Far-right group Britain First is back as official political party

FR News is a disaster. There are no two ways about it. Same Nigel Farage– their last desperate attempt to tempt viewers and appease plummeting ratings – is struggling.

Andrew Neil, one of the driving forces behind the canal, left the organization last week in a very public spat. He only put on a handful of shows before going on an extended hiatus, during which he eventually managed to break out of his multi-million pound contract. In an interview with daily mail, he described his time there as “the worst eight months of my career.” A little melodramatically, he claimed his experience was worse than being on an IRA results list.

I have no sympathy for Neil. From the start, it was clear what kind of operation GB News would be. They used his reputation and connections to give the project a veneer of respect. It was never about free speech or a change of conversation, really, but a soulless attempt to fuel and profit from culture wars and conservative discourse online.

GB News is a failure in any measurable way. They see it as a victory when they outdo BBC News or Sky News, but focus entirely on the 24-hour news channels, which I have never seen anyone actively watch, just tolerate. Their viewership figures are pale compared to any major Earth news program. Famous a few months ago the Welsh language version of Paw PatrolPawennau Patrol-was surpassing them in the notes.

Simply put, the channel was launched before it was ready. The poor quality of production and the litany of technical issues have been widely laughed at online. They had virtually no rehearsals. “The CEO wanted to get on the air, even if it was run down, and then make it better,” Neil said speaking to the Daily Mail. The quality has not improved significantly since, however, with regular factual inaccuracies and misspellings of the names of their own presenters.

They managed to alienate much of their own viewer base when one of their presenters knelt down to protest the racist abuse suffered by footballers after the Euro 2020 final; Guto Harri was suspended for his actions, then proceeded to abandon. The hypocrisy of a channel based on free speech was evident from the start – “free speech” was, once again, used as an excuse for outdated or fanatic views. Left-wing commentators routinely turn down invitations to participate in debates because no meaningful debate ever takes place, it’s just an outrage-generating machine.

Maybe they were aiming too high. Commentary and 24-hour policy coverage is a lot to deal with, especially without third-party content to fill the schedule. They didn’t want to cover breaking news, due to the costs and logistics it would entail, but without any, the commentary often feels dry or slow. At a time when media consumption is shrinking, it seems like a strange decision to introduce a new news channel. Much of their most successful content is often short, viral clips that circulate online.

And, now, having previously ditched such plans, it looks like malicious nonagenarian Rupert Murdoch is about to melt down and create a rival chain. He brings with him everything that GB News lacks: adequate funding and a minimum of experience. talkTV will launch early next year, with Piers Morgan featuring the flagship slot machine. Rumor has it that many at GB News are hoping for new cushy jobs at talkTV. UK News promises “appropriate hourly news bulletins, sports and entertainment broadcasts […] news, debates, opinions and documentaries. A wider range of content could prove to be more popular and more successful.

Despite its questionable success, GB News doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. He has found a rather small core of supporters who fiercely defend the programming, believing it to be more trustworthy than its competitors although objectively it is an increasingly right-wing echo chamber to the right. It will, it seems, continue to produce poor policy analysis for the foreseeable future. It seems doubtful whether it will have the impact the channel founders hoped for – they’ve managed to prove how vital our other information ops are.

How GB News’ ‘free speech’ propaganda brought it down



About Hannah Schaeffer

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