British media overreact once again.
Is it wrong that Jeremy Clarkson is currently being accosted for a JOKE? Tom Steadman says it certainly is!
Unless you have spent most of today under a stone you will have seen that Jeremy Clarkson has hit the headlines yet again. Last night he was on the One Show to push his book/new episodes of Top Gear and as is traditional for the programme he gave his opinion on the hot topic of the day, in this case the national strikes.
In standard Clarkson manner he made a joke of the whole matter, after beginning by mentioning how easy it was to travel that day and how everywhere wasn’t busy he suggested that they shouldn’t be striking as they get a better pension deal then everyone else, and anyway ‘anyone who strikes should be shot’. (see the whole conversation here at 25 seconds in) Now, the first reaction of everyone was to laugh as I- and audibly, the crew- did. Later in the programme he made a joke about people killing themselves in front of trains which I honestly found closer to the knuckle and so did the One Show producers, making an on air apology before the show had even finished (during which Clarkson looked bemused). It may have not have been entirely tasteful but there have been worse jokes played out pre-watershed across the BBC.
However, when the day started this morning it was clear that my opinion wasn’t shared by many in the press. Headlines across the papers were outraged at his comments. Rather then actually covering the strikes more column inches were dedicated to anger about Clarksons statements, so much so that they have completely overshadowed the strikes themselves. Unison, the union who initiated the strikes, have also shot themselves in the foot by acting ridiculously over the top, suggesting “their members will now be scared of recriminations” and that “Clarkson’s comments were much like Gadaffi”, further helping to twist the news story away from what they want to cover!
I take issue with the coverage for two reasons. The first is that Clarkson is renowned for having strong opinions which often cause offense to people- he was even introduced on the One Show with that exact phrase! This is why Top Gear is so popular, people watch it purely to see what he will say next. Past comments have involved Truckers murdering prostitutes, lazy Mexicans and caravan drivers needing killing. Surprise, surprise each time these create a press reaction thus giving publicity to whatever he’s pushing at the time. As they say: any press is good press and he has a book and TV programme to peddle! Everyone knows what to expect- if people don’t like what he is about, they should stop watching Top Gear!
Secondly is the press. Many of the papers who have taken the greatest umbrage are the same papers who always batter the BBC whenever they do something wrong. To appease their owners who are against the BBC and Clarkson himself for his friendships with Cameron and the Murdochs this was the perfect opportunity. As such they blew this out of all proportions and have warped it towards what they want the discussion to be about. People now want him sacked which is ridiculous when he simply made a joke. I feel the discussion should be more about what has happened with British life if a joke is no longer accepted as a joke and instantly deemed ‘ignorant and insulting’!!!
The lack of ability to take banter by a small small proportion of the UK (4.700 complaints so far, of which at least half are by people who didnt even watch the programme) means that any chance of any good at all arising from the strikes has been wiped away, mostly by their own union!!!
Maybe Clarkson shouldn’t have said it on a tea-time light entertainment show, but when he said it you could hear the toungue in his cheek. He is now being slaughtered for what 99% of the population feel is an example of the dry wit and humour that we pride ourselves on. And I think thats wrong.
BREAKING NEWS: Clarkson has apologised for his comments here.
See Ellen Brown’s counter argument Here