This edited video from Farage’s car-crash BBC interview shows how populists game the media
Jeff Overs/BBC via Getty Images / Twitter

Swathes of the British public have long questioned why Nigel Farage should be granted so much airtime by the nation's public broadcaster.

Following his 33rd appearance on Question Time, the politician was granted an interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday.

Mr Farage launched into a furious tirade after being questioned about his previous statements on immigration, NHS privatisation and Vladimir Putin. He could be seen angrily shaking his head as the segment ended.

While the interview has been widely described as a "car crash", selected snippets of the footage have made their way onto Twitter with the aim of bolstering the Brexit Party leader's support.

The edit – shared by Leave.EU with the caption "Marr gets eviscerated for repeatedly trying to smear Nigel" – highlights the ways in which individuals harbouring extreme views can effectively game the media and benefit from airtime, no matter how effectively the interviewer challenges them.

Some believed the video was just good old fashioned political spin in the modern age, but this analysis misses how dependent the Ukip founder is upon the tactic. On an Australian talk show, Mr Farage himself admitted:

"I wouldn’t be where I am today without YouTube."

While Mr Farage rails against the lack of democracy within the EU, he uses his time as an elected member of the European Parliament to spout off sound bites that often become viral Youtube clips.

Videos with millions of views showing the politician insulting fellow MEPs appear next to those featuring international alt-right idols like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. This tactic has helped Mr Farage gain global status and has introduced him to legions of new fans.

While his relationship with Donald Trump and Steve Bannon has further legitimised him, his new fans can also read about "Mr Brexit" on conspiracy sites like InfoWars, or watch him tailor his views to the tinfoil-hatted world of the Alex Jones show.

As Labour's European parliament leader Richard Corbett told The Guardian's Carol Cadwalladr:

“Farage turns up once a month and often what he talks about has absolutely nothing to do with what’s being discussed. You think, what’s going on?

"And then you realise it’s got nothing to do with the parliament. It’s just for his social media output.

"Sometimes he doesn’t even hang around for the answers. Two minutes later, he’s back on the Eurostar and gone.”

And while it's fair to say that figures like Mr Farage, Jordan Peterson, Milo Yiannopoulos and the rest don't often create such videos themselves, their careers have been undoubtedly been massively boosted by viral Youtube clips. Carl Benjamin, the Ukip candidate currently under police investigation for comments about raping an MP, made his name on the website.

In January, YouTube changed its algorithm to stop recommending far-right conspiracy videos.

While there's nothing to stop figures like Carl Benjamin and Milo Yiannopoulos creating their own content, it's argued that mainstream hosts lend their views further legitimacy.

This week, the debate around "no platforming" intensified after Ben Shapiro was interviewed by Andrew Neil.

Although Shapiro has since admitted that Mr Neil "destroyed" him, the tactics mentioned above add further fuel to the conversation.

In the case of Mr Farage, his Brexit Party look set to gain more votes in the European elections than Labour and the Conservatives combined, according to Opinium.

So it's unlikely we'll have long to wait before his 34th Question Time appearance.

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