Right wing commentator Ann Coulter was i interviewed on the Today programme this morning when she defended retweeting a video by Britain First – saying it does not matter who posted the video
The BBC has faced a storm of criticism after it gave a prime interview slot to a right-wing US commentator believed to be behind Donald Trump’s Britain First tweet.
The Today Programme interviewed Ann Coulter – who retweeted the far-right group’s video claiming to show a ‘Muslim migrant’ beating up a Dutch boy on crutches.
She is one of just 45 Twitter accounts the US President follows and it is thought Mr Trump spotted the video after spotting her endorsement.
Nick Robinson interviewed her on the show’s famous 8.10am slot during which Ms Coulter defended retweeting the video – dismissed as fake news by authorities – despite not fact checking it.
But the taxpayer-funded broadcaster sparked a barrage of criticism on Twitter for giving the outspoken US commentator a platform.
Joanna Cherry, a barrister and SNP MP for Edinburgh South West, wrote on Twitter: ‘Please @BBCr4today is it really necessary to have an extended interview in your top slot with such a hate filled bigoted ignoramus as @AnnCoulter? It’s too much.’
Stephanie Merritt wrote on Twitter: ‘Dear @BBCr4today – what are you thinking, giving Ann Coulter such an extended platform to spout her misinformed racist hate speech?
‘Is this supposed to be edgy? ‘Balanced’? Seriously – please justify this decision.’
Andy Littledale wrote on Twitter: ‘The worst thing about those Trump tweets is the airtime given to Ann Coulter on @BBCr4today and Sebastian Gorka on @BBCWorldAtOne.’
Another Twitter user wrote: ‘I was shocked to learn about you giving the hateful racist @AnnCoulter a platform to speak her lies and divisive rhetoric. She represents the worst of America.’
The backlash was so ferocious that the presenter Mr Robinson, stepped in to defend the decision to interview her.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘For those criticising @BBCr4today for interviewing @AnnCoulter – we did so to reveal & explain & scrutinise the source of the Trump tweet.’
SNP MP Joanna Cherry tweeted her outrage at the decision to interview the outspoken commentator on the prime spot this morning
Stephanie Merritt asked if the taxpayer-funded organisation was trying to be ‘edgy’ by inviting Ann Coulter on for an interview
Many Radio 4 listeners tweeted their outrage at the interview – during which Ann Coulter defended retweeting a video posted by far right group Britain First
Ms Coulter defended her decision to retweet the Britain First video and dismissed criticism that she did not check who tweeted the link or if it was credible, telling the programme: ‘No… I don’t think it really matters, it’s a video.’
She said she did not check the Twitter biography of Britain First leader Jayda Fransen, who originally sent out the message.
‘I have a little tip for you,’ she told Mr Robinson.
‘You need to spend a little time on Twitter and figure out that people retweeting videos are not researching the bios of the people who sent the video.
‘A video is a video is a video. It’s not a fake video.’
And she dismissed criticisms she was peddling fake news as the so-called migrant in the video was in fact a citizen of the Netherlands.
Ms Coulter said: ‘Nobody cares about “migrant” against “child of migrant”. He is not a 10th-generation Dutchman, he is beating up a 10th-generation Dutchman.’
Another Twitter user said the controversial interview was one of the worst things about the storm which has erupted after Donald Trump’s reweet
BBC Radio 4 Today Programme presenter Nick Robinson defended the interview on twitter after facing a barrage of criticism
She added: ‘Anybody can look at this video and see it is a Middle Easterner. If you would prefer, we’ll say “Middle Easterners born in the Netherlands”.
‘But if you don’t accept that, we’re going straight back to “Middle Eastern” in another 30 seconds. It could not be more supremely irrelevant – it is a difference without a distinction.
‘The issue is all these Middle Easterners and Muslims being brought in. To pretend there’s no difference between a 10th-generation Dutch person and a migrant or the child of a migrant is preposterous.
‘This is what Brexit was about, this is what Donald Trump is about. The native countries are blowing up at the constant importation of people who do not share our Western values. That’s the point at issue.’