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Naked Leader Week – 331 – Monday 26 October 2009
The Power of Detractors
Time to read – 3 minutes
The British National Party (BNP) in the UK could not believe their good fortune. Their leader Nick Griffin had been invited onto the BBC’s flagship political panel programme Question Time in October 2009 as a panelist.
Mass breakout of anger towards the BBC for giving a voice to someone with such extreme views. Fair enough, so to minimise his publicity, which option does his opposition go for?
Option A: Ignore it, let him go on the panel and be a normal panelist – he will speak for about one fifth of the panelist’s time, and he has four other panelists who will be destroying his views, in front of a hostile audience.
No, instead they go for:
Option B: Protest outside the BBC, fight with and injure the police, break into the BBC and be dragged out – creating virtually continuous news output for Sky News being shown all over the world (and cue my first of many emails from around the world asking “who is Nick Griffin and the BNP?”).
I am not saying they were “right” or “wrong” I am merely repeating the facts of the day and evening, to show how detractors can help accelerate the very thing they are detracting against.
And, once the panel show gets started, what are the questions on?
The postal strike – no
The war in Iraq – no
The economy – no
Tonight they decided to focus on just one topic – Nick Griffin and his views – indeed, Nick spoke, and most critically, was spoken about, for the vast majority of the programme.
The following day the papers and news and country were full of the same.
You couldn’t buy free publicity like that – and the BNP didn’t have to.
The BBC may have put him on the stage, with four others, like they have put hundreds of others before him, many with equally controversial views. His detractors sold the show, and made him the star.
And didn’t they sell the show well! Question Time with Nick Griffin was watched by the highest audience in the programme’s 30 year history – just under 8 million viewers, 3 times its normal audience, 10 times ITV1’s audience at the same time. Indeed, the interest in the BNP’s first appearance on the panel programme was so great that half the TV audience (50.4%) tuned to BBC One at 10.30-11.30pm, with the ratings matching those of soaps such as ‘EastEnders.’
So, just one question for you:
Was the BBC “right” or “wrong” to have Nick Griffin as a panelist on Question Time?
Please vote and share your views here
With my best wishes