A few days after the seismic shock of the US electing a man who campaigned on racist promises of walling off Mexico, labelling Mexicans as rapists and banning all Muslim visitors, today’s ‘Marr’ show will contribute to a balanced, measured perspective – by giving a platform to French fascist leader Marine le Pen.
On Remembrance Sunday, when we honour the memory of millions who fought – and often died – to defeat the plague of fascism.
Some people get it, like Labour’s outstanding Angela Rayner:
Marine Le Pen speaking on #Marr Remembrance Sunday? Why not interview our veterans who fought fascists&lost so many comrades?So wrong BBC!
— 🌈 Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) November 12, 2016
The scandal of the UK’s national broadcaster giving airtime to an avowed advocate of bigotry shames the BBC – but also typifies its track record over recent years.
Some people get that, too – like journalist Paul Mason:
BBC systematically boosted Nick Griffin, Farage and now Le Pen. You'll be harder on Corbyn than Mme Nazi.
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) November 12, 2016
A few years ago, Nigel Farage and his UK Independence Party were a sideshow – a freak show – that very few people took seriously. But the BBC gave him a prominence far beyond what UKIP’s electoral performances merited.
Whether for entertainment or for darker reasons, Farage’s ugly mug and shameless bigotry were on almost every politics show, giving him a massive platform to spout hideous racism and xenophobia.
Farage was, this morning, the first UK politician to meet Trump and there’s a definite asymmetry in their reactions – in stark contrast to the BBC, even Trump has the sense to be squeamish about giving Farage a photo opportunity:
By legitimising Farage and UKIP in this way, the BBC (and other media) legitimised racist views. They made it start to seem ok to be a bigot, to those so inclined.
Years later, the fruit of that idiocy is a Britain on its way out of the EU and a massive increase in hate crime in a country that used to pride itself on its tolerance and civility.
Clearly nothing has been learned – or else the tactic was intentional. Trump’s elections have seen an immediate surge in racist incidents in the US.
And the BBC’s reaction? Give another fascist a platform.
The foolishness of the BBC and other media with regard to Farage and UKIP is very recent and its cost even more so. Yet clearly they have learned nothing from it and are doomed – or determined – to repeat it.