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How James O’Brien destroyed the phone-in His show is nothing more than an echo chamber

He. Is. EXASPERATED. Credit: LBC.


February 11, 2022   6 mins

For almost two decades, the biggest show on LBC has been Nick Ferrari at breakfast, followed in the schedule by James O’Brien, the latter playing, according to Miranda Sawyer in The Observer, “Alan Partridge to Ferrari’s Chris Morris”. But the pandemic has changed the way we listen to radio. Audience figures released last week showed that home-working means we’re tuning in later, with breakfast shows no longer the biggest beasts in the broadcasting jungle.

For the first time, O’Brien’s listenership has overtaken Ferrari’s. And for those of us who love phone-in programmes, it’s a symbolic moment in the evolution of the format.

I should acknowledge, incidentally, that it’s terribly unfair to bring up Sawyer’s joke. It dates back to 2006, when O’Brien was still struggling to make the transition from showbiz hack to grown-up broadcaster. In those days, you were as likely to find him interviewing Dick and Dom as Ken Clarke. And he wasn’t above a bit of old-fashioned union-bashing; during a 2007 tube strike, he suggested that Londoners retaliate by boycotting the leader of the RMT: “If Bob Crow turns up at your shop, pub, cafe or minicab firm, don’t serve him.” 

His biggest story came in 2009 when he joined in the tabloid baiting of Frank Lampard over his treatment of his ex-girlfriend, only to find the footballer, somewhat enraged, calling in. Lampard gave rather better than he got, though it is possible that he didn’t quite grasp the nature of the phone-in. “Sometimes you should think about things before you speak about them,” he said, which isn’t really how it works.

But O’Brien is more serious than that nowadays. Certainly that’s the view of his bosses. We know this because there’s a simple measure of how a radio station sees its presenters: the calibre of the person chosen to sit in for them when they’re away. In 2004, O’Brien’s cover on Easter Monday was James Hewitt, famous for having committed adultery with Princess Diana; fifteen years later, it was Labour MP Jess Phillips. Much more serious, you see.

The critical moment in his transformation came during the 2014 election campaign for the European Parliament, when he got a chance to interview Nigel Farage, a man he clearly loathed. The Ukip leader had recently remarked that he’d be concerned if a group of Romanian men moved in next door, and O’Brien demanded an explanation. What’s the difference between that situation and a group of German children moving in next door? he asked, and Farage was nonplussed. “You know what the difference is,” he replied, but O’Brien denied any such thing: “I honestly don’t.”

He did know. Obviously. Everyone listening knew what Farage was nudging towards. A leader column in the Sun spelt it out: “This is racism, pure and simple: Romanians, he is suggesting, are criminals to be feared.” Indeed he was, and he might reasonably have expected the Sun to be onside, given some of its previous headlines: “Our crime wave is good news for Romania”, “Beasts from the East”, “Capital hit by 28,000 Romanian criminals”.

For the purposes of the interview, it didn’t really matter whether Romanian men were more likely to be criminals than were German children. The point was not to explore the issue, but simply to display open hostility to Farage, and maybe even trap him into saying something overtly racist.

The incident followed in the wake of a celebrated television encounter the previous year, when Eddie Mair (now the host of LBC’s drivetime show) said to Boris Johnson: “You’re a nasty bit of work, aren’t you?” And it was equally effective. Just as Johnson’s career wasn’t arrested by Mair’s rudeness, so Farage — despite claims in the Left-wing newspapers that he’d been “hamstrung”, “skewered”, “humiliated” by O’Brien — went on to lead Ukip to a stunning victory in the Euro-elections.

Since then, O’Brien’s stock has continued to rise, largely because he’s very good at his job. He has a range of tones, from sympathy for callers with tales of suffering, through to patronising sarcasm for those who don’t agree with him. Most common is a shrugging, brow-furrowed resignation about the state of the nation. It’s the result, perhaps, of having been on the losing side of every national vote since his run-in with Frank Lampard, and because it’s not possible to sustain three hours of anger every day. “We are where we are” — that’s his world-weary catchphrase. Or alternatively, after he’s run through the charge-sheet yet again on how the country has let itself down: “And that’s why we are where we are.”

He reserves a good deal of his scorn for the “cap-doffing, forelock-tugging” types who aren’t as articulate as him. But he is at least aware of his own humble place in the pantheon of polite society: “When did you realise you were clever?” he fawningly asked the fox-killing, kimono-wearing celebrity tax-lawyer Jolyon Maugham. He often comes across as sanctimonious, superior and smug, of course, but that’s part of the schtick, integral to his appeal. Because while the tone of more-in-sorrow-than-anger piety may irritate some, it provides a self-righteous safety-blanket for others.

He is, in short, a master of the new media world, one in which opinion and tribal values count for more than a pursuit of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In the social-media age, he is one of the finest practitioners of Radio Twitter. Instead of it just being the callers who are opinionated, partisan and given to repetition — as always on a phone-in — the host now adopts the same approach.

And consequently he embodies many of the flaws found on social media.

His political analysis is broad-brush, to put it politely. He has told us so often that Boris Johnson is Britain’s Donald Trump, that the two have eventually blurred into one, and a diatribe against the former is invariably laced with references to the latter. Meanwhile, pretty much everything comes back to Brexit in the end, even ball-tampering in cricket.

In common with many Twitter users, he likes to use hypotheticals against hypocrisy in a can-you-imagine-if-that-were-a-Labour-MP way. It’s a form of whataboutery that sits on the fence — we seldom learn if the response to X’s comments is correct; only that it’d be different if Y had said that — but it does provide an opportunity to attack the newspapers.

And if there’s one thing guaranteed to rile social media it’s the old media on which it still depends entirely. O’Brien has an animus against the Sun, the Daily Telegraph and, particularly, the Daily Mail — though he is quieter about the Express, where he once edited the paper’s gossip column. His anger can lead him into strange territory: critics of the Leveson Report get dismissed as people “bleating about how the government shouldn’t control the press”.

All of this works equally well from the opposite political position, of course. So although he’s the best at it, O’Brien’s not the only one on this tack. Among his rivals, the most convincing for a while was, ironically, Nigel Farage, who had his own show on LBC for three years and who proved — like George Galloway on TalkSport — to be genuinely interested in having an argument with dissenting callers. (After Farage’s departure in 2020, O’Brien tweeted in triumph: “We got our station back.”)

Others have fallen by the wayside. Katie Hopkins in 2017 and Maajid Nawaz this year both lost their LBC shows for Twitter offences. She called for a “final solution” to the problem of terrorism, while he spoke against the Covid vaccine and railed against the “network of fascists who seek a New World Order”. The latter comment seemed to be straying into conspiracist territory, a sometimes unclear but always present danger on social media.

“I don’t do conspiracies,” says O’Brien. “I just don’t.” But he is happy to suggest that democracy is dictated by a small group of press barons — “the non-dom billionaires who installed Boris Johnson in Downing Street” — and even to allude to “the one at the back of the room, pulling all the strings”. Most notoriously, he indulged the patently absurd lies told by Carl “Nick” Beech about VIP paedophile-rings, a conspiracy theory that hurt actual people.

Unless your life was horribly affected by Beech’s fantasies, this is mostly good knockabout fun. But it does lose sight of what used to be the central value of the phone-in show: the way it served as a mass focus-group. O’Brien long since drove away most of those who might not share his views on such subjects as Trump, Johnson, and Brexit, and his show resembles a familiar social media echo chamber.

But there’s no doubt that this is the future of the format in a fractured and partisan world. LBC has decided that the requirement for balance in broadcasting can be made right across the schedule, rather than within any one show, so that each presenter is allowed, indeed encouraged, to be one-sided. This requires a different attitude, which is why O’Brien never really made the grade when presenting Newsnight. It’s also why LBC has — with the exceptions of Eddie Mair and Shelagh Fogarty — not poached presenters from the BBC.

If you want the old-fashioned version of the phone-in, where you find out what people are thinking and how public opinion is shifting, then you have to go to the man who was LBC’s number one until last week. Nick Ferrari is just as opinionated — if less predictable in those opinions — yet he allows a far greater diversity among those who get put on air. And he remains courteous to all but the most extreme, giving the impression that he means it when he says, “I want to hear your calls”. But last week’s listening figures suggested a changing of the guard.

Personally, I’m a little saddened by this development, because I do want the old-fashioned version. I’ve been addicted to the phone-in for forty years, ever since I first heard the magnificently irascible Brian Hayes in what is now O’Brien’s slot. But even then there were naysayers. 

“The more I hear commercial radio the more repellent I find it,” the comedian Kenneth Williams noted in his diary, back in 1973, the year LBC became Britain’s first legally approved independent radio station. “The din created by the half-baked talking to the half-educated is horrible.”


Alwyn W. Turner is a cultural and political historian.

AlwynTurner

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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago

“Most notoriously, he indulged the patently absurd lies told by Carl “Nick” Beech about VIP paedophile-rings, a conspiracy theory that hurt actual people.
Unless your life was horribly affected by Beech’s fantasies, this is mostly good knockabout fun.”
No. Sorry, but that is indefensible.
You can’t be so glib as to suggest that was, in any context, ‘mostly good knockabout fun’.
Beech’s lies ruined people’s lives.
O’Brien led a calculated witch-hunt by promoting those lies over many months. I struggle to credit that either O’Brien or (the then) Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, could have been taken in by such obvious fantasy, but they seemed to be so keen to believe that prominent people were involved in the rape and murder of children that they put aside all their critical faculties in order to convince themselves.
When Beech’s lies were exposed, did we hear any apology from O’Brien? No. He weaselled and deflected – never once mentioning the many people whose lives were ruined by the utterly far-fetched fantasy accusations that he had so enthusiastically promulgated.
For that alone – if nothing else – J O’B should have lost his JOB.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paddy Taylor
Peter LR
Peter LR
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Absolutely, Paddy, Keir Starmer’s promotion of the doctrine of ‘believe every allegation’ has traumatised hundreds of mainly men, with allegations likely to be permanently kept on file when even after investigation it’s clear they were fabricated.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter LR
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Believe every allegation, unless it concerns white girls and Pakistani pea d’auphile grooming gangs.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

…and Saville?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Good point.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Agree entirely, except that O’Brien has no critical faculties, just his own virtue signalling woke agenda. To accomplish this he carefully curates his callers, to make sure they are either articulate sycophants to sing his praises, or inarticulate people who he easily trips up, and humiliates.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick Wade
R S Foster
R S Foster
2 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

…not “prominent PEOPLE…”…but prominent CONSERVATIVE people…or those thought likely to be, like Lord Bramall…on the basis of fantasies originally concocted by a bunch of left-wing TU activists in South London, back in the seventies…the fact that O’Brien is first and foremost a Labour Party agitprop asset should not be overlooked…

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

There has been a concerted effort to associate being conservative or right wing with anything ‘bad’. People like JOB insinuate it must be corrupt Tories who cover up child abusers, as if that is what it means to be right wing… when we all know a lot of that goes on on the left, from Cyril Smith and PIE to the systematic cover ups of Muslim grooming gangs – overwhelmingly in Labour constituencies…. If JOB genuinely reported on that and showed the outrage it should always have had in the MSM but somehow never does except in The Sun and The Daily Mail (dismissed as racist of course even though it is the TRUTH), I would maybe give him some credit – but he won’t.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

O’Brien long since drove away most of those who might not share his views on such subjects as Trump, Johnson, and Brexit, and his show resembles a familiar social media echo chamber.
Exactly. He sits in his echo chamber and most of us would rather hear all sides of discussion.
Radio call-in shows generally only attract the weird and the extreme. The vast silent majority would not bother to “ring in”.
They are, in my view, best described by the term “bottom trawlers” which for those of you ignorant of the term, is a term used in fishing for those who drag their hooks and nets along the bottom of the sea collecting the detritus

Adrian Maxwell
Adrian Maxwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Spot on in your broad sentiments. But one important error …. it was not Carl Beech’s lies that ruined people’s lives. The ruination, of which there was much, came about directly and solely from the policy decisions and egregious actions of the state prosecuting agency and senior police officers who ditched discretion and enthusiastically investigated the claims. We are surrounded by idiots who spout drivel everyday, but Beech’s manifest nonsense only gained legs when senior officers said his claims were ‘credible and true’. What was society to think? Only now do we know the claims were not true but, most importantly, not at all credible. All lower and middle ranking detectives knew the claims were not credible ie without a shred of independent support. This debacle was the finest example of the inadequacy, ineptitude and weakness of CPS and police leadership.

Last edited 1 year ago by Adrian Maxwell
Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

O’Brien is successful, I think, because, with the advent of mass university “education”, there are millions of idiots out there who, sunk in the absolute narcissism which is the main product of our atomized western nations, came into the world with the foundational assumption that they were carrying knowledge that no one before them ever had. Hold a mirror up for narcissists and you’ll never be out of work.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Well put. And in the comments sections, especially in Unherd, we’re similarly narcissistic – but it provides an outlet for our frustrations.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Yes the virtue signalling is a disease in that population. They spout platitudes from right-on leftie literature about equality and struggle and ‘rich old white men’, there are lots of lovely buzzwords like ‘problematic’ and ‘patriarchy’, without ever really questioning it at all – until reality hits you in the face of course. I know this because I used to be one of them…..

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
2 years ago

For years I really enjoyed his Thursday Mystery Hour but the constant belittlement of, and his hatred for, Leavers just did it for me. My morning routine is Ferrari (LBC) and then just before 10am switch to Mike Graham (TalkRadio)… I just can’t stand hearing JOB’s voice anymore.
He’s the one with the problem, not me.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

The weird thing is, Leavers could so easily have been seen as brave heroes had the narrative been different. Fighting the globalist powers, the bureaucrats, not doing as they were told, this is the stuff of legend. People like JOB claim to speak up for the common man, the oppressed, the poor, but understands them so little it makes him seem even more like a metropolitan elitist snob than he already is.

teresa.m.skinner
teresa.m.skinner
2 years ago

I first had the misfortune to listen to his deranged rantings, when I inadvertently left the radio on after the (very gentlemanly) Nick Ferrari programme during the Brexit debate. He was so sneering and so rude to anybody who dared to oppose his view, that now, just the sound of his voice makes me rush for the Off button.

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
2 years ago

O’Brien is a particularly egregious example of the host who doesn’t argue in good faith. It’s unlistenable unless you are an ideologue on the same ‘side’ as him. Always spinning the worst possible interpretation of a guest’s opinion. A proper debating arena demands that you can understand and describe to a sufficient extent the argument made by the other side. You should be able to make their argument well and then explain why it’s wrong. Our entire discourse is predicated on ‘winning’, which usually means using some rhetorical advice to flummox an opponent or win the cheers of the audience. It’s no wonder our political culture is so pathetic.

Rosy Martin
Rosy Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

Spot on, Chris. I think it is incredible that O ‘Brien hasn’t come unstuck before now , but I live in hope…

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Rosy Martin

He nearly did with Frank Lampard. Also once, hilariously, he was being his usual patronising obnoxious oafish self. Then towards the end of the call, the caller told him that he (caller) was black. Jobby did a comical handbrake turn and started being polite.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

Only people who agree with him are allowed to be heard. Perhaps they’ve stopped calling in now. He has a fan club of Remoaner leftards, “doffing their cap” as he would put it.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
2 years ago

Mike Graham on TalkRADIO is so much better.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Indeed – I suspect Graham would routinely “skewer” the lightweight O’Brien.
If you like talk radio, then Ferrari followed immediately by Mike Graham is the way to go.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Mike Graham is certainly no lightweight.

Seriously, though, you can tell he’s got some cajones with his talks with Peter Hitchens – the two disagreed on the lockdown at first, but Graham allowed Peter on because he felt it was right to allow a different perspective on the programme. Of course Hitchens eventually changed Graham’s mind. You know, open, honest debate. Remember that?

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Dalton
Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Agreed. I like TalkRadio because, though there is a clear editorial line, they give air time to different points of view. Reference Julia Hartley Brewer

Bernie Wilcox
Bernie Wilcox
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Julia first but that’s not a phone in

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Mike even accepts the mockery for his concrete comment. I also get a blast and frequent laughs from the cathartic scattergun swearing on The Thought Police podcast with Mike Graham and Kevin O’Sullivan

Mike Seeney
Mike Seeney
2 years ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Couldn’t agree more!

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
2 years ago

If home-working is killing off breakfast radio, is it too much to hope for that it also kills off the far more vacuous and pathetic breakfast TV?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

Let GB News be first. I ask you, Eamonn Holmes and Anne Diamond. It’s the BBC ’90s all over again.

Paul Scannell
Paul Scannell
2 years ago

O’Brien has a touch of ‘angry gamer’ about him. He collects facts that confirm his world view.

Adrian Maxwell
Adrian Maxwell
2 years ago

Years ago I switched off LBC at 10am and rejoined at lunchtime. O’Brien was like the clever bullying 6th former but with a seriously nasty streak. The sort who didnt play sport and so avoided the life lessons of give and take, and any experience of the triumph and disaster impostors. His sole object was a juvenile need to be right, the route to this self satisfaction involved studied and precise rudeness (abuse) so effective that, as the author says, the show became an echo chamber.The latest manifestation of O’Brien’s desperate need to have this diet of agreement, is a full interview with John Bercow. It is bathetically hilarious, catch it if only to hear Bercow explaining democracy.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Maxwell

“O’Brien was like the clever bullying 6th former but with a seriously nasty streak. The sort who didnt play sport and so avoided the life lessons of give and take”

Well, at my school (a well-known Edinburgh ‘Scots Grammar’ one) the four 6th form bullies were all rugger players, so your generalization doesn’t seem to hold up. And it wasn’t any notions of fair play that stopped their persecution of one smaller pupil, it was being belted (with the ‘tawse’) by the then Headmaster rather heavily – a move supported by almost everyone I talked to at the school).
Of course they’re all smug, wealthy, middle-class professionals these days, but I for one will remember, and if necessary, if I ever meet any of them (unlikely), remind.

Last edited 2 years ago by Arnold Grutt
René Descartes
René Descartes
2 years ago

James loves sneering at people who don’t live in the same woke, hyper-intelligent universe he imagines himself to inhabit. He sneers at such length and with such frequency and intensity that his features have set into a permanent sneer that is frightening to behold.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago

Then he does meta-patronising, whereby he says “It isn’t your fault you voted Leave, it’s the fault of the people who conned you”. He has no idea how offensive and arrogant this is.
The more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger shtick is unintentionally hilarious. “Please tell me I’m wrong”, he pleads. Well he is wrong, always and about everything. It isn’t his fault, it’s the fault of the people who conned him.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

“He has no idea”

There, that’s better.

Last edited 2 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Dave Lowery
Dave Lowery
2 years ago

I keep trying the O Brien show because my friends like it, I don’t and want to check I’ve got it right. O Brien proves me right pretty well every time I try it.

René Descartes
René Descartes
2 years ago

Why did LBC get rid of Maajid Nawaz and keep James O’Brien? Why privilege shallow sneering and ranting over intelligent analysis?

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago

Maajid was one of the most thoughtful presenters on LBC. I disagreed with a lot of his opinions, but they are always well-argued and he treats his callers respectfully. James O’Brien is a cretinous oaf and hypocritical leftbot.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I’m surprised TalkRadio haven’t snapped him up. Been following Maajid for years and I respect him a lot for his willingness to question things, including himself (his journey out of Islamism a case in point – reminds me more than a bit of Malcolm X who had that same quality).

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
2 years ago

If it hadn’t been for James O’ Boring I would never have discovered Talk Radio so for that I thank him.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I listen to presenters across the political spectrum but James O’Brien, I just can’t stand him. The sound of his smug self righteous voice winds me up even when I think he has a good point, which is occasionally true. I wonder, if he is so incontrovertibly right about everything why doesn’t he put his money where his mouth is and run for office, all his adoring fans (the real and righteous ‘majority’ according to JOB), Remainers, leftists and those who love to virtue signal their social justice credentials would all vote for him surely and he could rule the country and turn it into a utopia?

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago

he allows a far greater diversity among those who get put on air” … I could put up with almost any presenter, however one-sided, possibly even O’Brien, if they weren’t so controlling over who gets to call in and talk. That’s what’s destroyed it.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago

Good summary – I was actually listening to Nick Ferrari when this article appeared.
O’Brien lacks the intellect/cojones to discuss a topic with an intelligent caller that holds an opposing view to him.
Absolutely pathetic individual with no obvious intellect.
Fortunately there are still strong hosts who do not screen out dissenters – and seem to enjoy the challenges that O’Brien can’t cope with.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
Michael North
Michael North
2 years ago

JOB has the mentality of a lower sixth debating society prize winner. A juvenile approach to thinking but sometimes amusing and entertaining, sometimes repulsively offensive. He is not a serious political commentator – rather an entertainer. An intriguing flaw is that very often he has his facts completely wrong – laziness?

Robert Afia
Robert Afia
2 years ago

I see the psychopathology of James O’Brien as the archetypal guilt of the public school class. Paranoia turns self-hatred into hatred of all he sees as privileged.

Michael 0
Michael 0
2 years ago

That man is the most insufferable person on the planet. I can’t understand how anyone can listen to him.

Kiat Huang
Kiat Huang
2 years ago

Sometimes first impressions count for more than a broadcaster would like. And after watching O’Brien on YT being surprisingly obnoxious to a guest, when he should have remained respectful, if not gracious – he turned me off tuning in to him, his show and LBC. I’ve better ways to spend my time than listening to an opinionated, intolerant, unpleasant host. Pity as I was into talk radio at the time and was looking into alternatives.

Mark Walton
Mark Walton
2 years ago

I would say categorically JOB is the epitome of everything wrong with the Country. I wouldn’t call the fire service if he was on …..!
Nothing winds me up more than his elitist smugness. Second obnoxious score only to Vanessa Redgrave’s early morning R2 show.

Gerard McGlynn
Gerard McGlynn
2 years ago

Oh ! Yes ! Thanks for mentioning Eddie Maire. BBC impartiality! In his excitement he said ” When we win the election !! ” It couldn’t possibly have been Labour ?? Was it?
Watch out for long memories!!

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Gerard McGlynn

I remember that being said on the BBC, but not which BBC berk had said it. Thanks for reminding me.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
2 years ago

O’Brien is very biased ..we can dress it up with chin scratching waffle about the media today and the feedback loop between MSM and Social media..and the need for journalists to expand beyond the brand and all that..but at the end of the day he is just a nasty person.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
2 years ago

A flat track bully as they would say in cricketing terms.

Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago

As always physiognomy remains your best guide.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

He has a beard.. enough for the “off” switch as far as I am concerned… its not the beard per se… its wanting to have one.. Nu Britn moans about clas prejudice, snobbery, judgmentalism… if you look and dress up as a pond life oik… then don’t be suprised when you are classified as one… opps sorry, I mean “wonne”….

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

I know what you mean when you point out the interesting idea that radio shows are going the same way as online ‘echo-chambers’; I only had to listen to one show by O’Brien to realise how thoroughly “opinionated, partisan and given to repetition” he was, so that if I chance upon him again, I switch off as quickly as I can.
I realise that commercial radios may simply do whatever increases the size of audience, but personally, I consider a radio interviewer who doesn’t clearly reveal that he approves or disapproves of his guest to be professional, and more likely to enlighten the listener.
The steady politicisation of BBC hosts is why I’m almost at the point of giving up on BBC radio altogether, finding a better alternative in a few podcasts in which there is a serious and in-depth discussion, and which can include people of different political beliefs.
I have lately become suspicious of phone-ins, as I think activists have woken up to their potential, like a form of ‘entryism’, and have just now started wondering about all those emails MPs are said to be receiving.

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
2 years ago

I agree with Kenneth Williams, can’t bear talk, never listen, but maybe I’m just a snob!

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

The question to ask is why LBC chose to be a propaganda vehicle for Covid vaccines and vaccine mandates. Callers are allowed to claim that the vaccine stops infection or stops transmission and the presenter will allow the claim to pass unchallenged. Ask why the vaccine manufacturers need legal indemnity or try to explain that the young and healthy appear to face greater risks from the vaccine than from Covid and your call will be terminated by medical experts such as Ferrari.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
2 years ago

yeah noticed that with Ian Collins

David Chaplin
David Chaplin
2 years ago

James o Brian is simply passionate about speaking out against corruption and problems with society and does an extremely good job at speaking the truth about our current government. He was right about Brexit and anyone who disagrees is in denial.

Paul Alexander
Paul Alexander
2 years ago

JOB gives us challenge, curiosity and a useful check on a right wing biased press. It’s ok to disagree and of course he touches a nerve on matters like racism and the deceit of the Leave Campaign.
Long may he reign. The UK and those receptive to a view that isn’t drive by The Telegraph and Mail welcome his critical thinking. Listen and learn. As the Greeks said ‘an open mind is the essence of intellect’.