Mail on Sunday condemns BBC for allowing 'crude, baseless abuse' from former bank boss Flowers to go unchallenged

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The Mail on Sunday has condemned the BBC for allowing drug-taking former Co-op bank boss Paul Flowers to "lie repeatedly" and accused the paper of being a "pseudo-facist" purveyor of "fiction" in a Newsnight interview.

It also accused Newsnight editor Ian Katz and presenter Jeremy Paxman of "gleefully" repeating the Flowers accusations on Twitter and Radio 4.

The paper said yesterday in a news report: "The truth is all our stories about Flowers's depraved lifestuyle and appalling lack of judgement are true."
 
It said that all its Flowers covereage was backed up by evidence, which is why he has never sued, and that Flowers had never taken up the opportunity given to him by the title to give his side of the story. The MoS obtained video footage of Flowers allegedly buying crystal meth and cocaine from a male escort days after he testified before MPs last November.
 
On Tuesday night last week, Flowers condemned the paper during an in-depth interview with Newsnight presenter Paxman. 
 
In a leader column the MoS said: "The Mail on Sunday, acting quite properly in the tradition of robust journalism, played a major part in his downfall by exposing his drug abuse. Mr Flowers might well feel aggrieved at that. Even saints (which he is not) dislike being shown up in public.
 
"But why did the supposedly impartial BBC feel it was its job to sympathise with Mr Flowers, and to give him a platform for an orgy of public self-pity, combined with crude, baseless abuse of this newspaper? 
 
"The BBC’s bias is most clearly shown by its frequent failures to pursue and interrogate those with whom it secretly sympathises. Yet it will turn like a tiger on those of whom it secretly disapproves. 
 
"Who can forget Jeremy Paxman’s relentless interrogation of former Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard, in which he asked the same question 12 times?
 
"But in his encounter with Mr Flowers, Mr Paxman was transformed from tiger into purring pussycat.
 
"His questions were gentle lobs. He failed to rebuke Mr Flowers for blatantly flattering him with allusions to his supposed ferocity. 
 
"Mr Paxman even laughed sycophantically at an unfunny remark about scripture, as if the two men were Oxbridge dons maundering over the port."
 
The MoS noted that Newsnight's Flowers interview came the week after the paper challenged the programme's incoming economics correspondent Duncan Weldon over his teenage involvement with the BNP.
 
The MoS said: "The BBC simply does not deserve the great privilege of the licence fee if it cannot try harder than this to be fair."
 
The BBC said in a statement to the MoS: "A BBC spokesman said: ‘Newsnight did not pay Paul Flowers or cover his expenses. Jeremy conducted a revealing and thorough interview."

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