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BBC Apologizes To Darcus Howe

(42 Posts)
flatbread Wed 10-Aug-11 23:09:16

The interviewer, Fiona Armstrong is atrocious! She comes across as condescending and heavy-handed.

FA seems unwilling to look at the "possibili­ty" that the riots are more than a one-off event, because it is much easier and politicall­y correct to lay blame on the 'criminal' kids.

I watched this with my mouth open when it first aired. Lots of people must have complained, and BBC has had to apologize for the interview.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 10-Aug-11 23:48:05

Don't let that dithery old bloke act fool you. Howe is a very controversial figure, gets people's backs up and could start a fight in an empty room. I've heard him on the Brixton riots making exactly the same 'my grandson was stopped by the police' speech. Never condemns. Haven't seen the clip but expect he enjoyed riling Armstrong thoroughly.

flatbread Wed 10-Aug-11 23:56:38


Darcus certainly seems a cantankerous old man smile. But Fiona comes across as unprofessional...just not up to beeb standards. It is almost as if she is saying, without any finesse, “I’m sorry, you’re not participating in the accepted narrative. I’m going to have to interrupt and discredit you”

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 00:15:54

Armstrong is a professional broadcaster but Howe is a professional provoker with a very long track record. I've seen him be deliberately inflammatory one minute and, when the other person snaps back, looking the epitome of the wounded old man the next. Tony Benn uses the same tactic. Howe never accepts that black people can be anything other than victims. So if Armstrong was asking him to condemn the rioting or challenge his entrenched views with a different point of view (not the 'accepted narrative' that's not how it works), he would have stonewalled her all the way.

flatbread Thu 11-Aug-11 00:28:39


Can totally see what you are saying. But I think Fiona overstepped the line when she asked Darcus ''You are not a stranger to riots yourself I understand, are you? You have taken part in them yourself.''

FFS, that is so OTT. You don't personally attack a person you are interviewing and call them a rioter, just because you don't agree with their views. hmm

Seems petty and vindictive, NOT professional at all...

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 00:44:26

In his case, it's a valid point to bring his personal actions into the conversation. Howe is a fundamentalist and, whilst he make some very vigorous, intellectual arguments on civil rights and social inclusion, he also sees violence as a legitimate reaction from black people with problems. Any other political, community or religious leader making a similar argument defending violence, if they have been actively involved in the past, we would expect that to be exposed.

Highlander Thu 11-Aug-11 08:17:04

Darcus Howe is a knob of the highest order.

flatbread Thu 11-Aug-11 08:47:26

Whether you like Howe or not is not the point. In this case, Howe was talking about young disenfranchised youth, black and white.

There is a difference between challenging an interviewee and being heavy-handed. Most BBC presenters get that. Armstrong, unfortunately, didn't. I didn't know Howe from Adam when I watched the interview on BBC. I didn't agree with everything Howe said, but I was shock at Armstrong's attitude.

And I guess I wasn't the only one shocked as many people seem to have actually made a complaint to BBC.

nancy75 Thu 11-Aug-11 08:59:55

I don't see why they apologized, He has been involved in riots, it is a relevant point to make whilst riots are going on. And as for his response, "have some respect for an old negro man" - give me strength!

He was interviewed on another news channel alongside edwina curry - I am sure I heard him say that it didn't matter that things were getting destroyed/burnt down as people were insured - this is hardly the opinion of a man that deserves respect.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 09:17:52

There is a difference between challenging and heavy-handedness and Armstrong obviously got it wrong on this occasion if they've apologised. But look out for Howe now you've seen him in action. He's an agitator.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Thu 11-Aug-11 09:36:33

I didn't see the interview, but I do think that interviewers should stay professional and argue from facts.
However, I remember watching Darcus Howe and hearing his opinions in the 1980s and early 90s. He was terrifyingly aggressive and an advocate of direct action and violence. His approach was to shout down opposition and stomp on the bits where he could, or throw out accusations in a whirlwind.
He was also very inflexible, unwilling to listen to any opinions that didn't match his own and had a polemic style that could strip paint.
He may be a sick old man of 68 now, but he has always loved a scrap for the sake of it.

Vulgar Thu 11-Aug-11 09:53:39

There was a brilliant spat between Darcus Howe and Joan rivers on Radio 4 a few years ago. He accused her of being racist. She fought back with suitable outrage, she was awesome!

i have nothing but contempt for Darcus Howe and the people who posted above have said why in much more eloquent words than I ever could.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 10:06:41

I'd forgotten the Howe/Rivers confrontation. Recording here That's what I mean about professional agitator. He makes such inflammatory remarks and expects to get away with it scott free by playing the 'old negro man'. Rivers tore a strip off him... my regard for her went up massively after that.

Pan Thu 11-Aug-11 10:28:11

Cogi - your comment about Tony Benn is utter tosh.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 10:40:05

LOL... Tony Benn is the master of making a totally unreasonable point but sounding totally reasonable at the same time. He does that 'palms up shoulder shrug' gesture if anyone catches him out.

boredbroker Thu 11-Aug-11 10:48:52

I watched Darcus Howe on his interview live whilst it was being aired.I am a foreigner who has lived in this country for over 30 years & I have one thing to say to anybody who lives in this country even if they are white & were born here , if you think you are being hard done by, I willingly will pay for your flight to go & live in somewhere like Iran or Iraq for 1 month, where there is no free NHS, Schooling, BENEFIT SYSTEM, where you are not even allowed to walk your dog anywhere in the public areas ,parks or roads, then see how hard done by you are, you will realise who much human right & freedom you have, where you can go on the street anytime of day or night & hold a placard that you hate the Queen or Prime Minister with out fearing that you will get 30 lashes, I bet you a years salary that as soon as you arrive back here, you will get off that plane & bend down & kiss the tarmac you have just set foot on, so stop wingeing that you have been stopped by the law & instead put your energy in becoming a good citizen to teach others to be law abiding....don't care how old you are.

Pan Thu 11-Aug-11 11:10:15


"I think therefore I make stuff up"

boredbroker Thu 11-Aug-11 11:26:08

Pam, not quite sure of your comment, would you like to elaborate on "I think therefore I make stuff up??

Nancy66 Thu 11-Aug-11 11:30:10

I think the BBC were totally wrong to apologise - typcially BBC though

flatbread Thu 11-Aug-11 11:36:14


I don't understand your point. Howe mentioned that his grandson, who is at the cusp of manhood, has been searched so often that he cannot even count the number of times this has happened. I am neither black, nor male, nor a teenage. But I can only imagine the humiliation and anger at been stopped and searched by the police umpteen times, if I am innocent!

I don't know if Howe's grandson was born in the UK or not. So is your point that Howe's grandson has a legitimate complaint only if was born here, but should 'shut-up and put up' or go elsewhere if he was born in a different country?

So, not all citizens, but only those born here should have the right to protest, according to you...sounds like a strange perspective to me hmm

I heard Howe for the first time on BBC a few days back. He does seem to have an oratory style which can seem confrontational. But I didn't find it that off-putting. I thought he really cared, and he made a good point that there is a deep sense of anger and displacement in our kids, and that this problem will not easily go away.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 11:46:53

boredbroker I think Pam was just having a pop at my nickname. smile

flatbread Thu 11-Aug-11 11:48:36


Ok, I misread your post. Howe's grandson, according to your philosophy, should just shut-up and put up regardless of whether he was born here or not.

We, as intelligent, thinking people, should ignore powder structures and just learn to be good plodding citizens. Let's ignore the increasing inequality in society, levels unseen in the last 70 years, and just feel lucky that we not in the worst-flung corners of the world.

Do you really think like this...confused

sprogger Thu 11-Aug-11 11:54:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

boredbroker Thu 11-Aug-11 11:55:45


Like I said I am of coloured origin myself & have live in Peckham pretty much most of my life, never been stopped & nor have my brothers who still live in peckham.

I never said "that you only have legitimate complaint only if was born here, but should 'shut-up and put up' or go elsewhere if he was born in a different country, what I ACTUALLY said was " I have one thing to say to ANYBODY who LIVES in this country EVEN if they are white & were born here " another words EVERY CITIZEN who LIVES HERE regardless of their colour or creed. so please dont throw accusations without reading my comment first.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Aug-11 11:57:09

flatbread Howe does make good points about anger and displacement among black boys. He's a great campaigner on the subject. But he then goes on to say this justifies violence and I think that's doing those same black boys a disservice. Someone like Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), for example, would have told them 'you are better than this'. He was all for black people gaining economic freedom and independence, starting businesses and taking over the ghettos that way.... not lobbing petrol bombs and destroying their own neighbourhoods.

"The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity."

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