One of this morning’s postings by one of my Facebook friends was a link to an article / petition accusing the Sun of inciting racial hatred, titled: “Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP, Attorney General: charge The Sun with incitement under S.19 of the Public Order Act 1986”, which related to “the article published by The Sun, “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis/ EXCLUSIVE: ‘Wake-up call’ after Paris blitz” (Monday 23rd November, 2015)” and was preceded by the comment “hideous disgraceful newspaper”. I should add that other Facebook friends have weighed in since with further anti-Sun comments, indicating if nothing else the sort of company I keep when venturing into cyberspace, but which all got me thinking …
As those who read my blogs will know, I am no fan of the Sun, whose reporting I often find rabid, biased, simplistic, nasty and hateful. Yet I do read the Sun from time to time, given it is the only newspaper on offer when I eat my occasional illicit breakfast in my local café and as a watchman on what is happening in the world right now I believe it is important to take in alternative perspectives. So after having caught up with the sports news (the Sun is as good as any when it comes to sport), I turned to its editorial page.
There were three topics that presented themselves, and I braced myself to strongly disagreeing with what the Sun editor had to say. Surprisingly, I found myself more agreeing than disagreeing, realizing there is often no black and white in such matters.
Face the facts
This begins: “”Britain needs to take its head out of the sand and tackle extremism”, Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, rightly wrote in yesterday’s Sun” and goes onto justify the afore-mentioned offending “1 in 5” story, concluding that: “once we accept that, Britain is better placed to tackle it”. While I am not comfortable with the Sun’s tone (I rarely am), for one thing it goes against my vision of a “community in harmony” and I question how it arrived at this figure, I also believe the liberal elite that runs the country and those who pursue equality at any cost, want us to believe we face no threat from Muslims and Islam and the few radical types that have been identified are merely tiny blips and rare exceptions, are wrong, and the Sun is right to say so. I say this even though I have many Muslim friends who I esteem highly and believe to be loyal British subjects as well as being supportive toward my local mosque. Slightly related is an entry I read yesterday from the blog of Alan Craig titled: “Mega-Mosque: The End”. He too is right to oppose some of these expansions, and I can easily bring up the subjects like Sharia law and the wearing of the burqa etc. My point (which is not the Sun’s point) is we need to welcome those of other races and creeds into the country, ideally on the basis of showing Christian hospitality, but not at the expense of the rule of law and having to sacrifice cultural norms any more than is necessary, and if anything we need to be alert to the real danger that radical Islam poses, given the moral vacuum that exists in the country (that will be filled if not by hedonistic nihilism or atheistic secularism then by a more extreme variant of Islam), which is concerning.
POSTSCRIPT (and one is called for concerning the Sun narrative I feel) – I just come across an article demonstrating the skewed and dishonest nature of the Sun reporting, which should be taken into account in order to reach a balance view, which given its track record is not something that regrettably the Sun is good at doing despite alerting its readers to important concerns.
This begins: “Defence was an easy target when the Tories first looked to slash costs in 2010” and argues that the government were premature in cutting the defence budget at the time we were withdrawing troops from trouble spots like Iraq and Afghanistan, and this especially in the light of current events and huge threats being faced, welcoming the government’s commitment this time round by adding to the defence budget, concluding that: “Never again must any Government be complacent over its first duty, our security”. On this matter in essence the Sun has got it right although I differ on the need for a nuclear deterrent and worry when confronted with with the government’s intent to arrive at a budget surplus while in office, how this might be achieve without squeezing the poor and vulnerable even more than they are already.
This begins: “Labour is nose-diving in the polls, so Jeremy Corbyn’s hordes are lining up their scapegoat. You guessed it: newspapers”. It points to the irony that on one hand the shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, would like to break up the right wing media while claiming very few people believe what it writes. It concludes by asking the question: “So why does it worry him?” I agree – why indeed? Except the reality is quite a lot of people do believe what they write despite the objectionable content of what is written. Ironically, it was not that long ago when the Sun was supporting New Labour under Tony Blair and is now opposing it under Jeremy Corbyn for reasons one can guess at. Some of that opposition is twisted and misleading but my advice to Messers Corbyn and McDonnell is to see this as a challenge in order to win over the hearts and minds of the electorate by the power of argument.