Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Independent Exclusive: People Do Bad Things. I posted at Biased BBC concerning the coverage of the Sydney riots. I said the Beeb manages to be quite clear about the race of white rioters at Cronulla beach on Sunday but goes all coy about the race of rioters of Lebanese origin who made retaliatory mayhem in Mabroubra and other suburbs on Monday. A commenter, Simo, said, "Incredibly, the BBC might have been outdone in deliberate obfuscation by the Independent."

Not that incredible, actually, but Simo's comment deserves a wider audience. It's not about the BBC so I'll post it here. Simo quotes this Independent article:

"Violence on the streets of Sydney spilled into a second night as scores of people drove through beachside suburbs smashing windows of shops, homes and flats.

"Any hopes that Sunday's race riot was an isolated incident were shattered when car-loads of people rampaged through southeast Sydney, chased by police vehicles."

Simo observes:
These naughty "people" are at it again. Of course, when those people aren't young males of Middle-Eastern origin, the Indy shows no such coyness about calling a spade a shovel, nailing first "5,000 white men, many of them drunk" before raising the spectre of the swastika by condemning the unnamed "neo-Nazi groups" who were allegedly fanning the flames.

Actually quite worrying.

Now, why on earth would anyone report a story of conflict while refusing to name one side?

I can guess why the BBC does it. It thinks a significant chunk of its audience are uncultured whites belonging to socio-economic groups far down the alphabet who would turn on their non-white neighbours if ever they were to learn that some brown-skinned people living on the other side of the globe are capable of behaving badly. Providentially, thinks the Beeb news manager, these brutes can be safely lied to because they are too thick to seek out alternative sources of information.

Hey, maybe the Beeb has a point. The BBC's audience is theoretically the entire British nation after all.

But it's a little disconcerting that a progressive quality newspaper makes the same assumption about its audience. Still, no doubt the Independent knows its own readers best.

UPDATE: Like Simo, Scott Burgess also spotted that the Indy is a "people" paper. If this carries on it'll save a packet on the paper's coverage of the sunnier parts of the world. There were dramatic developments in Basra today, where people did stuff. Meanwhile in Darfur people did peoply things, other people claim. Eventually it might reach a stage where the only person mentioned by name in the entire newspaper was George W. Bush. One would open one's copy to see the Presidential name repeated endlessly, like a mantra.