Here’s what he told the audience. “I had always made it clear it wouldn’t be a British Fox News, and I think you can do something different without going anywhere near Fox. Fox deals in untruths, it deals in conspiracy theories, and it deals in fake news. That’s not my kind of journalism, and I would never have set out to do that”. There was more.
Was that why he left, asked Fiona Bruce. “I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why I’m here tonight, and not with GB News”. She then restated the assumption of his leaving, asking “Why have you quit?” Had Brillo not quit, he could quite easily have corrected Ms Bruce, but he did not. Instead, there was more rambling self-justification.
“In the run-up to the launch, through the launch, and in the aftermath of the launch … you couldn’t file the launch under ‘startling success’ … more and more differences emerged between myself and the other senior managers … and rather than these differences narrowing, they got wider and wider, and I felt that it was best that if that’s the route they wanted to take, that’s up to them, it’s their money … it wasn’t for me”.
And on three counts, I call bullshit. One, Brillo’s past track record - AIDS denialism when he was editor of the Sunday Times, climate change denialism disseminated using his platform at the BBC, and his continuing chairmanship of the alt-right Spectator magazine, shows he apparently has little problem with untruths and fake news.
Two, he was one of those senior managers at GB News who hired the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton, Neil Oliver, and Mr Angry Autocue reader himself, Colin Brazier. He did not, it seems, find the hiring of former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage a resigning matter - and Farage’s show is the epitome of untruths and fake news.
Moreover, Three, Andrew Neil - with the assistance of Fiona Bruce - gave Question Time viewers the impression that he had parted company with GB News. He hasn’t. Last week, he was a “contributor” to Farage’s show; later in the week, he was wheeled out to bump up the otherwise dire ratings of former Brexiteer politician Alex Phillips.
And he’s back contributing next Monday. Perhaps he needs the money, as he allegedly received no payoff from GB News following his resignation as Chairman, one of many nuggets of information served up this morning by the Guardian’s Jim Waterson, his article noting the sense of fear at GB News at the imminent launch of Murdoch’s TalkTV.
Indeed, when he tells “While Neil ultimately agreed to remain as a twice-a-week pundit as part of his exit package, this is a temporary measure for the next few months and was designed to limit the public relations damage caused by his departure”, what he does not say is that in a few months’ time, TalkTV will be here. And GB News may not.
Meanwhile, observers will see the BBC wiping Brillo’s arse for him. No change there.
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