Apologise for "white people" remark?

Jon Snow criticised for comment about pro-Brexit rally

The Guardian

Why is Channel 4 apologising for Jon Snow's 'white people' remark? | Frances Ryan

‘It’s been the most extraordinary day,” the Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow remarked on air on Friday, referring to the pro-Brexit protesters flooding the centre of London. “A day which has seen … I have never seen so many white people in one place; it’s an extraordinary story.”

Predictably, perhaps, the reference to “white people” led to a backlash online, with some viewers taking it as an insult and others even calling the veteran broadcaster a “racist”.

“We are all sick to death of Jon Snow’s blatant bias, condescension and fake news”, wrote Nigel Farage, while tweeting a photo of a black man in a union jack bowler hat being stared down by a white anti-Brexit campaigner, as if an audition for a Benetton ad had gone terribly wrong.

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Should Channel 4 and Jon Snow apologise for "white people" remark?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow has been criticised for remarking that he had “never seen so many white people in one place” at a pro-Brexit rally.

The veteran broadcaster said: "It’s been the most extraordinary day. A day which has seen … I have never seen so many white people in one place, it’s an extraordinary story. There are people everywhere, there are crowds everywhere."

He has been accused of anti-Brexit bias, and not caring about people outside of London.

However, some argue that Snow was only doing his job, and that there is no need to apologise.

The Claim

The Daily Mail's Stephen Glover argues that Snow's jibe "reveals the contempt so many of his type have for millions of their fellow countrymen".

He accuses Channel 4 News of "anti-Brexit bias", and Snow of "speaking on behalf of a whole tribe of metropolitan liberals who regard Leave voters with a mixture of contempt and disbelief".

Glover says that the coverage of the pro-Brexit march could have been confused with an ugly demonstation by the violent Klu Klux Klan rather than "a march of generally peaceable Brexiteers".

He asks: "Why shouldn't white Brexiteers be allowed to make their point without racial aspersions being made about them?

"Despite Snow's insinuations, they weren't scary and threatening. But I suspect that their crime, in his eyes, was to emanate from outside the M25, which circles his hallowed metropolis."

Glover adds: "What is most objectionable about his sneering and disdainful mischaracterisation of Brexiteers last Friday is that it was divisive at a time when we already have far too many divisions."

The Counterclaim

However, the Guardian's Frances Ryan does not understand why Channel 4 is apologising for Snow's remarks.

She explains: "The reality is, the leave march appeared predominantly white (which is clearly not the same as saying no BAME person wants to leave the EU), and it is entirely legitimate for a journalist to say so.

"In fact, it's part of our job - examining race, sex and class helps us all understand the political climate better, just as thinking about the role of minorities and marginalised groups helps us question power, values and representation."

Ryan argues that the reaction to Snow's remarks are "a perfect display of how race inequality works". It reflects white privilege: white people are rarely defined by race; but when they are, it is perceived as a personal affront.

She writes: "We are used to being seen and spoken about as individuals rather than a homogeneous group - a privilege ethnic minorities are much less likely to enjoy in day-to-day life."

Ryan concludes: "The country has many issues with race it needs to address. Calling white people white is not one of them."

The Facts

Channel 4 issued an apology on Saturday: "This was an unscripted observation at the very end of a long week of fast-moving Brexit developments.

"Jon has covered major events such as this over a long career and this was a spontaneous comment reflecting his observation that in a London demonstration of that size, ethnic minorities seemed to be significantly under-represented. We regret any offence caused by his comment."

More than 2,000 people have complained to Ofcom since Snow made the remarks on Friday. The broadcasting watchdog said it was deciding whether to investigate.

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Daily Mail

Jon Snow's 'white people' jibe reveals contempt his type have

Channel 4 News has long enjoyed a reputation as a niche current affairs programme with a markedly Leftist take on the world. I often watch it, usually in a state of contentment.

Because it is so niche, and there is no expectation of political impartiality, I find myself expostulating far less frequently than when the BBC is guilty of less egregious bias.

Auntie is so powerful, and so eager to insist on her neutrality, that when she betrays even slight evidence of partiality in her news coverage, some of us are apt to howl our objections.

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