GB News (Great Britain News), fronted by BBC big-hitter Andrew Neil, will shortly be on our screens. The channel, backed to the tune of £60 million by wealthy funders, has been marketed by Neil and others as the go to news channel for the ordinary Brit.
Neil, the GB News chairman, claims that “British people are crying out for a news service that is more diverse and more representative of their values and concerns.”
It has also been claimed that GB News will be “proudly independent”, “impartial” and will focus on “debate that embraces all voices and opinions across Britain”.
How accurate are these claims? We investigate whose concerns GB News will REALLY represent.
The best place to start any analysis of an organisation is the economic base. Does the funding model for GB News tally with the channel’s claim that it will focus on the concerns of the British people?
This seems somewhat unlikely when the two main funders are mega-rich New Zealand and US businessmen.
“The chairman and a founding partner of Legatum, the investment firm that stumped up some £20m to become co-lead investor in GB News, is the New Zealand-born, Dubai-based Christopher Chandler” according to The Guardian.
The Guardian also point out that “US media group Discovery Inc is the other co-lead investor. Its significant shareholder is John Malone, the libertarian and erstwhile Murdoch cable rival”.
Still, at least ONE major investor is British: businessman Sir Paul Marshall loves his country so much he threw his weight behind Brexit to shake off the yoke of EU oppression.
According to Byline Times, Marshall is the man who convinced Michael Gove to throw his political weight behind Brexit. His hedge fund “successfully bet on the ensuing political and economic chaos after its initial big wins on Brexit.”
Is money Marshall’s true love? It appears so. “Setting up a fund in Dublin to avoid the impact of crashing out of the EU” doesn’t seem like the action of a man blindly in love with his country. Indeed, it makes him seem like a hypocrite hedging his bets.
Andrew Neil is as British as they come, you may think – until you read this Independent column about his French chateau. “I get out of London as much as possible when Parliament is not sitting” Neil boasts, “I either come here or go to New York”.
Where does he go in New York? Neil owns a New York apartment, purchased for $3.2 million dollars. That’s not even the worst of it: the apartment is in Trump Tower.
Neil, it seems, like the other big players in GB News, is a multi-millionaire globe-trotter with an affinity for ostentatious, Trumpian wealth.
The only conclusion to be drawn is that the economic base of GB News is in direct contradiction of its stated aims. Rather than being in step with the ordinary man, the funders are wealthy libertarians who play the markets and reap the rewards of deregulated capitalism. They do not appear to be in love with Britain so much as in love with its capacity to line their pockets.
How about the claim that GB News will be “proudly independent” and focus on “debate that embraces all voices and opinions across Britain”?
This seems somewhat unlikely when ALL CONFIRMED STAFF SO FAR are right-wingers
GB News Chairman and lead presenter Andrew Neil made his name as Rupert Murdoch’s lackey at the Sunday Times. As editor he boasted that “Thatcher’s battles were our battles” and was, according to Nick Davies, “a delirious sacker. He dumped so many people for being leftish.”
“Notoriously,” Davies continues (in his book Flat Earth News) “(Neil) refused to accept the consensus view of Aids, promoting the idea that this was a disease of gay men and drug addicts, attacking official advice that heterosexuals too were at risk”
Neil’s personal opinions also include cheerleading for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
He called opponents of the first “wimps with no will to fight” and, remarkably, praised Bush and Blair’s muddled, truth-twisting attempts to justify the Iraq war, echoing even the most absurd claims of nuclear weapons and ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Queda.
“The suburbs of Baghdad are now dotted with secret installations, often posing as hospitals or schools, developing missile fuel, bodies and guidance systems, chemical and biological warheads and, most sinister of all, a renewed attempt to develop nuclear weapons…” wrote Neil in The Scotsman.
What happened to all those WMDs Andrew? Did right-wingers like yourself share a collective dream about them (perhaps one flavoured by oil riches…)?
Who else is on board the fledgling ship GB News? Press Gazette provide a nice summary of the crew so far:
“Chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos, a former boss of Sky News Australia“
“Rebecca Hutson who is joining as head of digital. The former Mail Online director of video will also appear on-air”
“Lucinda Duckett has been named director of corporate affairs and editorial advocacy. Duckett most notably spent 13 years at News Corp Australia“
John McAndrew, “a former director of content at Sky News…named director of news and programmes”
The headline recruit for GB News (to date) is New Zealand-born journalist Dan Wootton. Wooton left Murdoch’s Sun to join GB News. Simultaneously, he took up a position as a columnist with the Mail on Sunday…
Can you see an emerging pattern?
We suppose it’s possible that a TV channel funded by mega-rich free market devotees and staffed by ex-Murdoch, News Corp, Daily Mail right-wingers will be “impartial” and embrace “all voices and opinions.”
Actually, no, we don’t.
As this article has demonstrated, there is a blatant disconnect between the words and actions of GB News.
We did, however, find one statement in their sales blurb which appears to be correct: GB News will be “fearless in tackling the issues people care about, especially in communities outside of London”.
Funded by wealthy investors in New Zealand and the US, staffed by wealthy corporate journalists like Neil and Wootton (themselves part of globalised, jet-setting elite), GB News will most certainly represent interests outside of London.
Like Fox News in the US, GB News will do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it claims.
Rather than representing the interests of ordinary citizens, it will present to them, under the classic guise of national pride, the libertarian, free market perspectives that are conducive to members of the transnational, capitalist elite of which Andrew Neil is a part.
Put simply: GB News is propaganda. Please share this article to help expose it.
***This article is an extended version of our Twitter thread on GB News, published on January 31st 2021