John Humphrys left the BBC in September 2019 after 32 years of presenting Radio 4‘s Today programme. Now, he has a new job. And his choice of employer is surprising, well, no one.
True to form
Humphrys’s performance at the BBC left a lot to be desired. From sycophantic interviews of Tory ministers to asking imbecilic questions on the climate crisis, he faced a lot of criticism through the years.
Given the controversial figure he proved to be at the public broadcaster, the next stop he’s chosen in his career hasn’t come as a shock. In fact, it feels quite fitting. Humphrys has taken a job as a columnist at the Daily Mail.
— Cat (@cathyr237) January 10, 2020
Somehow I'm not astonished that John Humphrys has become a Daily Mail columnist.
— Chris Nickson (@ChrisNickson2) January 12, 2020
Towing the approved line
Speaking about his new role, Humphrys said:
The Mail is a paper that knows what it believes in, and proudly says so, but it does not demand that its columnists toe an approved line
That’s the big test of a paper’s integrity.
The idea that the Mail has ‘integrity’ isn’t the only amusing part of Humphrys’s gushing assessment of the tabloid. The notion that it invites in a variety of columnists who veer from its general stance is pretty tickling too. And even if it did, Humphrys clearly doesn’t fit that bill. Because the ex-BBC presenter’s first article as a weekly columnist for the Daily Mail toes exactly the sort of line the tabloid is known for.
Headlined Why has Britain lost its sense of humour?, Humphrys’s article railed against ‘wokeness’. He argued that Britain is “entering an era of joke prohibition” because so many potential objects of humour are now off limits, in a politically correct sense. Humphrys gave a number of examples of how the ‘woke’ police have ruined humour. Most of them involved women. He decried the inability to make jokes around situations that involved domestic violence and sexual assault, for example.
Over in the Mail John Humphrys appears to be disappointed that jokes about sexual assault haven’t gone down well pic.twitter.com/wMkj1f89C9
— Alan White (@aljwhite) January 11, 2020
Peas in a pod
This isn’t new territory for Humphrys. A lot of the controversy he courted at the BBC involved his handling of such matters. But the idea that the ex-BBC presenter has something different to offer the Mail from the standard ‘approved line’ of the tabloid – which is defined by its white, male approach to the world – is laughable.
Featured image via BBC Newsnight/YouTube
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.