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The BBC resorts to fake news as it smears the AfD in Germany's election

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 25 September 2017

Let me be clear the right AfD party in Germany are vile folks. I would not have been among the 13% of Krauts who voted for them had I had the vote. Calling them Nazis, as a few hundred left wing protesters, covered extensively by the BBC, did diminishes the horror of what the Nazis actually did but they are the closest thing Germany has seen to a Nazi since 1945. That does not excuse vile smears the BBC carried against the AFD. It was pure fake news.

Last night's late evening news saw reporter Damian Grammaticas with the young, telegenic protesters at that rally. The AfD may have garnered 5 million votes that day but the 500 protesters were the ones to report on. Damian asked one very good looking young lady why she was there and she told him that an Afd leader had said that Germans should be proud of what Germany did during the war. Cripes that really is appalling thing to say.

But as Damian knows full well, no Afd leader has said that at all. Alexander Gauland a co-leader of the Afd gave a very widely reported speech two weeks ago which the young lady is horribly misquoting. Either through ignorance or malice her misquote is a smear on the Afd. The BBC must have known that but carried it on its main news anyway. It could have run an interview with a protester who did not lie smear, it opted not to. That is fake news.

What Herr Gauland actually said starts with an admission that there were "wrongs of the past" in relation to WW2. But in terms of the men who fought he noted that Germans should "be proud of the achievements of German soldiers in two world wars”. That is proud of achievements not of war crimes and other matters which are noted as wrong.

The snowflakes protesting, perhaps, need a history lesson. In World War One both sides committed war crimes such as executing men who had surrendered. But though the conflict was horrible and bloody the overall level of such crimes were low and there is scant evidence that the Germans were any worse than our side. The war was a pointless clash of Empires not one driven by one sided German aggression but one into which Germany and Britain were sucked by a complex string of alliances. Eleven million Germans served in that pointless war. Just as we in Britain look back and honour our dead and - while they lived - honoured the survivors as brave men fighting for their Country it is right that Germany should do the same.

And so to WW2 where the Wehrmacht, the army, did commit war crimes. Most German war crimes were committed not by regular soldiers but by the SS, politically driven volunteer fighters, but regular soldiers clearly had a pretty long rap sheet. However he vast majority - well over 95% - of the 13.5 million men who fought for Germany in World War Two were not guilty of war crimes. Five million of them never home. Those men who defended Stalingrad to the bitter end, who invaded Crete by Paratroop or who fought tooth and nail to protect Germany as it was clear the war was lost were incredibly brave.

We know of the awful war crimes Russian soldiers committed as they swept through Prussia. Systematic industrial scale rape should not be part of war. Yet Russia honours its fighters without mentioning any of this. And no-one objects. Herr Gauland makes it clear he does not celebrate war crimes and acknowledges that there were many but thinks it fit to celebrate the bravery and conduct the vast majority of ordinary German soldiers in WW2 in the same way every other country is allowed to. These soldiers were not fighting as Nazis but as Germans.

What Gauland actually said in his speech is, objectively, at least worthy of discussion if not completely fair. What he did not say at all is what the BBC contrived to smear him with. That is fake news. Either Mr Grammaticas is so profoundly ignorant of the German election that he was unaware of the smear in which case the BBC should apologise and fire him at once or he knew it was a smear as did the rest of the editorial team and just went along with the fake news agenda anyway. I'd bet the ranch on option two. Pravda has "form."

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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