The 14 April edition of the Andrew Marr Show was the final straw. A BBC journalist until 2015, Patrick Howse is “now ashamed” of his 25 years of service. In a letter to BBC director general Tony Hall, he focused on the organisation’s coverage of a recent speech from Nigel Farage. Howse points out the former UKIP leader targeted MPs against the background context of a far-right terrorist murdering Labour MP Jo Cox on 26 June 2016. He accused the BBC of ‘transmitting fascist propaganda’ through uncritically broadcasting the speech.
“I am ashamed to be associated in any way” with the BBC
In his letter, Howse said he used to be “proud” to work at the BBC, despite conditions he faced in places such as Baghdad:
In the course of my career, I was shot at, kicked, tear-gassed, spat at and pelted with stones, bottles and petrol bombs… But I believed passionately in what the BBC was doing.
Howse criticised what he called the BBC‘s “dismal coverage” of Brexit. But the turning point came when Howse saw the BBC‘s reporting of Farage’s Brexit party launch. And he went public with his concerns after comparing that coverage to Andrew Marr’s critical interviewing of Labour MP David Lammy.
His letter states:
That finally changed with the coverage of the launch of Nigel Farage’s new party, and in particular his speech where he said he wanted to put the “fear of God” into MPs.
If these words had come from the lips of an IS [Daesh (ISIS / ISIL)] spokesman they would have (rightly) been condemned. But Mr Farage was not only allowed a platform to make these remarks, he was not confronted with their implications, and the audience was not reminded of their context. That context is, of course, that Jo Cox was murdered by a Nazi less than three years ago, and just a few days ago a threat against the life of another MP, Rosie Cooper, was dealt with by the courts.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
The BBC declined to comment in an email to The Canary. In his letter, Howse continued:
At best Mr Farage’s comments were criminally irresponsible; at worst they were an incitement to political violence and democracies don’t work if elected representatives live in fear. I’m astonished that it seems you need to be reminded of this. The coverage of this speech has actually made me see things in a different light. I am no longer proud to have worked at the BBC – I am ashamed to be associated in any way with an organisation that facilitates fascism and transmits its propaganda uncritically and without challenge.
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?