Neil said that it "would not provide rolling news, but would, in similarity with some US networks, divide each day into ‘individual programmes, news-based programmes, built around very strong presenters’”. That sounds rather like Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), or indeed Sky News Australia, an operation that has followed the FNC model. And then, yesterday afternoon, Brillo gave the game away.
Jeane Freeman, health secretary for the Scottish Government, admitted to a mistake over publication of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme. She apologised. In came the Brillo late tackle. “I understand Ms Freeman called Health Secretary Hancock to apologise. Scottish friends tell me she’s been a useless Scottish health minister. I think she’s retiring at the next elections. Maybe she’ll rejoin the Communist party”.
So now we knew what GB News would be about: setting up targets, shouting them down, settling old scores, and pushing a blatantly right-wing agenda. We know this as Brillo was soon reminded that he tried his know-all Smart Alec act with Ms Freeman during the Scottish independence referendum campaign and came off second best.
The reception to this outburst showed that Brillo is not universally popular in the land of his birth. SNP MSP James Dornan, hinting at that right-wing allegiance, replied “Couple of things Andrew, first your criticism of Jeane, based on your ‘Scottish friends’ is pathetic and patently untrue. Secondly apologising tor a mistake is something that maybe some of your colleagues in the Cabinet should consider. They certainly have enough to apologise for”.
“Your colleagues in the cabinet”. Or, put another way, OUCH! Meanwhile, Ms Freeman wasted no time in reminding The Great Man of their previous encounter. “If you remember [Andrew Neil], last time you made assertions on what I was or what I said, you were wrong then too”. And on the subject of health, William Brown had seen enough.
Brillo wanted to talk about Ms Freeman’s record? Fine, he concluded, let’s consider the seven-day rolling average of new Covid-19 cases. Where Scotland compares very favourably to the rest of the UK. His conclusion? “Looks like we know what to expect, quality wise from your new ‘Trump’ TV channel. Pish analysis”. It is SO!
The idea of “individual programmes, news-based programmes, built around very strong presenters” means taking a shock jock, loudmouth approach, most likely avoiding those guests who might show up the hosts, and instead favouring those who will tell hosts what they want to hear, and a few fall guys who can be shouted off the ball.
But GB News has Brillo’s gravitas and intellectual heft (ho ho ho), so that’s all right, then.
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