Farage has found his platform—the former Ukip and Brexit Party leader presents on GB News four times a week © Photo by Stuart Mitchell/SOPA

GB spews

What I learned watching Britain’s most ghastly television news channel—so you don’t have to
March 27, 2024

When Prospect’s editor asked if I would watch a television news channel across the month of February and report on its content, I thought: how hard could that be? The idea of watching GB News, however, had never previously occurred to me, nor to most British people. Viewership appeared to hit a record of one million at once for the channel’s 2024 new year’s coverage, until Barb Audiences—the organisation calculating the figures—corrected the number, to an average of just 33,000. 

The channel was launched on 13th June 2021 by the veteran journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil, who was also its founding chairman. He told potential viewers: “We’re proud to be British—the clue is in the name.” America’s Fox News had been cited as a potential model, but Neil promised GB News would “not be shouty, angry television that denies people the space to have their say.” The channel’s mission statement or “editorial charter” insisted: “We are balanced and fair in our coverage and ensure conversations are insightful, respectful and set an example by treating others the way we would expect to be treated.” Three months after the launch, Neil resigned. 

After a rocky start (some would say the output has remained rocky), this largely unwatched TV channel has managed to build an enormous social media presence. When I last checked, it had 620,000 followers on X, 896,000 on TikTok and 1.2m subscribers on YouTube—not to mention immense political impact. Its politician-presenters include Lee Anderson, the former deputy chair of the Conservative party who has since defected to the right-wing Reform party (and who has 142,000 followers on X), plus an assortment of current Conservative MPs, ex-MPs and Nigel Farage (1.8m followers on X). Even if many Brits, like me, never normally watch it on television, GB News is beginning to have a profound impact on our society. In political circles, it is said to have considerable influence with Conservative party members—to the extent that it may play a key role in selecting the next party leader. 

My apparently humdrum assignment therefore took me rapidly into a world of public rows about Islamophobia, the leadership (and possible replacement) of Rishi Sunak and eventually to a different kind of replacement—the Great Replacement Theory, the racist conspiracy scare story according to which white Christians are being “replaced” by Muslims and people of colour. On the way, a regular GB News contributor, Michael Crick, told me that Ofcom—the communications regulator which recently found five GB News programmes to have breached the Broadcasting Code—should close the channel down, because “GB News is a political propaganda exercise, not a journalistic exercise.” An Ofcom source suggested that big trouble and big decisions lay ahead. My viewing and reviewing proved a revelation—and not in a good way. 

It began at 5pm one Friday in early February. A very short news bulletin suddenly turned into promotional videos for GB News presenters. A Nigel Farage promo appeared. Then popped up Jacob Rees-Mogg—the Conservative MP for North East Somerset whom the German newspaper Die Zeit called “Ein lebendes Fossil”, a living fossil. He walked around in brown tweeds boasting that GB News escapes the information chokehold within the M25. (Fact: GB News studios are in Paddington.) In the promo for Neil Oliver, a Scottish broadcaster who was once best known for presenting documentaries on archaeology and history—including Coast—before veering into climate change scepticism and conspiracy, the presenter asked for money in exchange for special viewer benefits. “How about real news?” I wrote in my news diary. Then, unfamiliar faces. Patrick Christys, a Jack-the-lad sort of character, insisted he would provide “entertainment”. I googled him, along with another presenter, Michelle Dewberry, as a distraction from the endless promos.

Dewberry turned out to be a British businesswoman and media personality who won the second UK series of The Apprentice. She was a Brexit Party candidate in 2019. In the promotion she called herself “Dewbs” and insisted that she wanted to hear your views, which—I discovered—is a constant GB News theme: what you say is important to us. 

Christys is in his early thirties, open about being a recovering alcoholic (now sober) and credits his recovery to wise counsel from Farage. A GB News insider told me that Christys had worked for Farage and was one of a number of people the former Brexit Party leader had brought to GB News. Several of the channel’s presenters and contributors have links to Farage, the Brexit Party and its spinoffs Reform and Reclaim.

Viewership appeared to hit a record—until the number was corrected to just 33,000 

Curiously, there were few outside adverts while I was watching. Another jump-cut revealed the presenter Martin Daubney uncomfortable and frowning behind a desk. News at last, I thought—but not if you define “news” as reliable information that previously you didn’t know. Daubney is another Brexit Party refugee (a former MEP); former editor of the lads’ mag Loaded; and deputy leader of the Reclaim party from 2021 to 2022, under culture warrior Laurence Fox. 

Fox’s appearances on GB News were cut short after he engaged in what Ofcom described as a “misogynistic” rant on a show presented by Dan Wootton. The regulator found that the programme broke broadcasting rules in failing to “protect viewers from offensive content.” Wootton also left the channel—and what was reported as a £600,000-a-year salary. 

GB News embodies a culture of complaint about a United Kingdom that is simultaneously exceptionally wonderful yet also utterly ruined. British people somehow manage to be marvellous yet also daft enough to be taken for fools.

Daubney was the Reclaim party candidate in the 2021 North Shropshire by-election, where he finished seventh, with 375 votes (0.98 per cent of the total.) The “woke orthodoxy” that the party claims “hates our country and culture” apparently appealed more to Shropshire voters than he did. He is also reported to have organised a straight pride march in London in 2007, because he felt heterosexuality was being “undermined” and becoming “unfashionable”. That undermining was confirmed when Loaded printed its last copy in 2015, after sales had become untenably low.

Watching Daubney on screen, he looked merely tired and sad, shuffling notes nervously and gabbling questions in three awkward interviews. One of these was with backbench Conservative MP Marco Longhi. There was also a chat with the station’s political editor Christopher Hope (a refugee from the Daily Telegraph) and a third interview with a lawyer. The lawyer, whose claim to expertise in parliamentary procedure was not explained, insisted that Keir Starmer breached parliamentary rules by naming someone in the public gallery—Esther Ghey, mother of murdered trans girl Brianna—with the intention of intimidating (I am not making this up) Rishi Sunak. 

Michelle Dewberry © PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo Michelle Dewberry © PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

What about Longhi? In May 2022, he had called for “Stop Brexit Man” Steve Bray—who routinely protests noisily against Brexit-supporting MPs outside the Palace of Westminster—to be “locked up in the Tower with a loudspeaker playing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ on repeat at maximum volume.” In June that year, Longhi addressed the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, over his criticism of the government’s asylum plan: “Archbishop, as you appear to feel so strongly about this, will you give up two of your palaces for illegal migrants and pay for their accommodation?” Longhi is the son of a (legal) migrant from Italy. 

I was bored witless. I contacted Prospect’s editor to tell him I didn’t want to watch this TV torture any more. An hour of performative victimhood was enough. I told him that this victimhood—including from some of the people who in their day jobs run the country—would be my story. The editor congratulated me. He looked forward to reading it. Well done, me! 

I tried again at 7pm on 12th February: Farage’s show. He was cheerful (a big asset on television). Later that night, Rees-Mogg was to be temporarily replaced by Sunak in an audience Q&A session, and Rees-Mogg had joined Farage to chat about this scoop in advance. Farage was laughing about the Bibby Stockholm, the 50-year-old barge that was being used to house asylum seekers in Dorset and which was found to contain Legionella bacteria. The joke was that one in 10 of those onboard claimed to have converted to Christianity. Farage did not dig into the source of this amusing statistic, but implied they were fake conversions. (Fact: the Telegraph reported in early February that one in seven Bibby Stockholm detainees had been going to Christian services.) 

To discuss these issues, Farage was joined by Sally Smith from the faith group Sanctus. Smith had been “involved in welcoming people from the Muslim faith into the Christian faith,” noted Farage, before asking if these converts were guilty of “apostasy” and claiming criminals were using Christianity to avoid deportation. (Fact: most refugees are not criminals. Another fact: apostates are, by definition, sincere in changing their faith.) Either way, Farage insisted that “we’re being taken for a ride.” Variations on this phrase proved a favourite theme of the channel, the grievance being that British people are treated as idiots both by our native elites and devious foreign-born minorities—people “not like us” who, allegedly, don’t share our values.

Back with Nigel, Sally accepted that some converts to Christianity may abuse the system. Farage pushed on, noting that some asylum seekers and refugees “have committed murder or rape.” Sally pointed out that Christianity is built around a refugee family. Farage seemed utterly thrown that a religious person might reference the Bible. “I understand that,” he responded, unconvincingly. Sally’s interview ended. Farage insisted he did not doubt her sincerity but that this was all a “massive loophole”. 

I checked to see if the clip—Sally from Sanctus taking Nigel Farage apart—was recorded on X for posterity, but could not find any evidence of her appearance on the channel’s account. 

After that I watched Sunak with the GB News audience—the full hour. Sunak appeared well-briefed, confident and avoided being intimidated. It was almost like normal TV.


14th February

Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t resist another hour of Nigel before a romantic dinner. I switched on around 7pm to find more “taking us for fools”. This time, the threat was coming from the “exploding number of barbers on our streets”, which Farage claimed may be home to illegal immigrants and money launderers. Cut to the tedious promos. Farage returned—and informed us that viewers were already emailing in about the barbershop threat. He claimed such shops “only take cash”, meaning they could be “very useful as a front for money laundering, for drugs”, and may be “exploited” by “crime gangs” as possible “fronts for criminality”. 

The much-hyped “exploding number” of “Turkish” barbers, however, soon metamorphosed into a report of one shop owned by an Albanian. (Fact: Albania is not in Turkey.) A raid resulted in one person being detained for allegedly working in breach of employment laws. He was… Colombian. (Fact: Colombia is not in Turkey either.) Farage must have been nonplussed. He returned to his line: “The whole thing is a racket… on a huge scale”, and “a good front and a good cover” for unspecified generally bad things, beyond bad haircuts. 

GB News embodies the complain that the UK is exceptionally wonderful yet also utterly ruined

Kevin Saunders—ex-Border Force—then appeared, agreeing with Nigel: “you’re spot on,” he said, before accepting that the problem represented the “failure of us as a country,” stemming from the fact “we don’t have ID cards.” Farage could have pursued the (interesting) ID card question, but instead got back on message. There was “no sign” of migration across the Channel “stopping at all.” He then interviewed a former UN special adviser on human trafficking, Steve Chalke, while arguing that “people come into Britain illegally” and “disappear”, and it is a “massive problem”. 

There followed a Valentine’s Day love-in with former prisons minister (and another former Brexit Party MEP) Ann Widdecombe, who admitted “I haven’t seen prisons so bad since the early 1990s.” Farage claimed that the real problem was “the growth of Islamism in our prisons.” I’d had enough. 


20th February

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s “State of the Nation” programme returned to the GB News one-note theme that Islam threatens our way of life. If conversion from Islam to Christianity was phoney and bad, Rees-Mogg spoke of something genuine and even worse—a “spike in Islamic conversion” from those quitting Christianity. There followed a “special investigation” by the Daily Mail journalist Sue Reid, who had written a story for her paper on “why white British children as young as eight are pledging their lives to Allah.” 

Reid admitted that she hadn’t “met any of the parents” of the children, but Rees-Mogg failed to ask the obvious—“why not?” We heard that one conversion took place “under Big Ben, near Churchill’s statue”, which was presented as if especially heinous. Rees-Mogg wondered whether the Christian church had failed to provide guidance, while Islam had “traditional” values. Reid agreed that Muslim children may have “more ordered lives”, but warned of a future in which British women could be forced to wear a veil. “I am certain that will happen within the next hundred years,” she said. Just another thing to worry about, if not immediately.


22nd February

Watched “State of the Nation”. At 8.47pm, “Jacob’s Book Club” revealed that “cynical opportunists” were discrediting British heroes, including Lord Nelson. Historians were rewriting our glorious history. (Fact: that can be a fundamental part of the historian’s job.) No “cynical opportunist” appeared, nor was any quoted, but Chris Brett from the Nelson Society explained that Nelson appeared six times in the House of Lords in 1801 and 1802 to speak on military matters and never once referred to the slave trade. Only in a private letter did he mention it. The contents of this letter were not revealed, rendering the discussion incomprehensible. I had a look for viewer responses and found reactions like these: 


Steve Raymond: Glad I don’t live there anymore a once great country is sadly going down the pan 




Hedgehog: People forget the majority of the middle east was not always Islamic. We in the west are now going the same way. Doesn’t history tell us anything ?


Khonrak: New property wanted - built & furnished = 1 x property per minute, to accommodate incoming migrants, this represents an unbalanced never ending merry go round 😮


Paul H: I’m a prepper. I prep for societal collapse. I’d advise anyone with any sense, to start thinking about doing the same


Suitably refreshed, I returned to Christys, whose personal story of recovery the Mail had previously reported under the headline: “How Nigel Farage stopped me drinking myself to death: GB News anchorman Patrick Christys led a double life ‘drinking all day, every day’ before ex-Ukip leader’s fatherly warning after he spotted young star going off the rails.” Christys’s fiancée, Emily Carver, is yet another GB News presenter. 

On Christys’s show, headlined “MIGRATION ‘WORSENS’ HOUSING CRISIS”, he reported that 67 per cent of privately rented homes in London are going to people born overseas. The strap line along the bottom said something different: 67 per cent were headed by someone born overseas. The ultimate source of the statistics was credible but not made clear. Other relevant figures which show a more complicated picture went unmentioned. (Fact: analysis of census data from 2021 shows that “more than 1.3m UK-born people were living in social housing in London in 2021, compared to 525,000 who were born overseas.”)

Christys’s statistics appeared to suggest that migrants—rather than failures in housebuilding—were the cause of the UK housing crisis. He was joined by Widdecombe. She agreed with him: “Of course migration is contributing to the housing crisis.” Christys asked: “Do we have to have some kind of law where landlords have to actually prioritise British tenants?” Widdecombe said the real issue was that “successive governments have not managed to control migration.” Christys left us with no doubt as to his own view: migration “is ramping up” the housing crisis and “sucks the aspiration out of people,” he said, adding: “I just wonder how much data people are going to need” before they “wake up”. A proper look at the data, I thought. Yes. Good idea.

23rd February

The following day something astonishing happened. There was news on GB News. And it was real. Brexit supporter, GB News presenter and former deputy chair of the Conservative party Lee Anderson appeared and attacked London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, who happens to be Muslim: “He’s given our capital city away to his mates. I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan, and they’ve got control of London and they’ve got control of Starmer as well.” Anderson was subsequently repeatedly challenged to apologise for his comments—Khan called them “Islamophobic, anti-Muslim and racist” and said they poured “fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred.” Anderson had the whip withdrawn, with Sunak saying he was “wrong” but declining to say whether he was also Islamophobic. 

Around this time, the charity Hope not Hate published an investigation reporting that Paul Marshall, the founder of news and commentary website UnHerd and co-owner of what it called the “right-wing channel GB News”, had used his X account in a way that suggests “he holds a deeply disturbing view of modern Britain.”

The holding company that owns GB News is called All Perspectives Ltd. It has two major shareholders: Legatum Ltd and Sir Paul, who own 41.2 per cent of the company each. Marshall’s fortune is put at an estimated £800m from his career as a hedge fund manager. He does not post on X much. He does, however, retweet and “like” what Hope not Hate described as “notorious hate accounts such as the Britain First deputy leader Ashlea Simon, American anti-Muslim campaigner Amy Mek and the shady Italian anti-migration account Radio Genoa.” 

Marshall, who is also bidding for ownership of the Telegraph and the Spectator, “has repeatedly liked and retweeted extremist content from an array of far-right and conspiracy theorist accounts,” the charity found. A representative for Marshall issued a statement noting that “as most X/Twitter users know, it can be a fountain of ideas, but some of it is of uncertain quality and all his posts have now been deleted to avoid any further misunderstanding.” What was “misunderstood” was not explained, but if the head honcho likes and retweets views like this, then the cast of eccentrics and Looney Tunes characters given airtime on his channel begins to make more sense.

At the same time as Hope not Hate was publishing its investigation, Farage was in Washington DC at CPAC, a far-right conservative conference. So was Liz Truss. Beaming in to GB News, Farage returned to his familiar theme of “irresponsible immigration policies” over the past 25 years and “the encouragement of multiculturalism… add to that a lack of moral courage and leadership… We have forgotten who we are, we’ve forgotten what we are… everything we believe in, everything we’ve built over the last 1,000 years and more is based on family, nation, and underpinning all of it are Judeo-Christian principles… [and that] is being crushed.”

24th February

Not much time to watch television, so I checked the GB News X feed around 7pm and discovered a video post of Neil Oliver reminding listeners of Oliver Cromwell’s famous 1653 speech to parliament, when he told MPs “in the name of God, go.” Oliver offered his own views to camera, uninterrupted, for 11 minutes: “I say the time has come again, that the day is long overdue… to be rid of the whole rotten lot of them… I’ll tell you where [the] solution is not to be found, and that’s the next general election, or any other. Our democracy has been gelded and the Uniparty is in control instead. As far as I’m concerned, to still be thinking a change of ruling party in that poisoned Palace of Westminster will make any difference is the root of all evil.” The screen carried the words “Flush out the Filth”. (Fact: the word “Uniparty” is a favourite of far-right American conservatives, including the Trump propagandist Steve Bannon, who uses the word to suggest all politicians are part of the same conspiracy.) On X, the “Coast guy” has about 400,000 followers. When I last checked, the social media clip of his 11-minute rant had received more than 300,000 views.

That evening on GB News I discovered The Kearse Word with Leo Kearse (another presenter I had never heard of). Kearse is also Scottish, and apparently known for his anti-woke comedy act. In 2021 he stood as the Reclaim candidate in the Glasgow Pollok constituency, where he attracted 114 votes, or 0.3 per cent of the total. He has described the SNP leader, Humza Yousaf, as the “first minister of Gaza”. After the charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was freed from prison in Iran—once Britain agreed to settle a £400m debt—Kearse “joked” on GB News that her name “was Iranian for ‘ungrateful’” and suggested she had been “radicalised”. Another comedian, Victoria Coren Mitchell, called the comments racist.

As I watched that Saturday, Kearse unleashed a six-minute rant attacking Gemini, Google’s AI tool, claiming it “erased white people” and that the tool only generates images of them when the word “evil” was put before the request. Google’s entire business is guided by “anti-racism,” Kearse said, “which is a word woke people use to mean ‘lots of racism’”—towards white people. Corporations talking about diversity, he claimed, “make the population more amenable to mass immigration.” He concluded that “Nineteen Eighty-Four was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.” 

At this point I began to wonder how much of a market there really is for this kind of broadcasting. (Fact: according to Press Gazette’s monthly top-50 ranking, GB News was the 20th biggest news website in the UK in early 2024, with an audience of 8.7m. This compares to Sky News in seventh place with 18.8m. According to Barb Audiences figures for January 2024, out of 56,967,000 “Broadcaster Viewing” individuals in the UK, the BBC was watched by 51,373,000 people at some point during the month, with the BBC News channel at 10,451,000 and GB News at 3,168,000.)

When friends who have never viewed the channel asked what it felt like watching GB News, I explained that it was like being cornered by a pub bore—someone desperate for an argument, able to shout loudly but unable to listen, blaming their own inadequacies on other people, constantly flickering between anger and disappointment in a way that was fact-light and opinion-heavy. Trying to figure out who the audience might be for Pub Bore News was more tricky. It probably includes those—the British equivalents of Trump’s Maga enthusiasts—who in some way “want their country back”, or want to make Britain “great again”, without understanding that weaponising nostalgia isn’t the same as fixing tomorrow’s problems. Such output attracts those who feel so excluded from public life that they don’t much care anymore what is true and what is false, so long as it sounds like someone important on television is pandering to their existing prejudices. 

Most of us would listen to the pub bore for a short while and not care about his prejudices—if he’s buying the beer. But there are those who are paid to care. One of them is the regulator.

Ofcom describes itself as “the regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on each day.” To conform to Ofcom rules, a television news channel needs to broadcast in a way that has a semblance of balance and fairness, more formally called “due impartiality”.  It is this requirement that GB News fell foul of in mid-March, though it faced no sanctions for doing so. But segments subsequently sliced and diced for social media, and which may ultimately reach an audience of millions rather than the tiny audience of the television channel, are treated differently to television news. Ofcom explains as follows: “Unlike our work in regulating content broadcast on TV and radio, Ofcom’s role in online safety isn’t about deciding whether particular posts or other content should or shouldn’t be available, or whether it complies with specific standards. Instead, our role is to make sure social media sites and other regulated online services have appropriate systems and processes in place to protect their users.”

This is clearly a very tricky—and quite new—area for the regulator. Sources familiar with Ofcom’s inner workings told me there has been a lot of internal debate about GB News which, one source said, “started up with a particular approach and reputable presenters” but then “went down a very different route.” 

GB News “started recruiting Tory politicians,” and Brexit Party refugees also found asylum there. In February, the Guardian reported that the channel had paid more than £660,000 in appearance fees and salaries to Tory MPs since its launch. In the same period, only two Labour MPs had been paid to appear—Barry Gardiner and Rosie Duffield, who received £600 and £500 respectively. 

My source said the regulator gave GB News some latitude as a result of the supposed distinction between news (where serving politicians should usually be prohibited from presenting) and current affairs (where the rules are more flexible). Some in Ofcom argued that you cannot “outlaw certain people”. Others argued that Ofcom already does just that with the ban on MPs as news presenters. Besides, nobody truly understands the difference between news and current affairs. 

Neil Oliver © YouTube Neil Oliver © YouTube

I was told Ofcom knows that GB News is “goading the regulator and pushing beyond the boundaries.” The source noted that dissonant voices appear on broadcasts (often to very few viewers), but clips on social media may “cut out alternative voices and leave in the lunatics.”

There are also, the Ofcom source said, “ownership issues” raised by the GB News case. In the UK, political parties are not allowed to own news channels. But right-wing investors may do so, and “this looks like a way to circumvent the regulations on media ownership” in a way that is “not what parliament intended”, and which risks potentially attracting problematic owners. The internal debate in Ofcom about all this rumbles on. 

One GB News contributor—and a dissenting voice on the channel—is the respected former BBC and Channel 4 News political journalist and author Michael Crick. I watched some of Crick’s appearances with Rees-Mogg and other sparring partners from the right of the spectrum. Crick told me that he likes Rees-Mogg and enjoys the challenge, describing himself as a centrist who is “a little towards the left politically”, although on immigration “quite right wing.”

 He knows he could be accused of giving the channel “credibility” by appearing. But “it’s great fun,” he said cheerfully. After we spoke, I saw an X post from the Rees-Mogg show featuring Crick, who said: “I think what [Lee Anderson] said was appalling, and he should be thrown out of the [Conservative] party and should not be elected back into parliament again.” 

In November last year, Crick was thrown off a GB News show during (again, I am not making this up) a debate about free speech and censorship. Crick said of the channel: “It’s absurd that you have Tory MP, after Tory MP, after Tory MP, two leaders of the Brexit Party, and hardly any Labour MPs—you are a right-wing channel and the rules in this country are very clear.” He was interrupted and then, by his own account, ejected. As he said that evening on X: “I’ve just been expelled from GBNews studio… when asked why I thought Ofcom should close GBNews down – I said because it’s a right-wing channel dominated by Tory and Brexit Party politicians.”

Crick told me he remained concerned about the lack of balance and—despite being a frequent guest—explained that “on six occasions I’ve called for Ofcom to shut it down. GB News is a political propaganda exercise, not a journalistic exercise. Their motivation is to change the world” by broadcasting “pure propaganda which is especially contentious in an election year.” Election spending is “regulated 12 months before an election” and so the Electoral Commission “should consider whether what was broadcast on GB News, and who owned it and appeared on it, constituted election spending” for Britain’s right-wing parties. Following Crick’s remarks, I contacted the Electoral Commission. It offered a full response, stressing the importance of the distinction between party promotion and editorial content; explaining who would have to be involved—and in what capacity—for spending to count as party spending; and outlining important exemptions for non-party campaigners. Ultimately, it seemed unlikely to pursue the case. 

In the spirit of “Dewbs”, GB News insists that it wants “to hear what you think”. So here’s what I think. GB News is not any kind of normal journalism. It is, at best, news-inspired, but ultimately it is factually unreliable show business for uninteresting people. At worst it is right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories masquerading as news. Its key presenters and its obsessions are those of the right or far right. 

In his new book How to Win an Information War, the propaganda expert Peter Pomerantsev concludes that “propaganda at its most malign” exploits the “need to feel ordinary” and also “impels a type of belonging where you give up the capacity to differentiate between good and bad.” We’re not there yet. But simply laughing at the GB News conspiratorial nonsense—a channel where the right hand does not know what the far-right hand is doing—is not good enough. Nor is a mild slap on the wrist from the watchdog going to achieve anything. Ofcom needs to prove it is a proper regulator. Otherwise it may as well not exist.