Thursday 16 February 2017

“Got a little list?”

“Got a little list?”
or Newsnight heads towards self-inflicted no-platforming.

I’ve been feeling duty bound to watch Newsnight recently, as if watching it will somehow immunise me against its worst effects. Keeping guard, if you like. And for that reason, I saw last night’s episode, aspects of which Craig has addressed below.

Just in case any of our readers didn’t follow the links or click on all the clicks, I’m going to expand on it.
If you didn’t watch this interview, it’s here

After having been subjected to Tariq Ramadan’s monologue, too.

O’Brien has a habit of asking people for ‘lists’ to substantiate their allegations; in this case he wants a list of examples of journalists vilifying Trump or the Trump administration, otherwise he’s not going to accept the validity of the allegation. This is one of his favourite tactics. O’Brien himself is always armed with lists, hoping he can disarm his adversary who may not have come prepared. 

As for O’Brien’s quest for a ‘list’ of the journalistic vilifications he is questioning the existence of, surely he could have looked no further than half an hour earlier, within his own programme, at John Sweeney’s clip of Anneke Green, former speechwriter for George W Bush.
“I do think that there is not the same rigour going on right now in newsrooms, er, the number of rubbish stories that we’re seeing, with reporters just rushing to publish with thinly sourced or anonymously sourced stories, is not doing any favours to the impression that they’re out to get Donald Trump.”
Okay, it’s not a list, but it’s a widely held perception - almost too broad for the kind of list O’Brien is demanding - an especially disingenuous demand if his intention is merely to knock down each example one by one.

You could tell he was getting rattled when he very rudely addressed his guest as ‘Madam’. 

Newsnight is becoming so appallingly biased that people who watch it are spectators rather than viewers. It’s an arena - a spectacle that’s so bad it’s good. 

James O’Brien is utterly obnoxious. I could even provide a list of people who say so. There’s even one of those tiresome Change petitions to get rid of him, (from LBC I think, rather than Newsnight) but I say, No! Let him stay. Give him enough rope. 

Have you ever seen anyone else with a fat forehead?  Here’s an example of O’Brien’s obnoxious behaviour, which illustrates his substandard debating ability as well as his massive bias.

“I see this isn’t in the script you’ve prepared,”  says O”Brien to ‘Sammy’ .  Just one of the nastier remarks he makes. Projection, rudeness, misguided sense of superiority, rolled into one.

When O’Brien asserted that Donald Trump’s business interests were behind the exclusion of certain countries from the travel ban, “Sammy” should have demanded a list of Trump’s business interests. I wonder if O’Brien had armed himself with such a list? He probably felt confident that he could get away with making the allegation without one.

See how O’Brien resorts to personal insult when he’s stumped. See how he uses the tired old “How many people have been killed” mantra, as if “Not enough” Islamist acts of terrorism have succeeded  in order to justify preventing more.

I say, keep O’Brien, not because sacking him would be a form of no-platforming, which is an alarming trend, but just so we can see Newsnight deteriorating in plain sight and by its own volition.

 Self-inflicted no-platforming is the best kind.


  1. "Don't tell 'im, Sue!"

    JO'bsworth is merely reeling out the rope.

  2. All I needed to know about Tariq Ramadan was his appearance on a BBC series from a few years back called "Can't Take It With You". The concept was visiting several families of different types dealing with setting up the last will and testament and what parents went through to leave everything to their kids.

    One family was - you won't believe it - a thoroughly modern Muslim family. Apparently - you won't believe it - Islam doesn't view women as worthy enough to own property. The thoroughly modern Muslim parents were almost as shocked as I was to learn that they couldn't leave anything to their daughters and could leave the house and assets only to the son. Islam, they claimed, is about justice, so this came as quite the surprise.

    Cue the visit to Ramadan, who came up with a workaround that let the father leave everything the son but with some tacked on British law condition that he had to share it with his sister. See, Islam is about justice after all, if you twist it around and pretend it didn't happen.


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