The Mail and the BNP

The Mail's approach to the BNP seems to be undergoing a change. I've blogged before about how the Mail used to treat the party, which was to call them nasty names, but follow up the namecalling with a 'but' and then imlplicit support for the party's policies. From a few recent articles, it looks as though the paper's approach is undergoing a welcome change. More actually negative articles have been appearing in the paper that attack the party more effectively.

This week, we've had, 'How the BNP shamefully tried to create a 'white martyr''
and 'BNP hijack murder trial to recruit new members saying 'anyone who gets angry - get involved in the BNP'

And in the lead up to the elections, we had, 'As he battles to become London's mayor, the bizarre truth about the BNP boss, his ballerina fiance and bitter wife', 'BNP boss Richard Barnbrook, ballerina Simone Clark - and the bitter wife he'd rather you didn't know about' and
'Sacked: The BNP candidate who said 'some women are like gongs - they need to be struck regularly''

None of which are as ambiguous as the Mail's earlier coverage of the party.

The biggest clue to the reason for the change looks to be this article
'March of Italy's 'BNP': Surely it couldn't happen here...could it?'. Of course, it blames the government and immigrants themselves for the problem rather than itself, but the paper clearly sees the rise of 'Italy's BNP' as a bad thing, and doesn't want the same to happen here.

The trouble is, as welcoming as the change is, the paper's own approach - aside from negatively reporting the activities of the party - are doing as much to bolster support for the party as anything else. 'March of Italy's 'BNP'...' has this to say:
Police say that while they are no more likely to be arrested than a British citizen, processing them takes more time and costs more because they speak little English.

Further, a new report by the Association Of Chief Police Officers warns that the scale and speed of immigration has led to problems.

It states: "EU migration has led to a surge in the exploitation of migrants and crime, including extortion, pickpocketing, human trafficking and a growing sex trade."

Smaller police forces in rural areas, where hundreds of thousands of Eastern European migrants congregate to work on farms, are facing "the biggest challenges".

The study adds: "While this country has accommodated this influx with little rise in community tensions, in some areas sheer numbers have created resentment."

Which, while far more measured than the paper's coverage elsewhere, still puts the blame on immigrants and immigration and stokes the very fears it worries about leading to greater BNP support. It does even worse across the rest of the paper. In other articles, it relentlessly exaggerates the level of immigration, distorts figures about immigrants' responsibility for crime (at one point spuriously reporting that the suspect in the Suffolk stranglings was Eastern European - which he wasn't) and misrepresents minor things to create overblown Political Correctness Gone Mad outrages, usually targeted at ethnic minorities and non-Christians.

This is in addition to the paper's insistence - as reported by Nick Davies in Flat Earth News - of deliberately avoiding positive reporting about black people and ethnic minorities, shown in this example:
I spoke to a man who had worked for the Daily Mail for some years as a senior news reporter. He said: 'They phoned me early one morning and told me to drive about three hundred miles to cover a murder. It was a woman and two children who'd been killed. I got an hour and a half into the journey, and the news desk called me on my mobile and said, "Come back." I said, "Why's that?" They said, "They're black."

The result is that the BNP directly use the Daily Mail in convincing the gullible that the sky's about to fall on our heads and that:
Its [Britain is] a cess-pit and its the young people who have to swim in its filth.

In Barnbrook's blog (which is strangely quiet, whether because the party has told him to stop making a fool of himself or because he's been temporarily banned for offensive references to immigrants or whatever), he includes the post 'Lily Allen and the BNP'

In the post, he opens with what is almost certainly a direct lift from the Melanie Phillips article
'The dangerously deluded children's tsar and the truth about knife crime', in which she says:
According to this ridiculous figure, the stop-and-search powers being belatedly used by the police to curb such attacks might further antagonise young people. Said Sir Al: 'Anything that perpetuates the view that children are the troublemakers is a dangerous development.'

Barnbrook himself says:
According to this ridiculous lunatic, the stop-and-search powers being belatedly used by the police to curb such attacks might further antagonise young people. Said Sir Al: 'Anything that perpetuates the view that children are the troublemakers is a dangerous development.'

Spot the difference there, eh.

After banging on weirdly about Lily Allen, he closes with outrage about bunting being 'banned' from flown in Hatfield Broad Oak. He links directly to the Mail's version of events in 'The bunting ban: Flags that fluttered over village parties for a century snagged in health and safety red tape'. This story is likely to be nonsense, and another example of the council issuing guidelines to cover its own back in case anyone gets hurt, but not actually legally prohibiting anything.

According to queenofhearts over in the MailWatch forums:
It's off topic, but I'm moving to that village in about a month and that picture, the one with all the bunting on, was taken last week. There's shitloads of it up there...

So, what we have in 'Lily Allen and the BNP' is an article that has two thirds of it taken up by the BNP's star representative being outraged about stuff he's read in the Daily Mail, some of which is clearly exaggerated nonsense.

While attacking the BNP is a nice start for the paper, it might help more if it stopped exaggerating the levels of immigrants and its effects and manufacturing Political Correctness Gone Mad stories.

That doesn't mean I'm arguing it should stop reporting on the levels of immigration and so on. I'm arguing it should stop bloody lying about it. That would do more than any hatchet job of a BNP representative ever could.


eric the fish said...

If this is a change then it is welcome indeed. I've also noticed that they have lots of Nazi stories where they just print the 'facts' without making any comment. Compare this with storis on immigration.
I had a slight argument in Liverpool yesterday with one of their members. He called me a racist! I'm gonna put more on my blog as the leaflet they were distributing in the Capital of Culture was very interesting. As was his non-Scouse accent. Bloody foreigners.
The Barnbrook comment was top notch btw!

AdamB said...

Great spot with the Melanie Phillips lift. Maybe somebody should tell her.

The big problem the Mail has is that they can't afford (and don't want) to support the BNP but at the same time they can't afford to lose the BNP supporters who almost certainly read the paper in huge numbers. It's a delicate balance illustrated well by this clip of Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn getting harangued by Johann Hari:


Phil BC said...

Perhaps the penny has dropped that the Mail's coverage is partly to blame for the stew of reactionary ideas the BNP feeds off, and some consciences are starting to feel a little uneasy. Alternatively perhaps they're trying to bring right wingers home to the Tories. Time will tell.

The PC Brigade said...

As you've all pretty much pointed out, the bnp make the mail redundant, they need to keep the curtain twitching, patricia routeledge in an alan bennett monologue - "oooooh, some foreigns moved in at number twenty two" types on the precipice.

Push them too far into outright racism and you can't get them back.