BBC invite EDL members to join Question Time studio audience via Facebook
Providing yet another chapter in the book I’m currently writing about our public service broadcaster titled ‘Banging My Face Against A Table Until My Brains Leak Out’, a pretty outrageous post has surfaced showing a Question Time Audience Producer seeking audience members from an EDL-supporting Facebook event page.
The event page publicises an anti-immigration march taking place on Saturday through Boston — the same town Thursday night’s Question Time broadcast from — and is organised by EDL members.
Some of the contributors to the page include one user who warns, “Dont let lincolnshire turn into a third world hell hole from invading middle eastern and north african migrants”, while another refers to those planning to attend a counter-march as “subhuman scum”.
But hey, gotta hear both sides right?
The woman who posted the invitation to the page, Alison Fuller, lists her employment as ‘BBC Question Time Audience Producer’ on Facebook. She is the owner of Full House Audience Management according to her LinkedIn profile. On its website, Full House boasts ‘unequaled precision targeting’ and ‘high audience engagement’ alongside a photo of David Dimbleby sporting a look that screams, “I’m on the line ready to hear your fascist views, baby! Lay it on me!”
Those of us who tend to worry about the state of The Discourse™ in this country were a little disheartened to find that last night’s Question Time went probably the most full-blown right-wing it’s ever been, including a guy who literally said that all leftists are mentally ill.
It felt like watching something that had been advertised as a fair fight, but then actually turned out to be Henry the Hoover trying to take on an overflowing sceptic tank. Many were disturbed by how much of the show was dominated by an anti-immigration narrative.
This isn’t the first time the BBC has been criticised for giving a platform to far-right views. In July, Writers of Colour sent an open letter to the BBC condemning a BBC News interview with a man who had a swastika tattooed on his arm, whose views went unchallenged by the reporter.
The corporation’s reply to the letter stated that although some of the views they broadcast “may be seen by many as wrong, or sometimes controversial” they claimed “we have a duty to reflect these views and allow our audience to make up their own minds.”
Those wishing to defend the BBC could point out that Question Time consists mainly of audience interaction and the show merely represents the views of a cross-section of the public. But even if you approve of the Beeb actively seeking out *EDL members* in order to hear from ‘both sides’, there’s further cause for concern here.
Boston resident Gina Lewis, the woman who first exposed Fuller’s post on Twitter, claims that while Question Time posted an invitation to the EDL members’ march page, they ignored an application to appear on the show from Boston Against Hate and Racism, a group set up by Gina’s daughter in direct opposition to the EDL’s presence in Boston.
She DM’d me to say: “Question Time made no attempt to invite anyone from the Boston against hate page which surely could have provided a more balanced view of Boston. The whole situation is ridiculous, gives Boston an even worse reputation than it already has, demonises immigrants and incites hate, all of which the BBC were apparently happy to inflame!” She also said the Boston Against Hate and Racism page had received abuse from EDL members.
So the BBC contact EDL members to ask for their political opinion, but not the peace group opposed to them?
This isn’t hearing both sides, this is using ‘precision targeting’ to hear from the most controversial and inflammatory side possible.
Personally I’m sickened by the BBC’s apparent appetite for seeking out hateful and racist viewpoints, but if they are determined do so, could they at least try to source opinions from the opposite end of the political spectrum too instead of just dipping our heads into a river of shit?