LONDON — The talk radio host James O’Brien generally speaks to callers in the calm, resolute tone of a guy working at a suicide prevention hotline. Many of those callers ardently want Britain to leave the European Union, an idea that Mr. O’Brien regards as an economic calamity in the making. To him, the upsides of staying in the union are a matter of irrefutable logic.
But logic is of surprisingly little help in the epic, quasi-comical confrontations he has with listeners. Typical was a recent exchange with a caller named Julian, who contended that the Tory government had failed to convince the bloc that it was ready to leave without a deal — a common lament among Brexiteers unhappy with the government’s negotiating tactics.
Not true, Mr. O’Brien countered.
“March 2018, the European Union published 80 ‘no deal’ notices explaining the preparations they were making,” Mr. O’Brien said. “That’s nearly a year ago.”
Julian was unpersuaded. Mr. O’Brien repeated his case, then dropped the placating approach. He raised his voice and brought out the shiv.
“For you to sit here on national radio and say we never really made them fear that no deal was a possibility, it’s not even silly, Julian,” Mr. O’Brien said, barely suppressing his anger. “It’s like arguing that the moon is made of cheese” — and the next words he seemed to put in italics — “while sitting on the moon.”
There was a long pause.
“I don’t agree,” said Julian.
“Oh, my days, man!” Mr. O’Brien exclaimed. And on it went.
Exchanges like this, captured on an in-studio video camera at LBC, the London network that broadcasts Mr. O’Brien’s show, have become YouTube hits in Britain, regularly racking up more than 100,000 clicks. It might be the most English genre of all viral media — radio arguments — and it’s hard to imagine them catching on in the United States.
Mr. O’Brien became a full-time host at LBC in 2004 and had a modest following for roughly a decade. The video clips, starting even before Brexit, have quadrupled his audience in recent years to roughly one million listeners a week and helped turn him into one of the most prominent Remainers in the country. It’s the kind of fame that causes publishers to come knocking. His recent book, “How to Be Right … in a World Gone Wrong,” is a best-seller.
“The cameras were put in there so that when we did interviews with politicians, they’d pop up on the BBC,” Mr. O’Brien said one recent afternoon in LBC’s headquarters. “No one expected the presenter to be the star of the show, least of all me.”
Clad in a crew neck sweater and sporting a neatly trimmed beard, Mr. O’Brien, 47, could pass for a cuddly professor on his way to a graduate-school seminar. His show, which airs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, has fleeting elements of academia, interspersed with the oral equivalent of Greco-Roman wrestling. His guiding premise is that ideological opponents simply have not grasped or heard the facts, and that once they do, they will change their mind, live on the radio.
It never happens. On some level, this is surprising because in the two and a half years since a slim majority of voters backed Brexit in a referendum, many of the arguments for leaving the European Union have been discredited and abandoned by high-profile advocates.
Among those arguments: that Brexit will be easy to negotiate and without economic downsides. In actuality, a deal remains elusive, and government officials predicted in November that the British economy could shrink by roughly 4 percent by 2030.
Yet national polls have hardly budged. Leavers and Remainers have stuck to their positions, and it’s far from clear that a second referendum — an idea whose fortunes seem to be waning — would change the outcome.
The irrelevance of facts is a topic that has consumed political thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. O’Brien pins the problem on a phenomenon he has named the “footballification of politics.”
“In football, or soccer as you call it, you have these utterly blind tribal loyalties,” he said. “You put on your red scarf, I put on my blue scarf, and that means we will always be mortal enemies. We have no common ground. My team is incapable of committing a foul, and your team is incapable of playing fair.”
The larger question, in both Britain and the United States, is why politics have recently devolved into tribes. To William Davies, a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the author of the coming “Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World,” the answer is not that every side believes it has a monopoly on reason.
“Since 2008, governments have managed to get many of their headline indicators to start moving in the right direction,” Mr. Davies said in a phone interview, referring to economic figures like a rising gross domestic product and falling unemployment, “but often those indicators are masking all sorts of underlying problems. If the politicians had been a bit more sensitive to some of the underlying suffering and the emotional aspects of the economy, maybe the ruptures of 2016 were things they would have seen coming.”
Mr. O’Brien often expresses great sympathy for Leavers, many of whom he believes have been lied to by political opportunists. That said, his show is hardly a venue for national reconciliation. His audience is mostly Remainers; many tune in to eavesdrop on the public eviscerations of Leavers.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if many people, especially if they don’t agree with him to start with, find O’Brien’s style of argumentation grating,” said Hugo Mercier, a co-author of “The Enigma of Reason: A New Theory of Human Understanding.” “He keeps interrupting, and sometimes starts arguments over seemingly noncrucial points. As much as I might understand his anger and frustration, this is likely counterproductive.”
Mr. O’Brien path to a job in the media ran, improbably enough, through haberdashery. Raised in Kidderminster, a small town not far from Birmingham, he worked at Aquascutum, a luxury men’s shop in London, after college. One day in 1996, some of his colleagues returned from 10 Downing Street with material for a white suit for the prime minister, John Major. The color was so out of character that Mr. O’Brien called the gossip editor at The Daily Express and pitched it as an item.
“The guy said, ‘I’ll give you 500 quid,’” Mr. O’Brien recalled. “I said, ‘Can I have some shifts instead?’”
He started writing showbiz column items for a variety of London tabloids. His first radio job came years later, and his breakout moment occurred in 2014, in a contentious LBC interview with the future Brexiteer Nigel Farage. (The clash has been viewed on YouTube nearly one million times.) Mr. Farage was the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, known as UKIP, and had been accused of xenophobia.
“You’ve mentioned your discomfort at listening to foreign languages on a train recently,” Mr. O’Brien said.
“I made the point that I got on the train and went for several stops, and there were a lot of people around me and no one around me spoke English,” Mr. Farage said. “I didn’t object to it. I felt slightly uncomfortable.”
Mr. O’Brien went on to note, “Your wife is a German speaker.”
“Well, my children are, too, yeah,” said Mr. Farage.
“Does that make you feel uncomfortable?”
“No, because they can speak English, and the whole point —”
“How do you know those people couldn’t?” asked Mr. O’Brien.
Other videos would follow. Mr. O’Brien suddenly started appearing in Facebook feeds across the country. Today, he is regularly stopped on the street, one of the very few people in this country whose careers have been made by staking out a position as a Remainer. Still, he said, he’d happily return to obscurity if the Brexit vote could be reversed.
“Hand on heart, I’d swap it all to see my country go back to what it was like before the referendum,” he said. “Achieving fame of sorts for chronicling and criticizing an act of epic national self-harm is a mixed blessing to say the least.”B:
【被】【眼】【下】【的】【事】【一】【耽】【搁】，【紫】【轩】【蝶】【已】【经】【跑】【往】【前】【飞】【没】【影】【了】，【兰】【梦】【瑶】【心】【中】【很】【是】【着】【急】，【直】【接】【翻】【了】【个】【白】【眼】。 “【本】【姑】【娘】【眼】【下】【没】【空】【跟】【你】【啰】【嗦】，【只】【一】【句】【话】，【不】【想】【死】【的】【立】【刻】【滚】！” 【若】【是】【从】【前】，【她】【兴】【许】【会】【有】【兴】【致】【跟】【他】【们】【周】【旋】【一】【番】，【毕】【竟】【被】【追】【杀】【之】【人】【是】【殷】【浩】【轩】【唯】【一】【承】【认】【的】【弟】【弟】，【哦】【不】，【是】【曾】【经】【的】【弟】【弟】，【她】【遇】【上】【了】，【不】【问】【出】【个】【所】【以】【然】【来】【怎】【么】【都】【说】
【小】【手】【轻】【轻】【的】【安】【抚】【了】【下】【有】【些】【暴】【躁】【的】【君】【墨】【离】，【封】【若】【雪】【无】【奈】【的】【看】【着】【自】【己】【的】【便】【宜】【大】【哥】，【一】【时】【之】【间】【竟】【有】【些】【无】【言】【以】【对】！ “【大】【哥】，【你】【不】【觉】【得】【孩】【子】【起】【名】【字】【这】【事】【儿】，【应】【该】【是】【她】【亲】【爹】【的】【任】【务】【吗】？ 【还】【有】【啊】，【这】【怎】【么】【还】【把】【姓】【给】【改】【了】【呢】？【你】【这】【是】【不】【是】【有】【点】【儿】【过】【分】【了】【啊】！” 【封】【若】【雪】【这】【话】【刚】【说】【完】，【君】【墨】【离】【还】【没】【什】【么】【反】【应】【呢】，【御】【冥】【辰】【那】【倒】【是】【先】【炸】彩民红高手论坛767222“【您】【受】【伤】【了】，【还】【是】【凤】【耿】【下】【去】！”【凤】【耿】【把】【绳】【尾】【递】【给】【大】【白】，【回】【头】【看】【向】【左】【使】：“【左】【使】，【现】【在】【是】【三】【对】【一】，【你】【如】【果】【想】【死】，【本】【将】【军】【一】【定】【成】【全】【你】！” 【左】【使】【看】【向】【三】【人】，【又】【向】【下】【看】【去】，【最】【后】【收】【回】【了】【手】【中】【的】【剑】，【退】【到】【了】【一】【旁】。 【凤】【蝶】【儿】【和】【大】【白】【拉】【着】【凤】【耿】【缓】【缓】【往】【下】【放】，【绿】【竹】【站】【在】【旁】【边】【紧】【盯】【着】【左】【使】。 【对】【于】【右】【使】【的】【死】，【左】【使】【现】【在】【是】【彻】【底】【不】【报】
【斩】【杀】【狮】【妖】【王】【后】，【孟】【川】【也】【是】【心】【中】【一】【松】，【虽】【然】【他】【准】【备】【很】【充】【分】，【但】【还】【是】【怕】【意】【外】。 “【嗯】？”【孟】【川】【却】【有】【些】【惊】【讶】【看】【向】【手】【中】【斩】【妖】【刀】。 【狮】【妖】【王】【头】【颅】【眉】【心】【窟】【窿】，【有】【血】【气】【疯】【狂】【飞】【出】，【尽】【皆】【涌】【入】【斩】【妖】【刀】【中】，【被】【斩】【妖】【刀】【尽】【皆】【吞】【吸】。 “【斩】【妖】【刀】，【在】【吞】【吸】【狮】【妖】【王】【血】【肉】？”【孟】【川】【惊】【讶】，【他】【早】【知】【道】【斩】【妖】【刀】【能】【吸】【罪】【孽】【怨】【恨】，【能】【吸】【敌】【人】【血】【肉】。【但】【得】【到】
【染】【血】【的】【旌】【旗】，【散】【发】【着】【无】【尽】【之】【威】。 【战】【刀】【铮】【铮】【而】【鸣】，【无】【尽】【锋】【芒】【欲】【斩】【九】【天】。 【天】【地】【虚】【空】，【一】【株】【青】【莲】【拔】【地】【而】【起】，【照】【耀】【万】【古】【尘】【世】。 【煌】【煌】【之】【威】，**【天】【地】。 【这】【一】【刻】，【众】【人】【都】【被】【镇】【住】【了】。 【毕】【竟】，【谁】【也】【没】【有】【想】【到】【一】【支】【小】【小】【的】【北】【城】【猎】【妖】【会】【之】【上】，【竟】【然】【会】【藏】【龙】【卧】【虎】，【最】【重】【要】【的】【是】，【这】【些】【人】【居】【然】【是】【孤】【身】【前】【往】，【并】【没】【有】【家】【族】【强】【者】