What this tawdry episode seems to confirm is a surfeit of anger among conservatives as institutions become more 'progressive'. This anger finds its expression in childlike emoting rather than serious counter-policy discussion. It's now a business model for pundits outside the mainstream.

Having developed much sympathy with certain conservative viewpoints I consistently find myself repelled by the culture spawned by their frustration.

I don't much care for 'unacceptable' as a description of those views expressed on air about a woman. I'd have just sacked those men for being idiots with nothing useful to say and making the channel look pathetic.

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Oct 4, 2023Liked by Thomas Prosser

I don't think that there's much evidence that GB News management is interested in moving things in a more sober direction. The history of the channel suggests that the battle between establishment conservatism vs. controversy/outrage stuff was fought in the very early days and was conclusively won by Frangopoulos. (https://www.newstatesman.com/long-reads/2022/04/were-going-to-disrupt-a-year-inside-gb-news). I think the suggestion that the action against Fox was "telling" is too generous. The attempts to ignore the Wooten allegations from earlier in the summer seem just as revealing.

One outcome of that victory for the controversialist approach was the winding down of the initial plans to focus on news beyond the Westminster bubble and the 'forgotten areas' of the country. This idea of GB News that was originally proposed isn't the one that materialised and significant numbers of the original production staff left as a result. Having the Coast guy talk about "dark forces" is also much cheaper obviously.

Finally, it seems odd to discuss the politics of the media environment without acknowledging that conservatives are very well served by the press. The print media continues to significantly influence elite political discussion (see the endless paper review slots. Or the Today programme running order each day). Obviously the link with the print media is a lot clearer with Talk TV but it feels like any discussion of the two conservative channels should engage with the conservative dominance of the press.

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I don’t know much about GB News, as I’m Australian. However, with any outlet or channel, there’s a danger of “audience capture”. The most extraordinary example I’ve ever seen of this is detailed here: https://gurwinder.substack.com/p/the-perils-of-audience-capture

In other words, the audience demand for a counterpoint to other narratives becomes ever stronger, pushing the outlet (or commentators) in more extreme directions. I think this explains a lot of the polarisation we see in media these days. You don’t get clicks for balanced stories. But this leads to a concomitant drop in trust of outlets as biased, particularly by those who don’t accept the particular slant of that outlet or commentator.

I will admit to a drop in trust in media myself. I used to work in the court system, and I would see media reports of cases in which I was involved. With one extremely honourable exception (where the journalist attended every day of the particular trial, in an old-school fashion) I felt that reports were inaccurate or incomplete, and more based on media releases than direct observation. Presumably this relates to being in a hurry, and journalists being too busy and time-pressed to directly observe. In one instance, a trial was totally misrepresented to get a catchy headline, and I remain grumpy about it.

These days, when I am interviewed by the TV media, I find that we have a great nuanced conversation, but the only bit that appears in a television report is the lame sound-bite at the end - the part of the discussion which I thought was least interesting, helpful or illustrative of the problem. That being said - I’ve had a great experience with particular radio shows, where I really trust the individual running the program, and where I’ve been able to have an extended conversation.

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Oct 2, 2023·edited Oct 2, 2023

I never watched GB News but it's all very jarring to read this. The Conservative Party has won most elections in the past 50 years yet apparently conservatives are a small minority. "Liberal democracy" ... I get it's a term of art on this blog, almost, but still ... it requires that conservatives not be represented on TV making it neither liberal nor democratic. There are much better terms for this system out there. N.S. Lyons uses the term managerial regime, for example.

> OFCOM might not ruin the channel, yet dwindling viewing figures may.

Seems very clear that Ofcom is doing whatever it can to destroy GB News and if it goes down, the government will be a large part of the reason why. You can't disconnect their popular presenters being censored and harassed from dwindling figures, they're deeply connected.

> yet many descended into conspiracy theory

So they were probably right, then?

The linked article is The Guardian, and appears to be claiming that any discussion of the possibility of one world government is inherently anti-semitic, especially if you use the phrase "silent war", because some book someone found somewhere in the 80s which had the word silent and the word war in the title and also contained something about the Rothschilds and if you criticize famous Jews you're an anti-semite therefore anyone who uses the term silent war mea..... ah whatever. This is like six degrees of Kevin Bacon except with more degrees. If you criticize a Jewish person you hate all Jews, if you criticize a woman you hate all women, if you criticize a foreign person you hate all foreigners, if you criticize an English man ... oh wait, that's OK and doesn't mean anything. It's that kind of braindead media logic that drives people to GB News in the first place.

I watched the offending TV clip. My first GB News monologue! It seems pretty mild, a speech about the fact that some non-trivial fraction of the population and especially in parliament/public/NGO sector strongly dislike nation states and clearly desire a world government. Also the second half is just about censorship and why it's bad. These seem like very mild statements of fact to me, would half the people he's criticizing even disagree with this characterization of their views if asked? This type are strongly supportive of large trans-national governmental bodies like the EU, the World Economic Forum, the World Health Organization, the ECHR, the UN, etc and aren't ashamed to let everyone know it. It's not so much a conspiracy as a more-or-less plainly stated direction of travel.

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The BBC has never had "Reithian Principles" (despite it's hugely seductive schtick about itself). Before trotting out this moth-eaten cliche, people should ask themselves these questions:

- what proportion of the BBC's 20-odd thousand employees would you guess are Conservative voters?

- and what proportion Labour voters?

- and how many scriptwriters of BBC dramas would you guess think of themselves as conservatives?


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