Jort Kelder, host of various radio and TV shows at the NPO, confirms that in 2017 he paid one of his editors to create campaign videos for Forum for Democracy. In his own podcast, Kelder says he didn‘t do anything wrong with that. “This really does not affect my independence whatsoever. I think that’s such a nonsense.”
Forum leader Thierry Baudet revealed last week that he was financially supported by Kelder in the run-up to the 2017 election. It had just stopped using the program How does it really do? As a result, one of his editors was out of work for a month.
“Great Gift from Jort”
According to Baudet, Kelder offered to pay the editor out of his own pocket so that he could make a video every day for a month for the Forum campaign. “That was a really big gift from Jort,” Baudet said last week. Excerpts of these videos came back in the NPO talk shows in the run-up to the elections. Baudet: “That made publicity.” Forum came with two seats in the House in 2017.
According to Kelder, things went a bit different, but it‘s true that he paid the editor for a month and put it in touch with Baudet. The editor actually wanted to make a career switch and shoot reports, Kelder says in his podcast. He would have advised him to plunge into political campaigns.
Forum Kelder seemed to be the most interesting, because Baudet was new and there was a lot to do it. “But I honestly didn’t interfere with it at all,” the presenter says in his podcast. “I‘ve never seen those videos at all.” If the editor would have preferred to follow the GroenLinks campaign or the Party for the Animals, Kelder would have liked it as well. “I would have called Marianne Thieme.”
“Type of witch hunting”
Meanwhile, Kelder is one of the presenters of Op1, and in 2017 he regularly performed as politically clear in NPO talk shows. He always did that objectively, although some now doubt it. Basement, which even now shines its light on the Hague business in talk shows, calls that “a kind of witch hunt”. “There’s a kind of framing going on in this country that if you know Baudet, you‘re wrong and not allowed to work with public broadcasting or anything.”
Last month, the public broadcaster’s objectivity was under attack due to the interference of D66 and Foreign Affairs with a VPRO documentary on Sigrid Kaag. That documentary was broadcast in the run-up to last March‘s elections. In retrospect, the creators had changed various passages at the request of Kaag’s campaign team. The NPO Ombudsman examined the course of affairs and concluded that the documentary makers did not make major mistakes but provided too long room for discussion about adjustments.