18 November 2006

The boot on the other foot

Today’s Independent carries a report about the Romanian newspaper Libertatea and its response to a hysterical story in Thursday’s Sun. It would seem that our (less than) beloved Currant Bun has met its match in the invective stakes.

On 16 November the Sun ran a report with the shocking headline “Migrants AIDS epidemic threat”. According to the story the UK was facing an Aids epidemic on the basis that two thirds of all new HIV cases were found in immigrants and that the problem was “set to hit crisis point when Romania and Bulgaria — nations with some of Europe’s highest Aids rates — join the EU next year.

The source of the story was a Health Protection Agency report which showed that up to 70% of new HIV, TB and Malaria cases seem in the UK was due to migration. However, the report stressed that it reflected a small fraction of people not born in the UK. And that there was little evidence to suggest the general population was being placed at increased risk.

This did not stop the Sun putting a lurid spin on the report of course - why let the truth come in the way of some gratuitous hysteria?

The report seems to have hit a raw nerve with Libertatea: dashing to the defence of its fellow countrymen, devoted much of Friday’s (17 November)issue to hitting back at the Sun, suggesting the British newspaper train its eye a little closer to home if it wants to find evidence of wrongdoing.

It accuses the British of exporting paedophilia, drunkenness and hooliganism - a threat it says is far more serious than that posed by Romanians when the country officially joins the European Union in January. It goes on to lampoon the notion that "rapists, muggers, card forgers, whores and pimps will storm into Trafalgar Square" in 2007. In the editorial it blasts "too perfidious Albion" insisting the old colonial label is still apt. It also calls on Tony Blair to stand up against the Press for peddling myths demonising a nation which has committed troops to serve alongside British forces in Iraq.

"Starting about two months ago various UK publications, spearheaded by The Sun, flung upon Romanian citizens the sort of abjection which is hard-to-imagine," the editorial said. "Romania is presented as a cursed land, the Sodom and Gomorrah which will spill crime, disease and misfortune into England." It also used the edition to launch a campaign to highlight the epidemic of British paedophiles being countered by the Romanian authorities.

Well it seems that the Sun truly has met its match. For a sequel please stick the boot into the Mail and the Express!


Anonymous said...

The Guardian alludes to the Romanian-British war of tabloids too at:


Anonymous said...

In fact, as The Guardian points out it's not at all doom and glom as to Romania and Romanians


Seen George Michael on ITV lashing out at Rupert Murdoch in his recent interview? He called him "the devil walking on our planet" or something. I one can't give a toss as to what The Sun writes about the Romanians. I remember their horrid rant occassioned by France's refusal to join Britain in its war on Iraq: Poor Jaques Chiraq was depicted as a worm. So silly, so mental: but then The Sun is catering for the menatlly retarded.

Anonymous said...

So silly, so mental: but then The Sun is catering for the mentally retarded.

And their boat is sinking slowly but surely, no matter how many of the white van men, "biwders", cabbies and other "normal" blokes (you know what I mean by them) keep buying blindly every morning -though it seems less and less often- that obsecene rag. And probably those who still do buy it, do it for the kitschy Page3 and for that daily injection of hatred and prejudice they -as trully mentally retarded-can not live without.
Even the likes of Richard Littlejohn desserted The Poisonous Currant Bun (for that other vomit-like sister paper Daily Mail), allegedly seeking refuge in Florida, and this really speaks volumes (though their is another Little left around, ex- BBC Radio Four's Rod Liddle aka "The Little Rod" who sputters the same kind of venom on a weekly basis at The Spectator)

jams o donnell said...

What to say? I have no problem with Romania's accession to teh EU. Although there has been a hue and cry over the number of people comng to teh UL from Poland and the other recent accession states, they have given teh economy a shot in the arm. Romaians and Bulgarians will do the same.

I posted this because it amused me to see the Sun getting a taste of its own medicine. I find the Sun to be a loathesome rag, certainly not on my reading list

Anonymous said...

Hi! It's nice to see the Essex man
lashing out at the likes of The Sun for a change. And you don't have to feel guilty for doing so or to justify yourself. No one will accuse you for defending -via The Indie or Guardian- the Romanians. As a matter of fact they can fend off these attacks and stand for for themselves: I (as one of them) can certainly do so. The knives are out now. The blog below rejoyces that apparently The Sun is now selling the lowest number copies for the last 30 years. Schadefreude?


Could be. Anyway, as seen from London where hundred of ethnicities (who kind of took over the places) rub their shoulders in aparent harmony this fracas seems irrelevant. There's nothing that The Sun (or The Express' Dirty Des)
can do in order to stop what they loathe the most: London becoming the most cosmopolitan place on this planet. Too late to prevent this wonderful thing happening.

Anyway, thanks for hosting my comments!

jams o donnell said...

One thin I will make clear is not everyone in Essex (Romford is part of Greater London and has been for over 40 years) lives up to the stereotype.

I like the fact that London is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. I wouldnt want it any other way