UK talkback host and tabloid columnist Kate Hopkins was sacked this week by her radio station after she called, in the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, for "a final solution". Hopkins is a regular contributor to Newstalk ZB.
LAST YEAR Newstalk ZB and Seven Sharp's Mike Hosking described UK talkback host and tabloid columnist Katie Hopkins as “one of Great Britain’s more outspoken commentators”. Hosking's approval of Hopkins has mirrored that of Donald Trump who has described her as a "respected columnist".
The admiration is mutual. Hopkins has regularly praised Trump on her radio show and in her newspaper columns. It's no surprise that she has been a regular contributor to pro-Trump Fox News in the United States.
Hopkins has also been a regular feature on Newstalk ZB in recent years. Branko Marcetic, writing on the Spin Off website, says she has appeared on the station at least four times in the past year and possibly more, since it is likely not all her appearances are archived on the Newstalk ZB website.
As well as speaking with Hosking, Hopkins has also featured on The Larry Williams Show, and provided commentary for Christchurch-based presenter Chris Lynch. Lynch has also talked with the virulently right wing American columnist Ann Coulter -another contributor to Fox News.
This week Hosking's "outspoken commentator" was sacked by her talkback radio station, Leading Britain's Conversation, effective immediately. She was shown the door of LBC after calling for "a final solution' in the wake of the horrific Manchester bombing.
Hopkins tweeted to Philip Scholfield, host of the British news show This Morning : "22 dead - number rising. Schofield. Don't you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution. #Manchester".
Although Hopkins later deleted the offending tweet and replaced it with an edited version that read 'we need a true solution'', she also told the media that she stood by her original comment.
Hopkins' tweet was the final straw for LBC. She has carved out a media career for herself by being offensive and appealing to prejudice and ignorance. Writing on the Stuff website, Steve Kilgallon has observed:
"Hopkins' track record involves saying suicidal prisoners should kill themselves, that feminism is just women looking for "special treatment", that the bloody Egyptian uprising was "like Bonfire Night", that the UK should use gunships to kill migrants, because they were a "plague of feral humans", that Palestinians are "filthy rodents burrowing beneath Israel" and should be bombed. She has said that the infamous photo of three year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, drowned on a Turkish beach, was "staged". She mocked the Black Lives Matter movement because "if your lives matter why do you stab and shoot each other so much."
Last year the London-based staff of RT (Russia Today) sounded the alarm when they learnt that Hopkins was being considered for a regular show on the network. A pilot show was reportedly produced but the show appears to have been canned - although Hopkins has also been a regular commentator on RT.
Many RT staff threatened to resign if the Hopkins show went ahead.
As Steve Kilgallon says, it is disturbing that Newstalk ZB has sought out someone like Kate Hopkins for regular commentary on international issues and events. But, given this station's right wing politics, not entirely surprising. In the light of her sacking, we will have to wait and see whether Newstalk ZB continues to use the "journalistic services' of Katie Hopkins.