Nick Robinson defends Radio 4’s Today interview with right wing US commentator Ann Coulter

The Radio 4 show has come under fire for giving the Trump supporter airtime in reaction to the president's Britain First retweets

Author Ann Coulter listens during a panel discussion at the Politicon convention inside the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California, U.S., on Saturday, July 29, 2017. During the third annual Politicon pundits, politicians, comedians and entertainers gather to discuss issues that touch all sides of the political spectrum. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images (BA)

Radio 4’s Nick Robinson has defended the decision to invite Ann Coulter on the Today programme to discuss Donald Trump’s retweet of posts sent by Britain First’s deputy leader.

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The BBC faced criticism for giving the right-wing political commentator airtime – but Robinson argued that they had done so “to reveal & explain & scrutinise the source of the Trump tweet”.

Coulter appeared on Today on Thursday morning to discuss a series of tweets sent out by Jadya Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First, which purported to show Muslims carrying out crimes. The tweets had gained widespread publicity after US President Donald Trump retweeted them to his 43.7m followers.

Many listeners then took to Twitter to lambast the Radio 4 programme for giving Coulter a platform from which to air her views, including Scottish National Party MP Joanna Cherry and author/broadcaster Stephanie Merrit:

Coulter – who had also retweeted the videos – used the platform to defend Donald Trump, arguing that he was “only giving as good as he gets”.

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“This is what Brexit was about, this is what Donald Trump is about,” she said. “The native countries are blowing up at the constant importation of people who do not share our Western values. That’s the point at issue.”