I have only just caught up with the BBC1 documentary on the Dutch politician Geert Wilders that was transmitted on Tuesday evening. Did I say documentary? 'Europe's Most Dangerous Man' was a vicious hatchet job that was a disgrace to journalism. More than that, it could be argued that by presenting Wilders as a latter-day Nazi who was likely to foment war in Europe between Muslims and non-Muslims, it was in effect inciting violence or the murder of a politician who is already under armed guard 24/7.
There were several aspects of this programme that should have caused any responsible broadcaster to sling it straight into the trash. First and most fundamentally, it simply turned the people threatening the free world into victims and the politician who is trying to defend the free world against that threat into a fascist. Muslims were presented as universally peaceful people signed up to democracy and human rights; Wilders was the presented as the extremist threat to democracy and human rights. Yet as Wilders himself was quoted as saying – even while the script was telling us that these words were 'extremist' – he was defending freedom against the threat from Islamists to extinguish those freedoms.