Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Express, the Star and angry mobs

Minority Thought has done an excellent job in looking at today's overblown Express front page headline and story.

The Express and its sister paper the Daily Star have tried to create a division between 'Muslims' and 'us' many times before. And the Express has form in trying to make the pronouncements of a few Muslims representative of the whole religion, too.

And in this case, 'a few' is right. Despite the Express using emotive terms such as 'angry mob' and 'another demonstration raged outside' it appears only three people were involved and, apart from shouting, all they did was wave around some bits of A4 paper with homemade slogans printed out in black and red capital letters.

By contrast, the demonstrations of the 'angry mob' called the English Defence League don't get mentioned on the front page of the Express. Their demos are bigger, involve people who hide their identity and usually end with people being arrested. Apparently, the Express isn't so concerned about that.

Mor, indeed, is the Daily Star, which has often taken a quite uncritical line on the EDL, under headlines such as 'Case for the Defence'. Recently, the Star's coverage of the EDL's plans to march in towns that ban Christmas (yes, really...) was praised by one EDL-supporting blogger.

Minority Thought sums up the Express' article perfectly:

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"...

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 language used in the headline, is an attempt to imply that these shouts are in some way an expression of what every Muslims thinks about the British.

* Minority Thought has also taken the Express to task recently over another 'health and safety bans...' myth.

The Express claimed that a ten-year-old swimmer had been 'banned from wearing googles because of health and safety'.

Usually these health and safety stories are about people being forced to wear goggles. But this one isn't true either - the advice (not ban) is that kids who swim should get used to eye contact with water. Health and safety had nothing to do with it.


  1. I really wish the Muslim population would start to stand up against this kind of reporting and get the PCC or even Government involved. It'd be brilliant if all shops owned or worked in by Muslims, Immigrants or even areas with a high benefit reliant population stopped selling the Express/Star/Sun/Mail, even for just 1 day!

    They would soon see thier profits drop dramatically and once hit in thier pockets I bet these papers would soon take a more balanced view! I mean we can't wait around for them to start reporting with any morals so may as well try and target thier bank balances. Shoppers would simply just pick up another paper.

  2. I really thought that I couldn't be upset by the Express but this is a new low. Surely, please, this is in breach of the Public Order Act - it's blatant incitement to a breach of the peace. Someone should prosecute.

  3. I wonder if it ever occurs to them for a second that "Muslim" and "British" are not mutually exclusive categories?

    I like Anonymous 1's idea, though I fear the papers would just use it as further ammunition - wicked Muslims now try to suppress free speech/criticism, or whatever.

  4. Aaaaaargh! every time I see these stories my head spins a) that they are allowed to print such nonsense without any comeback b) that they are owned by Richard Desmond (and his infamous Nazi salutes) c) they are read and believed by stupid people who keep giving Desmond their money and d) that the journalists write such crap. Off for a lie down before I get "furious".

  5. I notice a cancer story there too - "Just why are so many people now getting cancer?"

    I expect it's got something to do with the Muslims. They come over here, taking our jobs, banning our stamps, telling us to go to hell, giving us cancer...

  6. I noticed the cancer story as well. But question really seems to be why are more celebrities getting cancer? Simple answer there are now more celebrities mostly because of reality TV shows and papers like the Express turning 15 minutes of fame into a couple of years fame to fill up their gossip columns.

  7. (I am anonymous 1 btw, I should probably come up with a snappy username!)

    @Anonymous 3

    The example of a mass boycott of a paper is still going strong to this day in Liverpool where sales of the Sun still struggle due to the lies printed after Hillsborough, which despite repeated calls they have yet to print a front page apology! An especially strong message is sent by this as Liverpool was very much a working class city at the time (still is) and the Sun was/is supposed to represent these people.

    I think that with enough support, especially from a big player, such as a supermarket or other nationwide newsagent chain, a boycott could be established with a goal being at least to get the PCC replaced by a proper, independent body with real power, if not to tackle the filth papers themselves.

    Of course I am probably being very naive in thinking any shop would give up a cut of thier own profits when they are gaining basicly nothing in return other than moaning customers and bad press, but I can always dream!

  8. Its really bloody infuriating isn't it that they get away with such blatant lies. More power to your blog. I think we need to promote this to many people as possible. I certainly am.

  9. Thank you Jim - I really appreciate it.

  10. Last December Tesco's removed a Christmas card from it's shelves because one mother claimed it was offensive to people with ginger hair. I wonder how many muslims would need to complain to Tesco's about the store selling a newspaper featuring an offensive front page before the store would consider removing it from it's shelves?

  11. But Crispin, therein lies the problem of this mendacious shit paper - if the Muslims complained and it were removed the Express would have a field-day and probably see their chums at the EDL picket the stores, burn mosques etc...If someone complains on behalf of the Muslims, then the complaint is not treated as serious as they are not directly offended (even if they are) and would still then be a means for the Express to blame the Muslims. And would Tesco's and others ever listen? I would love to believe a boycott could work. Given the number of shops selling papers (particularly in London) that are run by immigrant stock it would be a wonderful thing to see. I do feel that the mechanics of such a boycott are worth exploring as well as looking for the paper to receive sanctions from a body (that can take the inevitable heat and flak from the Express and their crappy brothers in toilet paper).

  12. Only problem with a complaint being based on the newspaper front page is that it would constantly change. That card was sitting on the shelf for several days, maybe even weeks before it was taken down. A newspaper may be a repeat offender, but with the headline changing every day it'd be hard to justify that as a ban. Once the offending paper has recived enough complaints the trading day would no doubt be over and the damage already done.

    Although with blogs like this around I'm sure a particularly savvy customer who's been offended could easilly provide enough evidence to get at least some kind of campaign rolling.

  13. A handful of mouthey sods are elevated to representing an entire ethnic group.
    It's a bit like saying the BNP represents all white people.
    These nutters feed on publicity like this. Chances are the wackos holding up placards about how Islam will dominate the world are feeling great that the tabloids are giving them all this free publicity.

  14. Maybe a letter asking these associations to consider a ban on the papers would be a start: (association of convenience stores) (association of news retaialing) (national federation of retail newsagents)

    together with an open letter to all stockists, and letters to the head offices of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Waitrose.

    If it were to be signed by a number of luminaries including for instance, religious leaders, or inter-faith organisations, "celebrities" (God forbid but a seeming necessary evil) and businessmen (perhaps the likes of Lord Sugar) then it would be interesting to see a) the response of the Express (Northern and Shell group) and those retailers being asked to restrict the sales. Perhaps time for some crowd-sourcing action using the information and people of this site for starters?

    (apologies for the anonymous posting - I struggle to log into my email account here and need to spend some time setting it up)

  15. a time where a boycott of sorts has worked has been over lad's mags. a lot of supermarkets (not tescos! but sainsburys for sure) have now covered up lad's mags with 'modesty covers'. they haven't stopped selling them, but they did do something as a result of a large number of complaints and public pressure. i am not sure how this could work in this case - maybe covering up racist headlines? i mean, object (who pushed for modesty covers - ugh i hate that term!) went in and covered up the magazines to make the point, that led to change in policy. maybe ew need to mobilise everyone to cover up the racist headlines on these papers, leading to a greater campaign, as happened over lad's mags. i have turned racist papers around in the past, to little effect. but if we all started doing it....

  16. I put other papers on top of them. The Guardian, usually. It doesn't last long, though, but does have the advantage of temporarily hiding the offending paper completely rather than just turning it round.

  17. Mentioning the covering up of lad's mags really hits it home.

    It's not acceptable to have a woman posing in a bikini on the front of a magazine, so it's covered up (and in most cases put on the top shelf alongside pornography).

    It's perfectly acceptable to have racist, bigoted headlines at kid's eye level in every major supermarket.

    I try to make sense of this, but when I try I get a headache.

  18. It doesn't make sense at all.

    Put on the top shelf of some shops or have a cover over them. They contain nudity, offensive, usually xeonphobic and sexist jokes and opinion pieces, articles which treat women as something to look at and w*nk over. Any woman which doesn't fit into the category of dizzy, silly, "gagging for it" big chested blonde is usually ridiculed. Flashy ads for sex lines at the back.

    The Sun/NOTW/Star/Sport
    Put at eye level, often promoted inside the shops on special stands, entice kids to buy them by being 20/30p and often offering free things or money off things that kids want, such as free DVD's, posters or sweets. These papers frequently/always contain nudity and make women out to be objects to be w*nked over. Any woman which doesn't fit into the category of dizzy, "gagging for it", silly big chested blonde is usually ridiculed. Offensive opinion pieces and articles promoting bigotry are passed off as fact! Flashy ads for sex lines on the back pages.

    Yet these are ok as they are "news".


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