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Sunday 11 December 2011

Speaking Up For Himself

When the excellent Tabloid Watch blog called out obedient Express hack Patrick O’Flynn recently over his less than accurate assertion that “every criticism we levelled against the EU has been justified”, the Great Man was deeply affronted. He dismissed the post as being from “some Left blogger who takes EC line on some news stories”, whereas Tabloid Watch is interested in accuracy, not left versus right.

He then smeared his critics as the “Pro-EU blogosphere” before asserting that the Express story “EU Says Water Is Not Healthy” was “completely correct”, which, as I showed at the time, it was anything but. And he then threw in “EU is hardly under-resourced media wise if it has something to take up with my newspaper”, while knowing full well that the Express ignores requests for correction from the EU.

O’Flynn claims to be “Speaking up for Britain”, although the line taken by his copy, by the happiest of coincidences, chimes exactly with the Express editorial one, which of course is not influenced at all by Richard Desmond, because he said so in court, and on oath. In reality, he’s speaking up for Himself Personally Now, and his track record on his favourite topic – the EU – is not an especially good one.

Added to his inability to distinguish between European institutions – well, they’re all stuffed with rotten “Eurocrats” who talk foreign – O’Flynn memorably called the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) a “Quango when it is funded by the newspaper industry and has no connection with Government. He also wrongly asserted that all members of the EU had to sign up to the ECHR.

On top of his dodgy relationship with accuracy is O’Flynn’s penchant for logic leaps and personal smears, although he can’t compete with the Dacre attack doggies. So his snark at Mil The Younger (“he is the son of a Belgian father and Polish mother and this has led him to feel patriotic about Europe in a way that the vast majority of British people do not”) pales before the Mail attack on Corporal Clegg.

The smear by inference is also amateurish: “The logic of Labour’s terror of isolation ... is that we should be fully a part of the new European super-state [which doesn’t exist], that we should join the Euro and the fiscal union [that doesn’t exist either] too”. Really? Why not just tell the readers to Vote Tory? I know, I know, it’s because he can’t make his mind up between them and UKIP.

You see, these are patriotic parties, and Labour is unpatriotic. Yes, “All the long term trends are ushering Britain towards the EU exit door” tells O’Flynn, unaware that trends don’t do ushering. In any case, he knows that “Our crusade will be victorious”, so there you have it. Tomorrow belongs to Patrick O’Flynn and his utterly benign and magnanimous boss, subject only to departure from the EU being as promised.

Which, given the Express’ usual level of veracity, may not turn out as planned.

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