Another intelligent opinion on the gagging option being considered in the UK.
To what extent should the media report extreme views? The BBC is accused of giving undue prominence to Muslim demagogue Anjem Choudary, the cleric who stands accused of having inspired Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo.
Another associate of Adebolajo, one Abu Nusaybah, was arrested at BBC studios just after giving an interview about how the blood-soaked suspect was once courted by our security services.
Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday signalled her unease at liberal broadcasters’ readiness (some might say precipitous desire) to make media stars out of these unalluring men. Does she have a point?
Chauffeurs were dispatched to convey Choudary to BBC and Channel 4 studios, as though he were some sort of celebrity. He was accorded the full courtesies of a member of London’s ‘punditocracy’.
Had the make-up girls combed that beard? Sure looked like it. He was given the powdered, soft-backlit treatment normally extended to politicians and representatives of respectable views. So what did he make of the Woolwich butchery?
Choudary conceded to feeling ‘shock’. But he certainly would not condemn it.
Here was a so-called man of religion, dressed in the clerical garb of one of the world’s great faiths.
Yet he would not criticise two machete-wielding motorists who mowed down a pedestrian and then tried to sever the defenceless soul’s head from his neck.
Ye gods. And now over to Liam for the weather.
Defenders of the BBC will say it is important that we know such violent sympathies bubble under society’s facade. Society has, in its darkest pockets, men and women who believe in all sorts of Satanic misdeeds.
But liberals, rightly, would never contemplate giving them a platform on prime-time network television.
If they bubble under society’s facade, let them stay there. Don’t turn them into gurus for the masses.
As a journalist who dislikes politicians meddling in the media, I would normally be tempted to side with the BBC.
Indeed, I find it more difficult to feel disquiet about Channel 4, whose news reporting has long been testing and rigorous, even if it often dresses to the Left. It is harder to give the BBC the benefit of the doubt. This is a Corporation which for years has promoted political correctness at the expense of journalistic truth.
This is a Corporation whose news editors have been bullied into silencing criticism of working-class views about multiculturalism and immigration.
You agreed with Enoch? Your voice went unheard. The middle-class snoots of the BBC hierarchy would not hear of such intolerance.
You support the death penalty, English nationalism, a flat tax rate, an end to the welfare system? No airtime for you.
Would Anjem Choudary have been given such a comfortable ride on primetime telly if he had been attacking wind farms; if he had been calling for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union; if he had been questioning the MMR vaccine?
This conditioning of BBC editors as to what is and what is not ‘acceptable’ – a conditioning which earlier this month prevented them telling us the Pakistani background of most of the Oxford sex ring – explains how Choudary sauntered into a BBC studio to abuse our country.
Free speech is not the same as naïvely giving houseroom to enemies of the state.
When journalism tries too hard to be politically correct it becomes opaque, dishonest and, in this instance, culpably unpatriotic. The timing was wrong. The tone was wrong.
The decision to ‘go’ with studio guest Choudary was that of a management which is even more remote from its viewers than our much-criticised politicians are from their voters.
When the country’s most powerful media organisation (by far) is so out of touch, is it any wonder democracy is in such ill health?
No journalist wants to return to the days of Mrs Thatcher’s attempt to prevent Sinn Fein leaders ever being heard on air (the BBC, rightly, got round that authoritarian ban by employing actors to voice the words of Gerry Adams and Co).
But the comparison to Irish republicanism is instructive. Sinn Fein was and is a political party. Not so Anjem Choudary.
This row weakens the BBC. Politicians are pouncing. Shadow Justice Minister Sadiq Khan said that Choudary was an ‘offensive and obnoxious media tart’.
The Tories’ Lady Warsi deplored the promotion of extremist ‘idiots and nutters’.
Sucking up to the Centre Left and its grubby electoral scheme of multiculturalism was once seen by the BBC’s ruling Left-wing clique as a good career move.
It has backfired terribly, not just on them and on our country, but most terribly on the family of Drummer Rigby.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk