We’ve already shot Hilary Andersson’s Panorama programme full of holes, but I’d like to drive over the body all the same.
That was it? The BBC’s big song and dance about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and white supremacist literature, which it spent all yesterday gleefully reporting in its bulletins and news programmes, boiled down to roughly 20 seconds from the Panorama programme. Here’s the relevant segment (h/t to Craig from Is the BBC biased? for the transcript. Check out his take on the programme, too.)
“And we found out that Tamerlan’s interests here at home were not just Islamic. He subscribed to publications about government conspiracies, gun rights and white supremacy. He also read about mass shootings. Tamerlan was perhaps not so much the true radical jihadist as a deeply troubled young man who latched onto Islam.”
The actual evidence was on screen for 3 seconds. We weren’t even told what the literature was or how long Tamerlan had subscribed.
Andersson didn’t identify the literature shown but I can confirm that it was, as I said yesterday, the anti-Semitic weekly paper the American Free Press (AFP). Unlike the clip used in Andersson’s news report (which was deliberately blurred out by the BBC) the same footage in Panorama is clearer and the writing can be read.
That page is a book review which can be seen on the American Free Press website. It is dated 24 April, 2013 – 9 days after the Boston bombing and 5 days after Tamerlan’s death. It seems the BBC couldn’t even get hold of hard copies of the editions the older Tsarnaev was supposed to have read. Notice the name and date of the paper are still blurred at the top. [Update - Alan points out in the comments that while the online article Cosnpiracies Are Real is dated 24 April, it did appear in a print version of the AFP in March.]
Here’s the opening couple of sentences of the book review just to prove it’s definitely the AFP she’s looking at:
Conspiracies assume many different forms. In some instances an entire family is cursed, as Kennedy blood and tragedy have seeped across the decades from Dallas (JFK) to L.A. (RFK), Chappaquiddick (Teddy) and Martha’s Vineyard (JFK Jr)
The book is Conspireality by Viktor Thorn who writes regularly for the AFP.
As I mentioned yesterday the American Free Press promotes conspiracies and blames the Jews for just about everything, it sympathises with Muslim grievances, and its contributors appear on Iran’s Press TV to rant about worldwide Jewish control of the media. Who knows, maybe Press TV first turned Tamerlan on to the AFP. And let’s not forget that the AFP thinks the Tsarnaevs were probably framed.
So why didn’t Hilary Andersson point out any of that? Because it would complicate the message. The programme wanted to show that Tamerlan was only “a Muslim of convenience” and it used his apparent interest in unnamed right-wing white supremacist literature as proof of this. Pointing out the similarity in rhetoric of the Jew-hating AFP and jihadi literature would not have been helpful.
Andersson said the programme had been months in the making. How embarrassing.