The Sun and Mail have been especially righteous, with the Murdoch masthead howling “Wills’ Panorama Bombshell … BBC let down my Mum, my family … and Britain” and the Rothermere goons thundering “On day of shame for BBC, prince’s devastating blast at Bashir’s ‘lurid and false claims’ that he says fuelled Diana’s ‘fear and paranoia’ and drove his parents apart … WILLIAM: BBC LIES RUINED MY MOTHER’S LIFE”.
Thus the singularly unedifying sight of the two largest and most poisonous fatbergs in the sewer of tabloid journalism attempting to slither their way to the moral high ground. Worse are the attempts by both titles to up the ante so far as to start a “BBC killed Diana” narrative. You think I jest? Consider today’s Sun editorial, which posits exactly that.
“BBC’s scandalous Princess Diana interview wrecked and arguably ended lives … It is possible that it set off a chain of events which led to her death two years later in Paris … That without that interview … she might be alive today … it triggered her swift divorce, and with it the removal of … the royal protection officers who might have kept her safe”.
This is carefully crafted horseshit: Diana had a protection officer with her when she took her fateful last journey. Also, she was offered continuation of the same protection the rest of the Royals get. That has not stopped the deeply unpleasant Dan Wootton, now sounding off at Mail Online, peddling the same crackpot ideas.
“Did the BBC kill Princess Diana? Not directly, no … this is the BBC's Watergate moment. A day of shame for the corporation and its supposedly moral news service”. Anyone who has studied the way the tabloid press went after ITV’s Death On The Rock will be able to see the similarities - crudely discrediting broadcast media. And the Mail had more.
The impossibly over-inflated ego of former Murdoch editor Andrew Neil was wheeled out to pontificate “[Charles Spencer] drew a straight line between the lies and deception Martin Bashir told Princess Diana … and her tragic death in a Paris road tunnel car crash two years later. And he’s right”. So let me put Wootton, Brillo and the rest straight.
It wasn’t the BBC commissioning paparazzi, knowing the modus operandi of those around Paris. It wasn’t the BBC that embarked on a campaign of personal denigration against Diana, typified by Richard Littlejohn, then at the Sun and now at the Mail, leering “Di is so dim she thinks opera is a chat-show host”. That only ended with her death.
It wasn’t the BBC that commissioned illegal activity from Steve Whittamore and his network. It wasn’t the BBC that employed “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood. It wasn’t the BBC that libelled the lead witness to Death On The Rock, the McCanns and Christopher Jefferies. It wasn’t the BBC who piled in on Caroline Flack. And don’t forget Hillsborough.
What we are now seeing is the sickest form of projection. No surprise there, then.
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