|Vladimir Putin (from Panorama's website image of him, looking crafty)|
Samira Ahmed: Well, one aspect of the ratcheting up of tension between the UK and Russia this week was reported on Wednesday's News at Ten. It began like this:
Huw Edwards: Tonight at 10, another plunge in relations between Britain and Russia as Boris Johnson compares President Putin to Adolf Hitler. During the day as inspectors continued their investigation in the Salisbury area, the Foreign Secretary suggested that Russia would use the forthcoming World Cup like Adolf Hitler had used the Olympics in 1936.What was not spelled out, though it was made clear later in the programme, was that Boris Johnson had not suggested that analogy of his own accord, but merely agreed with the comparison proposed to him by the Labour MP, Ian Austin. Given that Russia responded with outrage, the distinction seemed an important one to several viewers, including Graham Rains who wrote:
Boris Johnson: What is going to happen in Moscow in the World Cup and all of the venues, yes, I think that the comparison with 1936 is certainly right.
Boris Johnson was not the instigator of the remark. The Foreign Secretary made the comment after hearing the views of Ian Austin, and stated that he was inclined to agree. The BBC's failure to report this accurately has made the relations between the government and Russia even worse.