Invited to ask a question at a press conference celebrating the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) political editor took the opportunity to criticise the new President.
Implying the BBC was representing the views of British citizens, the vast majority of who live in households compelled by law to fund the BBC through an annual television tax enforced with threat of imprisonment, Laura Kuenssberg went on the offensive. Directing questions at Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump after the two had spoken optimistically about the future of their two countries cooperating on matters like trade and defence, Kuenssberg asked:
“Mr President, you’ve said before that torture works, you’ve praised Russia, you said you want to ban some Muslims from coming to America, you’ve said there should be punishment for abortion. For many people in Britain, those sound like alarming beliefs. What do you say to our viewers at home who are worried about some of your views, and are worried about your becoming leader of the free world.”
The question was delivered such that it prompted President Trump to turn to his British counterpart, who had invited the BBC editor to speak, and remark: “That was your question? There goes that relationship!”
Horrible question by BBC claiming to speak for the British public. You speak for no one but the liberal elite!
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) January 27, 2017
Kuenssberg also asked a question of the Prime Minister, in which she invited her to get beyond the positive messaging delivered to that point and to explore whether the President had been paying attention during their private talks, and what they are disagreed on. The journalist said: “Prime minister, you’ve talked about where you agree, but you’ve also said you’d be frank where you disagreed with the President. Can you tell us where in the talks you did disagree, and do you think that the President listened to what you had to say.”
The BBC and other elements of the British mainstream media have been willing the Prime Minister to use her opportunity as first invited foreign leader to meet with the new American President not to discuss trade or other high-priority matters, but rather to give him a dressing down for his stance on social issues and women’s rights. The BBC’s combative questioning may be a reflection of disappointment that the discussions apparently stuck to politics, and not social justice.
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