Sunday 6 September 2015

We got it wrong?

Not really. I’m getting ahead of myself; jumping the gun. That headline in the Daily Mail was, of course, about the BBC’s bullying, opinionated, sanctimonious hysterical reporting of the Arab Spring.
“The BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring has been heavily criticised – by the corporation’s bosses.
Head of news Helen Boaden admitted that her journalists got carried away with events and produced ‘over-excited’ reports.
She told a BBC Trust report that in Libya, where reporters were ‘embedded’ with rebels, they may have failed to explore both sides of the story properly.”

Failed to explore both sides of the story properly? What are both sides of the story? The side we heard was: ”Hoorah! The Arabs are embracing western-style democracy!” 
The other side was, what? “We’re slightly worried that Muslims can’t embrace western-style, or any other kind of democracy”?
 Not really. They didn’t explore that side then, and they aren’t exploring it now.
“Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen was among those criticised in the study into coverage of the uprisings, which found that ‘excitement’ did sometimes ‘infect’ the reporting, which some viewers described as ‘too emotive’ and ‘veering into opinion’.”
Veering? Veering is putting it mildly, and one might ask what has infected the media’s coverage of the latest  refugee crisis?
The Princess Dianafication of the migration surge is perhaps understandable, being that technology and ‘people’s journalism’ beams sensational human interest stories round the world before anyone has time to think the implications through.  By which time the focus is on the next drama. If H.R.H. can be pressurised to bow to public outrage, how is David Cameron expected to resist caving in under the onslaught of the BBC’s grief?
This caving in malarkey is contagious. The BBC is now officially making policies. Who needs Jeremy Corbyn to ruin the country when you’ve got the BBC to do it for him?

The problems created by blanket coverage of one emotive image and the subsequent moralising are being explored in a parallel world. The world outwith the BBC and the rest of the MSM.

Pity it’s behind the wretched paywall, but Dominic Lawson nails it in the Times.  Here’s the free of charge, unblocked  bit of Dominic Lawson’s piece as a taster: 

The more we ‘feel’ for the refugees, the worse their plight will be
WHEN Winston Churchill spoke about the crimes of the Nazis, did he begin by saying how much he personally had been affected by the horror? When William Gladstone produced his thunderous pamphlet denouncing the Turkish massacre of Bulgarian Christians and calling the British government to action in 1876, was there a single sentence in his many thousands of words that referred to his own emotions on the matter? No, not even a word.Both these men understood it wasn’t about them. If only our current political and spiritual leaders had the same understanding. Following the publication of pictures of a Turkish police officer carrying the corpse of a Syrian Kurdish boy drowned in his family’s failed attempt to reach Greece, few can resist telling us how it has affected them, personally.”
It’s worth getting a copy of the Sunday Times this week, or subscribing to it online.   Lawson continues by describing how everyone has come forward to express their sorrow, as though they’re competing for the ‘most compassionate person of the year’ award. The heads of all the main religions are at it. The A of C, the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the Pope. Short-termists to a man.

Belatedly, David Cameron seems to have capitulated too. Announcing that we must take in our fair share “so we can hold our heads up” is undoubtedly an incentive for more and more Syrians and other politically or economically disadvantaged and endangered families to entertain the idea of making their perilous journeys, with all the attendant problems for them and everyone else. I suppose it’s the PM's  penance for using ‘that word’.
“Germany has a declining population and considerable unused housing capacity. The UK is in the opposite situation.”
.....and what happens when the quotas are used up? What about the next much bigger wave?”

The man in the video, a Canadian version of Pat Condell on speed, is worth listening to. He might not be everyone's cup of tea, but he is at least exploring the other side of the story, you know, the one the BBC failed to explore.  He was wrong about one thing though. The migrant who said he was after Gabriel Gatehouse’s job! That was the funniest thing I’ve heard for ages.

The other thing I need to mention is the Kindertransport issue. When the British took in those Jewish children - after Kristallnacht - and by the way there were other examples of less than compassionate treatment of Jews by Britain - the Jews posed no conceivable threat to Britain.  Apart from people who actually believed the forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, no-one thought the Jews were posing a threat to the British way of life. They made no demands.  The refugees were children. The Jews who were given sanctuary here were eternally grateful;  loyal to Queen and Country in fact.

Let’s just remind ourselves that since WWll a lot has happened. Al Qaeda. ISIL. 9/11. 7/7. Mass Muslim immigration. Asian grooming. Alien cultural customs. Islamist preachers. 
There is no comparison between the children whose soon-to-be-murdered parents sent them away to save their lives in absolute desperation and the Muslim families who demand refuge in Eurpoe without any apparent obligation to adapt to western values.

The people who have no problem with Jeremy Corbyn’s antisemitism-by-association are the same people who have no problem with Islam’s inherent antisemitism. That’s why we need to discuss this openly. Just so we know where we stand. 

There are better solutions out there, than ‘taking them all in”.  One suggestion is to be found in an article by Douglas Murray.
"To date, the question of "what to do" remains politically toxic for any mainstream Western European politician. During the summer, British Prime Minister David Cameron passingly referred to the "swarm" of migrants at Calais. His political opponents immediately jumped on this and denounced his "offensive" language. What chance is there, however, of proposing the kind of bold thinking we will need to consider in Europe if we keep reducing our response to this crisis to a language game?
The first challenge might be to try to encourage migrants to stay nearer the countries they are fleeing. Professor Paul Collier recently suggested setting-up EU-sponsored work-havens in Jordan to ensure Syrian refugees (who comprise 40% of recent EU arrivals) have an incentive to stay in the region. This not only allows them a better chance of integration, but also makes it easier to return home if and when the situation improves. Similar projects might be considered in other areas. 
There is also an urgent need to improve the process of sorting out genuine refugees from economic migrants. The current process is not fit for purpose -- something made worse by the fact that once people are inside Europe, it is exceedingly difficult to send them away, whoever they are. It would make far more sense for EU countries to keep migrants out of Europe while sorting out who they are (most arrivals come without papers) and then assessing the legitimacy of their claim. The EU might consider paying North African countries to provide such holding centres. Tunisia is an obvious possibility, as is Morocco. Perhaps the French government could negotiate with the Algerians. Unless anyone has a desire to go back into Libya, these are the partners with whom we might work. 
Once legitimate refugee arrivals are in Europe, it will also be crucial to create a more nuanced tier-system of residencies rather than a one-size fits all system. So apart from permanent right to remain there, should be a use of temporary visas, strictly held to where they are issued and the dates they expire. 
These few suggestions may at some point need to be adopted. In private, many lawmakers realize this. But as Europe's leaders keep waiting for such ideas to become politically acceptable, they push the problem around the continent. It is time instead for them to lead. If they fail, then the fences will go up across Europe and at least one part of the European dream, if not more, may die with it.


  1. Lets' face it: everyone got emotional over the Arab Spring. No news organization was perfectly sober about it, so the BBC will easily be able to use what I call the 'Lemming journalism' defense. However, it begs the question: if they let their emotions get the best of them on this story - for weeks, mind, not just some 24-hour crazy event - how can we go on pretending that this was an isolated incident and that all other BBC journalism is completely trustworthy and not infused with opinion? ?We can't.

    Mandelapalooza, The Obamessiah's first election (never mind everything He did for His first term), the 'English Riots', the Toulouse murders, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the murder of Lee Rigby, now this current 'migrant' mess. I'm sure you can think of others just off the top of your head. All clear cases of a widespread, shared emotional approach. Way over the top at times, and getting wrong a lot because their emotions not only cloud their judgment but drive it.

  2. PS: A further giveaway from Marr. He opened his segment with George Osborne by asking if that dead baby pr0n changed public opinion overnight. Yes, of course it did, is the answer they both agreed upon. The most wonderful thing about photojournalism is that it's able to crystalize a story with a single image, etc.

    Marr made sure to recap that later. Not coincidentally, the show ended with a song about "the children" from a singer who will be performing at the Last Night of the Proms and is oh, so coincidentally the celebrity mouthpiece for International Rescue (or something like that).

    So if it's okay for this story for journalists to deliberately want to manipulate public opinion, where is the line drawn? Can they even tell us?

  3. One more question: Does anyone have a link to proof that the dead baby pr0n subject's family had lived in Istanbul for the last three years? I keep reading comments saying it, but can't find anything concrete.

    1. Istanbul

      The family eventually moved to Istanbul, but it was difficult for Mr. Kurdi to support himself, and he had to borrow money from his sister for rent.

      Three years

      The deputy district governor Ekrem Aylanc told the BBC that the Kurdi family had been in Turkey for three years before deciding they should move on to Europe.


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