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June 16th 2017 print

Peter Smith

Media Is the Massage

Fear not if confronted by an unpalatable fact, perhaps about a political hero or the tenets of a particular religion much in the news of late. Mainstream commentary will make that sore point vanish with inspired errors, tendentious claims, muddled thinking and politically correct obfuscation

nothing to see hereHow do ordinary punters like us — well, I’ll speak for myself — ever get to the whole truth? That’s my question of the day.

When James Comey was busy exonerating Hillary Clinton he said that “intent” could not be shown. At the time I thought this missed the point because of a particular statute that didn’t require intent but simply “gross negligence.” I further thought Comey was being too clever by half in referring to “extreme carelessness”, rather than using the indictable term. I rested my case, so to speak. I was satisfied that I had seen completely through the subterfuge.

But just the other day I heard one astute commentator (oh, for more of them!) say that he wondered how Comey ever passed the bar exam. He said that Comey referred to the absence of intent to break the law; which, as he pointed out, is not the standard. The standard is whether there is intent to do something which breaks the law. Notice the vital difference. Let me illustrate it by imagining a case in a local court.

“Sorry your honour I admit to stealing my neighbour’s bike but I didn’t know it was against the law.”

“Mr Blackguard, ignorance of the law is no excuse,” responded his or her honour.

I missed this telling point at the time. And why wouldn’t I? None of the practised and learned commentators gave me a heads-up.

What I’m saying is that it is hard to get to the whole truth. When you think you have it, you might be missing something. Most present-day reporters and commentators simply lack the ability to explain things fully, accurately, and lucidly. Often bias and political correctness then weigh in to completely muddy the waters.

Recently I read an article in a prominent newspaper on Islam and terrorism by a seemingly well-qualified expert. He asserted this near the end of his article: “Killing innocents isn’t condoned by any religion…” There it is again. Ignorance, bias or political correctness strikes to hide the truth.

Take the those words “killing innocents”. Presumably the writer of the article would not mind adding, among other impositions, maiming, beating or incarcerating innocents. OK then, are decent homosexuals innocents? Are decent apostates innocents? Are decent blasphemers innocents? If they are, to this day, there is a state-sponsored religion that would punish them egregiously.

Take the phrase “isn’t condoned”. I might be a stickler, but I want my religion to condemn killing or punishing innocents, not merely to refuse to condone such acts. In my experience negative constructions are used by writers when they lack the confidence to put the case positively. This is a worry when killing people is at stake. With acknowledgement to Orwell, I prefer to describe my coffee table as black not  ‘not un-black’.

Take the idea of religion being given the active role of not condoning. Religion itself does not speak or act. Scripture speaks and those who claim to interpret scripture speak and act. In the case of Christianity there is the Bible, including the words of Christ, and there are hierarchies of priests, peaking with the Pope and heads of other denominations.

It is clear to me that Christianity, through its scripture and the words of its priests, condemns killing. It is not at all clear to me from reading parts of its scripture and listening to numbers of its preachers that Islam can equally be held up as condemning killing. Only a short time before the massacre in a gay night club in Orlando an imam, visiting that same city, was informing his ‘congregation’ that death was the right (and kindly) punishment for homosexuality.

According to the verbatim words of Allah in the Koran, Mohammed is the very model of a man to emulate. This model of a man apparently thought it justifiable for those badmouthing him to be killed. Thus he condoned a man’s killing of his wife on that account.

There are countless other examples of contemporary hate preaching and scriptural virulence which contradict the assertion that Islam doesn’t condone the killing of innocents; depending, of course, as I suggested above, on your definition of innocents.

I wonder what Islam the writer had in mind. Did he have in mind a particular, only-known-to-him version of Islam? Is he an expert on Islamic scripture or on the activities of Islamic preachers around the world? I’ll guess. No, no and no are the likely answers.

He hoped that his unsupported and unsupportable assertion would be ingested as fact. He carried the unwary further away from the truth. I haven’t identified the article. It is not important. It’s the same old guff. We have Islam and then its perverted alter ego. The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is given a whole new religious twist in the tortured minds of apologists for Islam.

Truth is one while error is many, is far too declarative a saying for my liking. We are led astray not only by downright errors but by tendentious claims, muddled thinking, politically correct obfuscations, and by half-truths and incomplete truths. Searching for the whole truth is a noble endeavour. Massed against it is an endless stream of misinformation and specious reasoning.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [11]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Peter, what the likes of us fail to accept and appreciate is that the meaning of words is the prerogative of the “progressive” speaker or writer and that the meaning is always subject to reinterpretation, also as the prerogative of the same entity, residing in the wonderland of Alice. We incorrigible conservative pests, stuck in this boring old world of reality, are such an irritation to those far more enlightened and entitled beings.

  2. PT says:

    This “commentator” is in the same mold as those idiots, post September 11 who imagined Blair’s assertion that the attacks were contrary to Islam would have resonance in the Muslim world.

    Why would ANY Muslim, no matter what their views, take guidance or direction on what it is to be “Muslim” from someone who isn’t a Muslim? This gets to the heart of what’s wrong with PC mentality! Only a believer can say these actions are not Islamic with any credibility (Mohommand was quite prepared to use violence to spread Islamic rule, only Muslims can credibly draw a line between his actions and modern terrorists).

    Seriously, what Christian would take the instructions of an athiest as to what a Christian should believe and do? Islam asserts that peace comes from “submitting” to Allah! So you could argue that the end goal of “jihadis” is “peace”! Just not their actions to achieve it. But why do aledged “commentators” promote this rubbish? Fear of being targeted by Muslim Fanatics? Commitment to the fake ideals of “multiculturalism” (Anglos should be encouraged to identify with the U.K. And maintain traditions like Bonfire Night etc if this were really true)? Not being ostracised by fellow members of the intelligencia (most likely)? Ignorance? Stupidity?

  3. ianl says:

    > “Searching for the whole truth is a noble endeavour. Massed against it is an endless stream of misinformation, [disinformation] and specious reasoning”

    Yes. It’s enough to provoke one into sympathy with that miserable Cassandra. Precisely written, Peter.

    [I added the disinformation noun for completeness].

  4. Salome says:

    We’re all Cassandra here, I fear. Oh, and there aint no such thing as an innocent infidel.

  5. Keith Kennelly says:

    The same could be said of Muslims.

  6. Ian Matthews says:

    If Islam is indeed the religion of peace as proclaimed by the useful idiots of the “Mainstream”, why is it that I cannot find any record of the Grand Muppet of Oz issuing a fatwah against butchery of non-believers?

  7. acarroll says:

    The constant slagging of pisslam gets boring. Our real enemies are the knowing and unwitting Commies in all the institutions of government and media.

    Let’s start with Willi Muenzenberg and work from there:

    ”We must organise the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilization stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the dictatorship…”

    Hard to deny that that is exactly what has happened starting from the 60s and leading to the demoralisation of our society to the point where we quietly allowed these subversives to open the gates to our murderers and conquerors.

    If you have one bullet and the choice of using it on a traitor or your flag carrying enemy, use it on the traitor.

  8. Keith Kennelly says:

    acarroll

    Two things.
    Firstly democracy and our western traditional always change.
    Secondly today the Old left and right are the same.

    There is a new paradigm.

    The wage earners and the entrepreneurial class.
    Against
    The managerial class. Big government, big business, academia, media, big bureaucracy, big law and their apologists and fellow travellers.

    Western traditions are being buried, to the detriment of most of us, by these elitist and dictatorial bastards.

    It ain’t just the left. Once again they have become not muchmore than useful idiots.

    Read James Burnham and you’ll understand this perfectly.

    ‘The Machaeviallians’ and ‘The Managerial Revolution’.

    • acarroll says:

      I agree with you in principle if perhaps not exactly in detail.

      I use Commie here as a catch all for all those groups you’ve mentioned that support the current order, including big business.

      Wall Street bankers and their buddies, after all, bank rolled the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and everything that has come to pass is well with the doctrine and revolutionary strategy of Marxism/Communism.

  9. Keith Kennelly says:

    Big business is now such an incestuous institution. It needs to be dismantled. No longer are the multi corps, big banks, financial institutions and national corps influenced by the entrepreneurial class. They are owned by each other and run by the managerial class. They want all business and are clear enemies of small business which is entrepreneurial in nature.

    Cheers