February 22, 2005

Views of the street at odds with the media

That Ken Livingstone statement in full. Alright, I won't post it all here but click the headline above. Here's a taste:

Is it the case that whilst not racist or anti-semitic my words were so offensive they should never have been uttered?

Clearly the the leading Jewish newspaper the Jewish Chronicle does not think so. On February 7 th 2003 they published a letter accusing Professors Hilary and Stephen Rose of being kapos (concentration camp inmates serving as guards). The Roses complained to the Jewish Chronicle and the Press Complaints Commission. The Press Complaints Commission rejected the Roses complaint on the grounds that the Jewish Chronicle had printed a letter of rebuttal on the Roses.

Clearly, the Jewish Chronicle and the Press Complaints Commission did not feel that this term diminished the holocaust.

If we want to see an example of an inappropriate use of the term holocaust we need look no further than the Daily Mail writer Quentin Letts who described Labour MP Andrew Dismore as "a Holocaust bore".
Well done Ken for having a jab at the JC. They have indeed trivialised the holocaust. But look out for Andrew Dismore MP, he's tabling an Early Day Motion tomorrow, condemning Ken. This might run some more. If it does, there's a warning from Livingstone:
I have lost count of the number of times I have been approached by Londoners over the last two weeks and have been urged very forcefully not to apologise. Since this row erupted we have received over 1500 letters and emails from the public. 74 per cent have expressed their support for me, with 26 per cent against—a margin of support of three to one.

Not for the first time in my years in public life the views of ordinary people on the street are overwhelmingly at odds with much of the media.

Now if you compare the above extracts (or the whole statement) to what was reported by the Beeb you may wonder why the Chief Rabbi and the Holocaust Education Trust didn;t take the JC to task for trivialising the holocaust by publishing a letter calling the Roses "kapos". Of course, you will have seen how small a proportion of Ken's statement was actually shown by the BBC so perhaps they didn't report the Chief Rabbi's and the Holocaust Education Trust's condemnation of the JC for holocaust trivialisation or the Daily Mail for calling an MP a holocaust bore. But I doubt it.

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