I’m obscenely busy at the moment (4th year’s not a doss like Erasmus was) so that explains the lack of content. Sorry folks.
Anywho you may have seen the news that Bill ‘O Rly?’ O’Reilly was on a trashy chat show called The View this week, and in a conversation about the (Not) Ground Zero (Not) Mosque, he made the comment that ‘Muslims attacked the US on 9/11’, causing Whoopi Goldberg and some other presenter I’ve never heard of to leave the studio in disgust. I’ve seen clips of this show on YouTube before and some of the other presenters come out with more disgusting bullshit than that so I was kind of surprised. Anyway here’s the clip (keep an ear out for what must be the most two-minded audience in the world, they’re obviously completely confused – that or they just cheer anything):
Of course Muslims attacked the US on 9/11, but not all Muslims. Lots of Muslims also died in the WTC, and there was actually an Islamic prayer space in the WTC, so all these people complaining about the ground zero mosque can shut up as far as I’m concerned. Anyway Bill also brings up this 70% figure, that most people don’t want the Islamic centre built there, as if that is at all relevant – more on that in a second.
It’s all a question of framing. When Bill says ‘Muslims didn’t kill us on 9/11? Is that what you’re saying?’ he of course invites the answer ‘yes, they did kill us.’ But the question is wrong. You may as well ask ‘did religious people kill us on 9/11?’ (which I’d agree with) or even just ‘did people kill us on 9/11?’ As the presenters pointed out, Islam isn’t something that all terrorists have in common, and it certainly isn’t the cause of terrorism. But Bill frames the question in a way that fits in with his far-right agenda, and he might have got away with it if the presenters weren’t so easily shocked.
Same with this 70% figure he bandies about – it’s all a question of framing. Understandably (and unfortunately), the presenter gets sucked in and starts disputing the figure of 70% instead of seeing the real issue here. Bill doesn’t understand the difference between a constitutional democracy and a tyranny of the majority (in fact, scratch that, he does understand the difference but he chooses to ignore the issue because it fits into his hard-right populist agenda. Bill O’Reilly is a lot of things, but he isn’t stupid). It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference if even 99% of people don’t want the centre there, because in a constitutional democracy, the rights of minorities are protected, and as much as the majority are whinging and trying the bully the minority into giving up their rights, it doesn’t matter at all.
And maybe this is the wider point that we should all be aware of. For a while now, I’ve been noticing the distortion that media outlets have on the truth. It’s most obvious in Fox News and the Daily Mail, but that’s not the only one, not by a long shot. To a certain extent you have to expect a certain bias in any media outlet, but on certain topics like immigration, equality laws and Islam, it’s overwhelming. Don’t just consume your news pre-packaged, ruminate on it and consider it critically.