This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Wednesday 5 August 2020
TalkRADIO’s Far Right Lurch
Those who thought that Murdoch property TalkRADIO could not possibly be a nascent UK incarnation of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) may have been disabused of that notion recently as more examples emerged showing that the broadcaster has taken a serious lurch towards the authoritarian right, along with lapses into implicit and even explicit racism, sexism, bullying and, of course, client journalism.
The sexism and bullying has come courtesy of craven coward Mike Graham, who back in April told anyone not yet asleep “[TalkRADIO] has become the most trusted source of news without spin and nonsense [no citation]. Join the revolution people”. When Jessica Simor reminded him “You're the man who said Covid is no worse than the flu. Remember?” Graham promptly lost his cool. As well as getting it wrong (again).
“It still isn’t when it comes to deaths dopey. Try not to show yourself up as an idiot. Please show me how we have suffered more deaths than last year. It’s not about that. Moron QC” he blustered. All those tens of thousands of excess deaths later, he’s still at it.
So when TalkRADIO told its fans “Nigel Farage has claimed the government is housing 48,000 illegal migrants in hotels and private accommodation, costing the taxpayer up to £4 billion over the next 10 years. What is your response?” Graham was back (leaving aside that someone who claims asylum is not an “illegal” anything).
“More news on the big illegal migrant hotel scandal tomorrow [TalkRADIO] from [Serco Group] following the [Nigel Farage] bombshell exclusive last week … The home of common sense” he proclaimed, neatly edging his employer towards the far right. And worse was to come, as the station promoted a Zelo Street favourite.
The TalkRADIO Twitter feed described Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, as a “political campaigner”. This should have surprised no-one; last year the same account described Lennon as an “activist”. One observer asked “Why is [TalkRADIO] giving a platform to far right activist and racist Tommy Robinson? Robinson has been banned by [Twitter] so why are Talk Radio allowed to tweet this broadcast on Twitter?”
This Tweet is defamatory
Graham, meanwhile, was in one of those Very Difficult Positions after he defamed barrister Jane Heybroek and then threatened her with another legal action, only to find that her defence prevailed, James Foster gently suggested “Think you owe Jane an apology”. Graham didn’t offer one. He’s a coward, and he’s not big enough to say sorry.
But he is typical of TalkRADIO’s authoritarian tendency, as is the station’s breakfast time host, the self-promoting Julia Hartley Dooda, exporting the TalkRADIO message to readers of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. Teachers should, she has decreed, go back to work or face the sack. That almost 150 teachers and other workers in the education sector have already died with Covid-19 is not allowed to enter.
Whether it’s arch-coward Graham, Dan “I’m opinionated, me” Wootton, or Ms Hartley Dooda, the impression of TalkRADIO shouty authoritarianism is unmistakable.
Broadcast bigotry by the back door. You never take a Murdoch promise on trust.
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