The BBC don’t need The Archers any longer. They have got The Trumps instead. Trump team transgressions will make Rob and Helen’s domestic abuse drama look tame.
Expect a daily diet of misogyny, patriarchy, racism and exploitation (of migrants and Muslims) with sexual assault complaints from an assorted cast of Miss Universes, large breasted Bunny Girls and ageing feminists to add spice. This major crime serialisation will peak with murder, felony and impeachment. Trump and Putin will shake hands in a cliff hanger on the latter’s invasion of Europe. After a final uplifting instalment, when feminist heroine Elizabeth Warren storms the White House and saves America, the BBC will be able to resume service as usual.
Last week set the scene. The election day 6 pm news bulletin demoted the President-Elect to billionaire businessman, political novice status; aligned him with Putin, against Nato and queried his ability “to shake off allegations of racism and sexism” in a victory described as “the most shocking (not unforeseen) in American political history”.
BBC US correspondent Jon Sopel described Trump as a ‘street fighter insurgent’ campaigning ‘with a flame thrower and a flick knife’ – metaphors which questioned the validity of his victory.
But why had the BBC called it wrong? Were they as out of touch as some critics had suggested, Nick Robinson ventured.
Who better to ask than the veteran lefty luvvie and Brit abroad in New York, the octogenarian ex-Sunday Times editor, Harold Evans.
What a good choice! Evans dispatched any such doubt. The truth was otherwise. American voters had been taken in by Trump’s clever propaganda. Of course they had.
So here was the BBC’s licence to turn adversity into opportunity and their worst nightmare into a temporary setback.
Overnight the newsroom transitioned from news reporting to drama production. A political campaign to defeat the forces of modern fascism was under way.
Come Monday morning, the Today programme raring to rid the world of the demon Donald and anyone foolish enough to support him hit out at their first target.
Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist, and executive chairman of Breitbart, they immediately cast as a ‘right-wing firebrand’.
On Tuesday, another attack line on Trump allies opened up – with the appointment of a notorious climate change sceptic Myron Ebell to the top environment job on Trump’s transition team. Today was having a field day. Trump’s having ‘knife fights’ with his aides, the BBC’s US correspondent Jon Sopel gleefully told them, literally snorting with derision.
Trump’s team was already in tatters, Today insisted, ignoring their American interviewee’s remonstrations that, no, Chris Christie had not been demoted.
Wednesday’s episode found Lady Brooke (aka Sarah Montague) at the helm. Drawing on Bernie Sanders’s support she as good as declared all-out war on Trump.
With Thursday’s transmission Today’s vilification campaign reached new heights. Except they peaked too soon. In an extraordinarily poorly researched journalistic effort, Justin Webb decided to bracket the already besmirched Steve Bannon variously with anti-Semitism, with white supremacists and ‘the wicked’ in general, by defining him as ‘right-wing’. (For a balanced view of this thoughtful man please read Laura’s post here)
His interviewee for this exercise was the current editor of Breitbart, Joel Pollak.
As Guido regaled us, this effort spectacularly backfired:
“Justin Webb told Breitbart* editor Joel Pollack that Bannon “doesn’t like Jews”, Pollack replied that he is an orthodox Jew who observes the Shabbat and eats kosher food, and that Bannon is not an anti-Semite. Undeterred, Webb asked why a Breitbart report mentioned that the journalist Anne Applebaum is Jewish. Pollack replied: “I don’t know, why don’t you ask the Jewish author of that sentence?”
A drama that was not planned for and Webb humiliated!
If he had not dug a big enough grave for himself, Samira Ahmed, who presents the ‘impartial’ BBC Newswatch programme, continued digging for him during the day.
In a beyond believable Twitter exchange, she berated Justin Webb for not being tough on Joel Pollak. What he needed was more preparation in dealing with ‘the alt-right’. ‘You’ (Justin) should have treated Pollak (and presumably all those who agree with Trump) in the same way as you treat Islamist extremists’, she opined.
Doesn’t that categorisation tell you all you need to know about the BBC’s mindset?
‘You seem unprepared for how he responded’, she remarked, as though Justin had had to deal with extreme provocation.
He had not. Mr Pollak merely put the record straight against quite venomous insinuations and rightly accused Justin Webb of making “inflammatory…libelous and defamatory” statements about Breitbart and Steve Bannon.
Herein we come to the kernel of the BBC’s campaign, to incite ‘fear’ of something dreamt up as the ‘alt-right’, of which no doubt The Conservative Woman is part of.
Woman’s Hour has already adopted the meme. Yesterday they invited me to take part in a discussion about “Trump, Bannon and the alt-right manosphere”. I feared a set up and offered up my feistier co-editor Laura, instead. Surprise, surprise, after talking to her on the phone they decided not to go with it after all.
These, I suspect, are but temporary setbacks in the BBC’s mission. Hate is actually what the BBC is now carefully cultivating. Against whites, against men, against Christians. Their device, however, is to turn the man himself and anyone who supports him into the hater (that was my role on Woman’s Hour, I presume).
Mark Steyn’s insight is pertinent here. Once cast as haters, he says, “you de-legitimise their votes. And, if you de-legitimise their votes, you de-legitimise the very idea of representative government”.
This is what they tried this week with Steve Bannon. They failed. But I fear it is just a setback in what will go down as one of the most shameful periods in the BBC’s once proud history.