COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Nigel Farage, the outgoing UK Independence Party leader who secured the Brexit victory in the EU referendum, told Breitbart News the legacy, corporate, and establishment media industry is one of the biggest losers in this “year of political revolution” around the world.
“This has been a year of political revolution and there’s been a total disaster for the poll industry and the media broadcast industry,” Farage told Breitbart News ahead of delivering the keynote address at the NewsXchange conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“If they got Brexit wrong, they got Trump doubly wrong,” said Farage, who went on to outline what he would be discussing in his keynote address.
“I will go through mostly about the BBC because since 1999 I’ve been supporting a group called News-watch. We have analysis here of thousands of hours of BBC primetime news coverage. I shall talk about just some of the bias, just some of the mindsets, that I’ve been up against for nearly 20 years.
“I will say in the BBC’s case that actually their coverage of the referendum was good. But since the referendum, they’ve completely reverted to type. Not even news programs, but the coverage of the food programs, for example, is talking about disaster for Britain outside the EU. Farming Today favors wholly the ‘catastrophe’ that is about to befall our industry. They’ve learned nothing. They’ve learned nothing.”
Farage spoke for nearly 20 minutes and then conversed with a panel of journalists from around the world—sometimes battling as many as nine at a time in the hour-long discussion following his remarks.
This conference, with more than 630 journalists from top American networks like CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC along with scores of European and other worldwide media outlets, comes in the wake of President-Elect Republican Donald J. Trump’s landslide victory over Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in the U.S. presidential election.
Trump’s win, which was preceded by a similarly-themed nationalist, populist Brexit win in the United Kingdom where the citizenry voted en masse to leave the European Union (EU), has been weighing heavily on the minds of most of the hundreds of media executives and journalists.
The names “Farage” and “Trump,” and occasional references to “Breitbart News,” were overheard during delegates’ panels—one panelist even gave Breitbart News a shout-out from the main stage for being effective in accurately capturing the narrative of the election— with public commentary thus far focusing on Trump, Brexit, and the media’s big fails on the world stage when it comes to both.
“What I’m going to say is this is an industry in very deep crisis,” Farage said. “It’s so detached from the way ordinary people are increasingly thinking that it has left a huge gaping hole in the market which the Internet is filling—Breitbart being a phenomenal example of that.
“I certainly would never have gotten UKIP to where it is without YouTube and the new sites that came along. I shall argue that the Internet can be a fantastic force for good but it can certainly be a force for bad. There are bad elements out there and dangerous ideas could take hold. So I’m really saying to this industry that it needs to press the reset button.”
To hit that reset button, Farage noted, media outlets are going to first have to change who they’re hiring—and move away from the urban elites with which they’ve been stacking their newsrooms.”
“One of the things I’m going to say today is that their recruitment policies need to change completely,” Farage said. “In the BBC, there’s a very narrow section of society—very urban, very much metropolitan, financially very elite, obsessed about ethnic mix and gender balance.
“But how many non-graduates work at the BBC? Well, none. And similarly you have the lifestyle choices of the people that work at the BBC in terms of how they live their lives—and this is a reference to orientation, shall we say, and again it’s just not representative of what you see outside of London. So, again, the industry has to change its recruiting policies completely.”
With regards to European media, he stated they need to focus on four key policy areas.
“[The media has] got to completely rethink its E.U. coverage and get closer to public opinion. It’s got to totally change the way it covers immigration. It’s got to confront radical Islam, which it frankly doesn’t do. And last and by no means least, probably the one area in which the entire Western media has been most consistently and blatantly biased, is climate change—and its massive support for wind energy.
“It’s as if the big businesses don’t just own the political class, they own the media class as well. Unless they get real on these four issues, then a conference like this in five years’ time will have far fewer people.”
Farage also pointed to the crisis in Swedish media, which he called the “worst.”
“This isn’t just about the BBC, it’s about the media in the West,” Farage said. “I think the number one worst broadcasting organization in all the world is in Sweden. Sweden is completely gone, where there is no coverage.
“They’re not even allowed to report the nationality of those who commit a crime. That’s now effectively been banned by mutual agreement between the broadcasters and the newspapers.
“You have the rise of a political party—they can’t cope with it. I was in Stockholm three weeks ago. Myself and the former Czech president Vaclav Klaus, we did a big conference—hundreds of people—I did not do one Swedish news interview. They won’t [talk about it]. It’s unbelievable.”
In the same manner that the BBC reverted to type, Farage agreed with Trump who recently tweeted that CNN only got worse after Trump’s defeat of Clinton.
“They all revert after a quick mea culpa and then they turn to type,” said Farage.
The outgoing UKIP leader observed that the industry does recognize that it’s in a crisis and that it has to make changes to survive.
“The very fact they’ve got me here today shows they’re trying to make an effort,” Farage said. “I’m just not convinced that this group of people are capable.”
He added that he hopes the media does reform itself, but remains skeptical.
“I would like to see the broadcasters becoming more responsible and becoming more representative,” Farage told Breitbart News. “Whether they will, or whether the things I’m going to say and you’re going to say here hang twisting in the wind, remains to be seen. There could be a massive transformative change that comes from these people. I don’t know.”
Farage also noted that worldwide—especially in America—the media industry is facing challenges with regard to the corporate conglomeration of control of newsrooms. During the U.S. presidential election, the Trump campaign talked about cracking down on oligopolies in the media.
“Like everything American, it’s just on a bigger scale,” Farage said. “I think we’re seeing similar trends [around the world] too.”
Ultimately, if the citizenry wants to combat media bias, Farage said it’s easy to do so. All people have to do is turn off the news and get their information from alternative sources that are not as biased in favor of the establishment or status quo.
“Stop watching. This is about consumer choice,” Farage said.
“These guys have had it all their own way for decades because there were no other options. Now, there are other options. Whether it’s entertainment or drama, we can go to Netflix if that’s what we choose to do. When it comes to news, there’s increasingly a whole host of places and if you start to compare. Take Breitbart. Breitbart London is a very small operation and yet its page views are bigger than the Spectator magazine. Fascinating.”