The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A Question Of Time

I have no problem with Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time. I mean, I have every problem with the guy, and everything he stands for, but if you believe in things like free speech then occasionally it means you have to let the idiots have their turn.

But the way the BBC have dealt with the whole thing is pretty reprehensible. Because, firstly, the amount of preliminary coverage they gave the show was totally disproportionate. In a effort to bolster ratings, they built him up into some sort of visiting celebrity; headline news on every news show of the day, taking up half the news website, videos of him entering the BBC, of protestors outside the BBC. The endless trumpeting reminded me of Radio One when Madonna appeared on Top Of The Pops; Madonna is in her car approaching Shepherd's Bush, Madonna’s limo is parking in the car park, Madonna is now in make-up. You give someone a fanfare, they’re going to look more significant than they are. Which kind of undermines the whole ‘proportionate coverage’ thing; I don’t remember them making this sort of fuss when the Green Party had their leader on.

When, really, the way to go would be to treat it as any other edition of Question Time. No extra trailers, no making the show into a news story. Because what the BNP – a piddling, marginal, extremist bunch of twats – want to be seen to be controversial, news-making, headline-grabbing.

(I suppose, though, it fits in with the BBC’s general policy of trying to bring back the 70’s.)

The second problem is that the show itself – thanks to what was an even more cherry-picked audience than usual – became all about the BNP. Have them on the show by all means, but don’t make them the show.

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