Week 36: Prat – The British Press

by Jackie_South on September 7, 2015

Journo_PratThis week, our glorious British papers win our regular award for the most ridiculous behaviour over the last seven days

The British right wing press has been spewing bile relentlessly about immigration. The Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Sun in particular regularly sport front pages with screamingly vitriolic and hyperbolic headlines. The sharp change in the national attitude following the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi has caught them in a headspin as they try to adjust to the new public climate on the refugee crisis.

The responses varied from hypocrisy to pompous gaslighting. The Sun hyperbolically takes the award for the former: its headline on Thursday yelled “Mr Cameron, Summer Is Over … Now Deal With The Biggest Crisis Facing Europe Since WW2. It’s Life & Death”.

But at least The Sun‘s shapeshifting (remember their columnist Katie Hopkins calling refugees ‘cockroaches’?) has been a vocal call that seemed to make Cameron look uneasy about his obstructive behaviour. Worse was The Daily Mail, the greatest proponent of terms like “swarms”, “hordes” aswell as water metaphors such as “tide”, “wave” and “pouring in” that seem particularly tasteless.

Earlier this week, the Mail tried to turn the tables on the Germans for taking in refugees in large numbers, by pointing out that Germany created a lot of refugees in the 1930’s and 1940’s. They accused Merkel of trying to ‘blackmail’ Britain into taking more refugees, continuing “Germany has no business lecturing jam-packed Britain on our moral duty to refugees, with our far more consistent record of offering sanctuary to the world’s desperate.”

Clearly, the writers missed the “Don’t mention the war!” rants in Fawlty Towers that mocked this four decades ago.

And then we had the delightful Richard Littlejohn, who asked about the three-year old Aylan Kurdi “We’re also told that he’s a Kurd. So why didn’t he move to Kurdistan? Who knows? And that’s just the point. No one knows anything for sure.”

No one knows anything for sure, apparently, including the fact there is no internationally recognised country of Kurdistan. A fact that apparently no-one knows.

One thing I think we all know now from that article is that Littlejohn is a prat. And he was certainly not alone in the rightwing press this week.

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