The adrenaline overdose is killing off Question Time

PUBLISHED: 15:59 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 07 February 2019

Fiona Bruce introduces Question Time in Winchester. Photograph: BBC.

Fiona Bruce introduces Question Time in Winchester. Photograph: BBC.

Archant

JUDE WILKINSON was in the audience of a recent Question Time and said they could not believe how the debate was driven by emotion rather rationale.

I was in the audience for the Question Time held in Winchester last week. The extent to which debate was driven by emotion rather than rational analysis shocked me. The misrepresentation, belligerence and absurd lack of comeback on claims made by panellists made me realise more than ever that we are living in a post-truth age where one can replace scrutiny with bluster.

I did not speak up to disagree because speaking out is hard in an environment where unrepresentative audiences thunder applause for absurd arguments.

It seems obvious that the ‘adrenaline-packed’ approach taken by new editor Hilary O’Neill put off audience members who had valuable insights into the topics being discussed. Instead, only those with empty slogans and trademarks thrived.

The rush to insert adrenaline into rational debate is destructive to democracy. It is as though debate on matters of national policy is being done in a playground; shout the loudest and you will win the argument. It felt utterly intimidating, stepping into the lion’s den.

Such toxicity does not engage people in politics. It means terrible arguments will be put forward by those who imagine they know what they are talking about, further alienating people from politics as it demands we accept, or even applaud, such platitudinous exchanges of abuse.

Jude Wilkinson (age 18)

In a recent Question Time, one member of the public complained Leave had led a “dirty campaign” in 2016, prompting new host Fiona Bruce to say dismissively: “There were questions about both Leave and Remain campaigns.”

Remainers must respond to this apparent parallel between both campaigns with the robustness it deserves. Was there anything in the Remain campaign approaching the monumental disinformation perpetrated by Vote Leave through millions of Facebook ads? Is the Remain campaign being investigated by the NCA, like Leave.EU?

No, Fiona: Your attempt at fairness has resulted in gross unfairness.

Paul Smith

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