|Former head of the Young Britain Firsters Nick Robinson and his deputy fuhrer (if Twitter is to be believed)|
The crazy world of Twitter just keeps getting crazier, and the mainstream media are getting ever more caught up in the madness.
Take this non-story from yesterday's Daily Telegraph by Steven Swinford:
Nick Robinson in series of robust exchanges with critics after being photographed in 'selfie' with Britain First candidate
Nick Robinson, the BBC presenter, has admitted he made a mistake after unwittingly having a "selfie" taken with candidate from Britain First, a spin off from the BNP.The presenter was subjected to a backlash on Twitter after being photographed during the Rochester by-election campaign with Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First.Some users called on him to resign for the "shameful" photograph, while others suggested that he was a secret supporter of the far right group.In a series of robust exchanges Mr Robinson said that he didn't realise who she was, telling one of his critics to "grow up".Mr Robinson said: "Lesson of the day. Never agree to have selfie taken without first checking who's asking. Shame but my mistake."
I agree with Nick - or at least the bit where he told someone who suggested he's a secret support of Britain First to "grow up".
That, however, is the problem with Twitter in a nutshell. It is full of people who should be told to "grow up". Instead, their daily tantrums, which seem to spiral into hysterical hue-and-cries at the drop of a hat, are indulged. A sense of proportion is forgotten, and apologies forced, careers ruined, heads made to roll, often for merely 'causing offence' or making innocent mistakes (as with Nick Robinson here).
Talking of which, a vocal section of the Twitterati are up in arms about this morning's Today too. They "have never been so angry about #r4today reporting" as they were this morning for "hammering" Labour when the story should (for them) have been the Tories losing the by-election, The programme is a "Tory mouthpiece" with a "complete imbalance of coverage":
@BBCr4today @naughtiej I think you missed out crediting Lynton Crosby-Surely he wrote the script for today's show
— Andy Birss (@1957AJB) November 22, 2014
@BBCr4today Obsessed with Thornbury tweet this morning. Who makes the news?
— Ian Brown (@IanBrownwyp) November 22, 2014
"@piscisaustralis: @BBCr4today @naughtiej #r4today.. picks up...any... anti Labour smear" I used to think Naughtie was a journalist.
— Suzanne Williams (@suziegwilliams) November 22, 2014
@BBCr4today Ridiculous, typically aggressive Humphrys rant at Blears of the kind he reserves for Labour women and NEVER does with Tories.
— Trevor Habeshaw (@dolbontboy) November 22, 2014
John Humphrys Quoting the daily Mail The Leading paper in the Attack on Labour .This isn't Journalism but an anti Ed campaign @BBCr4today
— Tag Bogo (@Gabethevegan) November 22, 2014
Tuned in to @BBCr4today the day after Tories lose a second seat to a defecting MP. Headline: is Labour in crisis?
— Gregory Norminton (@GDRNorminton) November 22, 2014
@BBCr4today @naughtiej #r4today Follow the programme that picks up with enthusiasm any Murdoch Tory Daily Mail UKIP anti Labour smear
— billm (@piscisaustralis) November 22, 2014
How the bloody hell can *that* tweet still be the first item on your news @BBCr4today? Lacking perspective somewhat, no?
— Catherine (@headinbook) November 22, 2014
@1957AJB @BBCr4today @BBCPolitics I wish I cld cancel the licence fee-I have no wish to pay 4 free Tory propaganda @BBCNews & never listen
— Diamond Dog (@eirieowie) November 22, 2014
@BBCr4today more #ukip propaganda on bbc.......wtf is going on?
— david clayton (@davidjclayton) November 22, 2014
James Naughtie gave anti-NHS Paul Nuttall a disgracefully easy ride. He would have been vicious if Nuttall were a Labour MP. @BBCr4today
— Justified Left (@justified_left) November 22, 2014
@BBCr4today Why are you presenting Rochester as mainly a defeat for Labour? Remind me who actually lost the seat.
— John Baxendale (@johnbax) November 22, 2014
I cannot believe how @BBCr4today accepts the vilification of @EmilyThornberry by the Murdoch press without question. All reported as fact.
— bobdigby (@bobdigby) November 22, 2014
So, there you go, the view from another planet: The BBC is obsessively pushing the Emily Thornberry tweet story to help out the Tories. They are following the right-wing Tory press. They are also pushing UKIP. And it's all typical BBC bias.
Of course, the fact that Emily Thornberry is the only senior politician to have resigned in recent days and that she was condemned by Labour MPs including her own former boss Ed Miliband for her tweet makes it big news. Today likes reporting political resignations because resignations are big things in the world of Westminster politics (the Westminster Bubble). That's something doesn't seem to have crossed these tweeters' minds.
Now, of course, some of this anti-BBC tweeting may be mere politicking (i.e. Labour people pretending to be outraged on behalf of Labour) but I suspect a lot of it is genuine partisan stupidity.
Still, this stuff is almost completely dominating the BBC news and current affairs-related portions of Twitter comment with very rare right-wing counter tweets. If Twitter is, as they say it is, now a rapidly growing news source we can expect the gathering hue-and-cry against the BBC from the pro-SNP, anti-Israel, anti-Tory, and UKIP, pro-Green (etc) brigade to grow ever louder and ever more influential, however groundless it may be (and usually is).
Forewarned is forearmed, perhaps.