This new front began long before June's European election, but grew in intensity as June 4th approached, peaking in the days after after the election results emerged. It has not gone away since, but the withdrawal of the Tory whip from Edward McMillan-Scott - following his successful challenge to the Conservative's preferred candidate for a vice-presidential post in the new parliament, the Pole Michal Kaminski - provoked a new flare-up this week, a flare-up of even greater intensity. The BBC are still in a post-Coulson frenzy.
Michal Kaminski himself has been the main target of the BBC.
APPLYING THE PEDAL
Last night's 'PM' fixed on some remarks of Kaminski's, a leading member of Poland's Law and Justice Party, made 9 years ago. The reporter, Ray Furlong, admitted that the context for the interview was not clear but, regardless of the risk of taking them out of context, presented them to his listeners in an English translation that rendered the Polish word 'pedal' as 'fag'. 'Fag' is surely the worst of all derogatory terms for homosexuals. Had the translation offered by the BBC used the word 'queer' or the word 'poof', would it have sounded anywhere near as offensive? Online Polish-English dictionaries suggest that 'pedal' can be translated as 'queer, poof, fag'. By choosing to use the latter, the BBC ensures that Mr Kaminski's (context-free) remarks are cast in the worst possible light. The accusation of committing the sin of homophobia is, thereby, made an open-and-shut case.
Furlong said that he had been ringing Michal Kaminski's office all day, requesting an interview. He had also been talking to gay-rights groups. But it's not just one BBC reporter who is on Kaminski's case. The BBC News website shows that two of its reporters (at least) are now working flat out on this story - a story that can only harm the Conservative Party and the European Right in general. Adam Easton is also in Poland and has talked to lots of people about Kaminski, including the 'Campaign Against Homophobia' (KPH). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8154670.stm
Today's 'World at One' continued the war with another anti-Kaminski report by Ray Furlong. This one concentrated first on cases of homophobia in Poland & then interviewed Marta Abramowicz, president of (guess what?) the 'Campaign Against Homophobia'. Furlong told us that Marta was "incredulous" that the British Conservatives were now in alliance with the Law and Justice Party. The link is being made, the link is being made...
Next we heard a radio broadcast over which Furlong said, "This is one of the many sources of homophobia in Poland - Radio Maria, where prayers are broadcast before the news & 'Thought for the Day' is usually anti-abortion, anti-Europe and anti-gay. It is closely linked to Law and Justice, the party which David Cameron has forged an alliance with in Europe."
(Isn't this anti-Catholic?)
Furlong went on, "Law and Justice themselves insist they're not homophobes but social conservatives opposed to civil partnerships or gay adoptions, but how can it sit with the more socially liberal message of Mr Cameron's party?"
Now, aren't there some British Labour MPs (my own MP, Geraldine Smith, included) who are closer to Law and Justice on these issues than David Cameron? Why doesn't the BBC point that out, or question the Labour Party about it? Why only investigate the Tories?
In another instance of bias by labelling, the BBC presents the 'Campaign Against Homophobia' (KPH) as a non-partisan organisation, neglecting to mention that it has, according to Wikipedia, "several links" with "post-communist or socialist political parties". Had Furlong made this clear to his listeners, they might have seen the comments of Marta Abramowicz in a different, maybe less positive light.
The edition of 'The World at One' was presented by this blog's old friend, the serially-biased Shaun Ley, who followed Furlong's shameful report with a hostile interview with Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the British Conservatives MEPs. Ley's opening question was: "Michal Kaminski's remarks - the translation was 'queers' and 'fags' - may be a reflection of social attitudes in Poland, but is there a danger that you're going to be judged by your friends?" (Isn't that just what you want, Ley?).
Mr Kirkhope was interrupted four times in an interview that lasted 3 minutes 31 seconds, giving it an I.C. of 1.2. Contrast this with the two other politician-based interviews on the programme:
Lord Gilbert (Labour), 3 minutes 32 seconds, 0 interruptions, I.C. of 0.
Lord Peter Mandelson (Labour), 6 minutes 32 seconds, 1 interruption, I.C. of 0.2.
If this doesn't show bias, what does?
LITH AND LET LIE
As a side-dish on last night's 'PM', Ray Furlong served up another nasty 'right-winger':
"But Mr Kaminski is not the only embarrassment for the new Conservative group. A Lithuanian MEP, Waldemar Tomaszewski, who has also joined Mr Cameron's group, belongs to the party which voted two days ago in the Lithuanian parliament to pass a law banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools - rather reminiscent of Clause 28 in this country which, of course, Mr Cameron has just apologised for."
Wikipedia, however, describes this party - 'Election Action of Poles in Lithuania' - as "centrist."
And elsewhere the BBC let's the cat out of the bag, admitting that only 6 out of 141 Lithuanian parliamentarians voted against the bill. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8150616.stm
That is worth further investigating. Which parties supported the bill? Which voted against? In which grouping of the European parliament do they sit? And with which British parties do they sit?
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Each grouping within the European Parliament has dodgy elements. Labour, the Lib Dem, the EPP all contain people that the BBC could easilly make controversial. There are homophobes and anti-abortionists across the European Parliament. There are people who oppose civil partnerships and gay adoption across the European political spectrum. More than this, there are ex-fascists and ex-communists and supporters of terrorism, and all manner of ripe targets for investigation and/or smear. Why are they not put in the spotlight by the BBC? Why only the Conservatives?
This is in-your-face BBC bias at its most shameless.