Sarah Ditum has been looking at coverage of the BNP in her local paper, the Bath Chronicle, this week. Now she's managed to unearth another dreadful piece of PR thinly disguised as news.
Now there are arguments as to why local rags cover the BNP this way. They're misguided or naive or just plain stupid - who knows the reasons for it. All I do know is they're wrong.
As the editor of the paper says in his clumsy comments under Sarah's first article, the BNP like to feel that the press are against them. He's right about that, but wrong about just about everything else.
Let me explain to this newspaper editor why the BNP thinks the press are against them. They think that not because they are paranoid fools - although that may well be true - but because it's true. Why? Well the press are against the BNP because the press is composed of human beings, most of whom are intelligent and rational people, most of whom despise fascism, racism, prejudice and hatred. It's not a liberal-left leaning of the local press; it's not some New Labour plot to infiltrate newspapers with lefties. No, most right-wing people hate the BNP too, and quite rightly so. (I'll come to Iain Dale and the Daily Mail later today in another post, and how people who claim to hate the BNP then go and parrot their exact arguments.)
Being against fascists and racists does not 'play into their hands'. Putting nicey-nicey PR puff pieces in your newspapers which makes people with monstrous views out to be Mr and Mrs Lovely Next Door is actually what plays into their hands - and that's what the local press have been misguidedly and stupidly doing. It's crap journalism rather than anything more sinister, but it's still witheringly disappointing for all of us who harbour hopes of there still being a British press to be proud of anytime in the near future.
Yes, the BNP are a legitimate political party. Yes, they should be treated as such. But they are not a party whose manifesto contains things you'd find in other parties' manifestos. These things should be made clear - the desire for "repatriation" of immigrants; the fact they don't even regard second or third generation immigrants born in Britain to be British; their horrible stance and attitude towards women's issues; the fact they only allow people from a certain background to be members of the party and to stand for election. If that's all covered, then fine, I don't mind them being covered at all. If reporters covering the BNP ask them questions about these things, then fine, I don't mind them being covered at all. But if reporters just unquestioningly copy and paste large chunks of press releases and think that's all right, and think that by doing the same with other parties then they're somehow being objective and fair, then that's ridiculous. If they think it's all right to include phrases like 'white indigenous population' without even bothering to wonder if that phrase itself might be a sack of lying horseshit, then that's not all right by me.
It's beyond lazy; it's dangerous. It legitimises people who aren't legitimate. It treats BNP candidates with a respect their policies do not deserve. Oh and spare me the pious lecture about 'objectivity' and 'fairness'. Since when did journalists shit themselves and hide behind mealy-mouthed nonsense when there were threats to society, liberty and law and order about? Since when were the BNP fair? Since when did they deserve to be treated the same as everyone else? Since when was a policy lying about immigration, lying about nationality and lying about race equivalent to a policy about schools or hospitals? It's not the same thing at all. To give it equivalence is a lie, and a failure of journalism, and fails the readership.
The other argument that comes in, of course, is that the readers can make up their own minds. And of course they can. But what are they to make of the BNP when the reasons why other candidates refuse to share a platform with them are withheld because the reporters don't think they should know, because they're big clever reporters who know what's going on and if the readers got told they'd use the information foolishly? What are readers - clever or not? If clever, then let's give them a proper debate. If not, then let's not credit them with the intelligence to be able to pick out the lies from the image of the nice family with the hateful leaflets.
Another argument is 'what about if we banned other parties we didn't like?' - well, no-one is asking for a ban. No-one wants the BNP to be banned - I'd just like to see them challenged and questioned, by a reporter with the stones to do it, rather than simply having their false, wrong and lying arguments parroted and chucked into the ether with the equivalence of genuine political parties, as if they're somehow the same thing. They're not the same thing. Racism is not the same as real policies. It isn't, it will never be, and to imagine it is, I'm afraid, is a very dangerous thing.
No, let's treat readers with real respect, and the BNP with the contempt they deserve. Is it editorialising? I don't give a shit if it is. Readers deserve to have politicians questioned thoroughly and accurately, and if they're lying to be shown to be liars. That's what readers should have at the very least - the very least. But the local press, in a misguided and clumsy attempt to wash their hands of the fascists, are the ones who are really playing into their hands.
No related posts.