It might have been thought that Question Time, the BBC’s supposedly flagship political discussion format, could not sink any lower after a series of recent, shall we say, unfortunate incidents. But after the Tory plants, dodgy statistics, and even more dodgy panellists, whoever books pundits for the show decided to top all of that.
The result was that yesterday evening’s offering gave a platform to one Tom Harwood. Who he? Harwood is not just any right-wing hot air dispenser - he is the replacement teaboy at the Guido Fawkes blog. Yes, the BBC invited a peddler of borderline Fake News onto their flagship politics show. The reaction was entirely predictable.
And the feedback contains what the official BBC announcer would call “Strong language from the start”: “who is this tom harwood wanker please??” … “Let's face it, Tom Harwood wouldn't even be on #bbcqt if it wasn't a right-wing propaganda machine. Who does he think he is?” … "Every single member of the #QuestionTime panel looking at Tom Harwood like - WHAT?” And there was more. Rather a lot more.
“Question … what does Tom Harwood have that makes him qualified to stand on Question Time? He's not a serious journalist, he's just a snot-nosed brat on a Right-Whingers blogging site” … “The fact we have people like Tom Harwood on question time shows how low this country has sunk. Surely it starts getting better soon?” [Ron Hopeful there] … “You can definitely tell what Tom Harwood is going to look like at 80 years old when he’s standing in the street shouting at nothing”. And on it went.
“Think Tom Harwood may be the most irritating panelist in the history of Question Time” … “This Tom Harwood might be the biggest cunt that has ever been on question time and it’s a long list” … “I have to turn you off now before I smash my tv. Tom Harwood is a horrible obnoxious wanker”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
Could it get worse? Best not ask: “Crikey this Tom Harwood guy is [an] odious far right little fuck wit” …”Please somebody delete Tom Harwood's details from the Question Time guest database” … “Tom Harwood on Question Time. How do you get to be so bitter so young?” … “Never heard of Tom Harwood before tonight, but he’s reaffirm why watching Question Time in the past 12mths is no longer on my agenda”. It was bad. Seriously bad.
Mark Taggart summed it all up: “Typically dreadful Question Time with Tom Harwood, an absolute nonentity, being this week's BBC choice as cheer-leader to the bigoted, cheering, jeering, drown out any opposition Brexit mob. For anyone with a brain the whole show has become utterly unwatchable”. The Beeb should have thought twice about that invite.
Why so? “He's risen through working for an extreme right wing blog which encourages racism in its forums and does things like misrepresents tweets to get people sacked and doxed. He then gets congratulated by BBC journalists and accepted into #bbcqt. The whole thing is sickening”. That’s why. It’s rewarding dishonesty and dirty tricks.
One day the BBC will learn not to get into bed with Fake News merchants like the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble. But by then, it might be too late.
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