Gerard Henderson, in this weekend’s Weekend Australian, talks weighs in on the phenomenon of journalists joining politicians, social movements and Catherine Marr of Goulburn in not letting facts get in the way of the Cathedral’s ‘Project’:
As journalists, by means of social media, increasingly become activists in the public debate, what is not reported sometimes becomes as significant as what is.
Take the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne, for example. It took ZDF, Germany’s public broadcaster, four days to report that up to a thousand men of Middle Eastern and North African appearances had sexually and physically assaulted women who were celebrating the arrival of 2016 outside the Cologne Cathedral. Similar, albeit not so extensive, attacks occurred in such cities as Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg.
Emlar Thevessen, deputy chief editor of the Heute (Today) program, acknowledged on Facebook that “it was a mistake of the 7pm Heute show not to at least report the incidents”. Thevissen conceded that the decision to self-censor was “a clear misjudgment”.
But a mistake with a purpose. It seems that the powers-that-be at Germany’s taxpayer-funded public broadcaster did not want their fellow citizens to know that the Cologne assaults on women were led by young men from Muslim majority nations who may have been recent asylum-seekers – or what many in Western Europe refer to as migrants.
Among the left-liberal intelligentsia that dominates Western media, it is just unfashionable to refer to radical Islamists as radical Islamists or to mention the fact that in some Muslim majority nations women are treated as second-rate citizens, or worse. The fact that so many left liberals are slaves to intellectual fashion explains why so few self-declared feminists have publicly criticised the Cologne assaults.
The same can be said of the low-key response to the grooming of around 1000 white girls in the British city of Rotherham by men of Pakistani heritage. These crimes were overlooked, for many years, by those in positions of authority who did not want to be accused of Islamophobia.
The tendency of left-liberals, who like to parade a higher morality than the rest of us in such matters as immigration and multiculturalism, does not start and end with modern-day Islam. I was reminded of this when reading Kerry O’Brien’s biography Keating …
One initiative of the Keating government, which is not often discussed in polite left-of-centre circles, turns on the introduction of mandatory detention in 1992 at about the time that there were unauthorised arrivals by Indo-chinese, among others …
O’Brien’s biography grew out of his four-part ABC TV interview series Keating: the Interviews which aired in 2013. The text of Keating runs for 765 pages. Yet it is not until page 758 that O’Brien introduces the issue of asylum-seekers and mandatory detention. The whole discussion takes up a mere two pages.
O’Brien does not challenge Keating’s defence of the policy …
O’Brien, who recently stepped down as presenter of the ABC TV’s Four Corners program, is more than a journalist. During the time of the Howard government, he spoke at functions which called for a relaxation of the Coalition’s position on asylum-seekers in general and mandatory detention in particular. Yet, in Keating, O’Brien has adopted a don’t-talk-about-Labor’s-mandatory-detention position.
In recent times, O’Brien has criticised the policy of former prime minister Tony Abbott on asylum-seekers … In short, O’Brien wants to hold fashionable opinions about asylum-seekers without accepting any of the consequences of his advocacy.
The retired ABC presenter’s position is not dissimilar from that of the journalists at Heute. They did not want to be unfashionable, so they evaded responsibility by not reporting the events at Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes the story is that the real story is not told.
I’m not sure that Henderson’s hypothesis for this behaviour – the desire to hold, or at least to be seen to be holding, ‘fashionable’ opinions, is correct. Not because I think he’s wrong, but because I really don’t know why people respond to facts which contradict the stories they believe in by denying that the facts exist. It could be because of wanting to be fashionable. Alternatively, it could be:
- from a desire not to damage one’s own political project, the policies of which can be blamed for the events that one seeks to cover up; in this case, the person covering up the story is completely cognisant of the reality, but for their own political reasons doesn’t want attention to be brought to it;
- from a desire not to give ‘aid and comfort’ to a perceived ideological enemy, which has been predicting that these events would arise from one’s policies and thus would receive vindication from their publication, inverse proportion to the loss of credibility to one’s own program; again, the person covering up the story is completely cognisant of the reality, but for their own political reasons doesn’t want attention to be brought to it;
- from a desire, either (partly or wholly) unconscious or conscious, to maintain one’s personal narrative / mind-set – the belief preservation explanation.
Either way, I do honestly find it extraordinary behaviour. But then, the whole programme of importing barbarians into a civilised, law abiding society, which long ago forfeited the the abilities to defend themselves from said barbarians because the civilising process removed the need for such defences, is to me bizarre. And obviously these two phenomena are both of a piece.