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Friday 25 January 2013

Telegraph Pundit Protests Too Much

The Maily Telegraph’s Brussels point man, Bruno Waterfield, is not a happy bunny today. “Pathetic how pro-EU types, with support of [the] entire UK state, big biz and main parties [are] portraying themselves as victims of EU-sceptical media” he Tweeted. What can be the reason for this outburst? And why choose this particular moment to admit what Zelo Street has been pointing out for some time?

I’ve long ago concluded that Waterfield was a partisan Europhobe whose ability to lace his copy with whoppers and logic leaps would not have even got him through the door when the Tel was a credible paper of record. That Tweet merely underscores my analysis. Moreover, as the first response to it shows, there are plenty of media voices lined up against the EU – especially his.

Waterfield’s unique approach to the EU first came before my inspection in March 2011, when he fraudulently asserted that a transport white paper “envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe”. He was at it again the following month, misrepresenting negotiations for the EU budget, which became “Brussels ... demanding” in the retelling.

We had to wait a while before the next slice of creative EU reinterpretation, but it was worth it: in September 2011 came the reheating of already old news concerning Herman van Rompuy, who had not ruled out standing for another term as EU President. This became “wants second term as strengthened EU President”, along with talk of German domination.

And that was as nothing compared to the following month’s offering, “New euro ‘empire’ plot by Brussels. This was substantially fictitious, based on news from the previous August, and for good measure was laced with lots of those anonymous quotes from “sources”, some of whom were “senior”. Part of the story had “emerged” from them. They were even “indicating privately”.

Bruno then rounded off the year telling Telegraph readers thatBritain faces a wave of hostile legislation battered through the European Union by a new ‘Euro-Plus’ bloc dominated by France and Germany”. As legislation passes through the European Parliament, not the EU, this was clearly another slice of creative retelling, as were the “senior figures” calling for the UK “to be driven out of Europe”.

He was still at it earlier this week, pretending that the EU “wants power to sack journalists” and inventing a Leveson component in a report to the European Commission that it did not contain. So it’s no surprise that Waterfield views so many as “Pro-EU”, but given his ability to get unashamedly Europhobic copy into the Tel, he can have few complaints about those of opposing view.

And he can count himself lucky the Telegraph is no longer a paper of record.

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