But this latest attempt to sell the benefits of privatising Channel 4 might be the worst of them – as she got it wrong again when it came to discussing finance models.
I love how @NadineDorries justifies privatising Channel 4 by claiming that Channel 5 was privatised 3 to 5 years ago. Channel 5 launched in 1997 as a private business as a result of a franchise auction but I guess you couldn\u2019t expect the Culture Secretary to know this pic.twitter.com/9kbQVHZM3t
Speaking to LBC on Thursday, Dorries said: “Can I say who’s done that really well, since they were privatised a small number of years ago… Channel 5.
“If you look at the amount of investment into the regions and how well Channel 5 has done since it’s been privatised… I call Channel 5 the levelling up broadcaster. That is a model for how broadcasting can work.”
That’s all well and good, but as social media users have been pointing out, Channel 5 has always been a private business since it was launched 25 years ago, and it was never owned by the government.
Reacting to her latest car crash interview on Twitter, journalist Benjamin Cohen wrote: “I love how @NadineDorries justifies privatising Channel 4 by claiming that Channel 5 was privatised 3 to 5 years ago.
“Channel 5 launched in 1997 as a private business as a result of a franchise auction but I guess you couldn’t expect the Culture Secretary to know this.”
Nadine Dorries says she wants to follow the model of Channel 5\u2019s recent privatisation. Channel 5 was created as a private firm 25 years ago. She doesn\u2019t have a clue. Why does anyone defend someone being in a job they are so obviously unqualified for?pic.twitter.com/v98YbHlLiY
— Benjamin Butterworth (@Benjamin Butterworth)
He added: “What I think @NadineDorries is referring to is that in 2014, Richard Desmond sold Channel 5 to Viacom, (now called Paramount), a US broadcaster, which I guess is the model she is looking to with Channel 4- for it to be US owned.”
Dorries recently attempted to clarify her comments, writing on Twitter in response to Cohen: “Yes, I misspoke- it was 2014 when Viacom bought C5 - a public service broadcaster - resulting in increased private investment, not a few years ago! “However, the substance of my point remains exactly the same. But, you nit pick away if that’s what makes you really happy.”
However, she failed to acknowledge that Channel 5 had never been publicly owned.
You have no interest in the sale of C4. From about 25 Qs in spoken interview today, you chose to focus on the few seconds I misspoke even though it did not alter the substance of my point. \nYou are only interested in personally attacking me, something you are making a habit of.