When Four Corners re-visited the Charlie Hebdo massacre, straight-bat journalism was trumped by propaganda and blatant reportorial bias. Mention the murder of Jewish schoolchildren? Don’t be silly! That might have clouded the message that Muslims, and only Muslims, are the real victims
Watching Their ABC’s Four Corners last week I was once again impressed by Aunty’s adroit, manipulative touch in the art of a subtle propaganda. Introduced by compere Kerry O’Brien as “provocative and personal”, the show purported to examine the fallout in France from the Charlie Hebdo massacre. An insult to common sense, to balanced reporting and even-handedness, it was an abrogation of journalism’s responsibility to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. What I saw instead was a master class in how to gloss over inconvenient facts, air tendentious assertions unchallenged and present the ideological commitment of the story-tellers as the base line from which all further discussion should, and must, proceed.
Reported by a female British–Pakistani journalist of Muslim background, the show’s focus was firmly fixed on the alleged Islamophobia which the narrator asserted was being visited upon France’s oppressed, dispossessed and victimised Islamic minority. Dressed in her hijab, the reporter went about Paris interviewing her various subjects. These ranged from a niqab-shrouded woman to an anti-immigration politician and would-be anti-Muslim vigilantes training in their gymnasium for what they see as the coming confrontation.
Along the way there were plenty of highlights. For example, viewers were treated to the sob stories of Muslim women who mourned the loss of their freedom to dress only as the creed’s presiding males decree. France’s ban on the burka was, they said, an assault on liberty, identity and self-expression. One of the aggrieved women was so outraged she was contemplating moving to Saudi Arabia, land of the Prophet, where she would looked forard to expressing her identity by appearing in public only when covered in metres of anonymous cloth. It was an unintentional and sadly hilarious highpoint of the show, but allowed to pass without question or comment by the narrator, who might have asked how her subject rated “personal freedom” in a country where women are not allowed to drive cars and the infamous religious police once drove girls back into a burning school, where they perished, rather than allow them to escape the flames uncovered. Needless to say, while these aspects of Saudi life went unexplored, the reporter made lots of tut-tut noises about Europe’s intolerance and barbarity.
Then there was the well-educated young French Muslim woman who cannot land a job because of, you guessed it, rampant Islamophobia.
So what, by the reporter’s definition, constitutes Islamophobia? She found a young Muslim lad who, helpfully, was able to shed some light. After declaring his solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo butchers, he complained of being questioned by the police and suspended from his school. It might have shed a slightly different light if the reporter had bothered to interrogate the kid’s adult family members and their friends. Let’s face it, children absorb the values of their elders and modes of thinking from their environment. But no, she left that obvious avenue of investigation unexplored, preferring to harp on the purported police harassment of innocent Muslim children.
In another segment, an equally outspoken group of Muslim youths also declared their support for terrorists. They were angry with France, they said, and want to hurt it. Asked why they are angry nothing that resembled a definitive or coherent answer was forthcoming, just a litany of subjective trivialities. Their intense dislike of the Europe which gave them asylum, education, social security and freedom was startling in its sincerity. The reporter, needless to say, oozed sympathy and understanding of the group’s rejection of the very society in which they live.
These “balanced” interviews continued with the notorious African-born comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, who is totally baffled by the authorities’ ban on his public appearances. The fact that he hailed Amedy Coulibaly, the Islamist who went on a murderous rampage in a kosher supermarket, is rabidly anti-Semitic and has promoted a Nazi-style salute eluded Four Corners’ impartial reporter.
The last piece of the damning chain of evidence in the prosecution’s case against Islamophobes bent on oppressing the Muslim minority was presented in a pair of bookend interviews – one with the leader of an anti-immigration political party and another with the leader of a miniscule splinter group preparing to “fight Muslims when the time comes”. In each instance the reporter was granted an interview, despite her obvious Muslim appearance, and treated with the utmost civility.
All of the above was designed to create an impression in an average non-Muslim viewer that European society is profoundly Islamophobic, racist and xenophobic. In our livingroom’s and on our sofas we were being manipulated to believe that Europe is ready to explode in anger and violence, with untold suffering and injustice inflicted on peaceful Muslim communities — the many being punished for the sins of a few.
This narrative, disgustingly one-sided, demanded of the viewer the embrace of an advanced cognitive dissonance: a narrative of Europe’s inoffensive Muslims being threatened from all directions piled atop footage and images of the Charlie Hebdo outrage. The only conclusion a logical viewer would come to is that Europe is about to see an explosion of right-wing extremism. This is worse than nonsense. It is sheer, toxic, unadulterated crap.
Those so-called “far right” groups do not murder Jewish children and their teachers. The “far right” does not kill film makers, as a Muslim fanatic did Theo van Gogh. The “far right” is not the reason anti-immigration politicians need bodyguards. The “far right” does not lure young Jewish men to torture and death. The “far right” does not march on the streets of Europe chanting “Gas the Jews”. The “far right” does not riot in the streets of the French cities , causing millions of dollars worth of damage. The “far right” does not behead political opponents and captives; The “far right” does not shoot cartoonists. The “far right” does not slaughter shoppers in kosher supermarkets.
The “far right” doesn’t act this way; Europe’s radical Muslims do. With the exception of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, not one of those of the above, ongoing Islamic assaults on Western civilisation was mentioned by Four Corners. Not one!
The concept of Islamophobia, so actively preached by the left and amplified by Their ABC, represents an extraordinary danger to our society in that it shields radical Islam and its practitioners from the scrutiny to which all other religions are subject. Further, it prevents reform-minded Muslims from a critical appraisal of their religion and silences efforts to refute and reject the Koran’s exhortations to violence. And, above all, it instills the feeling of the victimhood in ordinary Muslims’ minds, provoking resentment, envy, and grievances towards the mainstream. It condones the traditional misogyny of the Muslim societies, including genital mutilation and underage marriage, and defends with its silence the right of Muslims to treat their women abominably. It prevents fair-minded non-Muslims from articulating genuine and legitimate concerns about the doctrine and a practice of Islam for fear of being branded with the racist label.
The myth that the Islamophobia is the main barrier in the way of the huddled Muslim masses’ embrace of Western democracy and secularism is just that – a myth. But this myth, as evidenced by Four Corners, is actively promoted and disseminated by the left-dominant media.
Enough is enough. I, for one, am sick and tired of being cleverly manipulated and brainwashed by “our ABC”. The politically correct myth-making that is so prevalent in the ABC’s culture, has to stop. As the national broadcaster evidently cannot reform itself, why is the government not pressuring it to do so. In the grand scheme of ABC bias, the current spat over ministers appearing on Q&A is an irrelevant sideshow.
During my time in the USSR, party propaganda immunised me against lies and spin while teaching me to think for myself and sharpening a critical capacity to spot what was not being reported. Many of my Australian compatriots, especially those lucky enough to have been born in this wonderful country, were not so perversely blessed.
To their eyes it is, at worst, a nasty left bias that infects the ABC. It is not. It is worse than that. It is propaganda the ABC is peddling and it needs to stop — or, more likely, it needs to be stopped. Over to you, Prime Minister.