February 15, 2011 - 6:43 am
Want a journalism job in the left-wing media? Here’s one tip: if Muslims carry out a terrorist attack or commit some other brutal offense, do your best to focus not on this action, i.e. on what has actually happened, but rather on what might happen in response – namely, a violent “backlash” against innocent Muslims by dangerous right-wing Islamophobes whose racist hatred threatens multicultural harmony.
Never mind that such “backlashes” virtually never actually occur. There’s always the possibility that they might – right?
Today’s example: a documentary on Britain’s Channel 4 shows a man at an Islamic school hitting and kicking kids in Koran class, and another man at another Islamic school saying that Hindus “drink piss” and counselling his audience to “stay away” from infidels “the same way you should stay away from a serpent or a snake.”
So how does the Guardian report this? In an article blandly headlined “Mosque school arrest following Channel 4 documentary,” it includes the above information. How can it not? But it also gives us to this extraordinary comment by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming:
“If Channel 4 thinks this is a school where racism and intolerance is accepted in any way, they have got their facts seriously wrong. [The school] have already had hate mail, and now they are having to close for the safety of their pupils. This kind of documentary is ideal fodder for the [far-right] English Defence League. Channel 4 is putting the safety of children at risk by criticising a school which is doing its job properly.”
In other words, the kids aren’t endangered by a teacher who’s beating them – they’re endangered by Channel 4 and the EDL, neither of which, as far as I know, has yet to be accused of beating Muslim children. Note how smoothly and effectively we’re encouraged here to look with disapproval not upon these creeps who’ve been caught on camera saying and doing these disgusting things, but rather upon the people who took the pictures and upon other people who haven’t done anything. (Note, too, how the Guardian helpfully inserts the words “far-right” into Hemming’s quote.)
The piece concludes as follows: “A previous Dispatches documentary in Birmingham investigated the alleged preaching of hate and extremism in mosques and Islamic centres.” In fact, as anyone who saw that previous documentary will recall, there was nothing “alleged” about it: the program’s footage demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that hate and extremism were being preached at those places.
The word “alleged” also crops up in the Guardian’s subhead: “Police act after alleged assault on child as second mosque featured in film is forced to close amid far-right attack fears.” Let’s unpack this expertly crafted little text. Assaults on children that have been captured on camera, and that are likely representative of typical behavior not only at the school in question but also at other such schools around Europe, are reduced to a single assault on a single child, which, in turn, is described as “alleged” – a word that serves, in this instance, to play down an obvious pattern of violent abuse. The subhead’s emphasis falls, in any event, not on the reference to the “alleged” assault on one “child” but, rather, on the punchy, staccato, heavily charged closing words – “far-right attack fears” – words referring to something that has not happened and that has very little likelihood of happening.
All in all, beautifully done. Once again a documentary exposes vicious anti-infidel propaganda and physical cruelty at British mosques – and once again crack left-wing journalists adroitly spin the story in such a way as to make the documentary-makers themselves and the Muslims’ “right-wing” critics (who haven’t done anything) the heavies.