Last night was an epic fail for mainstream British media, and it highlighted more than ever why movements like #ChangeTheMedia are needed. The BBC decided to put hate-spewing Rod Liddle on Question Time, and Sky News interviewed far-right leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson).
Liddle, currently associate editor at the Spectator, has previously been accused of misogyny and racism. Yaxley-Lennon, meanwhile, was sent to prison for allegedly endangering a trial involving paedophilia. Their TV appearances coinciding on British TV has not gone unnoticed:
Tommy Robinson live interview tonight on Sky News. Rod Liddle on Question Time tonight. The UK's mainstream media has absolutely no problem with platforming and promoting racists and Islamophobes https://t.co/GsUksY118p
— Waqas Tufail (@_WaqasTufail) September 27, 2018
The two men were given airtime on mainstream TV on the same day a square was named after MP Jo Cox in Brussels:
Today, a street in Brussels was named after Jo Cox.
Meanwhile, in Britain, Tommy Robinson is interviewed by Sky News and Rod Liddle appears on #bbcqt.
— John Traynor (@Mr_JDTraynor) September 27, 2018
QT seem obsessed with giving legitimacy to far right racists like Liddle. They only exist to poison the debate and cause division . There's just been a memorial to Jo Cox and the BBC seem to have forgotten what's at stake. This needs to stop.
— Pedro Montoya (@senormontoya) September 27, 2018
What’s the point?
On the one hand, defenders of free speech suggest we need to ‘hear out’ the likes of Yaxley-Lennon. But others argue that airing hateful views is little more than a marketing ploy:
It seems neither Sky nor the BBC understand the implications:
People who think or argue that Nick Griffin going on Question Time killed the BNP ?
Nick Griffin went on Question Time in Autumn 2009
Here are the votes the BNP got in the two general elections either side of that
2005 GE: 192,745 votes
2010 GE: 564,331 votes
Hope this helps
— Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) August 2, 2018
Either this is a massive self-own and you’re saying that Sky News’ audience couldn’t possibly amplify Tommy Robinson’s audience of 1 million Facebook followers or you fundamentally don’t understand how any of this works. https://t.co/Wn7ICeSBQd
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) September 28, 2018
Switch it off
People have expressed the need to question the mainstream media, and disengage from increasingly ridiculous programmes like Question Time altogether:
Turn it off. Our establishment media is willing to platform literal fascists on prime time, but throw their toys out of the pram if a leftie gets 5mins to make a point anywhere in our media landscape. https://t.co/TOm8niCTk1
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) September 27, 2018
Did you see the fascist with a swastika tattoo on BBC London news? Unchallenged when he said 'it's not racism' https://t.co/ImojAkXg8E
— m a r c u s (@marcusjdl) June 27, 2016
Although seeing Labour MP Ian Lavery say “I’m not your mate” to Liddle was definitely fun:
“I’m not your mate.”
God, it’s so refreshing to see @IanLaveryMP cut through the faux chumminess of media norms and properly take on a liar and a racist like Rod Liddle.
Mashallah Ian ?????? pic.twitter.com/UCelPXtB29
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) September 28, 2018
When will the mainstream media learn? And for how long will it relegate the left to the margins, while putting far-right views like Yaxley-Lennon’s centre-stage?
If Jo Cox’s death has taught us one thing, surely it would be that hateful views do not deserve a platform in British media.
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