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Right-wing bigot hits out at bigger right-wing bigot

Posted in fuckwits, Media, People, Politics, The Written Word, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2008 by bootlegmarkchapman

The BBC should really know better. Perhaps it was pre-emptively avoiding claims of suppression from the Bigoted Nazi Party by allowing Nick Griffin to speak on air, but when you invite a moron to speak you can’t be too shocked when he says something idiotic. So it was last night when Nick crowbarred some Islamophobia into a topic on white working-class fears over a drink-and-drug culture. An intemperate, ludicrous statement that even had Jon Gaunt (yes, that Jon Gaunt) distancing himself from Griffin’s remarks.

It’s tempting to feel that Griffin and his merry band of fascist fuckwits should be ushered from the airwaves and never given a platform to speak. After all, for their claims to be a mainstream political party, they do not have, and never have had, a Westminster seat. Even Respect have one of those. They have some seats on local councils – which makes them equal in impact to the Cornish separatist movement. They even got excited at coming second in a parish council election. Given their negligible, virtually non-existent political imprint, they could justifiably be under a press blackout for reasons of irrelevance. But then we’d hear them cry out about being “gagged” because they “tell the truth”. We know, of course, that “the truth” is their eternal enemy, but they do love their persecution complex.

Since they dumped the boots, put on suits and decided to play at being real, grown-up politicians, the BNP have been exposed a thousand times as the racist scum that they are. Griffin’s comic stylings on Newsnight were instantly derided not only by Gaunt, but also by Kirsty Wark, but the people who chose to interview Griffin for the show also need to take a look at themselves. Was it really sensible to ask a question – any question – of a man whose political relevance is minuscule and derived entirely from intolerant rabble-rousing? Griffin claims to speak for the white working-class, but so do a huge number of other people, including a great many who, if they see a red light on a TV camera, don’t immediately think “Durrrr, I’m on TV again, time to say something naughty!”

Disappointingly, this move gave Gaunt a chance to lambast the BBC for painting the white working class as bigots, and align himself for perhaps the first and only time with the Observer’s Andrew Anthony – but even more disappointingly there was a lot to agree with in the rest of what Gaunt said.  Nick Griffin is not a fair representation of what working-class white people (a subset of society in which I am included) think and feel.  His politics of fear and hate have been rejected time and time and time again when it matters, and yet he still plays the “censorship” card in order to cling to some spurious relevance.  The media, more fool them, fall for it and give him time to air his nonsensical ramblings in the name of free speech.

The press and the television media need to have more confidence in saying “no” to Griffin and other extremists.  When the tiresome and inevitable cries of unfair suppression go up, they can point to the fact that for all the acres of coverage the BNP have already had, the party still has no MPs in Westminster, is running far behind the main parties in the race for London mayor, and can only garner a small protest vote at council elections which confer as much power as the average Parent-Teacher Association.

There is a counter-argument, of course, that allowing the BNP to speak forestalls any accusations of lack of balance.  This argument, however, is defective because these accusations continue even today.  It doesn’t require a change in policy to keep these idiots off the air, just a realisation that the BNP really aren’t that important.  Balance is one thing, going out of your way to appease tossers is quite another.

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Tabloids handling Madeleine investigation with usual reasoned detachment.

Posted in Children, Fury Home, Media, The Written Word with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2008 by bootlegmarkchapman

Another day, another stunningly tangential “lead” in the Madeleine McCann case. Now we hear that a British couple saw a 2×3″ “bundle” being carried out to sea by a man on a jetski, who then apparently deposited it on an “official-looking” boat – just nine hours after Madeleine apparently went missing. After reporting said sighting to the staff at the Ocean Club – with all the investigative powers that a hotel has at its disposal – the couple’s family then did what anyone would do and kept quiet for ten months before going to the tabloids about it. Armed with such a cast-iron lead, the PJ shamefully did absolutely nothing about it – yet more proof that the Portuguese police are a bunch of slackers.

Between them, the Sun and the Mail don’t seem sure when this sighting actually took place, and have differing information on the couple who witnessed this highly suspicious activity, but both are certain, without speaking to the PJ, that the lead was not followed up. The Sun in particular state in their headline that it was a “Maddie Bundle” on the jetski, which shows a remarkable level of certainty on the matter. Indeed, with all the evidence-gathering Team Wade has carried out, one is now forced to wonder whether it woudn’t be an idea to hand the entire investigation over to them. This latest development comes, after all, hot on the heels of a Portuguese taxi driver coming forward with the information that he ferried Madeleine, Robert Murat and three other adults, one who looked a bit like Kate McCann, to a nearby hotel.

Amid all the mud that has been fired at the PJ by these same papers, there is a nigh-on comical lack of objectivity, particularly from the Sun. In the “taxi driver” story, they wait for four paragraphs to state that at the time of the journey, Madeleine was not yet missing. Well worth splashing a headline that states (quotation marks mine) “Maddie and Murat were in my taxi”, then. A completely uncritical report of a parish councillor’s supposed sighting, which unaccountably fails to pose the questions of why the “Portuguese couple” were out in broad daylight with Europe’s most recognisable toddler, why the man didn’t go straight to the police, and why a Portuguese couple would bring to England a toddler that the entire British tabloid media have barely moved from their front pages since last spring. Not to mention the Dutch student who reports that “Maddie” looked startled when addressed by her name in a French service station (top tip: address any stranger you see as “Maddie”, or indeed any name, and see them be startled).

The old defence of “public interest” – as in “if the public are interested, it’s in the public interest”, is generally spouted by tabloid editors when asked why they jump all over sensitive stories. If some of them actually stopped to think that sometimes investigations will be negatively affected by their idiotic speculation, would it actually make a difference to the tone and detail of their reports? Of course it wouldn’t, but they will continue to launch brickbats at the PJ without bothering to look any deeper than the surface of the increasingly fatuous “sightings” that they stick on their front pages. Madeleine McCann deserves better than to be the new Elvis, with each new sighting more ridiculous than the last. When these “Exclusives” are taken in hand with the hectoring taking place over a potential “Sarah’s Law”, – taken to new lows here:
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– it’s hard not to conclude that the Sun’s main motivation in these stories has less to do with finding missing children and ensuring the same thing happens again, and more to do with flogging more copies of their vile rag. As Shannon Matthews’ own mother has said, the suspicion in this case is within her circle of friends and family, and thus “Sarah’s Law” would be of no help here. But that’s the Sun for you – if they can crowbar in their pet project, they will do – and relevance be damned.