Nikolay Kalinin watched GB News’ launch night and found it to be anything but “doing the news differently”
GB News is finally here and I have to admit it’s not as much of a hub of “fruitcakes and looneys and closet racists” as present on Fox News. It surprisingly has a large diversity in terms of the racial origins of its presenters, but some on the channel, such as Neil Oliver – who will be analysing “what it means to be British” – make me concerned, as a few days ago he made the unfortunate decision to deliver a bunch of tosh about coronavirus lockdowns being utterly unneeded.
In an interview with the newspaper The Herald, Oliver stated: “I think it is the biggest single mistake in world history and I’m just horrified by the damage that has been done. People who have had no support, no help, lost businesses, lost livelihoods and all the rest of it.”
In a tone that sounds hilariously dystopian, Oliver claimed that people come up to him on the streets and “lower their voices, because they want to say that they think things are wrong.”
The channel’s lack of awareness can also evidenced in the fact that chairman Andrew Neil has delivered a ridiculous message that GB News is a channel that it proud to be British, despite the fact that most of its backers are from abroad. Neil has also mentioned that GB News aims to cover the “people’s agenda,” which sounds like something that Nigel Farge would say if he launched his own TV channel.
During the introductory broadcast, Neil also stated that the channel aims to provide debate, and don’t get me wrong, I believe in the principle of debate, because without debate we cannot come to an understanding and work together in order to improve society. The idea of allowing presenters to have their own opinions is also fine by me, because if that principle was not allowed on British television, we wouldn’t have amazing shows such as Top Gear and Mock the Week.
During the introductory broadcast, Neil also mentioned that GB News will aim to not solely look at Westminster, but also analyse how the government’s decisions influence Britain’s communities, which is important if the people want to feel represented and avoid putting their trust the likes of Reform UK’s Richard Tice.
However, the problem is that there are lots of people – especially people like Neil Oliver – who don’t want debate and rather seek to divide. This became evident on GB News’ opening night when Neil asked Oliver about how he feels oppressed in Scotland for identifying with the British identity. He did not offer an alternative view in his line of questioning.
It’s concerning to me that GB News will be a safe haven for the likes of Oliver to give the likes of Laurence Fox and Darren Grimes a platform to spread their harmful messages. This is especially evidenced by the fact that a large amount of people on the channel’s roster are ‘beyond-right-wing’ – such as ex-Guido Fawkes contributor and ‘condom campaigner’ Tom Harwood, ex-Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips and ex-Brexit Party candidate Michelle Dewberry.
The introductory broadcast has given us hints that this is exactly what is going to happen. During Dan Wootton’s interview with Nigel Farage, for example, the ex-politician described Black Lives Matters as a “Marxist organisation… that wants to bring down Western civilisation,” yet the host didn’t bother to even question this suggestion. How is this providing debate and how is this impartial coverage?
Still, GB News has only been just launched, so we cannot tell fully if this is going to be the British Fox News that no one asked for, or if it’s actually going to offer an alternative and revolutionary coverage of news. Let’s wait and see how the whole operation proceeds, and then let’s make our judgement. After all, cancel culture is not really effective and for the most part, it’s pretty daft.