This article first appeared on Reaction.


Trump v Biden: The First Presidential Debate, Sky News, CNN & BBC

This was never going to be an edifying hour and half of prime-time television, and it certainly wasn’t. Some pundits reckoned Joe Biden would score a win just by staying awake; Trump watchers assumed he would pummel Biden into submission. What none of them had bargained for was the utter incompetence of the debate moderator, Chris Wallace from Fox News. Wallace is an experienced broadcaster but he was unable to maintain any semblance of control. It wasn’t just Trump who flagrantly disobeyed the rules that the two campaigns had agreed upon. Biden, although not as blatant, was also guilty of it. It was shambolic right from the get-go.

Trump was his usual bombastic, rude self, while Biden came across as a doddery fool who couldn’t complete a coherent sentence and just repeatedly said ‘here’s the deal’ without ever managing to articulate what the deal was.

Trump talked over him, right through him, and underneath him, not giving a jot about how it appeared to the watching public. Wallace tried to bring him back into line but on each occasion he failed miserably. It was the worse debate I have ever seen in forty years of watching them, in terms of neither candidate wanting to debate with each other, and both candidates just yelling insults at each other. And let’s not pretend it was only Trump doing it. Biden responded in kind. If I had been an American watching it, I would have been embarrassed for my country. Quite how a nation of four hundred million people ended up with the choice of these two clowns is almost beyond comprehension.

In the post match commentary, much was (quite rightly) made of Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists in outright terms. But everyone wanted to give Joe Biden the doubt. BBC pundits fell over themselves to say that he had retained his dignity and articulated a plan, when he clearly did neither. I don’t mind admitting that hell would freeze over before I ever voted for Donald Trump, but mainstream media outlets in both the US and the UK need to be very careful how they cover this election. Any attempt to be overtly, or even subliminally biased against Trump and in favour of Biden will be seized upon by Trump and his supporters as evidence that they’re being unfairly treated by the hated MSM.

The next five weeks are going to be quite a ride. Hold on tight.


Coming Out Stories podcast, What Goes On Media

The idea of this podcast is very simple. The presenter, Emma Goswell, talks to her guest about their ‘coming out’ experience. In the 68 episodes so far, no two guests have the same story to tell. Some are laugh out loud funny, others are tear-jerkingly emotional. It’s difficult to categorise podcasts like this. In some ways you feel like you’re invading someone’s privacy by listening to their sometimes harrowing tale, yet there is a curious (but not morbid) fascination with how human beings react to a personal revelation, which may or may not come as a complete surprise. You could also categorise it as a mental health podcast, in that it’s very much as if the guest in on the psychiatrist’s couch, and sends a subliminal message to some listeners that they are far from being alone in their dilemma.

Some of the guests are well known, others are ordinary members of the public. The common link is that all have a story to tell. Phil is an airline pilot from South Africa. A mix up with a text message forced him to come out before he was ready. TV weatherman Owain Wyn Evans found the news difficult, partly because they didn’t know any other LGBT people. His straight brother then took him to gay bars to make sure he was safe. I was on this podcast last year and related my own story which culminated in my mother telling my sister the next morning that she wished she had never woken up. You don’t have to be gay to get something out of this podcast, but if you are, and you are still firmly wedged in the closet, there’s no doubt that listening to a few of the episodes will help you on your journey to open the closet door, even if only a tad.