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

A scene from Question Time and the SNP logo
Support us and go ad-free

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:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

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

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us