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Steve Baker “MP”



  • edited January 14

    I generally do enjoy our little back and forths, but I also do find you interesting and get some value out of reading what you have to say, no matter how much I agree with it or disagree with it. But then, I'm pretty sure you're not a flat-earther, a moon landing denier, a 9/11 truther or a pusher of dangerous pseudo-science. Like everyone, I have a line.

    Weirdly, it feels to me like things are entirely the other way around to what you're suggesting here...

    It's not necessary, or beneficial to oneself, to categorise speakers in a way which automatically categorises their thoughts without meaningful, or any, consideration.

    To me, it feels like I have given Joe Rogan enough meaningful consideration to discover that he's an idiot or a charlatan, and that somehow you'd not given him enough meaningful consideration to discover that yourself. I find that a dangerous position to take that opens you up to all sorts of quackery and conspiracies. At least one of Rogan's favourite conspiracies is from QAnon (the pig farming child pornographer), whose ridiculous conspiracies led to a bunch of "alt"-right people attempting to halt democracy at the US Capitol last week including 5 deaths and a second impeachment for the president - my predispositions were not misplaced, they were bang on the money.

    presents a wide variety of discussions with a wide variety of people and allows the listener to draw their own conclusions.

    If you were describing Radio 4's Thinking Allowed here I would be right with you. It takes a huge range of subjects, presents evidence, facts, studies and opinions from actual experts working in those fields and you come away smarter and better informed from having listened to it. What it doesn't do, is present fanciful and dangerous nonsense as "balance" and let the listener make up their own mind because that would be hugely irresponsible. You and (even) I, could listen to Joe Rogan arguing with an actual scientist, claiming that some kookery he's found on Reddit is a viable alternative belief to actual science, and both of us would likely recognise that as nonsense and simply make up our mind that the scientist is probably right. But if you've got 25 million people listening in, and a fairly large cross section of that is the same people who believe that Hilary Clinton is the leader of a race of lizard overlords who eat babies and Donald Trump has been put in office by god to stop them, is it responsible to be telling them vaccines cause autism? Isn't it just the same as shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre?

    As a side note, I'm not criticising you or anyone else for listening to him. For me personally, he's just over that line into deliberate grift - people willing to have opinions for money are not my kind of people, whichever end of the political spectrum those opinions sit. The only time I've been tempted to listen was when he had Neil Degrasse Tyson on, one of my favourite humans and the best speaker I've ever been to see.

    Edit: Adding links into a message is done with Markdown (there's a link to Markdown's wikipedia page just below the new post box), but is essentially square brackets around the text you want linked, and parentheses around the url like this...

    [this is a link to google](;

    which outputs as this is a link to google

  • I hope that it might be possible to find some value in our current conversation even if, separately, you or I knew the other to subscribe to a line of thinking in some other field with which we strongly disagreed such as those you describe and that we would be able to carry out those judgements separately.

    Our editorial choices as to who to have on our shows may be different to each other as they might be to Rogan's as they might be to those that produce "Thinking Allowed". But I judge him to give his guests a fair hearing whatever their positions and to allow himself and the listener the possibility of his or their being in error. There's not a surplus of that sort of even-mindedness about on the internet and, even if he sometimes discusses matters that we might strongly think do not merit the time they are given, I'll allow him the stuff I don't at all care for in return for what I take to be the useful stuff. He thinks what he thinks. That's up to him.

    It's not really about Rogan, of course. If we're to have hope of improving the apparent tendency of our modern Western societies to descend increasingly to tribalistic discourse, especially but not uniquely online, I hope to do my best to sift the good from the bad, the right from the wrong, and allow to the maximum for the possibility of improved understanding. In this, I recognise in myself (I've been thinking a little about it this afternoon!) the potential tendency to reserve judgement overly because of my own known wickedness and inadequacy. Perhaps sometimes there is room for the making of stronger judgements than I tend to make. But I can't help but think that we will do better if we do not resort to personal or hyperbolic criticisms of those with whom we take great exception, even if we are confident in our judgement that they are wrong in some way.

    Thanks a lot for the hyperlinks info. I've had a go at it here!. Never used the square brackets keys on my laptop before!! :-)

  • Some good points. I agree I think that there’s a dearth of media that has such a broad spectrum of guests. I think I picture this as a kind of personal Overton window that’s not just political - there’s a circle in my brain that some public figures sit within, and some outside. Some are outside because I find their views abhorrent (Katie Hopkins, Tommy Robinson, Jordan Peterson to the right, can’t actually think of a left wing version that I’d call a public figure though I do see some on Twitter that sit outside of my circle of acceptability). Others are outside that circle for other reasons - Alex Jones, David Icke, Q and Joe Rogan for their dissemination of conspiracy theories. It’s politically neutral, they’re just people I feel don’t deserve my attention.

    I’d still happily chat with you over a beer btw, @HCblue, it might even be more fun next time.

  • edited January 14

    It is quite remarkable that a thread called ‘Steve Baker MP’ has led to an incredibly nuanced discussion.

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  • An interesting, respectful and occasionally thought-provoking debate.

    Cap duly doffed, Gents (I assume)

  • I’m not sure how this reflects on me but I have recently been won over by an LBC phone in host - James O’Brien. No way can I aspire to the intellectual level of @drcongo and @HCblue (both gentlemen @bookertease) but, after initially hearing O’Brien thinking aloud at length about some topic and finding that irritating enough to make me shout obscenities at the radio, But I soon changed my mind when I heard him in discussion with callers. He seems to me to be extremely well informed, balanced, articulate and reasonable. He also has an enviable gift for reacting spontaneously, frequently with a witty and original turn of phrase, in response to callers’ comments. Politically, he seems to be well to the left of Nick Ferrari whose programme he follows at 10 am on weekdays.

    I’d be interested to know what other Gasroomers think of Mr O’Brien.

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  • edited January 15

    I know of him, @micra, but not enough to have an opinion as to his merits and demerits worth sharing. Sorry!

    I'd love to have that beer at the next opportunity, @drcongo. It would be great to explore some of the reasoning that underpins our views. I'm really glad we persevered in the conversation! I try to keep my Overton window as wide as possible and not to treat the stuff, or people, that might be outside it as permanently tainted.

  • Echo echo echo echo echo, not one for me and is the only broadcaster on LBC I switch off for. The discussion is the same (except for the question and answer show) whatever the topic is it's the fault of the Tories. Bad weather, the Tories fault. Leaves on the line Tories fault. He needs to occasionally change the record... Also @micra I disagree that he is knowledgeable, in my early LBC days he had a show on how the Tories were getting everyone in debt and he confessed he didn't have a credit card or even understand how they work.... Oh dear.
    (I'm only ranting as just saw that the QPR game is off) 😔

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  • edited January 15

    I'm ambivalent with regards to James O’Brien @micra - he's well informed and extremely good at arguing with callers, which is huge fun when the callers are people you disagree with. But I also find him very convinced of his own importance. When he launched a podcast interview series with an excellent selections of guests I gave it a go, mainly as one of those guests was Eric Cantona, but O'Brien's ego leads him to endlessly talk over the top of the guest like he's still arguing with some random caller. Most episodes I listened to had more O'Brien than guest, the opposite of a good interviewer.

  • For me he's never recovered from Frank Lampard tearing him to shreds on his own show years ago

    Worth looking up if you've never listened to it

  • I think the point of James O’Brien is to be the balance to Nick Ferrari. At least LBC mix up their schedules with views, unlike Talk Radio, which is simply a right wing echo chamber (yes, they do exist despite protestations that echo chambers are strictly a left wing thing).

    On the subject of bias, it’s interesting to note that the incoming Chair of the BBC is incredibly close to the Conservatives and the Director General is a former Chair of his local Conservative party, but I suspect we will still continue to be told that the BBC is a dangerous source of left-wing propaganda.

    When it comes to the BBC I think you have to separate parts of it when making a call about its bias. I would suggest its drama and comedy content is pretty much left of centre but I’ve yet to work out who in the News department is left wing. Would be genuinely interested to hear if anyone can identify a culprit?

  • edited January 15

    @arnos_grove most all of the reporters and producers in the left-wing liberal news on both ITV and the BBC who have gone into politics tend to find a warm berth with the Tories. Examples Adam Holloway (ITN), Rob Butler (ITN), (Sir) Craig Oliver (ITN/C4 !!!!) Anna Soubry (Central), Damien Green (ITN/BBC) Julie (expenses) Kirkbride (YTV/ITN/BBC) who was the partner of the late Stephen Milligan (BBC) Andrew Gilligan (BBC)... but I assume they were forced out by the oxbridge elite liberal left-wing cabal that have been running the shop since taking over from the oxbridge elite right-wing cabal running it when Blair was in power who took over from the oxbridge elite liberal left-wing cabal who made Thatcher's time in office such a hell for her. :smile: I often wonder if Old Ma Thatcher's broadcasting act...which led to a massive slashing of expenses and overtime in commercial TV suddenly made that very poor MP's salary (and expenses) more appealing. O'Brien like Piers Morgan is slick and entertaining if you have no interest or sympathy with the person being goaded...but that is the nature of their game. I saw JOB and PM going at it while both publicising their books on Youtube and it was fun but pointless. But then we also have cuddly Poll Taxer/BBC basher Portillo now an Auntie regular and Steve Hilton, who was for a time Cameron's Cummings - Crazy T-shirt wearer rather than Dom's tramp in a woolly hat to show how irregular wild and crazy not like an old Tory he was - is a Trump supporting regular on Fox News promoting voter fraud.

  • Interesting. Not to mention Esther McVey, Guto Harri and Allegra Stratton. Martin Sixsmith went to Labour, didn't he?

  • @drcongo said:
    I'm ambivalent with regards to James O’Brien @micra - he's well informed and extremely good at arguing with callers, which is huge fun when the callers are people you disagree with. But I also find him very convinced of his own importance. When he launched a podcast interview series with an excellent selections of guests I gave it a go, mainly as one of those guests was Eric Cantona, but O'Brien's ego leads him to endlessly talk over the top of the guest like he's still arguing with some random caller. Most episodes I listened to had more O'Brien than guest, the opposite of a good interviewer.

    I can well believe that, in the context of an interview programme/podcast, his (justifiable) ego would make it harder for him to listen than to actively participate! Even on the LBC phone-in programme he does talk over some callers but, in general, they are dunderheads rather than people whose views run counter to his own. Indeed, he often shows compassion and a readiness to admit that a particular caller’s arguments have made him rethink his attitude on a particular topic. He is also often entertainingly self-deprecating and rarely reluctant to admit to having been wrong.

    I would tune in more often if it weren’t for the infuriatingly frequent commercial breaks. Harry Rednapp’s betting ads top my hate list. I get the impression that sport doesn’t feature very prominently amongst Mr O’Brien’s interests. I wouldn’t have thought many people “tear him to shreds” @eric_plant, least of all Frank Lampard and I am too loyal (after two months!) to want to see any ugly scenes!
    Finally, I’m not happy with JOB’s use of “footballification” to describe views that are black and white, for and against.

  • @micra

    If you don’t mind a day’s delay, try listening to the podcast of the show. When the ads come on, skip forward a few mins and you’re back to the main programming.

    I can’t listen to commercial radio stations live anymore. The ads grate more than Steve Wright in the Afternoon.

  • Whoops! I know I’m childish but I love Steve Wright. Platonically of course.

  • I have internet radio but don’t know to listen to podcasts other than those like RTB where there’s a link to Spotify etc.

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  • Thanks @Lloyd2084. I dropped off! Missed Burley James becoming the first octochamp of the year. When I woke up, it was halfway through the recording of this afternoon’s show. Countdown is much refreshed by the arrival (temporarily at least) of Colin Murray.

    Will try the link in due course.

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  • edited January 15

    The point brought up by @drcongo about science and medicine is where I base my fairly strong opinions on this, when it's the same people playing the "hear both sides/ every opinion is valid" about provable scientific fact and then also election fraud/ race issues (which do have greyer areas), I'm pretty confident in holding my opinion that they're an entirely unreliable source of information.

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  • Likewise @Username my view is where their are demonstrable, testable, provable facts there cannot be two sides...anyone doing the both sides argument is a dangerous charlatan and peddler of magic woo

  • Balance on climate change on R4 used to mean a fact heavy report and concerned voices an interview with scientist and then Nigel Lawson coming on to laugh and say its all poppycock with no evidence.

  • Still does I think @Wendoverman, I had to stop listening to the Today programme about 4 years ago for this reason. Well, that and the fact that it’s become churnalism, reporting press releases as news.

    And the free public opinion polling they do on behalf of the Tory party. Every time you hear “The government is expected to announce later today...” it’s a way to test the water of the announcement before it’s made. I prefer news programmes to present news that has already happened.

  • To be fair all channels find it hard to get any ministers on which us why we had and have so many minor gobs on sticks sneering and barking or floundering about policies they have had no hand in or real understanding of.

  • @Wendoverman said:
    To be fair all channels find it hard to get any ministers on which us why we had and have so many minor gobs on sticks sneering and barking or floundering about policies they have had no hand in or real understanding of.

    I'm not sure the major gobs are any better than the minor ones. If anything the current Government has no communication talent at all amongst the senior ministers.
    I'm starting to learn the code though.

    Robert Jenerick on means a u turn will happen on what he's defending.
    Grant Shapps on means they want us to not look at the problem highlighted the day before.
    Priti Patel on means there is no one else left and we left with Priti bingo where the winner is the person who gets the most ' every single day ' phrases.
    Boris Johnson putting in a high viz or meeting school kids is to tell us how funny he is as that is the only possible reason people vote for him.

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  • Telling business people in Ulster they could jolly well ring the PM if they encountered any problems after Brexit...I doubt he is picking up this week!

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