CST Blog

Bald-faced liar in hair sale shock

25 March 2014

Channel 4 has paid Holocaust-denier David Irving £3,000 for what is claimed to be a lock of Hitler’s hair, as part of a programme “Dead Famous DNA” which will be broadcast this week.

The Jewish Chronicle quotes a Channel 4 spokesman saying:

We wanted to obtain a sample of Hitler's DNA because scientific analysis of it could provide a key biological component to one of the most significant biographies in history.

The programme makes clear David Irving’s views and his denial of the Holocaust. However, we believe the potential importance of the scientific and historical insight justified the purchase of the sample.

How a man of Irving’s integrity can be trusted to provide Hitler’s hair is somewhat questionable: as is the morality of paying him so much money to do so, on what sounds like a pseudo-scientific wild goose chase.

Channel 4 is a “public service broadcaster”, meaning it ought not to chase such tawdry means of raising viewers and advertising monies. Indeed, C4’s corporate responsibility strategy begins, "Accountability
We aim to promote responsible behaviour. Community We aim to continue to play a responsible role in the community".

Section 3.3 of OFCOM’s regulations state that criminals should not receive payment “whether directly or indirectly for a programme contribution...relating to his/her crime/s”. Irving was convicted and imprisoned in Austria under Holocaust denial law. This law does not exist in the UK, so it would be a considerable overstretch to say that Irving falls foul of OFCOM regulations against interviewing criminals: but it does add to the stench of this whole affair.

There is, however, another way of looking at all of this. It is simply to recall that for much of the 1980s and 1990s, David Irving was actually somebody who really mattered, especially when touring Germany after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and being enthusiastically received by Germans of all ages. (As best shown in Channel 4’s outstanding Dispatches documentary of 27 November 1991, “The Truth Sets Us Free”.)

Irving’s initial (pre May 1989) ‘Hitler never knew’ line was more interesting, nuanced and sustainable than the various levels of Holocaust denial that he subsequently lurched between: until the April 2000 epic fail of his law suit against Deborah Lipstadt eventually left him bankrupted and irrelevant.

Now, Irving tries to eke out a living from his past notoriety. It stinks that Channel 4 have helped contribute to his pension fund and his needy ego, but it also serves as a welcome reminder of just how far Irving has fallen since his glory days.

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