Jewish group and MPs urge GB News to stop indulging conspiracy theories

Peter Walker – The Guardian Feb 8, 2023

The UK’s leading Jewish organisation and a group of MPs have called on GB Newsand the media regulator Ofcom to tackle the broadcaster’s indulgence of conspiracy theories, warning that some recent segments and guests risked spreading ideas linked to antisemitism.

The criticism comes as the channel faces increasing scrutiny over its mix of serious news with programmes that delve heavily into conspiracies about areas including Covid vaccines and a plot to create a world government.

The decision by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism to speak out follows a recent edition of the weekly GB News show hosted by Neil Oliver, the broadcaster and historian.

Oliver, who delivers trademark monologues to camera, used the show last Saturday to discuss what he called a “silent war” by generations of politicians to take “total control of the people” and impose a “one-world government”.

The idea seemingly echoes a noted conspiracy theory document called Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, supposedly a secret manual for world government found by chance in 1986. This has a long section on the role of the Rothschild banking dynasty, a common antisemitic trope.

On the same show, one of Oliver’s guests was a man called William Keyte, introduced as a “constitutional expert”, who is a supporter of a fringe campaign group called the New Chartist Movement.

Keyte’s focus is on the supposed primacy of common law over parliament, which has no crossover with antisemitic ideas.

However, the New Chartist Movement website contains articles written by other members and contributors that contain antisemitic-linked ideas. It also features pieces written by David Icke, the TV presenter-turned conspiracy theorist who has claimed that a shadowy cabal controls the world, a familiar antisemitic argument.

Other articles on the New Chartist website include one arguing that the “corporate and banking Deep State, completely supported by the Zionist state of Israel” plans to take control of UK politics, another antisemitic notion. Another argues that the “House of Rothschild” has a pivotal role in world affairs.

Keyte has contributed an interview to another conspiracy theory website. While his video is about the common law, other parts of the site include conspiracies about Covid and the 5G network, plus a video with antisemitic overtones about the “illuminati” and the Bilderberg group.

Keyte told the Guardian his interest was in constitutional law. He said: “It seems a shame that rather than focus on the important issues I raised in the interview with Neil in which so many people appear to be interested, you seem to be embarking on a piece about antisemitism. I do not condone antisemitism, but nor do I support the use of the subject to detract from other important issues.”

A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “It is highly concerning that GB News continues to air a show which embraces all manner of conspiracy theories. Somewhat inevitably, some of those invited on to this show represent organisations that promote antisemitic conspiracy theories. If the channel will not act, we expect that Ofcom will.”

Nicola Richards, the Conservative MP who co-chairs the all-party group against antisemitism, said: “Media diversity is incredibly important but not at the expense of professional standards. These developments should be of concern to GB News editors, owners, and producers and I hope they will be carefully reviewing them. With any public platform, there is a responsibility not to open the door to conspiratorial antisemitism or other misinformation.

“No doubt Ofcom will be keeping a close eye on developments at GB News but let’s hope that the channel will get its house in order.”

Ofcom is understood to be looking into whether it should investigate Oliver’s show on Saturday after a complaint. The watchdog is looking into two complaints about another conspiracy theory-heavy GB News show, hosted by Mark Steyn.

Steyn, who has cast doubt on the safety of Covid vaccines, quit the channel this week after GB News sought to make him personally responsible for paying any Ofcom fines.

A GB News spokesperson said: “GB News abhors racism and hate in all its forms and would never allow it on the channel.”

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3 Responses to “Jewish group and MPs urge GB News to stop indulging conspiracy theories”

  1. Chris x says:

    The hate speech accusation is always used to shutdown anyone who has the audacity to expose the globalist plan. It’s why they are pushing through the online harms bill, to censor the internet.

    How long before Neil Oliver gets pushed out like Mark Steyn?

  2. ian says:

    sorry Chris.