|Dom at a different rally
In the mad mood the country's in at the moment, yesterday found the BBC's Dominic Casciani, of all people, coming under sustained fire from certain (largely leftist) quarters for calling Tommy Robinson "an anti-Islam activist" rather than "a far-right activist" or "a fascist".
The most common accusation was that by using such language the BBC was "normalising"Tommy Robinson and the far-right, with the more conspiratorial end of this Twitter faction smelling a deliberate BBC editorial decision to so do.
There are plenty of demands for an apology.
Such folly is par for the cause these days, but the idea that Dominic Casciani - Dominic Casciani!!! - was trying to do Tommy Robinson a favour and "legitimising hate speech and bigotry" is so utterly barking that every single person who made such a Twitter complaint should seriously consider moving to Barking, buying a kennel, setting up home inside and chewing on bones for the rest of their lives whilst listening to Ozzy Osbourne's Bark at the Moon on a loop forever .
Oddly, earlier that day BBC Dominic had been busy mocking UKIP leader Gerald Batten on Twitter for spreading fake news:
Gerard Batten: There are reports that water cannon may be deployed tomorrow in London, & that some of the police may try to aggregate and provoke Brexiteers. There is always the danger of provocateurs planted to cause trouble. I hope it is not true but I call on everyone present to be peaceful.Dominic Casciani: Here are some facts rather than “reports”: Water cannons bought by Boris Johnson (as London’s Mayor) were banned by then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2015. Then they were sold off. Water cannons have never been used in disturbances in the UK other than NI.Here are more facts than you cpuld ever want about the unauthorised Boris Johnson water cannons & why they were banned and sold off: Boris Johnson's unused water cannon sold for scrap at £300k lossAnd here is the source link setting out government policy on why water cannons are not authorised: Home Secretary's oral statement on water cannon
Incidentally, tonight's PM on Radio 4 had a very odd feature - a brief (one-and-a-half-minute) sequence of vox pop interviews by Dom C with Leave supporters outside Parliament, ending with one woman demanding that her friend being interviewed ask him where he came from. When he said "BBC", the crowd groaned in disapproval and the woman began chanting 'Fake news!' and 'Shame on you!' and a chorus of 'O Tommy, Tommy' went up. At which point the piece ended. Checking Twitter, I see a lot of clucking going on about it:
Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC: Disturbing clip on PM just now when Brexit demonstrators chant “fake news” after Dominic Casciani reveals he’s from the BBC. #trumpian. [Actually it was only one of the women who chanted that. The rest were singing about Tommy Robinson].
Dominic Casciani: I’m afraid this sentiment is emerging more and more in tense situations where some (but by no means all) Brexit supporters believe our coverage is lies and part of a conspiracy of elites.
Paul Waugh. Huff Post: So depressing to hear on PM Brexit protesters ask Dominic Casciani 'where you from?' When told BBC they shout "fake news! Shame on you!'.Those Remainers and Leavers, Tories and Labour MPs, who have perpetuated this Trumpish narrative, should be ashamed of themselves.
Dominic Casciani: There’s an anti news media sentiment building that makes many journalists feel unsafe. It’s influenced by online sharing and we’re not across it. When I and colleagues tried to find out why people came to Parly, most were decent and wanted to have their say. Some were hostile. Two examples: A woman was telling me there was a secret Lisbon Treaty annexe to merge the EU with N Africa. Why were the lying treasonous media “covering up” this Franco-German plot... She couldn’t point to evidence but she wouldn’t have it the plot was an online friction. Another woman (who didn’t shout at me) said the BBC was concealing child abuse up and down the land. This seemed to be linked to the Jimmy Savile mess, but now applied to an elite conspiracy to subjugate ordinary people.
Wesley Mallin, BBC: I’ve also had this. It takes a huge amount of effort to remain polite and professional. Like all conspiracy theorists I tend to ask them to explain the mechanism by which journalists are told to cover up this or that and they usually dry up.
Dominic Casciani: I give them my card and invite them to the newsroom for a cup of tea. I’m a bit disappointed no one has ever accepted the offer!
It's such a mad world that I'm tempted to add a video of the ever-perfect Perfect Day by Lou Reed, to cheer everyone up. I especially like its famous outro.: You're going to reap just what you sow. You're going to reap just what you sow. You're going to reap just what you sow. You're going to reap just what you sow...But instead I'll go with Ozzy: