Radio presenter Stephen Nolan led credence to accusations the Beeb is run by a “metropolitan liberal elite” over the first weekend of September in a succession of increasingly explosive phone calls to his show revealing the presenter’s bias on the migration crisis.
Controversy flared up over what one caller described as “emotional blackmail” towards those opposing programmes to take more refugees into Britain, with Nolan repeatedly bringing up the image of Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler whose body was photographed after washing up on the shores of Turkey.
When one Nigel from Cambridge phoned up to question the wisdom of someone allowing an unknown refugee to move into their house it eventually led to Nolan asking if he was a “Christian man”, with Nigel saying he wasn’t.
“Are you charitable in any way?” Nolan continued. “You care about people in any way? In what way?”
The call continued in the vein with Nigel growing audibly upset, and Nolan asked what he made of the picture of Kurdi.
“There’s millions died in the war in Syria already,” Nigel argued, not unfairly. “Did you see the pictures of the dead there? There’s millions dying in Iraq. So why does one matter?”
Following that Jonathan from Swansea asked how they could be sure that refugees weren’t criminals or terrorists, with Nolan then asking whether the children on television looked like “Islamic extremists to you?”
This was labelled “emotional blackmail” by Jonathan, who said: “I’m sure I’m not the only one who is fed up of this 24-hour guilt trip by the media, by politicians who have the nerve to invite people into this country without the consent of the people.”
He added that Britain was just “numb to the propaganda now”, and that the country had taken in too many people over the last 20 years.
Nolan then went into full attack mode:
“When I say to you don’t you want children to be safe, it’s a pretty natural thing for me to do. Wherever they are in the world don’t you want to reach out a hand of friendship to kids that are in trouble, or do you just want to sit and look after yourself?”
David in Hull later asked Nolan for an apology for his treatment of Jonathan from Swansea, with Nolan refusing to apologise and criticising David for having phoned in rather than writing to the Beeb (so the matter could be quietly swept aside, one assumes).
Following the broadcast Breitbart’s editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam, formerly an aide to Ukip leader Nigel Farage, wrote an open letter challenging Nolan to a debate in the wake of the controversy.
Let the games begin.