Ian Dunt has written an absolute Dunt of a piece for the i.
Its title, “GB News used to be a joke – now it’s dangerous” reminds me of the phrase: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” It looks like the mainstream media have officially reached phase three, which means winning is just around the corner!
With the kind of unintentional hilarity typical of Dunt types, he writes: “Very quietly, [GB] has become one of the most pernicious parts of the broadcasting landscape” and claims, with a level of hyperbole that would embarrass the most pernicious of shock jocks, that GB has “dedicated itself to conspiracy theories on the furthest fringes of the right”.
For years, the regulatory environment in the U.K. was based on an assumption of gentlemanly conduct, in which they kept a vague eye on people who were ultimately acting in good faith. The BBC and Sky generally made sure that most debates featured voices from both sides. Stations like LBC approached balance across the schedule instead of per debate, alternating right-wing hosts with more progressive ones. But GB News has jettisoned that approach. It is quite clear where its hosts are coming from. There is no equivalent of James O’Brien.
On that last point, we can all be grateful. While the idea that the BBC and Sky are balanced is, at this stage, laughable, and is of course a large part of the reason GB needed to be created. Dunt also neglects to mention that LBC drove Nigel Farage out, and has lately abandoned any semblance of balance, now largely consisting of Emily Maitlis and Keir Starmer getting all moist about Davos.
Dunt generously concedes:
They do invite liberal or left-wing guests on – there was a point where I was receiving a text from them every week until they finally got the message to f*** off. But inviting on some normal guests in order to conceal the overall thrust of your editorial position is not balance or accuracy. It is camouflage.
Ah, the old ‘refusing to go on the channel while condemning it for not having people like you on’ gambit. Backed up by the now high status needless swearing of the craft beer set, who think Led By Donkeys is the height of satire. Topped off with the amusing idea that only lefties are ‘normal’.
Eventually, we get to the real issue – Dunt’s guilt for appearing on Russia Today:
I learned this lesson for myself the hard way, when I used to go on Russia Today years back. Sweet naive child that I was, I thought it was a free speech issue. They had a right to broadcast. I would go on there and deliver the liberal message. As long as nothing I said was misrepresented or censored, there was no problem.
That turned out to be a deeply foolish assessment. No matter what you say as a guest, the overall structure of the narrative is designed to mislead and deceive. It is aimed not at expanding free speech, but making it impossible by undermining the evidential base it needs to function.
In other words, Dunt appeared on a far more controversial channel than GB, and is thus desperate to win back points with the Establishment, which is now done by using sophistry to undermine free speech.
Dunt’s piece comes just as journalist Michael Crick bizarrely claimed that GB should have been closed down by Ofcom at the very start. I say bizarre because, to me, GB broadcasts the widest range of views of any TV news channel.
The attacks have gone from ridiculing supposedly low viewing figures, to claiming the station is a deadly threat. Whichever line of attack they go with next, the question remains: why are the established media so afraid of GB News?
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