The reason everyone is furious with the BBC and Nigel Farage today

BBC Radio 4 Today logo and Nigel Farage
Fréa Lockley

Listeners are furious because ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage was given uninterrupted airtime to spew racist bile. Farage appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss immigration.

“Hang its head in absolute shame”

On 18 September, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) released its final report into immigration in the European Economic Area (EEA). This has a significant impact on Brexit negotiations. So the BBC invited Farage and SNP MP Ian Blackford onto the show to discuss immigration.

During the segment, Farage blamed immigrants for pretty much everything. He also defended Leave.EU’s now infamous ‘Breaking Point’ posters. These were reported to the police as a “blatant attempt to incite racial hatred”.

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Listeners took to social media to share their outrage:

And they have a very serious point. Because the BBC should not have allowed Farage to present his racist views without challenge.

Racist

Blackford raised a very serious point when he referenced the post-referendum “increase in hate crime” and the environment “created by the likes of UKIP and others on the Tory right wing”. This led on to a discussion about the ‘Breaking Point’ posters that caused “a more inflammatory debate” during the referendum. Without interruption, Farage said:

These were not refugees… These were people taking advantage of weak European rules.

But he didn’t stop there. Because he also claimed that immigration has changed people’s lives:

in terms of their jobs, their wages, their ability to get houses, to get GP appointments. It has reduced the quality of life of people in this country.

During this tirade, his dog whistle racism went unchallenged.

“His usual crap”

As Labour MP David Lammy pointed out, Farage was factually way off the mark in his ‘analysis’:

Lawyer and SNP MP Joanna Cherry also challenged Farage:

And the MAC report actually totally debunked Farage’s take on immigration too:

In short, by letting Farage speak unchallenged, the BBC broadcast inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric about immigration and thousands of EU nationals currently living in the UK.

So many people questioned why the BBC gave him airtime – yet again. Because Farage’s only elected position is as an MEP.

As former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett quite rightly pointed out, other MEPs take a far more active political role:

Others were far less polite about Farage’s car wreck of a political career:

But this segment also poses bigger questions about why the BBC continually gives Farage a platform to air his noxious views:

Farage headed up a vicious campaign during the EU referendum. Serious questions have emerged about the lies shared, and the inflammatory ‘Breaking Point’ posters which resembled “Nazi propaganda”. Hate crime spiked, and police chiefs are warning of a further rise when the UK actually leaves the EU.

And yet the BBC still let Farage on as a spokesperson about immigration. No wonder people are furious.

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Featured images via BBC and Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

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Fréa Lockley