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Paul Mason calls Syriza critic a ‘Nazi collaborator’

8 July 2015

9:25 AM

8 July 2015

9:25 AM

Covering the Greece crisis appears to be beginning to take its toll on Paul Mason. Channel 4’s economics editor became embroiled in a bizarre Twitter rant last night during which he accused an anonymous blogger of being a ‘Nazi supporter’ over their criticism of the Syriza government.

The comments were made during a heated discussion between Mason and the blogger @GreekAnalyst. A tweet criticising the Syriza government’s strategy appeared to rattle Mason, who appears to be unimpressed by Germany’s negotiations with Greece following the referendum. Mason expressed his frustration by using a Greek word to insult the user, who runs an anonymous blog strongly opposing the Syriza government:

When the blogger went on to translate the journalist’s comment for his 14,000 followers, Mason stepped in by way of explanation:

Users were quick to question whether Mason had been hacked:

MasonTweets2

However, Mason —  who was a left-wing activist in the Trotskyist Workers’ Power group when he was younger — has defended his comments today. Rather than apologise, he says he cannot offend as he does not believe the Twitter user — who he has previous interactions with — is a person:

Still, Mr S suspects it’s for the best that Mason no longer works for the BBC given that his impartiality could now be called into question.

Update: Mason has published a statement on the Channel 4 website following the incident. In what can’t really be described as an apology, he promises to ‘learn not to feed the trolls’ in future:

‘Last night I responded sharply to an anonymous Greek troll known as @GreekAnalyst, comparing his right-wing network of abusive and unaccountable people, who are reveling in their own country’s destruction, to those who collaborated with the Germans in World War Two.

I have observed this network, on numerous occasions attempt to amplify the distress and panic in Greece by reporting for example, bank runs and food shortages, that at an earlier stage were absent. Their rumour machine was in full swing last night, causing distress to people I was meeting.

I regret causing this furore because it distracts from the fundamental issues. I contacted the Greek analyst offering to revise my judgement about him if he were to reveal his identity, party affiliation and employer.

In the absence of a response, all I can do is explain the context. For the best part of four weeks people on both the right and left of Greek internet have been abusing me, aiming vile abuse against myself, friends and anybody associated with me in Greece. I know other senior journalists that this is happening to, from all sides.

One occasion this spilled over into two Greek businessmen verbally abusing me and physically obstructing me in a hotel lobby, requiring me to adjust my public profile thereafter.

I understand there is rage on all sides in Greece today, and in future I will learn not to feed the trolls.’

However, not everyone is convinced by the explanation. Newsnight‘s policy editor Chris Cook has been quick to claim that @GreekAnalyst is not a troll:


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