The SNP just said BBCQT is now ‘out of control’ and needs an urgent review

A scene from Question Time and the SNP logo
Steve Topple

The SNP is demanding a review of BBC Question Time. It comes after the show amplified the views of a racist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon ‘supporter‘ on its social media. But the SNP is not messing around, saying that the flagship show is now “out of control”. Meanwhile, the audience member’s somewhat dodgy past has also come to light.

BBCQT: platforming racists?

As the National reported, Question Time was caught up in controversy after its programme on Thursday 20 February. An audience member made some pretty racist and xenophobic comments about immigration. But the show’s social media feed decided to share her comments, anyway:

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But as HuffPost neatly pulled apart, her arguments had no basis in fact. So, people were rightly angry that Question Time had not fact-checked the woman’s claims before sharing them on social media:

Even the man sitting next to her is now gaining recognition:

Also, Sam Bright claimed the show’s social media post violated BBC guidelines:

But now, the SNP has weighed in.

The SNP: Question Time is “out of control”

As the National reported, Tommy Sheppard MP has called for the show to review its social media policy. He wrote to Question Time bosses, saying:

I was deeply disappointed that the audience member was not challenged on these plainly incorrect assertions, but even more surprised that Question Time then clipped this contribution and posted to their Twitter site without any fact-checking or context.

Question Time used to use their social media outlets to ‘live’ fact-check contributions from panellists and the audience, as well as giving context to each question asked by the audience. Rather than carelessly clipping these inflammatory contributions on immigration, I suggest that Question Time looks to reinstate the more informative and engaging fact-checking as part of their social media strategy.

The ‘informing’ and ‘educating’ seemed to be lacking from this flagship current affairs programme this week.

A “senior SNP source” went further. They told the National:

This latest incident shows Question Time is out of control – and it’s high time the BBC got a grip of it.

The BBC did not respond to the National‘s request for comment.

But this isn’t the end of the story. Because many people on Twitter are claiming the woman was no ordinary audience member.

Not all that it seems

In short, people have dug into the woman’s background. As Zelo Street reported, they claim that she is a Yaxley-Lennon supporter and also “connected” to Britain First:

But moreover, the woman is allegedly a former National Front MP candidate:

All of this makes Question Time look extremely bad. As Zelo Street noted, if the accusations are correct:

that puts Mentorn Media (the company that produces Question Time, and also The Big Questions) in one of those Very Difficult Positions. It puts the BBC in a yet more difficult position.

If the programme becomes the story, it is finished.

Sadly, that ship appears to have already sailed. And as the SNP rightly point out, Question Time and its audience selection process are clearly out of control. The BBC needs to take action, and quickly.

Featured image via BBC iPlayer and Wikimedia

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