But the temptation of one more big payday was always going to come around, and so it came to pass that Brillo was lined up as the public face of new broadcast entrant GB News, where he will host a regular show. Tens of millions has been stumped up by the venture’s backers. And after yesterday’s events, they may be more than a little worried.
After MP Claudia Webbe observed “Bristol … Police brutality is the boot of capitalist state established to keep us all in order”, Brillo sniped “A Labour MP writes”. But Ms Webbe is currently suspended from the party, so she isn’t. Tanya Bueltmann of Strathclyde University fired back “She’s not a Labour MP. But who cares about facts, right?”.
This was correct. But The Great Man could not be found wanting, and certainly not by a mere woman, so off he went. “Well, she was elected as a Labour MP and her website still bills her as a Labour MP, as do other digital signatures. You’d expect a professor like yourself, even if it’s only at Strathclyde Uni, to have a greater reverence for facts. But that’s modern academia for you”. Brillo was once a Murdoch editor, but hey ho.
Worse was the sneering aside about Strathclyde Uni. Matthew Thompson of LBC reminded Brillo “Sure what would Strathclyde professors know about politics?” He included a photo of Prof John Curtice, the polling expert used by the BBC, and frequently interviewed by Brillo back in the day, who is from, er, the University of Strathclyde.
It got worse, as the Larry The Cat Twitter feed reminded us “CAT CHECK: Claudia Webbe is an Independent MP, having had the Labour whip removed. Andrew Neil is wrong to suggest otherwise, but that’s modern right wing journalists for you”. OUCH! Jolyon Maugham added “That's the man Andrew Neil has become. No longer a man who fearlessly seeks the truth. But a man who chooses to say things he knows to be false”.
Paul Bernal asked the obvious question. “The thing is, Andrew Neil wouldn’t have looked anywhere near the idiot he does if he had just said ‘ah yes, you’re right, she isn’t a Labour MP any more’. Is he fundamentally incapable of admitting a mistake?” And as for that Strathclyde Uni snark, Simon Ubsdell had bad news for the GB News frontman.
“The University of Strathclyde was named University of the Year 2012 by Times Higher Education and again in 2019, becoming the first university to receive this award twice. But then I'm sure Andrew Neil knows that”. And LBC host James O’Brien was on hand to ask “Seriously, though, what's the point of setting up your own TV channel if you don't personally get to decide who is and who isn't a Labour MP?”
Some have suggested that this will keep Brillo’s profile the in the public eye and help GB News’ visibility. But what is equally likely is that the new outlet’s credibility will be damaged as a result, with investors and potential advertisers becoming nervous.
A few more like that after launch day, and GB News will be finished. Then he can retire.
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