With their election to the European Parliament this summer, much of the political class has become distraught with the elevation of what many deem a fascist party in Western Europe.
BNP leader nick Griffin's appearance as a panelist on the BBC's Question Time program(me) became the sensation of last week, with protests and hand-wringing among the chattering classes, all over a rather dignified debate (this ain't Geraldo, here).
In America, I don't think we're quite sure what the hoopla is all about; after all Lou Dobbs has a show all to himself five nights a week.
Which is the point. People who argue that Lou Dobbs (and Glenn Beck, and Bill O'Reilly -- although "Papa Bear" [pace Colbert] looks positively sane by comparison) should be dropped from their respective networks miss the point. They absolutely should not be dropped simply because their views are repugnant (or incoherent, since television is not the realm of coherence).
They should, instead, be forced to engage in real political debate, and not the repeated erection of straw men in the safety of their studios or hour-long monologues (also looking at you, Olbermann).
They should be required to let their views see the light of day and the fresh air of discussion. Why? Simply this:
The leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, found himself the victim of an extraordinary attack from his own supporters last night following his controversial appearance on the BBC's Question Time.The logic of the lunatic fringe only works so long as they stay on the fringe. When they try to appear reasonable, when they try to appeal to the vast majority that live somewhere in the middle, they look ridiculous, and they know it.
As a public postmortem into one of the most divisive broadcasts in the corporation's history attempted to gauge its impact on the party's fortunes, Lee Barnes, the BNP's legal officer, accused Griffin of "failing to press the attack" during the televised debate, which was watched by a record 8 million people. Others sympathetic to the BNP's views expressed dismay at Griffin's flustered attempts to appeal to the mainstream.
Now, BNP members sound like Rambo decrying our loss in Vietnam as a loss of will -- that Griffin somehow didn't press the fight enough; as though burning a few more peasant villages or offending some more Southeast Asians would have done the trick.
Keep Dobbs talking; just make sure he has to look his targets in the eye while he does it.