Although broadcaster LBC employs the excellent James O’Brien, the station has also, in the past, given a regular show to pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins. It still hosts a regular show presented by former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. Not so long ago, one of its regular presenters was self-promoting loudmouth Julia Hartley Dooda. Others in its array of presenters have, it seems, expressed questionable views.
Now, following a Twitter exchange between O’Brien and Abi Wilkinson, has come a moment of rare candour from LBC, perhaps too much candour given the implications. O’Brien had been talking about the Christchurch Mosque shootings and the responsibility of many media outlets for hosting those who peddle racism, and especially Islamophobia. Ms Wilkinson was sceptical that he called out his fellow LBC presenters for it.
So far, so routine, but then Sandra Glab, an LBC Senior Producer, intervened in an unexpected manner. “Hi Abi, one of LBC's producers here. James regularly calls out racism and Islamophobia (on and off air) including that of fellow LBC presenters”. WHAT? An admission from an LBC Senior Producer that some of its presenters are racists?
Libcom Dot Org pointed out her problem, and indeed that now facing LBC: “Sandra, do you realise how daft this sounds? ‘Yes, we have and continue to employ racists on our national radio platform. But we also employ a nice non-racist so that cancels out the racist propaganda of the others.’” It doesn’t cancel it out, of course. But the point is well made.
Ben King looked at Ms Glab’s admission from another angle. “Hi James, respectively, did you know that your position on @LBC and your calling out of other presenters racism is being used by a producer to justify the fact that they continue to employ racists?”. Ouch!
And where bigotry in the media is identified, Labour supporters are soon on the scene, one supporter of Jeremy Corbyn observing “.@glabsandra ‘one of @LBC’s producers’ openly admitting that LBC presenters are guilty of ‘racism and Islamophobia’ because ‘James regularly calls [them] out’. Our media is a disgrace. Our media needs to change. They are part of the problem and they know it. Shameful”. That’ll be another Ouch, then.
So if there was racism … Alex Tiffin spelt it out. “So a producer for @LBC is admitting that they allow racists and Islamophobes to work for them. If @mrjamesob has to call this out, which I'll admit he does, why aren't the parent company Global taking action?”. They did kick Ms Hopkins out, granted, but Mr Thirsty (for instance) is still there.
But the overall response was one of amazement at the apparent excess of candour, as Rosie Robertson confirmed. “I’ve read Ms Glab’s tweet several times to ensure I wasn’t *mis*reading it - and I’m still flummoxed. Is she (surely not?) admitting that some of @mrjamesob ‘s colleagues at LBC are ‘regularly’ racist and islamophobic?? I mean, I’m not surprised, merely shocked at frankness!” Quite.
What is LBC and its parent company going to do to address this problem? Will they take the wise counsel of the Muslim Council of Britain, for instance? Or will they just shrug, think to themselves “Ratings”, and carry on as before? Guess which one my money’s on.
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