Nelson Mandela's Death: U.K. Columnist Attacks BBC for Extensive Coverage


"Spectator" columnist Rod Liddle summed up the BBC's coverage of Mandela's death as "famous, nice black man dies," causing a social media firestorm.

A British columnist, famous for courting controversy, has criticized the BBC for its extensive coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela.

"For Christ's sake BBC, give it a bloody break for five minutes, will you?" wrote Rod Liddle, a columnist for Britain's Spectator magazine, complaining about the BBC's reporting on Mandela and his legacy following the announcement of his death on Thursday.

Liddle accused the U.K. public broadcaster of suffering from "self-flagellating white post-colonial bien pensant guilt" in its coverage, which he summed up as "Look! Famous, nice black man dies!"

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He added: "Look; I'm sorry Nelson Mandela is dead. It happens quite often to people in their 90s who have been very ill, even famous people, but I'm sure that doesn't lessen the sadness for many of us. I never met the man, but, on balance, I came to the conclusion that he was a force for good rather than ill. I think I came to that rather banal and broad brush conclusion 20 years ago, or maybe 15. So, I'm sorry he's dead, I wish it were otherwise."

Liddle's comments, posted a few hours after Mandela's death, set off a social media firestorm, with people criticizing the writer on Twitter and some describing the former editor of BBC Radio 4's Today program as "vile" and "odious."

Liddle is no stranger to controversy. Last year, Spectator had to pay more than $9,000 in fines and compensation after one of Liddle's columns violated reporting restrictions regarding a British criminal trial.

The magazine as of early Friday had not commented on reactions to Liddle's Mandela column.