The BBC has apologized for suggesting that a man who had a testy interview with one of the corporation's newscasters was himself a participant in the violence which has shaken London.
Darcus Howe's combative interview with BBC News presenter Fiona Armstrong quickly shot across the Internet. Howe, a longtime writer, broadcaster and activist, said that the violence in the British capital was an "insurrection" by young people tired of continual harassment by the police. At one point, Armstrong said, "'You are not a stranger to riots yourself I understand, are you? You have taken part in them yourself.''
"I have never taken part in a single riot," Howe replied. "I've been part of demonstrations that ended up in a conflict. Stop accusing me of being a rioter and have some respect for an old West Indian Negro, because you wanted for me to get abusive."
On Wednesday, the BBC issued a retraction. according to the Daily Telegraph. Editors called the question "poorly-phrased" and the BBC said it would apologize "for any offense that this interview has caused."
His run-in with the media might have been on Howe's mind when he appeared on "Democracy Now!" Wednesday morning. He condemned the press for what he said was an inadequate response to the unrest:
"It comes like a thief in the night to them, because they deal only with what has happened, not what is likely to happen, which is a kind of speculative truth. So they're always surprised. And whenever there's surprise, they look for people to blame, to cover up their own inadequacies."
Watch Howe on "Democracy Now!":