The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has used its Trending online ‘bureau’ to attack a female, “right wing” Twitter user, going so far as to publish the woman’s personal details including her town of residence and her husband’s employment details.
The blog, by former Guardian, and Al Jazeera contributor Olivia Crellin, is entitled “The woman who shows how toxic America’s culture wars have become”. It asks “why a ‘happy wife’ with ‘paleoconservative’ political views [is] a near-constant topic of conversation on Twitter” and describes Andie Pauly, the woman in question, as “an illustrated example of America’s deep divisions, and the anger that flares up between left and right.”
The begins with pretence of neutrality: “To her critics, she’s a racist troll who harasses her opponents, and she offers rewards to those who dox – reveal personal information about – her enemies. To her defenders, she’s a proud conservative standing up for free speech, and a victim of online abuse and harassment herself.”
Then Ms. Crellin launches into an all-out hit job: “She defends gun ownership and the police, and criticises President Obama, abortion and the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of her tweets use blunt or vulgar language”, illustrating her points with screenshots of some of Ms. Pauly’s “extreme messages” including one complaining that the media had ignored a story of an elderly white man being killed by “feral black teens”.
She goes on to say: “Of course, the internet – and Twitter in particular – is full of armchair radicals, and the US Constitution strongly protects free speech,” linking to another BBC Trending article bemoaning 2015 as a “year of hate” (by right wing activist only) before accusing Ms. Pauly of harassment and of being responsible for someone being fired.
But the BBC Trending post – which Ms. Crellin calls “an investigation” – has attracted backlash with numerous Twitter users accusing the BBC journalist of defamation. One, with the screen name Azzmador told Ms. Crellin via Twitter that she had got the facts of her story wrong, that he was responsible for the firing of the aforementioned woman, and that he had never heard of Ms. Pauly.
Stating he could “prove everything [he] say[s]” he offered to go on the record, with his real name, to tell another side of the story.
After being given an email address and contacting the BBC he tweeted that although he spoke to the BBC about the accusations the “BBC editor just told [him his] info was boring.”
Tweets of Ms. Pauly, going as far back as several months claim left wing harassment and death threats towards her and her family.
Audaciously, one of Ms Pauly’s “Democrat opponents” who is only alluded to in the mildest terms in the article, actually engages in what appears to be doxing – revealing personal or private information about someone online – in a Twitter exchange that involves BBC Trending editor Mike Wendling.
After Ms. Pauly tweeted her fears that the BBC Trending blog has “intentionally endangered” her family, the same “democrat opponent”, using incredibly “blunt” and “vulgar” language, told her that she endangered her own family with her “cop-sucking, racist rhetoric.”
What is notable about this blog is that BBC Trending has used British TV licence fee payers’ money to make a story out of an internet feud involving no more than a dozen people. They have turned it into a one-sided hit piece – one that Ms. Crellin has been boasting about on her Twitter feed since publication.
— Olivia Crellin (@OliviaCrellin) April 11, 2016
The two hashtags about Ms Pauly, used by her opponents, both contain no more than a handful of tweets by the same users, a small group of hardline Democrats. The hashtag has been used for a few months at best, and there appears to be little justification for BBC Trending featuring a non-story which seems to rely wholly on unproven testimony of the woman’s ideological Twitter opponents.
This is a far cry from Ms. Crellin’s claim that Ms. Pauly is a “near-constant topic of conversation on Twitter”. Given that this same handful of opponents are the ones congratulating Ms. Crellin for her “report”, questions are being asked as to the origin of the “story”.
BBC Trending Editor Mike Wendling’s Twitter timeline features hard left wing tweets such as linking to an article saying Chicago’s police and courts are racist.
The Twitter account of his journalist Olivia Crellin, who has since been promoted to presenting a program on the BBC World Service, is another non-stop feed of left wing activity such as support for unlimited numbers of migrants entering Europe and backing the Guardian campaign #TheWebWeWant, which says the internet should be policed for “crude, bigoted or just vile” comments.
It is hard to imagine the BBC employing anyone whose Twitter made equivalent right-wing Tweets, but it goes some way towards explaining why BBC Trending acts as a mouthpiece for Social Justice Warriors – as exposed by Breitbart London last week.