Sky News celebrated Positive Twitter Day on 30 August. As it explained in a tweet on the subject, it’s a day about “civility” on social media. So who did the broadcaster invite on to discuss “civility and trust in social media”? None other than Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines. You know, the guy who tweeted a picture of himself lying in bed next to a cardboard cut-out of Diane Abbott. The same Staines who doubled down on the personal attack on the UK’s first Black female MP by tweeting:
She begged me.
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) June 5, 2017
What an utterly bizarre way to celebrate Positive Twitter Day, as many people tried to make clear to Sky News.
Sky News announced its Positive Twitter Day interviewee on the platform:
Today is #PositiveTwitterDay, a campaign to make debates more civil and challenge abusive online behaviour.@GuidoFawkes, Paul Staines is on #Sunrise at 8.15am to discuss civility and trust in social media.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 30, 2019
Clearly, the news was not music to many people’s ears:
Is… is it April Fool's? pic.twitter.com/nPPXFcP6ai
— Chairman Mardikins (@IAmMardikins) August 30, 2019
Paul Staines and civility on twitter. This is a joke right 🤦♀️
— Ashlee Morgan (@AshleeMorgan66) August 30, 2019
Some tried to point out to Sky News the incivility they’ve come across on Guido Fawkes‘s platform:
Yeah lets do some of that old time civility and trust pic.twitter.com/t0fXLL6q2O
— Dermot "Pop" Cosgrove (@DermotCosgrove) August 30, 2019
This Paul Staines? pic.twitter.com/CyCw6uI6mR
— Paul Reece (@PFR187) August 30, 2019
This is beyond ridiculous https://t.co/bfXdRjmZqR
— John Bev (@J0hn8ev) August 30, 2019
And many tried to come up with a sufficient comparison so that Sky News could understand the error of its ways:
Next you’ll be discussing race relations with Enoch Powell and women’s rights with Jack the Ripper.
— Davenant (@SirWilliamD) August 30, 2019
Next up, Nigel Farage gives his view on how to run a successful general election campaign.
— sophia grace, bigoted against circus tents 🎪 (@pylonfan) August 30, 2019
Up next – "Is irony dead?" A SKY News exclusive.
— Malcolm McCandless (@MalcolmMcCandle) August 30, 2019
Next up, Fred West discusses Hitchhiking in Gloucestershire
— katie (@pipterino) August 30, 2019
During the interview itself, Staines did concede that he has “in the past been pretty belligerent” on social media and is trying to be “better”. The Sky News host also suggested that people existing in ‘echo chambers’ – i.e. surrounding themselves with views they agree with – on social media platforms is also a problem.
Well, the establishment’s echo chamber was certainly a problem here. Because if Sky News had stepped outside of it for a second, it would have realised – given Staines’s track record – how badly its choice for ‘civility’ champion would go down with the British public.
Featured image via Sky News/YouTube
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