadliest of arts. Just how deadly was summed up yesterday by Bill Palmer of the Palmer Report.
“Trump: Hillary, Obama and these other Democrats are criminals … Guy in Trump van tries to kill that same list of people [sends pipe bombs to them] … Trump: LOL … Trump, yesterday: globalists (Jews) should be locked up … Robert Bowers shoots up a Pittsburgh synagogue today. This isn’t hard to figure out”. Eleven died in that Synagogue shooting.
Where does the media come in? Sarah Kendzior had that figured out. “Trump wants to keep stoking the violence, but he needs help. And unfortunately, he gets his help from the media - when they air the rallies, when they don't correct the lies, when they 'both sides' the narrative. They legitimize it”. Ring any bells, UK broadcasters?
Those broadcasters - and especially the BBC - give a platform to the likes of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who talked recently about “shutting down” George Soros. Last week, a fanatical Trump supporter sent Soros a pipe bomb through the mail.
Farage’s successor Gerard Batten is given a platform. He’s a charmless and dishonest thug who wants UKIP to co-opt Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson. Lennon is another dishonest thug. Both seek to demonise Muslims, using discredited “research” from groups like Quilliam to link Muslims to sex crimes. Hate crime reports have recently soared. Join the dots, do the math, as they say.
The Beeb excuses admitting the far right to its airwaves by talking of balance, or that those people are somehow newsworthy, the response from LBC to their invitation to white supremacist Steve Bannon. But these are the voices of the intolerant, whipping up the mob, setting one group against another, stoking resentment and indeed violence for political ends. The conclusion of Karl Popper was never more relevant.
So the message to our broadcasters is clear: if you keep giving the oxygen of publicity to those whipping up hatred, what is happening in the USA right now will happen here very soon. There should be no platform for purveyors of hate speech.
Terrorism and its perpetrators are out of order. No matter how white they are.
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