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Nadine Dorries wades into yet another gaffe

Nadone Dorries poses for the camera

Culture minister Nadine Dorries is no stranger to a gaffe. But her latest error is really stirring up a storm. Dorries is talking up the Tory plan to privatise Channel 4. Her latest outing was an interview with Iain Dale on LBC.

Pink News CEO Benjamin Cohen was among those who picked up something odd in Dorries’ argument:

Positive model?

That’s right. Dorries tried to cite Channel 5 as a postive model of privatisation. But there’s a problem here. Channel 5 has been privately owned since it was founded… in 1997.

Read on...

Cohen also pointed out that Channel 5 was hardly a good example of privatisation being better than non-privatised media. After all, Channel 4 makes several times the revenue of Channel 5:

Naturally, social media users were quick point out the culture minister’s errors. In fact, even the media correspondent from the right-wing Times newspaper waded in:


As another journalist pointed out, Channel 5 was bought out by a US firm not too long ago. The results are hardly an argument for selling off Channel 4:

Others were even more critical of Dorries. One suggested that the minister might need the UK media landscape explained to her in crayon:

Fever dream

Meanwhile, another person feared that Dorries was a character in some bizarre fever dream he was having:

One Twitter user lamented Dorries’ suggestion that Channel 5 was a successful model of neoliberal television by comparing it to Netto, a defunct supermarket chain:

It was also pointed out that the privately owned Channel 5, unlike Channel 4, was not exactly known for its weighty contributions to culture:


Dorries later claimed to have misspoken, and that her error did not alter her point. True to form, she branded the criticism she had received as personal attacks. However, a number of her critics were not convinced:

But underpinning all of this is the Tory claim that Channel 4 provides biased, liberal coverage while receiving public money. This claim itself is strongly contested, for example, by the fact checking service Full Fact. According to Full Fact:

This is not true in the usual meaning of that phrase. Channel 4 funds itself with commercial operations. Its debt appears on public accounts, but it also pays tax.

So it looks like Dorries, and the Tories generally, are less concerned about turning Channel 4 into a profitable business. It is more likely that they are far more interested in shutting down even vaguely critical media coverage.

So much for their commitment to free speech. It’s just business as usual for the Nasty Party.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/DDCMS, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under Public Domain Mark 1.0.

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