I watched the launch of the UK's newest news channel on Sunday. GB News is the UK’s first new news channel for some while. In his opening remarks, Andrew Neil set out the channel’s philosophy:
"We will puncture the pomposity of our elites and politics, business, media and academia and expose their growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is."
Fair enough, I thought, it might be worth a view because no other TV news channel sets out to do this and I'm quite keen on free speech and open discussion. I've since watched two hours of it.
As it's funded by adverts, I thought it would be particularly interesting to see which organisations would be supporting the channel, and noted that WWF was one of them. I thought nothing of this assuming that WWF might also be keen on free speech in order to make the case for its campaigns, and might see GB News as a good means of reaching an audience beyond its usual reach.
It wasn't long before a campaign began to persuade organisations from advertising. Thus far, (I read) that Stop Funding Hate – SFH – has managed to get the likes of Ikea, Nivea, Grolsch, Money Supermarket, Bosch, Octopus Energy and the Open University to back off, amid claims GB News is fuelling hatred and division with its different approach to news and current-affairs. SFH's line is that it is "making hate unprofitable by persuading advertisers to pull their support from publications that spread hate and division." This will be a surprise to Ofcom which has approved the broadcaster.
I have to say that I've not seen any hate on GB News so far, but I'll keep a lookout. So far, and on balance, it's likely that SFH is just making GB News's cancel culture point for it. Time will tell – and for WWF as well. Pandas, of course, don't mind whether donations are from the woke or the conservative, as long as the bamboo keeps coming.