The BBC's sensationalist approach to Tusk's Brexit comments characterises its news coverage

PUBLISHED: 15:25 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:25 17 February 2019

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with President of the European Council Donald Tusk during a press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. Photograph: Michelle Devane/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with President of the European Council Donald Tusk during a press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. Photograph: Michelle Devane/PA Wire

What a striking contrast in the way different news channels reported Donald Tusk's "special place in hell" remarks.

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Channel 4’s was the only coverage that put the remarks into their context, namely the Good Friday Agreement and the Irish border. They made clear that context, and presented the remarks as those of someone angry that one of the greatest diplomatic triumphs of the past half-century is being so callously disregarded by people who have no plan whatsoever that recognises either the threat they pose to it, or how that can be overcome.

Contrast the BBC’s coverage, presented, inevitably, from the perspective of extreme Brexiters; evidenced by the fact that the news ‘headline’ was not what Tusk said, but the fact that those British politicians had reacted angrily. Tusk spoke, I suspect, for many who feel that our voice and views have been marginalised and ignored for two years.

The BBC’s coverage gave the remarks no context, portraying them as random and gratuitous. Sadly, that sensationalist approach is one that now characterises its news coverage.

David Clarke, Portishead

Leaving aside his comments about hell, the most important thing that Donald Tusk said last week was that there is no-one in the UK leading the Remain side.

We complain about two years of ineffective action and chaos from the Brexiteers, but what have Remainers been doing? You publish your ‘Brexiteers of the Week’ in order to mock their incompetence but where are the heroic ‘Remainers of the Week’?

If we ever get a People’s Vote, who will be its figurehead – Jeremy Corbyn? That’s going well, isn’t it?

Anthony Day, York

Donald Tusk wonders what hell for Brexiteers might look like. I checked in Dante’s Inferno. There’s a choice.

The pit for fraud is quite large. Those who fraudulently sold Brexit could either join the hypocrites and false counsellors who are consumed by their own personal flame, or the sowers of discord whose bodies are lacerated to the quick, or perhaps the liars who are condemned to tear each other apart in wild furies of anger.

Unless Minos, the minotaur who judges the sinners as they arrive and signals their destination with whips of his tail, reckons them to be traitors to their country, in which case it’s straight to the bottom of the pit to be suspended head-down in the frozen waters of Lake Cocytus.

Caroline Laws, Cambridge

Gavin Esler, in his timely article “Lies, Damned Lies and Politicians” (TNE #131), is absolutely right to expose the equivocation and deceit of our political leaders and to alert us to the irreparable and dangerous damage they are inflicting on public trust.

Only last week the prime minister, on her visit to Brussels, remarked that she had “raised with president Tusk the language that he used yesterday which was not helpful and caused widespread dismay in the UK”.

These words, as well as being disingenuously self-righteous, imply that the alleged shock and offence were experienced universally throughout the UK.

Since there was clearly no time for her to carry out any poll or survey on the matter, exactly on what evidence was her assessment of this UK reaction based?

Robert Bell, Cambuslang

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