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Essex weekly takes down BNP story after complaints

A weekly newspaper has removed an article about the British National Party from its website after complaints from readers.

Last week’s edition of the Brentwood Gazette featured a report on a BNP election meeting in the town which presented the party in what some claimed was a flattering light.

The story’s intro read: “Proud nationalists were asked to dig deep to support an election candidate when the Brentwood branch of the BNP met for the first time.

It continued: “Buoyant supporters packed into the back room of a patriotic pub for the inaugural meeting of the Brentwood and Chelmsford branch, which has been founded in response to the party’s growing membership.”

The story, originally published in print last Wednesday, swiftly generated a host of comments on the paper’s website.

Will from Chelmsford wrote: “I am surprised that the reporter who attended this meeting didn’t make a contribution to the BNP themselves, from the tone of the article it sounds like they’re already a fully paid up member! So much for impartiality and journalistic integrity.”

Kev, also from Chelmsford, wrote: “Where have journalism and editing gone on this site? No questions raised or cross examining? None at all.

“This looks as though a BNP press release has been regurgitated in its entirety. Hardly the actions of an independent media during the run up to a general election.”

One reader, who asked not to be named, contacted HTFP to say she would be reporting the paper to the Press Complaints Commission over the story.

However the story, along with all the comments, has now been taken down from the site.

Brentwood Gazette editor-in-chief Alan Geere has so far not responded to requests for a comment on the episode.


Mar Davies (28/04/2010 10:22:13)
For once, a British newspaper has the decency to print the TRUTH for a change, only to be leaned on from a great height from the brainwashed, brain-dead sheeple – or was it the NUTter’s?.

KenDav (28/04/2010 10:55:59)
Thing is some people dont like the truth and when it comes to the BNP they would rather read lies and half truths.
Like the above comment i can see the NUJ having played a hand in the story being taken down. The NUJ policy is to always write a bad story on the BNP, members are not allowed to write anything positive about the BNP.

Reporter (28/04/2010 11:00:40)
KenDav – I think the BNP stories write themselves; no need for ‘tampering’ or some sort of ‘conspiracy’ driving reporters (with 100wpm shorthand) to accurately quote what is said at the party’s meetings. Reporters being thrown out of meetings, vile rants recorded on video and audio devices etc. Let’s have it in the open and long may the exposure show the party for what it really is. An inconvenient truth for its members, sure, but remember that key word – the truth. Like it or lump it.

sub (28/04/2010 11:03:29)
Blimey! Where did all these racist nutters come from?

Phil Bryant (28/04/2010 11:10:15)
Reporter, Grow up! If what you describe is typical of BNP meetings then why was the story taken down? The FACT is that the NUJ insist that the BNP are only to be shown in a negative light! Like it or lump it.

Onlooker (28/04/2010 11:23:16)
KenDav & Phil Bryant – story doesn’t mention NUJ, where’s your evidence (and please don’t say ‘it’s obvious’)?

Old regional press hand (28/04/2010 11:25:28)
Whatever the reasons for the story coming down I seriously doubt it had anything to do with the NUJ. They are not exactly influential in these sorts of circles.

Denise O’Neil (28/04/2010 11:57:06)
Congratulations to Alan Geere, who at least has the decency to report the Truth. Our journalists have long given up telling the truth about the BNP, it’s an easier life for them to keep printing lies.

Phil Bryant (28/04/2010 12:06:33)
Onlooker, here’s a link on how the NUJ are to report the BNP:
It doesn’t exactly say “only show the BNP in a negative and racist light” but anyone with a functioning brain can see that that is what it means. As one commenter puts it so eloquently: “The workings of democracy are complicated and finely balanced and a free press is a pillar of democracy, but when the press assumes to control the workings of democracy then that balance risks being upset.
Journalists should report, by all means, but a Union policy against a legitimate political party runs counter to the principle of free speech. What if a journalist writes an article sympathetic to those who vote BNP? Is he to be disciplined or ostracised. Will it end his career?
The NUJ should inform the people, but deciding for the people is the realm of dictators.

davy gravy (28/04/2010 12:29:08)
I think we’re all missing the point here. The local paper HAS to report on the BNP – growing support for them is a story. But that support is also extremely controversial, and likely to lead to wide-scale protests. Eveen if there was no argy bargy at this meeting, the BNP IS different from the mainstream. If the paper failed to reflect that, then they got it wrong.
Re: the NUJ, are you all mad? Since when have they told anyone how to write stories? Or more to the point, since when has anyone listened to what they say anyway?

Hengist Pod (28/04/2010 12:30:51)
The truth about the BNP is there for all to see. Yes, it is a legitimate party but it is also a collective that holds to a vile, divisive and discriminatory ideology. The underlying problem here is that people are concerned about immigration and none of the main political parrties are seen to efectively dealing with it, thus enabling the BNP to plug the gap and claim it is the only party that cares. The situation can be simply but effectivley summed up by the opening line of the famous Mary Howitt poem: “Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly.

raggedyman (28/04/2010 12:40:36)
This article shouldn’t have been pulled because it was apparently uncritical of the BNP.
It should have been pulled because its a shoddy piece of cut and paste so-called journalism, entirely unobjective and poorly presented.
The reporter who wrote it,the News Editor who passed this for publication and the subs who copy subbed it want hauling over the coals for not doing their job properly.
On a decent paper no political party of whatever stripe would be given such an easy ride.

Reporter (28/04/2010 12:42:20)
Why is any reporter who reports a negative story on the BNP automatically assumed by its members to be a rabid, left-wing member of the NUJ is bang out of order for reporting facts? Did Nick Griffin deny the Holocaust ever happened or was it is twin brother captured on video? Did or did the BNP recently chuck a national newspaper reporter out of a meeting – or was that a trick of the camera showing his face being scrunched up as he was thrown out by BNP members?

hacked off (28/04/2010 14:06:17)
this story is a direct consqeunce of sacking reporters and sub, to the point that instead of reporting the news, we end up cutting and pasting press releases .
In answer to subs question ‘Where did all these racist nutters come from?’
Where else but the BNP propoganda unit.

Onlooker (28/04/2010 15:02:21)
Phil Bryant – Yes, but where’s the specific evidence that the NUJ was involved in this story? Does the Brentwood Gazette even have an NUJ presence? And since when did the NUJ ever influence anything?

Rotait (28/04/2010 17:11:18)
In answer to sub’s question – my guess is essex uni ( probably the politics or history depts ) in tandem with membership of the swp , the nuj and / or the labour party.

Rotait (28/04/2010 17:16:55)
If ‘Reporter ‘ is actaually a reporter then his comment proves the point. Firstly because Mr Griffin did no
t ‘ deny the h/c ‘ but questioned the figures and secondly because the ‘national reporter ‘ he refers to was a trespasser at a private meeting on private property.
But hey ‘ Reporter ‘ why let facts get in the way of NUJ approved history ? You don’t want to lose your job now do you ?

News and views (28/04/2010 17:24:59)
I agree wiv the BNP – it woz the NUJ that dun it. They direct everfink that reporter rite and hold them under some sortof spell they can’t escape from.

Another hack (28/04/2010 17:27:17)
Hacked Off said it all – a more dumb-ass piece of coverage is hard to imagine and someone is going to be on a final warning for it. Events are news and news is what we report. But not like this. Oh no. It would not be acceptable for any party of any colour to be given this kid glove treatment.
As for the NUJ, they have long since ceased to be relevant to journalism and journalists. Their no-platform policy re; the BNP is frightening. Today, they would prefer there to be no reporting of the BNP and, OK, let’s say they eventually have their way on that one – but what then will be next on their policy menu? No reporting of Lib Dems? Fatty foods? Leather footwear and clothing? Cars costing over £9,000? Cosmetics and superfluous beauty page features? Totalitarian aspirations are unacceptable, regardless of whether they are on the right or the left. One can’t help wondering how their membership stays afloat – is it on the back of shiney eyed newcomers to the business on the assumption that waving an NUJ membership card around will add weight to their otherwise minimal credentials? Who knows – meanwhile, if we just keep the reporting factual and unemotional, the BNP and their politics will continue to be revealed for what they are – hateful.

Reporter (28/04/2010 17:29:06)
Sorry Rotait – just seems that the term “press conference” would imply the reporter was allowed to stay rather than “trespass”. A unique kind of “press conference” all the same mind.

Joan Walters (29/04/2010 10:11:58)
I’ve been waiting for years for objective, factual, analytical and non insulting reporting on the BNP, yet the first time it arrives – it is spiked! Newspapers are doing a total disservice to their readers by censoring the news and depriving their readers (customers) of essential facts. Little wonder people are not buying papers. btw, the “readers2 who complained – were they representative or just trade union/leftie agitators?

Joan Walters (29/04/2010 10:23:39)
Oh – and while I’m on, can any journos explain why the violent renta mobs from UAF who routinely turn up at BNP events to intimidate and use physical violence to shut down debate, are NEVER criticised in the press? The slightest opportunity to brand the BNP as “violent” (even in hacks’ use of language eg “Nick Griffin attacks immigrants” instead of eg “Nick griffin opposes immigrants”) is never missed. Why this double standard? Answer: the media are controlled by a greedy international elite who do not like nationalism and nation states, and campaign for globalisation – hence the power of the holocaust (sorry, Holocaust) to keep people in line.

Matthew Ward (29/04/2010 11:18:17)
Joan Walter – I think it is more the case that people that work in the media are in general well educated and fair-minded people, and generally speaking, well educated, fair-minded people do not like Nationalism – as we know the horrific consequences it has led to in the past. It’s nothing to do with “controlled by a greedy international elite” (although a certain portion of it, as with all business, undoubtedly is).

Phil Bryant (29/04/2010 11:29:48)
Onlooker Said: “And since when did the NUJ ever influence anything?”
So what is their raison d’etre? All unions exist ‘to influence’, surely even a dumb Communist knows that!

Hengist Pod (29/04/2010 11:39:55)
Are any of these BNP hate-spouters journalists or have they just hijacked this site?

Joan Walters (29/04/2010 12:15:44)
Matthew Ward – your assertion that “…people that work in the media are in general well educated and fair-minded people, and generally speaking, well educated, fair-minded people do not like Nationalism – as we know the horrific consequences it has led to in the past.” is very revealing in that it illustrates the type of elitism I mentioned. Journalists seem to live in a bubble, insulated from the common herd, apparently self righteous, sanctimonious and politically correct. You show a similar attitude in suggesting that the rest of us who are not media workers may well be, in general, NOT well educated and fair-minded. I have racked my brains for years trying to understand the mind set of people attracted to media work, and conclude they are of a type – easily lead, unable to think for themselves and too eager to “go with the flow” – accepting the prevailing orthodoxies which Orwell mentioned in his preface to Animal Farm ie they realise principles (if indeed they ever had any) must go to be replaced by Political correctness in order to climb that greasy pole. They are prima donnas and rogues of the first water and quite the opposite of “fair minded” – they are closed minded and bigoted. As to your comments about the “horrific consequences of nationalism” you should consider that past frictions and conflicts were not caused by nationailism – nations evolve naturally and are generally stable, yet not without some conflict – but by enforcement of ethnic and cultural diversity upon once homogeneous societies. As usual, the Left have it upside down.

Matthew Ward (29/04/2010 17:44:56)
Joan – Yes, obviously when I say that people who work in the media are educated and fair minded, I was implying that anyone who doesn’t work in the media isn’t. Of course that’s what I meant.
As usual, the BNP supporters are proving themselves to be totally unable to read even very straightforward English without jumping to ridiculous conclusions and reading all sorts of hidden inferences into it which aren’t even there.
I find it ludicrous that you types are always so keen to quote Orwell, when if you had your way (well, if Griffin had his way – you may very well be one of the poor saps he has hoodwinked into believing that he actually heads a legitimate political party) we would all be living under the jackboot.
George Orwell was as left wing as they have ever come!

Joan Walters (30/04/2010 10:47:15)
Matthew Ward – getting personal now, are we – a sign of losing an argument? Let me put my previous point in a different way – your assertion about hacks being well educated, reasonable etc seems to imply that the people who see the dangers of mass immigration and its threat not only to social cohesion but to the long term freedom, security, and identity of indigenous British people, are not educated or fair minded. Again, you have it the wrong way round – hacks and other like minded people, who are not concerned with maintaining our ancestral homeland, are showing intolerance and an irresponsible attitude. Hardly “fair minded”.

Joan Walters (30/04/2010 11:08:39)
Matthew Ward – oh, and just in case you want to quibble about the “I” word, let me put my case for identifying the indigenous people of Britain. Well before the last Ice Age, hom sap – our distant ancestor, who may well have originated in Africa – was undergoing a harsh climatic Darwinian selection process, giving the genetic variation which differentiates the various races of mankind. 14000 years ago these primitive hunter gatherers were forced South by the ice, returning when the ice had gone, 12000 years ago. Those few thousand individual hunter gatherers were loosly associated into tribes, eventually to evolve into the white European tribes – Angles, Saxons, Normans, Romans,etc. All of these people constituted the original inhabitants of Europe (including Britain, originally joined by land to continental Europe). ie they are INDIGENOUS, not IMMIGRANTS. If you accept the Aborigine as the indigenous people of Australia, them it should’t be too difficult to accept the white Europeans as
indigenous to Britain. It’s OUR country.

Matthew Ward (30/04/2010 11:35:00)
Joan – Thanks for the anthropology lesson, although I have just three words for you in response, if you are going to now bring Darwinism into the discussion – Out Of Africa.
Sorry I don’t have time or to be honest the inclination to this further at the moment as I’m supposed to be working but I’m hoping to make it to Barking or wherever it is on Monday that Griffin is speaking, to join the protestors. If you are there on the other side of the fence then I’ll be happy to continue this conversation in person in my own time!

David Gibbons (30/04/2010 12:20:45)
How refreshing to hear the TRUTH for once.
Can`t understand what the fuss is about.

Snapper (30/04/2010 13:04:07)
Joan Walters asks why violent ‘renta’ mobs are never criticised.
Can’t speak for others but the ‘antis’ have never accepted my presence at an event by casually informing me that they knew where I live and what car I drove, never deliberately stood in front of my camera so that I couldn’t photograph any ‘violence’ from their supporters, never pushed me out of the building when heckling broke out, never threatened me with what might happen should my pictures show them in a bad light. Whilst this was never from the men in sharp suits it was made quite plain to me that these were not just concerned members of the public who had accidentally wandered into the event and were worried I might take the wrong viewpoint… In fact it was fairly close to the behaviour from some hunt followers a few years ago when I tried to photograph a fox being torn to pieces, even down to a few of the accents, whereas the ‘antis’ were happy to show me they had nothing to hide.
As for the article it strikes me that the reporter might have been rather politically naïve and accepted the bon homie at face value without doing much – or any – research. Assuming all were on their best behaviour when the scribbler was present unless the right questions were asked who would know any different?

Joan Walters (30/04/2010 13:13:49)
Matthew Ward – yes, “Out of Africa”, but just look at the variation which took place over the many thousands of generations as our ancestors were subjected to the cognitively demanding climatic conditions in the cold climate of N Europe. It didn’t happen in sub saharan Africa which accounts for obvious racial differences (not just skin colour, but physiology, IQ, skeletal etc).
Race Evolution and Behaviour by J Philippe Rushton
I’m not surprised you don’t want to debate the point.
btw – Instead of shouting down Nick Griffin and offering violence, why not have a quiet debate with him and show us ALL just how bad his policies are? Or, why not stand an opposition candidate – eg the “Hope Not Hate” candidate, or the SWP candidate?

Joan Walters (30/04/2010 13:22:11)
Snapper – the press never miss a chance to show photos claiming to be of BNP members, with shaven heads, tattoos, or just looking threatening. Hardly typical, but remember the first rule of journalism – “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”

hen (30/04/2010 17:39:21)
Do the BNP members have shaven heads because they’ve been lobotomized?

Snapper (04/05/2010 13:32:44)
Joan Walters – shaven headed or not they appeared to be kicking seven bells out of the heckling antis as my pictures totally failed to show, thanks to the intervention of a bull necked (and cropped haired, does that count?) man in a stewards jacket who told me that he didn’t want to see this in the newspapers and made to hold my camera down whilst pushing me away. The story happened before me, the fact was that the reporter was not present (inside the venue chatting with the big man, I think), and the truth is that it didn’t get into the paper except as an “isolated scuffles broke out” throwaway line which must have saved face for somebody. At the end what I did have was images of, yes, scowling men with tattoos and shaven heads all trying to look hard against a backdrop of similarly cropped haired younger people and chanting old ladies; maybe the tough guys were not all actual card carrying BNP members but they were supporters whilst their opposition was definitely anti nazi so the labels went on accordingly.
On the baseless assumption that you actually are in the employ of a local news agency might I suggest you get out of the office and try life on the front line, rather than snipe from the safety of your keyboard. Maybe you could take in an extremist political rally – without waving your membership card around – and see what really takes place…