November 06, 2010

Us (the British) and them (the Muslims)

The front page and main story of Thursday's Daily Express is a clear and unsubtle attempt at maintaining the "us and them" mentality which is so often levelled by that paper against Muslims:

The headline refers to the shouts from "a group of men" (according to the Mail) who were sitting in the public gallery during the trial of Roshonara Choudhry, the woman convicted of stabbing Stephen Timms MP earlier this year.

As the Express reports:
JEERING Muslim fanatics turned an Old Bailey court into a battleground yesterday after an Al Qaeda follower was jailed for stabbing an MP.

In unprecedented scenes the angry mob chanted “British go to hell” as would-be assassin Roshonara Choudhry was handed a sentence of life with a minimum of 15 years.
Rather than leading with the story at hand, the sentencing of Choudhry to "life" imprisonment, the Express has chosen to focus on the deranged rantings of a few nutcases in a courtroom instead. (Both the Daily Mail and The Sun have also gone with this angle, but neither has chosen to put it across in as brazen a way as the Express.)

That there are Muslim extremists who say such things is beyond a doubt. However, the Express' decision to make this the key focus of the story, along with the deliberately ambiguous language used in the headline, is an attempt to imply that these shouts are in some way an expression of what every Muslim thinks about the British.

The Express sees Muslims as a homogeneous mass that is in complete agreement with the ramshackle fanatics at its fringes. The headline is a dog-whistle signal for the idea that "Muslims" disapprove of "us British".

Can you imagine, for example, what the Express would have done if the men who broke into shouts of "Go to hell, Britain" were Christians? Would the Express have replaced "Muslims" with "Christians" in the headline? Would they even have mentioned it so prominently in the first place?

I doubt it.

Continuing the theme of rampant hysteria, the Express' article states that:
The gang, sitting in the public gallery, chanted “Allahu akbar” or “God is great” and another demonstration raged outside the court.
"Raged"? Gosh, that sounds dramatic, doesn't it?

Between the Express, the Daily Mail and The Sun, the "raging" demonstration seems to have comprised of at least three poor souls holding particularly unimaginative print-outs:

In their articles about Thursday's events, the BBC and the Telegraph make no mention of the men holding signs outside or of the shouting from the gallery, and the Guardian makes a passing reference only to
a small demonstration... taking place outside the court.
An examination of The Sun's article reveals the following:
Security men bundled the ranting bigots from Court Seven after the disgraceful scenes.

But the three were allowed to continue their poison rants [sic] in the street - yelling "British soldiers must die."
According to this, the demonstration outside appears to have consisted of the same men who were shouting in the gallery. Therefore the Express' claim that "another demonstration raged outside the court" seems pretty baseless.

Nonetheless, expect the wearisome English Defence League to seize this stormy teacup with both of their grubby hands.

Thanks to Minority Thought, "A blog about bad journalism"


Tripeman from Birmingham said...

I notice that particular edition of the inequitous piece of journalistic shit is marked down in price, which should suck more gullible working class people into the seedy world of the far right, at the will of EDL-backer Richard Desmond.

Tripeman again said...

How about:


Anonymous said...

When Lecomber was National Organiser 5 or so years ago he said that the right wing press's scare stories about immigration were crucial to the BNP's success.

He stated that the BNP didn't need to do a lot of campaigning in some areas as the Mail and Express did it for them.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Richmond Desmond Jewish?

Does he not know what Hitler used to publish in German papers demonising Jewish people?

Anonymous said...

Working class? I don't think so. Maybe those that are left in the BNP, but not those whose who have moved on to pastures new. :0)

modernity said...

good post.

Anonymous said...

The express article, for all its worthless shallowness, does however finally settle the age-old question: How many is "a mob"?

The answer's three. For those of you who've seen four lions, I (and i, and the many muslim students i teach on a daily basis) recommend it as very funny. However, the four lions were four in number, a LARGE mob (caps courtesy of the excess). Sadly, the three fools in court aren't lions, just sad, deluded people.

Anonymous said...

"He stated that the BNP didn't need to do a lot of campaigning in some areas as the Mail and Express did it for them."

Simon Darby said a similar thing when he won his seat in Dudley back in 2003.

Their analysis is correct.
Clearly, we need to complain to these papers and then they will not feel so confident to do it.