Douglas Murray Calls Out BBC for ‘Offence Archaeology’ Ambush

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Douglas Murray has criticised the BBC for inviting him onto a programme to discuss woke culture, only for the presenter to ambush him with “offence archaeology” in order to derail Mr Murray’s argument and effectively “cancel” him live on air.

The discussion arose in light of comments by former President of the United States Barack Obama, who criticised offence archaeology and cancel culture amongst the left, where a person’s past comments are used against them to boycott them and deny them a voice in the public dialogue.

Speaking at the Obama Foundation’s annual summit in Chicago on Tuesday, Mr Obama addressed the problem of “certain young people on social media” who think “the way of making change is to be as judgemental as possible about other people”.

“We have this idea of purity, and you’re never compromised, and you’re always political woke and all that stuff. You should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities,” he told the audience.

Speaking to Nick Robinson on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, author and journalist Douglas Murray said of the kinds of people engaged in current year cancel culture: “Some people find their meaning of life in this political campaign that involves calling people out, cancelling people, finding the one bit of wrong-think they can from their past and then try to destroy them, claiming they should never speak again.

“This gives some people significant amount of meaning –” Mr Murray set out to continue, before being inexplicably interrupted by the BBC presenter.

Robinson said: “But there is a value in your case for example when you wrote a piece in The Sun in which you said, ‘If we want peace we need one thing — less Islam’, which is extraordinarily offensive to many Muslim people in the country that their religion was what was to blame.”

Perplexed by the non sequitur, Murray responded by saying it was “slightly strange and off-topic for you to pick a different subject” before Robinson interrupted him again several times to bring the conversation back to Mr Murray’s June 2017 article whilst the right-wing author tried to talk about the intolerance of woke culture.  

When asked why he was “offended” by the BBC journalist “quoting” him, Mr Murray said: “I’m not offended by you quoting me, I’m offended by you doing a weird, typical, BBC gang-up thing when you decide to go for one person on the right and not somebody on the left.”

He continued: “The point I’m very happy to defend is that after three terrorist attacks in, I think, in six weeks with many, many people dead in this country, I said that what we do not need is to keep having a conversation about the identity issues and the theology issues within Islam and that we didn’t need to have the discussion of our future as a country in Britain endlessly going around the Islam debate.”

With Robinson still trying to interrupt him, Mr Murray continued: “And I’m very happy to keep saying that. And if you want to keep trying to misrepresent me and try to get people like me on-air and then try to jump quotes on us about different subjects instead of having the actual discussion, then I’m sorry that just does what an awful lot of people fear the BBC does.”

During the debate, Mr Murray had managed to make the point that “self-appointed censors” try to “bully other people out of the public square by no-platforming them, by pretending that majority-public opinion is intolerable, by pretending that things that lots of people think [are] somehow beyond the pale, and by changing what we’re all meant to think and say and not being willing to have an actual discussion about it.

“I think we should have proper discussion about serious issues. That’s what Barack Obama has said. The world is messier than social justice activists would like it to be.”

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