GB News, chaired by The Spectator’s Andrew Neil, is due to start broadcasting as a free-to-air TV channel in March this year. It has several investors including hedge funder Paul Marshall. Marshall’s interest in politics consists of payment to government for decisions that enhance his wealth. His Hedge Fund Marshall Wace extracted millions from betting on the collapse of British companies as a result of Brexit and it continues to do so. Marshall had donated £100,000 to Vote Leave. He made £30,000,000 from the collapse of Carillion whose use for public service outsourcing Marshall had promoted via his book Orange Book he wrote with then coalition minister David Laws.
Marshall funded think-tanks Legatum Institute and Unherd that are used to guide governments into making decisions that favour hedge funders and other exploiters. The only reason he invested in GB News was to acquire another outlet for promotion of politics that enable success of his financial operations.
The target audience for GB News is not the same as Legatum and Unherd who are targetted at journalists, government ministers, other think-tanks and academics. GB News is aimed at the public. The different audience means a different style. The con will be the same: Deceptive presentation of issues and of their respective solutions. Lies and distractions will be the same but language, focus and emotive behaviour will differ.
Entertainment will dominate. Provocative verbosity, manufactured controversies, rehearsed shouting matches and gobby, repetitive, incoherent soliloquies will be preferred. Dumbing down and mendacity will be overwhelming features of GB News.
Underlying a vulgar style will be adherence to libertarian free-market extremism including unswerving support for destructive Brexit because such philosophy suits disaster capitalists, hedge funders and market gamblers. GB News will present promotion of such as dishonestly as necessary. Its tactics will include standard right-wing populist distraction techniques of othering (xenophobia, bigotry and racism) and fake anti-elite perspective.
GB News needs voices it can trust to deliver the above. It needs experienced liars and con artists. It needs presenters, reporters, interviewers and contributors whose moral and ethical characteristics are absent, who are relentlessly repetitive and who are never perturbed by facts, debunkings and logic.
Preferred experience for prospective GB News public-facing staff
- At least twelve months working for a right-wing national broadcaster (TV or radio)
- Frequent appearances on a variety of TV broadcasters’ political programmes
- Regular contributor to right-wing think-tanks and lobby groups (written think-pieces and speaking at events)
- Regular column in a right-wing newspaper or magazine
- Working in business as or for an exploitative company
- Demonstrable relationships with conservative politicians (not necessarily all Tory)
Lesser experienced considered
- Host of a popular right-wing online channel
- Former elected conservative politician (not necessarily Tory)
- Creator and key protagonist at a right-wing think-tank or lobby group
Useful life experience
- Tax-dodging and/or offshore account
- Defendant in a libel case
- Private education
- Candidature for a conservative or far-right political party
- Bankruptcy or close to it
- Gossip journalism
- Blinkered focus
- Ambivalence to difference between truth and falsehood
- Adeptness at playing the victim
- Basic acting talent for ham emotions
Absence of the following will be needed
- Historical knowledge
- Didactic reasoning
- Willingness to listen
- Social responsibility
Fortunately for GB News there exists an industry of verbal stupefaction, misdirectional and division. Created by newspapers and think-tanks, advanced by TV broadcasters and honed by LBC and talkRadio, the industry of screaming heads will supply enough staff to fill GB News’ schedule.
The first publicised appointment at GB News was Dan Wootton, previously of The Sun, talkRadio and others and now at the Mail. Entertainment gossip journalist Wootton’s focus in recent years has been using the existence of (Duchess of Sussex) Meghan Markle as a way of promoting himself and of endearing himself to racists. Veteran bigoted gobshites Julia Hartley-Brewer, who assumed Covid denial as her hill to die on, and Nick Ferrari are expected to be hired by GB News. There will be no surprises among its presenters and contributors. Familiar faces, probably including Allison Pearson, Darren Grimes, Douglas Murray, Andrew Pierce, Tim Stanley, Harriet Sergeant, Toby Young, Kate Andrews, Paul Embery, Isabel Oakeshott and Fraser Nelson, will be preferred to anyone new because GB News will be too fearful to take any risks with an unknown face. Conservative in politics as well as in appointments.
(Update, February 18th: Guido contributor Tom Harwood hired by GB News)
A safety first no risk approach will be reflected also in its topics of discussion and its choice of interviewees. GB News knows precisely its target audience. There will be nothing exciting or refreshing about GB News.
This year, to help the marketing of GB News, Andrew Neil’s social media use increased and he twisted his online persona toward that of an ill-informed, dishonest bloviator. For example, on the pandemic related issue of whether or not schools should open Neil said
“hard-left National Education Union opposes schools reopening even if all teachers get a priority jab. Schools clearly an inconvenience for teachers’ union, since they only get in the way of its real passion — political activism. It would help NEA if we just closed schools forever.” Andrew Neil NEU
Neil writing in the style of an editorial in The Sun was intended to demonstrate the philosophy of GB News: Anti-intelligence, anti-reason, anti-logic, anti-facts coupled with insipid familiarity. Fake reactions, fake anger, fake surprise, fake confusion coupled with banal bad acting. Childish but uninnovative. An ignorant bore opining the same oft-debunked cod argument day after day.
GB News will be a pit of prepared petulance.