Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wall Street Journal Smears Belgian Vlaams Belang Party

The Journal's editorials are usually excellent. However, their news articles are often written by journalists who have the typical leftwing bias. In Saturday's edition we see how John Miller has smeared Vlaams Belang, the party in Belgium that looks out for the interests of the Flemish people:

BRUSSELS -- A team appointed by Belgium's King Albert II started work Friday to resolve a stalemate between the nation's French and Dutch speakers. At stake is not whether Belgium falls apart, but whether it becomes more like Switzerland.

Ever since elections in June 2007, Belgium has been in trouble. It took nine months to form a government. Belgian newspapers ran alarming headlines warning of the nation's possible breakup. On Monday, the prime minister, Yves Leterme, offered to resign.

But while the glue that holds together this fragile nation of 10.5 million is slowly coming unstuck, it's likely to endure at least another generation, say political leaders and analysts.

So far so good. Now we get to a discussion of the political parties:

None of the mainstream Flemish parties favor independence for Flanders -- a reflection of Belgium's battered but tenacious national identity, along with the costs and complications of divorce, and the gnarly question of who gets Brussels, the wealthy capital city and seat of the European Union.

But what of Vlaams Belang, the party that works for Flemish independence? Does it therefore follow that Mr. Miller does not consider them to be 'mainstream'? Miller proceeds to admit that nearly a majority of the people in Flanders favor independece:

Around half of Belgium's Dutch speakers would like to see a Republic of Flanders, according to some opinion polls.

He doesn't get around to mentioning Vlaams Belang until the last column of the article:

Yet, "no political party except the extremists supports a split," says Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgium's economy minister and a Flemish conservative. Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), a far-right party that does advocate independence, generally polls a quarter of the vote in Flanders.

Ah yes, Vlaams Belang are 'far-right' and 'extremists'. Typical smear phrases used by the left.

Here is what Miller is saying:

(1) Half of the Flemish want independence.

(2) Vlaams Belang polls a quarter of the vote in Flanders.

(3) Vlaams Belang are not 'mainstream'.

(4) Vlaams Belang are 'far-right' and 'extremists'.

Am I missing something here? Whenever I try to make sense of anything that a lefty has to say, especially when he or she is a journalist, I inevitably fail to find any thought or logic at all.


Anonymous said...

The Wall Street Journal's hostility toward Vlaams Belang is not due to the typical journalistic left-wing bias. It's due to the WSJ's specific hostility toward immigration-restrictionism. The WSJ favors open borders. If you list all the WSJ's policy preferences, you'll see that they track nicely with the interests of large corporations that benefit from lots of cheap labor. Notice, for example, James Taranto's frequent dismissal of "nativists"--his term for immigration restrictionists.

Jungle Jim said...

Anon, you are certainly correct that the editorial people at the WSJ favor open borders. But I'm not sure that this results in the hostility towards Vlaams Belang.

The people who write the editorials: Fund, Taranto, Gigot, Henninger, etc. are a different group from the people who write the news articles, such as the article I cite in this post.

I have not seen any WSJ editorials addressing the issue of Vlaams Belang. Does anyone know of any?

John Sobieski said...

About a year ago, I saw a show that looked at the WSJ and they showed a board meeting discussing immigration restriction (this was just after the Bush amnesty went down in flames and they were not happy.) It was all liberals and they were unanimous in their condescension of restrictions on immigration. To them, America is just an economic engine full of racists who should be looked down upon. Very eye opening.