BBC Northern Ireland and Katie Hopkins: Fatal attraction or base stupidity?

Posted: June 2, 2012 in Media & Journalism, Northern Ireland

What’s going on in BBC Northern Ireland when every time it wants to present a debate about a serious issue, like the state of the local economy or public sector strikes, it brings in one Katie Hopkins, the ill-informed, extremely annoying and long-past winner of the dumbest programme on the BBC, The Apprentice? What producer at the BBC in Belfast thinks that it’s a good idea to turn serious issues in current affairs into a pantomine by having this useless person debating with serious players in the local public and private sectors? Getting Katie Hopkins to talk about local politics and economics is like getting Sammy Wilson to talk about Camus…in French.

Katie Hopkins after another call from Stephen Nolan

This is a woman who has no clue about  or sympathy for Northern Ireland. This is a woman who made a fool of herself on BBC Question Time (20 January 2011) by suggesting that women didn’t deserve equality and that, anyway, many couldn’t handle it if they got it. This is a woman who appeared opposite Owen Jones  on the inane Nolan Show on TV (25 April 2012) to defend government proposals for a regional pay differentials. Thankfully, the fabulous Patricia McKeown of UNISON NI was in the audience to put Katie in her place but still…why was Katie Hopkins on the show in the first place?  And why was she on Radio Ulster’s Talk Back just recently (31 May 2012) debating a proposed doctors’ (not dockers!) strike with a professional representative and a local trades unionist?  She barracked and interrupted them with neoliberal nonsense throughout to such a degree that listeners started texting and tweeting for her to get off. When the presenter told her about this, Stephen Nolan style, she complained that she may not be an expert about the economy or the public sector but she had a right to express an opinion. Perhaps but it would help if it was an informed opinion at least.

If Talk Back was so intent on union bashing, the producer could surely have invited someone local? Someone knowledgeable or  capable? Someone from Belfast Chamber of Commerce maybe? Then again, maybe they just thought they were very right on by inviting her on air? Maybe they just wanted to manufacture controversy or outrage by bringing on a straw woman who’s easy to knock down? Maybe every current affairs  presenter with BBC NI now wants to be like Stephen Nolan and win a prize?

Katie tells Stephen she’s washing her hair

But you know what? It backfired because it’s one thing being controversial and objectionable but intelligent; and quite another thing being controversial, objectionable…and just stupid.

And I’m talking about Stephen Nolan, Talk Back and BBC NI – not Katie Hopkins.


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