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Tuesday 21 March 2017

Farage Sweden Rape Claim In Trouble

The range of punditry available to listeners of broadcaster LBC spans a wide arc of the political spectrum, and most of their hosts, from James O’Brien to Iain Dale, not only know their opinions, but also what they can and can not say on air. Sadly, this realisation that there is a difference between what you can get away with in print, and what can be asserted when it’s going out live, has not yet permeated the station’s entire roster.
Squeaky dishonesty callout finger up the bum time

LBC’s problem host right now - and it was their own choice to use his services - is former UKIP Oberscheissenf├╝hrer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who recently made a variety of highly creative claims about Sweden on his show, one of which has now come back to bite both him and the broadcaster. Farage may have been motivated to make his claims after the country was named in a Twitter outburst by Combover Crybaby Donald Trump.

Mr Thirsty had been advancing his claim that there had been a “dramatic rise” in sexual crime in Sweden, and that this was directly related to the admission into the country of significant numbers of refugees. He concluded that “Malmo is now the rape capital of Europe and, some argue, even the rape capital of perhaps the world”. And it was this claim that has now landed him, and LBC, in hot water.

Why this should be is not hard to understand: taking figures for sex related crimes in Sweden, which for instance has a definition of rape which is far wider than that used in other countries - including the UK - and trying to use them to make like with like comparisons is not going to give a reliable result. Those who pretend otherwise are either deluding themselves, or have an agenda to promote.
As Farage has also claimedMalmo in Sweden is the rape capital of Europe due to EU migrant policies. Anyone who says there isn’t a problem is lying to you”, it’s not hard to see what agenda he might be pursuing. In any case, there have been nine complaints to Ofcom over his LBC claim - and the regulator must take them seriously. Farage may be about to discover that what he gets away with in print does not work on air.

There are two reasons for this, both down to sham press regulator IPSO. The first is the ability of that regulator to shoo away complaints by third parties, which means that most, if not all, of those complainants who could not prove they were personally affected by Mr Thirsty’s assertion - which may be all of them - would not have their complaints taken forward. In this way, the press gets its backside routinely wiped.

And the second is what is known as the “Littlejohn defence”, or “Delingpole manoeuvre”: pundits can make whatever outrageous claims they want to in their opinion columns, and when the inevitable complaints appear, stating that the pundit is presenting opinion as fact, or just lying, IPSO can say “It’s only an opinion column”.

In an opinion column, pundits can get away with telling whoppers because this is “just done for effect”, and readers are expected to know it’s “only opinion”.

Nigel Farage is now discovering that the kinds of things he got away with at the Express and Telegraph may not get past Ofcom. Good thing too.


Anonymous said...

Truth is, Tim, we live in a world where news stories travel across continents as does any information on the web. This is an interesting one because Ofcom doesn't have the capacity to vet or regulate media created outside of its jurisdiction.

I'll leave the rest for you and others to work out.

Unknown said...

@Anonymous (above)

Whilst what you say is true, it shouldn't be used as an excuse to have no standards at all.

Although I'm sure IPSO will keep this as a reserve excuse if they start to feel the heat they deserve.

Alan Clifford said...

According to unelected crab-harridan May, Nige and co become redundant after 29th March.

And if the three Celtic nations get their independence it sort of leaves them back where they started. Among the tories.

Sounds Right to me.

Mr Brown said...

@Anonymous 21 March 2017 at 11:41...

Truth is, Nigel lives and broadcasts in a part of the world which does fall into Ofcom's jurisdiction.
This is an interesting one because Farage and LBC over stepped the mark, and should have worked that out.