“An American would have been appalled at the stupidity and ignorance of the audience, but outraged by the attitude of the chairman, showing this seemed to be an acceptable view of America from the great and good of British society. Shame on you BBC”
Last week’s Question Time was a disgrace to the BBC and underlined the need for it either to be drastically changed, or put out of its misery.
The primary fault is the weakness and bias of the chairman David Dimbleby, although the producers too must take a share of the blame if they are in charge of selecting participants. This programme has long been sliding into a ranting centre for the superficial, noisy and bullying left, just like its sister programme on Radio 4, Any Questions. The panellists on BBCQT are often poorly chosen, with the addition of comedians and show-biz celebs underlining its irrelevancy. The staple format, of 3 or 4 politicians and one or two iconoclasts doesn’t work because there seems to be a shortage of the latter. The politicians are almost always predictable as they defend familiar arguments with previously agreed policy lines.
Last week’s programme was awful. Numerous questions on the election of Donald Trump dominated the programme, not surprisingly, but they were answered by some of the panellists in a superficial, sentimental, and often downright ignorant way. There was much use of doctored quotes and made up information, which the Republican party representative Jan Halper-Hayes tried hard to mitigate. She was let down by the chairman, who seemed more interested in placating the mob, than establishing some facts about Trump.
The chairman should have intervened on numerous occasions to correct misinformation which the audience spewed out, not least because of irresponsible reporting from the U.S. by the BBC, but that’s another matter.
There should have been a couple of strong and well informed panellists to defend Trump. Sarah Churchwell, apparently a professor of American Literature and Clintonista, was ludicrous and unimpressive, descending into rants about feminism and misogyny which made no sense. The fact that in her opening remarks she said she burst into tears on hearing the election result set the tone.
Yvette Cooper MP for Labour must have said the Misogyny word 10 times and as usual contributed nothing interesting. The SNP representative Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is a known superficial motormouth and blowhard, and shouldn’t be allowed near a gathering like this, which hopefully exists to provide a range of views and some intelligent ideas. The conservative MP Dominic Raab tried valiantly to inject some sense, but he faced an uphill struggle.
Also, anyone following the U.S. news about the election would have known that the campaign there had changed drastically, with Trump and Obama saying hostilities were over and it was time to come together. But your panellists, chairman and audience didn’t seem to be aware of this. When the Republican party representative pointed out that the U.S. employment rate was really more like 30% she was ridiculed. The chairman should have known about the Labour Participation Rate, which proved her point, but he left her exposed.
Alien fascist dictatorship
The audience, with some honourable exceptions, seemed to have been indoctrinated with the idea that America is some kind of alien, fascist dictatorship, not a freedom-loving, open society which still manages to produce the world’s highest living standards. This is undoubtedly because of the quality of the reporting by the BBC in particular and the media in general from the U.S.
An innocent American abroad, if they stumbled across this programme, would have been appalled at the stupidity and ignorance of (most of) the audience, but would have been outraged that from the attitude of the chairman, this seemed to be an acceptable view of America from the great and good of British society. Shame on you BBC.