The far right is at its strongest since the 1930s, and the media is helping
Prominent far-right figures being given airtime on the BBC, LBC and ITV are not being properly challenged on their views
And far lefties flounce off in a huff when their views are challenged on the same shows.
The far right is on the march, and it is being legitimised and enabled by parts of the mainstream media. The shambolic interview of Raheem Kassam – sidekick to Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage – by the BBC’s flagship Today programme was a striking case in point. This champion of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (or as he calls himself, Tommy Robinson) – a man whose convictions include fraud, assault and contempt of court – was allowed to present himself as a legal expert. His link to the far-right Breitbart website was not mentioned.
His claim that there was “nothing far-right about us” was not challenged, despite his sympathy for banning Muslim immigration, or his response to Sheffield’s lord mayor banning Donald Trump from the city: “What is it with these Muslim mayors that as soon as they get power they start acting like fascists? Oh right yeah sorry that’s Islam …” There was no attempt to refute his farcical claim that the Mussolini-praising Bannon was a “Kennedy Democrat”. His past vile statements were not put to him, like: “Can someone just like … tape Nicola Sturgeon’s mouth shut? And her legs, so she can’t reproduce. Thanks.” His repeated use of the term “cultural Marxism” – a far-right trope with antisemitic roots – or description of trans people as “trannies” was not mentioned. The interview was a travesty, another step further down the road of far-right normalisation.
The general view is that people are not stupid. That’s why we have democracy, because people are not stupid and can indeed choose. Idiots spouting nonsense will be perceived as idiots spouting nonsense. Whether it’s idiots holding up Venezuela as a model for the economy or those insisting upon racism as a grounding for society.
What Young Owen’s complaining about is the air time given to the idiots he disagrees with, not that on offer to those he agrees with – or himself, of course.