The BBC has once more covered itself in less than total glory after issuing a reprimand to presenter Naga Munchetty for taking exception to someone being racist. While anyone reading that last sentence gives their head a shake, it has to be said that what she said was in response to another slice of forthright bigotry from Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, and in the wake of his attack on several serving US Congresswomen.
As the Guardian has reported, Trump Tweeted last July “that congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley should ‘go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came’”. All four are US citizens, and only Rep. Omar was born outside the country.
Donald, where's yer hairspray?
Ms Munchetty responded by stating “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism … Now, I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean”. How, she was asked, did she feel at hearing such language used? "Furious. Absolutely furious and I can imagine lots of people in this country will be feeling absolutely furious [that] a man in that position thinks it’s OK to skirt the lines by using language like that”. Well, quite.
Sadly, “after a viewer complaint the corporation’s complaints unit decided that Munchetty had gone too far in expressing a personal opinion while broadcasting in her capacity as a BBC journalist”. The BBC “ruled that while Ms Munchetty was entitled to give a personal response to the phrase ‘go back to your own country’ as it was rooted in her own experience, overall her comments went beyond what the guidelines allow for”.
This decision did not meet with universal approval within the Corporation, not least from former China editor Carrie Gracie, who concluded “[Naga Munchetty] Unease among BBC journalists for whom ‘go back’ = racist. If power trumps or bends meaning, then no point in journalism, just print propaganda. There is no BBC journalism worth the name without BBC values. Accountability is one. Explain @BBCNaga reprimand please”.
She may be waiting a long time. Nikesh Shukla did not wait before responding “We really do live in a time where it's worse to call a racist a racist than be actually racist. Solidarity with Naga Munchetty”. Alex Andreou added “The racial and sexual politics alone, of telling a woman of colour not to be so emotional about racism, should result in the BBC issuing an apology to [Naga Munchetty]. Enough is enough. Ordinary decency should temper any warped version of ‘balance’”. Many others echoed those views.
Tell Mama UK was one such organisation: “Perplexing, wrong-headed statement from the BBC. Don't dictate how minorities should feel when they discuss their lived experiences of racism. Solidarity with [Naga Munchetty]”. Priyamvada Gopal was not happy: “So, fellow gals of colour, please note that you are not allowed to say that in your experience, a certain kind of phrase is embedded in racism. Don't say it. Just put up with the racism. Or else”. And Marcus Bernard was totally unimpressed with the BBC.
“We've got Laura Kuenssberg setting her followers on a man defending his baby, Fiona Bruce riling up audiences against Diane Abbott but it's Naga Munchetty who breaches impartiality by calling obvious racism racist. Nah, mate”. Not a good look. Again.
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