Dead Men Left

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Disgraceful report in the Guardian

You don't expect to be treated fairly by the mainstream press, but this front-page report is quite staggering:

In the latest round of a campaign in which she has been the victim of egg-throwing, tyre-slashing, reported death threats and faced writs, riot police were last night called in to monitor a hustings meeting in Bethnal Green and Bow between Labour's Oona King and her rival, the anti-war candidate George Galloway.

What you would have never guessed from this, or anything following, is that it is George Galloway who has faced actual death-threats, and a persistent campaign of slanders from New Labour. At least some of these seem calculated to intimidate and invite violence: hysterical comparisons with the BNP or Oswald Mosley, for example.

Stuart Millar's masquerade of news report continues the attempt to prove Galloway guilty by smear. The mind boggles as to how this paragraph, in particular, could have been written in good faith:

Earlier in the campaign Ms King was pelted with eggs at a memorial for Jewish war victims. Mr Galloway's Respect party has also threatened to sue Ms King after she claimed that its canvassers had told Muslim voters not to vote for her because she is Jewish.

"Mr Galloway's Respect party has also threatened...": as even Oona King herself made clear, and as Jonathan Freedland's eyewitness account confirmed, Respect were in no way involved with the horrid attack at the memorial service. Millar's phrasing here is - I assume quite deliberately - designed to imply the opposite.

There are other presumably calculated distortions. The incident on Tuesday evening when Galloway was briefly taken hostage and threatened with execution becomes, in Millar's deft hands, "Mr Galloway, who was mobbed by a group of Islamists two days ago, was given a standing ovation by the majority of the crowd as he appealed for their votes." "Mobbed"? The ambiguity of the word, followed immediately by the "standing ovation", contrives to turn a tremendously serious attack on Galloway into jolly gathering in his support.

I assume Millar does not like Respect or George Galloway. But I also assume he has an obligation to maintain at least minimum standards of honest reporting. He has failed that duty quite atrociously.