Leading media take stand against Wilders

Two of the Netherlands' leading media have taken a resolute stand against Geert Wilder’s recent unbridled attacks on Moroccans.

The PVV leader angered many over the past weeks with his calls for fewer Moroccans in The Hague, but it was his promise Wednesday night that he would “make it happen” that pushed newspaper NRC and the chief editor at television station RTL over the edge. “Geert, surprise us and be ashamed,” RTL adjunct-Editor in Chief Pieter Klein wrote in an open letter to Wilders today. It is the first time in 25 years that an RTL Editor shed his journalistic objectivity to take a stand in an issue.

Wilders resumed center stage in a controversy since last week when he said that there are too many Moroccans in The Hague; it prompted PvdA board member Fouad Sidali to compare him leader with Adolf Hitler and caused a publicized disagreement between Prime Minister Mark Rutte and PvdA leader Diederik Samson who said that the Prime Minister had been too soft on the PVV leader. Many have called Wilders’ statements “sickening”. Dutchmen of Moroccan descent have since taken to social media to post  'bornhere' selfies of themselves.

The PVV leader didn’t hold back though. On Wednesday he promised voters in The Hague that when elected he would “arrange” for fewer Moroccans in their city. “Fewer, fewer, fewer,” the audience chanted.

NRC editorialized the development today, saying that Wilders’s behavior was a stain on the elections and that the PVV leader created an atmosphere of deportation in The Hague. “Other parties, but also PVV should understand in what kind of deplorable, hate and segregation practices they are getting involved,” the newspaper wrote.

As a news station RTL News does not do editorialized comments, but adjunct Editor in Chief Pieter Klein felt he had to voice his opinion in an open letter to Wilders. “The reason I am writing this is because I want to confess publicly; even RTL News is struggling with what you said last night. You really crossed a line here. (To say) Fewer Moroccans and then let the crowd chant ‘fewer, fewer, fewer!’ consciously putting the oldest rhetoric trick in the world to use, knowing what will happen and then make the empty, crazy promise: ‘we’ll fix that.’ Sickening. And then the snide, transparent so-called nuance –‘criminal Moroccans ‘. Jajaja. Do you really think it’s that crazy that it’s raining historical comparisons? No, of course not. You went looking for them, you wilfully provoked them with careful planning. Juden raus. Hitler. Goebbels. Memories of deportations. Geert, surprise us and be ashamed,” Klein charged.

Wilders told journalists today that he does not understand the commotion. “I have said what I have been saying for years and I am not going to excuse myself,” he said.