Saturday 30 March 2019

"Investigating Extremism on Radio 4"

Freya from 120 db (one of the women featured)

Echo chambers don't just apply to social media - despite what you might hear on Lord Hall's mainstream media. 

As the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy stuff showed, the mainstream media can be just as bad, if not worse - especially because they are meant to be professionals and have vast reserves of money to fund their 'trusted' reporting.

Sometimes, however, the two echo chamber worlds meet. 

Radio 4's Feedback, for example, is increasingly the venting place for the left-liberal section of UK Twitter's collective spleen - at least as far as griping about the BBC and right-wingers, climate change deniers, social conservatives and John Humphrys (etc) goes.

And poor Roger Bolton increasing sounds like a ventriloquist's dummy for such people  - though once, if you recall, he actually said on air that he smelt a campaign behind one such campaign. 

This week's edition began with another collective Twitter outcry from the usual echo chambers: Why oh why was the BBC Radio 4 "giving a platform" to "neo-Nazis" and "friends of Tommy Robinson"? Doesn't the BBC risk "giving legitimacy" to (what Roger called) "such divisive figures"?

The programme in question was the "controversial" (pace Roger Bolton) Radio 4 documentary In the Right, broadcast this past week.

"Should these voices be heard on BBC radio?", asked Roger.

Who were the voices that the echo chamber wanted silenced, even before the programme went out? Well, people like YouTube campaigner Lauren Southern and 'Panodrama' star Lucy Brown (the young lady John Sweeney famously treated to a lot of drinks) - "a former associate of the far-right figure Tommy Robinson", as Roger called her.

Some Feedback commenters though, on actually hearing the programme, felt it uncovered an important, under-reported story - which was also the BBC staffers' response later. 

Again, we're entering 'mad world' territory here. The idea that a (left-liberal) BBC Radio 4 documentary hosted by someone from the (left-liberal) open-Democracy website would be giving such "reactionary" women a free and unedited platform without (left-liberal) editorialising is preposterous.

It was presenter Lara Whyte's personal view ultimately, channelled via the BBC, and she gradually made that view crystal clear.

The programme might have tried to give these 'far-right' women some justice, but that justice would never be anything other than heavily circumscribed by Lara & Co's telling of it.

Now, on the opposite end of social media (nearer to us), there have been very different opinions about this programme. 

(So it's been "controversial" for reasons other than those mentioned by Feedback!).

Though some welcomed the programme for giving the likes of Lauren and Lucy a tiny bit of BBC airtime (the very thing the other side got so cross about), it's been mostly about 'our gals' getting 'stitched up' by the BBC and a presenter - from the Soros-funded openDemocracy website - making her ultimate disapproval of these right-wing women clear.

So, are Lauren Southern and "Nazi necklace"-wearing 'Friend of Tommy' Lucy Brown genuinely far-right and dangerous? Or are they being smeared?

(Lucy, for one, thinks that Lara and the BBC smeared her). 

Such questions, of course, won't concern Roger Bolton's Feedback, because such questions would never arise in the massively-overlapping Venn diagrams that are beginning to overwhelm the programme, and the BBC as a whole. But should they concern us?


  1. I'd also like to put a mirror up to the BBC's logic.

    Communism is an ideology that has been responsible directly for the deaths of tens of millions of people and the political oppression of hundreds of millions, or worse cases of genocide (by UN definitions). Where it has captured states it has launched aggressive wars e.g. against Finland, Poland and S Korea. It opposes democratic elections, free speech and freedom of religion. It has also directly subverted our democracies through illict payments, propaganda, spying and blackmail. All that I have stated in this paragraph is a matter of verifiable fact.

    And yet the BBC has no problem with the Far Left (ie Marxist communists) and communist sympathisers appearing on its programmes. Certainly it's very rare to find any BBC journo Tweet sneeringly about Far Leftists.


  2. I did find “In the Right” quite interesting. I don’t follow social media very much, and consequently I can’t really say if the women interviewed were fairly portrayed or not. However, I am afraid that alarm bells do start ringing my head when I hear of people with collections of Nazi memorabilia - assuming that was true. However, banning anything you don’t want to hear isn’t an answer to anything.

    But MB is right, of course the BBC doesn’t merely give a platform to commentators on the extreme left. It indulges them in the most uncritical way imaginable.

  3. Peter Hitchens's complaint about pro-abortion bias / lack of balance in controversial matters on Call the Midwife rumbles on, with the BBC rambling, obfuscating, failing to address the actual issue but nonetheless declaring this dismissal will be their final finding - unless something else comes up... You couldn't make it up.

    He's also been turned down for the post of Controller Radio 4 by unsigned e-mail from Birmingham. You couldn't...

  4. And there was me, a tax-paying, law-abiding white person getting on in years and all of a sudden I have become an extreme right-winger. Or was it the BBC that moved?
    Lauren Southern is no extremist but she has more guts than all of 'the beauties' at the BBC put together. Her speech in the EU parliament building is worth watching.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.