Let’s start with the bare if not so lovely bones, so to speak. This paean to the IRA Chief of State and Irish Presidential candidate Martin NcGuinness appeared on Today this morning. (8.43am)
Martin McGuinness, once a leading figure in the IRA and who was feared and loathed in almost equal measure, is now a respectable political leader. So respectable that he wants to become president of the Republic of Ireland. Ireland correspondent for the Guardian and Observer Henry McDonald.
For starters, turning to the Guardian and Observer correspondent for opinion is hardly balance but I suppose it is natural for the BBC to seek the opinion of their own print arm. Helpfully, Henry is able to instantly point out that just like Martin McGuinness, he lives in Northern Ireland but chooses to have an Irish passport in preference to a British one. Natch. We know where this one will go,
Then let’s move on to this business of McGuinness being “once a leading figure in the IRA”. Good to see that the BBC now grudgingly admits McGuinness actually was a terrorist commander but their journalistic curiousity seems a tad restricted. For example, why not ask when did McGuinness leave the IRA, exactly? When he was occupying the position as Capo di tutti capo, just how many innocent lives did he arrange to have terminated.Perhaps even more pointedly, how many peope did he murder HIMSELF? What exactly did he “command”?
Why is the BBC so coy about pursuing these aspects to the McGuinness pedigree?
I venture to suggest because the State Broadcaster has been central to sanitising the reputation of bloodthirsty IRA killers and McGuinness is being increasingly presented as a warm if not cuddly character that we all need to learn to love. Not sure if those families who visit lonely graveyards care of the actions of this piece of Republican scum would agree – but then again, through the BBC prism, I’m the extremist.