Thread: The race war
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Old 10-01-2019, 06:11 PM   #800
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How the BBC Manufactured ‘Hate’
Jack Krak, American Renaissance, December 28, 2018

An insider’s story.

Editor’s Introduction: This article is about events that took place in 2012, but anyone who follows the news closely knows that nothing has changed. This is a remarkable account by someone who had an inside look at deliberate falsifications by what was once one of the most respected names in journalism.

* * *

In May of 2012, the BBC Panorama program broadcast a documentary about “racism” in the host countries of the 2012 European soccer championship: Poland and Ukraine. Those two countries were about to stage the second biggest event in the sport after the World Cup, and legions of journalists had arrived to cover it. The purpose of the BBC program—aired strategically one week before the opening match—was to argue that neither country was qualified to host the tournament because of their “hateful” soccer cultures. The message: All-white countries are hotbeds of violent racism, and non-white fans and players would be in danger.

I know a lot about the Panorama program because I helped produce it. I saw what is arguably the world’s most famous and trusted media organization fabricate a false, sensationalist story. Through outright distortion—and by using only those pieces that fit its predetermined views—the BBC “documented” the vicious attitudes of people who live in countries that are not sufficiently “diverse.” The program had a scripted conclusion before a single camera was turned on.

Panorama is the BBC’s flagship investigative program. It is the longest-running such production in the world, having been on the air since 1953. The closest thing to it on American television is probably 60 Minutes. Panorama enjoys a reputation for hard-hitting and serious investigative journalism.

About three months before the tournament began, a BBC journalist got in touch with me through mutual media contacts and asked me to help with the part to be filmed in Poland. He said the program would be about aspects of the football culture—hooliganism, trouble at stadiums, etc.—that could cause problems for players and fans alike. This topic is something of a hobby of mine, and I have followed it carefully during my time in Poland. The BBC wanted me to be a “fixer”—the person on the ground who arranges things in advance for the production team. That meant setting up interviews, scouting filming locations, getting press passes and access to events, arranging transport, and a hundred other odds and ends. I was also expected to contribute ideas based on my knowledge.

I suspected right from the start that they wanted things that make for good television rather than a true investigation—conflict, tension, etc.—but I was somewhat reassured because this was the BBC. Despite my reservations, I never thought they would make the television equivalent of sensationalist trashy tabloid headlines.

The producer and a cameraman made their first trip to Poland in March 2012. They had asked me to arrange an interview with Aviram Baruchian, an Israeli who played with Polonia Warsaw. They said the interview was supposed to be about “his experience as a football player in Poland,” but the fact that they asked for him by name suggested they assumed he would have horror stories about being mistreated by fans because he is Jewish.

The press officer for Polonia was very accommodating, something I found again and again when dealing with officials from football clubs. People automatically trusted the BBC and went to extraordinary lengths to give them what they wanted.

I met the production crew for the first time the day after the interview. When I asked how it went, they joked about how useless it was. I was confused by their dismissive attitude and felt a bit responsible, but they told me not to worry. I learned later from the Polonia media spokesman that Mr. Baruchian had nothing but appreciative things to say about the fans and his experience in Warsaw—which is exactly why he isn’t in the final program.

There is a curious “Jewish” angle to Polish football that is easily misunderstood. Fans chant nasty things about Jews, but, strange as it may seem, it’s not accurate to call it serious anti-Semitism.

Many of the older clubs originally had or are thought to have had Jewish financial backing. This is almost certainly true of the team in Lodz—called Widzew ?ód?—since that city had a large Jewish population before the Second World War. These origins have become a source of cheap name calling for people who seize on any excuse to trade insults. When fans chant “death to the Jews,” it sounds shocking—and it certainly is brutish—but this is mainly a way of attacking the other team rather than Jews.

There has been a similar situation with the London football club Tottenham Hotspur, which has had Jewish owners. Fans of rival clubs started chanting about the “Jewish” team. Tottenham supporters eventually embraced this and some even call themselves the “Yid Army.” The fans of one Polish club, Cracovia, were in the same position and did the same thing, now proudly calling themselves the “Jewish Sons of Bitches.” When I told the BBC about that, they weren’t interested.

Needless to say, there is a lot of anti-Jewish chanting in the final Panorama program, but it is presented without explanation. It falsely makes the fans look as though they want to send Jews to the ovens.

The Star of David is now used so much in soccer graffiti that a Polish teacher I met told me that the children in his class associate it with the sport. He also had a friend from Israel, so this seemed like gold for the BBC: a poignant combination of children, the star of David, racism, and a chance to talk to another Israeli and get what they missed from Aviram Baruchian.

I set up the interview, but it was another disaster. Both the teacher and his Israeli friend said that, yes, while there certainly are boorish people, just as there are in every country, most Poles are very nice etc. Again and again, the Israeli put a positive spin on things, even when asked melodramatic questions about the Second World War. It was another “useless” interview that didn’t make the final cut. I remember that when we got back to the van everyone burst out laughing about what a complete waste of time it had been.

The first actual match we went to film was Legia Warsaw vs. Polonia Warsaw. This contest had an excellent chance of including all the things that make for great television, and it was before I understood what the real focus of the program was, so I was sure the BBC crew would not be disappointed. For about five hours, they filmed an army of police in full riot gear, flares and firecrackers being thrown around the stands and onto the field, an enormous banner unfurled by the home Legia fans declaring that Warsaw belonged to them, and a reply spelled out by the small but brave contingent of visiting Polonia supporters, who held up cards to form one big reply: “FUCK LEGIA.” There was a hooligan with a bullhorn on an elevated platform and countless examples of a well-known hand gesture delivered straight into the camera. A section of the stadium was burned black by a flare that set fire to a banner.

The entire contingent of Polonia fans was still in that blackened section after the match, surrounded by hundreds of security guards who would escort them out of the stadium perhaps an hour or two later. This was to minimize the chance of contact with Legia hooligans who might be waiting for them. It was easy to capture the violent atmosphere of the game, and I was confident the production team was happy. As we made our way back to the van, I asked the assistant producer if he was pleased. He made a face that said “not really,” and then out of nowhere asked, “Did you hear any racist or anti-Semitic chants?” He was visibly disappointed when I said I hadn’t.

The lead producer said he was more or less satisfied with the “visuals” but was disappointed with the “substance.” He asked again about something I had been unable to do: get one of the more committed hooligan types to go on camera. This time he explicitly said he wanted someone involved in “right-wing politics” as well as hooliganism.

I said it wasn’t easy to get inside a violent crime syndicate. The higher-ups in any hooligan organization are wanted by the police, and anyone further down is too scared to speak to the media for fear of the “leaders.” Believe me, anyone who goes on camera and says he’s a hooligan is either a wannabe or gets a very personal lesson in media relations from his former friends. I did the best I could, striking up awkward and even dangerous conversations on dark streets, and I visited dodgy clubs in four different cities, but I never delivered. The closest I got was a conversation with the head of one club’s “supporters organization,” who demanded a “fee” for “security.” To its credit, the BBC refused to pay.

Time to get serious

The team went back to London, and I continued to look into leads. I began to realize that what they wanted was bananas thrown at black players, Nazi salutes from the stands, and maybe some brutal beatings to add color.

In a phone conversation with the assistant producer at the end of March, I detected a note of urgency and in April, I got an e-mail message from him that said, “Our Executive Producer, Karen Wightman [who was in charge of the entire Panorama series], wants us to film black players and their experience of racism in Poland as a priority.”

The BBC had dropped all pretense about what they were after—at least with me—though they kept up the charade of a neutral investigation with others.

The crew decided to come see a match in the city of ?ód? between ?KS ?ód? and Widzew ?ód?. Like the previous game in Warsaw, this was a derby, that is to say, a contest between two clubs in the same city. Derbies typically have the most intense atmosphere, and thus an elevated chance of the kind of incident the BBC was looking for.

Widzew had two Nigerian players, Princewill Okachi and Ugo Ukah, and the BBC wanted first-hand accounts of mistreatment. Mr. Ukah was of particular interest because he had played for Queens Park Rangers in London and could compare his treatment in diverse, tolerant, multicultural England with that of all-white, wicked Poland. Also, there would be two black men on the visiting team in a contest famous for its wild fans. Everything was lined up perfectly to provide the missing “substance.”

I asked the BBC specifically what they wanted me to tell the press officer of Widzew and they told me to say we were interested in Poland’s preparation for the Euro 2012 tournament. Someone else on the production team, who had also been in contact with Widzew by e-mail, sent me this note:

They don’t know at this stage we want to specifically talk about racism in Polish football and their [the black players’] own personal experiences of abuse, so be prepared to schmuz [sic] and impress.

“At this stage” was after the club had agreed to make the players available—on Easter Sunday, no less, to fit our tight schedule. We were supposed to “schmuz and impress” rather than be forthright about the reason for the interview. I remember wondering how often the BBC gets access and interviews under false pretenses. To my shame, I was helping set the trap.

?ód? was the BBC’s last chance to find anti-black “racism.” The broadcast date for the final program was already booked and Panorama was fully committed to a headline-grabbing account of the dark, racist side of what was soon to be Europe’s biggest sporting stage. But they had no racism.

It was in ?ód? that the host, Chris Rogers, finally parachuted into his own program. He was the one who had sold the BBC on the idea months earlier, and the entire Panorama episode is presented as “his” investigation. Mr. Rogers made something of a name for himself in 2007 with an undercover investigation of Romania’s orphanages, and he has been dining out on it ever since.
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