Demonstrating its British credentials, by being significantly funded from outside the UK, and having its lead presenter, former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil, located at his retreat in the south of France, the new channel has already let slip how it intends to attract viewers - by a mix of contrarianism, foreigner-bashing, Muslim bashing, and culture war clickbait.
Both the contrarianism and foreigner-bashing were revealed by “historian” Neil Oliver, the world’s worst Eric Cantona impersonator, who has told anyone not yet asleep that the lockdown response to the Covid-19 pandemic was “the biggest mistake in world history”, which demonstrates a magnificent disregard for history up until, er, maybe last week.
And like Brillo, he is well-versed in putting the boot in on the SNP, which has already played well with the Daily Brexit, still called the Express, but has been ridiculed by outlets like The National, where his historical revisionism also got short shrift. That, though, is to miss the point - which is to attract enough attention to get potential viewers to tune in.
The Muslim bashing was signalled after Ed Husain, formerly part of Quilliam along with Maajid Nawaz, made the claims reported by the Mail as “British towns that are no-go areas for white people”. Colin Brazier, now at GB News, took this one and ran with it. “As someone who grew up, and still has family in Bradford, the idea of parallel communities that - increasingly - have little in common rings painfully true”. And there was more.
“Thanks to the tireless [Ed Husain] for shining a light onto a story that will shape all our futures”. So that’s the kind of guest that Brazier & Muroki will be inviting on. Then comes the culture war strand, but with a twist: footballers taking the knee before matches has been decreed a suitable target by GB News. But not just by mouthy white men.
As iNews has reported, “England fans who boo players taking the knee should not be dismissed as racist, Nana Akua, a leading presenter on GB News has claimed … [she] said some of those jeering England players were expressing disapproval of a ‘virtue-signalling’ gesture, rather than rejecting the campaign to drive out racism”. Do go on.
“Ms Akua … told i: ‘I instinctively couldn’t support taking the knee because it was so closely linked to Black Lives Matter, which is clearly a far-left Marxist pressure group and political organisation’”. Except it has been pointed out, not least by England manager Gareth Southgate, and a host of current and former players, that it isn’t.
So now every not-really-racist-honestly can say “the black woman says we’re not racist, so BOOO! BOOO knee taking!!” Add that slice of attention seeking to Brillo’s determination to sneer “woke” at those who oppose his alleged “common sense” approach, and you have the GB News playbook revealed even before this evening’s first broadcast.
But there is a gulf between generating viral clickbait and monetising it sufficiently to keep a seriously expensive operation afloat. Especially if the advertisers begin to take flight.
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