Ruth Gledhill, religion
correspondent of The Times, provided an inadvertent lesson
in the importance of source critical revisionism on 23rd January.
This week she has devoted several Times Online articles
to attacking the traditionalist Catholic Society
of St Pius X, which after many years of excommunication has
been readmitted to the Roman Catholic communion.
Jewish groups have objected to this rapprochement
between the Vatican and the Society, charging inter alia
that the Society has promoted anti-semitism and that one of its
bishops, Richard Williamson, is a "holocaust denier".
Ms Gledhill details these charges, and provides a link to a Swedish
television exposé of the Society broadcast
last week. Bishop Williamson is reported to be facing
investigation under Germany's notorious anti-revisionist laws,
which have already imprisoned scientist Germar Rudolf, publisher
Ernst Zundel, and lawyer Sylvia Stolz.
Not content with such attacks, Ms Gledhill descends
to guilt by association, but quickly embarrasses herself and her
newspaper. After noting that the Society has a seminary in Bavaria,
she adds the parenthetical observation that "a chief of police
in Bavaria has incidentally recently survived a stabbing by a
neo-Nazi. The officer has been fighting fascism for years and
in July his force dug up a body that had been buried in a Nazi
Ms Gledhill is referring to Alois Mannichl, police
chief in the Bavarian town of Passau, who was injured in a stabbing
at his home in mid-December. The case was swiftly
exploited by German politicians, who insisted that all Bavarian
children would be forced to visit a concentration camp site as
part of their school curriculum.
Had Ms Gledhill researched the facts of the case
before rushing into print, she would have discovered that scepticism
about the attack was already published in German newspapers more
than two weeks before her own uncritical and outdated article
appeared. Such scepticism has now been officially endorsed: the
German authorities have confirmed that they are no longer looking
for the mythical tattooed skinhead supposedly responsible for
Perhaps Ms Gledhill and other Times journalists
(as well as Bavarian politicians) will learn from this case that
a sceptical approach to sources is necessary, especially when
dealing with controversial historical and political topics. But
perhaps that would be too much to expect, especially in a Europe
which accepts that writers should be imprisoned for such scepticism.
Ms Gledhill's counterpart at the Daily Telegraph, Catholic
journalist and author Damian Thompson, has now added a
hysterical column stating that he does not "wish to belong
to the same church" as Bishop Williamson or anyone who refuses
to condemn his Holocaust revisionism. Further confirmation that
Holocaustianity is now the official European religion, and revisionism
the 21st century heresy.
Everyone has the right
to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom
to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and
impart information and ideas through any media and regardless
of frontiers. Article 19: Universal Declaration of Human
2008 is the 60th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
Independent filmmaker Rex
Bloomstein has produced An Independent Mind to
mark this anniversary.
Tom Sutcliffe, TV critic of The Independent,
Rex Bloomstein's An Independent Mind, shown in the
True Stories strand, was a tribute to backbone, too, profiling
eight individuals who, whatever you thought of their views,
had shown a certain resilience in expressing them. It opened
with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
which states that "everyone has the right to freedom of
opinion and expression", and it implicitly defended that
right without dodging the fact that there's nothing in the text
that says the opinions must be nice or tasteful.
...Most significantly, he ended his film with David Irving,
imprisoned in Austria for speeches about the Holocaust and Hitler.
He predicted on screen that this was a decision for which many
of his friends would criticise him, but he was absolutely right
to do it. Even for offensive opinions, contradiction is the
cure, not gagging.