Social media is abuzz lately with the sudden downhill trajectory of the quality of audiences on BBC’s Question Time (BBCQT) programme. Never exactly a hotbed of fair debate, it’s gone from bad to absurd with a preponderance of extreme right-wingers in the audiences resulting in horrendous discourtesy and outright abuse, especially toward female panellists such as the excellent Angela Rayner, who was disgracefully treated in Hartlepool.
UKIP, for example, has always received far more airtime – on the BBC and elsewhere – than its electoral importance merited, legitimising its racist views. But in recent months, Question Time’s audiences have often appeared to consist of a majority of small-minded xenophobes with no qualms about spouting little-England nonsense and shouting down anyone who dares dissent.
It turns out there may be a very simple explanation for that: ‘Audience producer’ Alison Pedley.
Ms Pedley’s Facebook shows her job title as “Audience Producer at BBC Question Time”:
The job of the audience producer is to select the people who will form the audience, as this BBCQT article confirms, specifically about Ms Pedley:
Every week audience producer Alison Fuller has to select the audience
So it’s clearly a role of central importance to the type of people we see on the show each week.
For a fair and balanced approach, you would ideally want someone politically neutral in the role. So Ms Pedley’s tendency to support ‘Britain First’ (BF) online is certainly troubling, to say the least:
The second of these two BF posts are shared a number of times on her Facebook feed on different dates.
Now, you might just about give the benefit of the doubt to the average person for sharing a poppy picture near to Remembrance Day and allow that they might not know who BF are or what they represent.
But an experienced BBC producer on a political programme? It’s unthinkable.
That’s not the end of the incriminating evidence. The EDL (English Defence League) is nothing short of a neo-nazi organisation. Ms Pedley also posted directly to an event page on Facebook that is sponsored by the EDL asking for people to participate in BBCQT:
The growing perception that BBCQT has become little more than a front for promoting right-wing extremism seems to have a lot of substance to it. Criminally, when honest news has never been more needed and so-called ‘fake news’ is high on the agenda, in the context of the output of its news channel it appears that the BBC is giving up even the pretence of impartiality.
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