["There is a vast cyber-cesspit..." quote]

["Dredged up from the cesspit..."]

David Irving protests to the Press Council about a Refusal of The Sunday Express to retract the "Mild Fascist" Smear:-

London, April 23,1981


Dear Sirs,

Complaint re Sunday Express, March 29, 1981

The Sunday Express has failed to honour an agreement to publish a brief letter refuting a libel in their edition of March 29. Repetition of this libel is causing me aggravation and financial loss: I have instructed my solicitors Rubinstein & Co. to proceed against other magazines making the same remark, for example the New Statesman. As I have a residual admiration for the Sunday Express I shall restrict myself to Press Council action. The facts are these:

1. In May 1959 the Daily Mail published an item about me which contained dozens of inaccurate remarks. (See Attachment A for a list.) In particular the Mail journalist, Clifford Luton, alleged that I had described myself as a "mild fascist". As a penniless student working through university without a scholarship I was unable to proceed against the Mail, but that does not render the story any less libellous. The Mail has since embargoed the story; in its archives, I am informed, the clipping is stamped to the effect that it is not to be used.

2. From 1959 to 1981, not one newspaper or magazine has claimed a similar quote from me. After I became well-known as a writer, one or two maliciously quoted the original Mail item (like the Guardian on March 7 and April 2), but published letters of denial (in the Guardian, on March 10 and April 11 respectively). Private Eye also quoted the Mail libel; under legal pressure they also published a full refutation. The Sunday Express therefore has reason to know that the Mail article was untrue.

3. A smearsheet, The Searchlight, financed by the Socialist Workers party and edited by an ex-Communist, resuscitated the Mail item in about 1977. The Searchlight is circulated to newspapers, and incautious journalists quarry in it without checking on veracity.

4. My public statements show that I do not describe myself as a fascist, and never have. As recently as February 20 the left-wing journal The Leveller, reporting on a speech which I made under difficult conditions to a thousand Birmingham University students, stated: "Irving came away with dignity, enhanced by the text of his talk which attacked fascism!" (Attachment B.)

5. About three years ago Clifford Luton was convicted of [... deleted by this Website]. He was apparently dismissed by the BBC on that account. I am now a historian of international repute, with a clean criminal record. There is little doubt whose testimony a defamation jury would believe under these circumstances.

6. On March 29, the Sunday Express book section repeated the libel, writing: "... Irving, who once described himself as a 'mild fascist'..." On the same Sunday, I handed in at the Express building a letter for publication stating approximately:

"Your journalist stated that I once described myself as a mild fascist. Will he now shame the Devil and tell the truth about the origin of that quotation? (By the way, did the journalist who wrote it ever complete his term of imprisonment?) Was it first printed five years ago? Ten years? Over twenty years ago? Or was it that impeccable source, Private Eye?"

I felt the sarcastic tone to be justified.

7. Next Sunday, April 5, the letter was not published. I wrote to the Sunday Express, again calling on them to publish my letter (Attachment D). My letter crossed with an abrupt letter from editor Sir John Junor, stating: "Your letter ... will not be published in the Sunday Express," and saying he could not understand why I should object to being described as a mild fascist.

8. On the following day I received a further letter from him, still refusing to publish any letter and stating in self justification that the "mild fascist" description had appeared on a number of occasions.

9. On April 6, 1 therefore wrote again:

"I now have your letter. It boils down to this: you have quoted other journalists without bothering to check, although my telephone number and address are well known to you. The Sunday Times and the Observer very fairly published my replies; you refuse. The only source you specifically mention, the Guardian, published on March 10 my denial of the description of the word 'fascist' as untrue. Knowing it to be untrue, however, you parroted the defamation, and can offer no better excuse than that the description 'has appeared on a number of occasions.' So did the description of the Earth as flat. To the original libel you now add another -- that I regard Berchtesgaden as a shrine. Evidently you hold the laws of defamation and the wisdom of libel juries in the utmost contempt. I do not.

"I call on you for the third time to publish my letter denying your slur. If you wish to remove the parenthesis about the man who originated it twenty-two years ago, please do. Being the father of four teenage daughters, I naturally expected that conviction for that particular offence would result in imprisonment. If you insist on your sole right to defame, I reserve the right to seek redress elsewhere."

10. On April 8, Sir John Junor replied more conciliatorily:

"I would be willing to publish a letter from you provided it is short and simple; and provided it is free from jibes about journalists and other irrelevancies."

(As though it was relevant, in their twelve line item on my book about the Hungarian revolution of 1956, to expend the first five lines on calling me a fascist and on recalling my $1,000 offer for information about Hitler's role in the holocaust!)

11. As requested, I delivered the following brief letter by hand to Fleet Street on Friday, April 10, with a covering note trusting the Sunday Express to publish it without the addition of footnotes designed to reverse the effect of the denial:

"The suggestion (BOOKS, March 29) that I once described myself as a 'mild fascist' is incorrect. I don't know why a reporter -- twenty-two years ago! -- invented the silly story; surely newspapers of repute should not repeat such slurs without first checking."

12. My trust was misplaced. As of today, April 23,1 have received no reply and the letter has not been published. I therefore complain to the Press Council.

Yours sincerely,

(David Irving)

The Director,
The Press Council,
1 Salisbury Square,
London EC4Y 8AE

To Order Books | Auschwitz Index | Irving Index | Irving Page | Irving Book-List | Action Report | Other FP Authors
 Buchladen | Auschwitz | Irving-Verzeichnis | -Hauptseite | -Bücher | Action Report | Weitere FP-Autoren
©Focal Point 1998  e-mail:  write to David Irving