- Sun May 26, 2019 3:21 pm
You should read Nick Lowles' section:
Nick Lowles: ‘We have to be critical friends and say there are some things they are doing well, and some they are not’
Chief executive of anti-racism and anti-extremism movement HOPE not hate
The BBC is vitally important, but it’s being politically attacked and it needs defending. That’s why we have to be critical friends and say that, while there are some things they are doing well, there are some things they’re not doing well.
There’s been a concerted effort recently to have alternative views on programmes such as Today or PM, and rightly so, but that requires interviewers to act responsibly, and I don’t think they always do.
Straight after the Christchurch shootings, there was an interview on Newsnight with the UK leader of the far-right Generation Identity group. Many people felt it was an uncritical interview, especially given that the suspect had drawn inspiration from GI’s “great replacement” narrative and the later revelations that he had donated to the group’s Austrian chapter.
Also in March, Newsnight ran a piece on Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) where the imagery surrounding the package was a picture of Robinson with tape across his face. This played into his narrative that he’s a freedom‑of‑speech warrior.
Quite often, the interviewer isn’t well equipped to take on these people. There’s a complacency with extremist figures such as Robinson or Anjem Choudary, where it’s assumed it’ll be easy to interview them, but these people are political street fighters and often they run rings around the interviewer, simply because they don’t conform to the normal ways that politicians act in interviews. They just make things up, deny things. Rather than acting as a platform for these cranks, the BBC should be better equipped to challenge them, and interviewers should be more prepared to say: “This is nonsense.”
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.