Saturday, 12 July 2008

Broken News

(orriginally posted 27 May 2008)

It has been a violent holiday weekend in London, following the tragic death of budding actor Rob Knox in Sidcup on Friday, two black teenagers were wounded after shootings in Camden and Archway, North London. A 19-year-old man was in a critical condition in hospital after being found stabbed outside East Ham Underground station on Sunday night, and a second man, also aged 19, was arrested after he was found near by with head injuries. In addition, two youths suffered knife wounds after gangs clashed outside a restaurant in Nottingham on Sunday evening, and on Friday night James Graham, 29, was beaten to death in Hendon, north west London.

Then yesterday the badly beaten body of 17 year old Amar Aslam was found in a park in a Dewsbury park, clearly the victim of a violent homicidal attack.

Whatever the circumstances, all such violent deaths are a tragedy and I have the deepest sympathy for young Amar's friends and family.

However, I would like to concentrate on the news coverage following the discovery of Amar's body, particularly on the 24 hour rolling news broadcasts given by BBC News24 and Sky News, because it was very enlightening.

Shortly after the news broke, reports started coming in of earlier racial tension in the Dewsbury area, including alleged clashes between Asians and whites. The effect on the newsrooms was electric, the killing suddenly became the main news story, with bright eyed and flushed reporters gushing excitedly, as they gripped their microphones just that little bit more tightly, that this might be a ..... racially motivated attack.

It was clear the Fourth Estate believed they had their prize, a racial crime with a white perpetrator, which could be used as a counterbalance against the endless stream of street murders and assaults, which have made the news over the last few years, in which the perpetrators have all been so inconveniently non-white.

It has been many long dry years for the media, since the killings of Stephen Lawrence and Anthony Walker gave them the opportunity to falsely portray race hate crimes as a white on black phenomenon. There are only so many shrines which can be built in the memory of the blessed Stephen, a new totem is required, and press have been growing progressively more disparate for an up to date non-white victim and white villain combo to splash across their front pages and lead their news broadcasts.

Frustratingly for the eager news hounds white thugs have so far been uncooperative, unlike non-whites who have been assaulting all and sundry with gusto in resent years, leaving the media struggling to find new and inventive means of describing the crimes, which did not include the word “racial”, or even mention the race of the attackers.

However, this time it seemed their long wait was over and they would soon be able to say and write those magic words “A racially motivated attack by a white gang” and be actually referring to events in this century. The newsrooms buzzed as Dewsbry residents were interviewed about racial tensions, and indeed one even quoted the legendary “white boy who stabbed an Asian” myth which so often mentioned in these circumstances, and then quietly dropped, when it is found on to be untrue.

But it was not too be, and to the obvious crushing disappointment of anchor men and on sight reporters alike, the show stopping news was revealed by Dewsbury MP, Shahid Malik, that the police had arrested and were questioning non white suspects, at which point one reporter appeared close to tears. The grim expressions in the newsrooms across the airwaves exposed quite clearly what a blow this revelation had been to those newsmen and women who, moments before had truly believed their wait was at an end.

To quote John of Gwent's comment on the Home of the Green Arrow article about this subject: “A fascinating BBC News 24 bulletin not an hour ago revealed that three men have been detained in connection with this and all are Asian. In a half hearted attempt to put out the flames that various sources were wetting themselves after fanning, the BBC News Link Man asked their woman on the spot if she had any comment on the "clearly now discredited" reports that this was a racist murder.

The journo on site suddenly wore a face that suggested a lemon had just materialised in her throat, from thin air, minus its peel. 'Well, such matters are now best left to the police to report on as they continue their investigations' she said. Funny how a white kid whose neck was slashed by a Turk doesn't deserve the truth being told.”

Later, Channel Four News broadcast started by trumpeting accounts of the racial tension, before reluctantly admitting that this murder probably wasn't racially motivated, suggesting that they had prepared the item before news of the arrests broke, and could not quite let the fantasy go.

And so the media's long vigil continues, they carry on waiting, because they know one day their wait will be over, indeed it may be quite soon as tensions continue to rise, one day, maybe tomorrow, next week or next year, a white boy will kill a non white boy, and the press will have their prise.

No matter that they may have to clamber over the bodies of a hundred white boys, or even a thousand, they will grasp their trophy and, as with Johann Nel that in blood spattered centre of black crime South Africa, they will make it the definitive example of a race hate crime, and by constant repartition, use it In the hope of obscuring the daily toll of bloodshed which mass third world immigration has wrought upon our streets. They will use it as they have used Stephen Lawrence for the last fifteen years, and it will be no less of a lie, when they do.

However, the world has moved on, and we are all wiser now, so I wonder, when it happens, as it surely will, will the public buy the same old lie again?

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