November 14, 2016 5:32 pm0 commentsViews: 13

chimamandaWe find ourselves in unchartered waters now that Trump is President-elect of the United States.  A man who ran a campaign fuelled by a heady concoction of race-baiting, xenophobia and sexism. How are broadcasters supposed to cover him now? He’s about to become the most powerful man in the Western world and new programmes, particularly on this side of the pond, are supposed to be impartial.

The BBC’s Newsnight set up a conversation over the weekend which was an attempt to offer balanced coverage of trump’s election. No mean feat. They put author and prominent feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in a conversation with R. Emmett Tyrell, editor-in-chief of The American Spectator.

And thank god they did. Adichie was having absolutely none of it and refused to play the game politicians are now playing in pretending that people should treat Trump with an open mind. When Tyrell argued that Trump is someone who should be given the benefit of the doubt and not held to account for things he said during his campaign she shut the conversation down.

When Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis asked her guests about the fact that the Ku Klux Klan Tyrell dismissed the question, downplayed its significance and started talking about an obscure Catholic sect.

Adichie put him straight and explained how converations about the role of race in this American election cannot be avoided, saying:

‘You know, I find it really interesting. It seems to be a refusal to accept reality. [So a question has been asked] about the KK and it hasn’t been engaged with, and instead we’re being told that there’s this other group called the Knights of whoever… The point is, the KK exists. The KK endorsed Donald Trump. The KKK stands for white supremacy and that has to be acknowledged.’

Tyrell then went on to insist that Donald Trump is not and has not been racist. Chimamanda simply and firmly corrected him: ‘I am sorry, but if you are a white man you don’t get to define what racism is…No, you don’t get to sit there and say that he hasn’t been racist when objectively, he has…And it’s not about your opinion. Racism is an objective reality and Donald Trump has inhabited that reality.’

Tyrell’s response was petulant and mansplainy, he replied ‘do you know of the false consciousness which is a theory you are talking about is a Marxist concept?’ He then concluded by performing the rhetorical equivalent of leaving the room in a huff, he said ‘I can’t even open my mouth here because I am a white male.’Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any more absurd, grown men are now throwing tantrums on international TV on a regular basis.

Tyrell attempted to gaslight Chimamanda, when he was not speaking over her and interrupting her. How depressingly predictable that a man would employ such a tactic to undermine a woman who is making him look bad by proving herself to be more knowledgeable, more eloquent and more considered than him.

If this TV discussion tells us anything it’s that Donald Trump cannot and does not deserve to be reported on objectively. It is right that he is held to account for things he has said because it was as a result of saying those things that he got elected. Despite what Boris Johnson thinks, to (quite literally whitewash) over that would not only be a gross betrayal of those whom he has been sexist and racist towards, it would be nothing short of an Orwellian rewriting of very recent history.

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  • Don: Am just laugh at this man, am not in dirty game (politician)…
  • keran majid: hahahahaha unlucky lad…