Sunday 10 January 2016

Sweet Baby Jesus Wept: The Mail

Unsurprisingly, the Daily Mail has been having a fine old time with the horrible accounts emerging from Cologne.

What better way of stirring up bigotry and hysteria (the Mail's stock in trade when Kim K is not showing us her arse) than running dozens of stories about Muslims molesting European women?

Even better when it is being claimed that the perpetrators are asylum seekers, ungrateful refugees repaying German generosity by sexually assaulting and robbing vulnerable women?

Today the Mail reached a pinnacle of irresponsibility, running a story headlined, "18 Cologne sex attackers were asylum seekers". The implication is pretty clear - 18 people charged with sexual assaults were refugees.

The juxtaposition is pretty clear, leading the reader to think, reasonably, that 18 people who committed sex attacks at Cologne have been revealed to be asylum seekers.

Only, no-one has actually been charged with a sexual assault in relation to the events on New Year's Eve.

So far, 31 people have been arrested.  As the Mail admits, far down the article, "None of the 31 has been accused of specifically committing sexual assaults, the aspect of Cologne's disturbances that attracted most public outrage at home and abroad."

So the 18 "sex attackers" were - based on what they have been charged with so far - likely thieves and brawlers.

But let's not miss a chance to smear refugees and drum up a bit of hate, eh?

This whole story has been horribly exploited by the neo-fascist right.  Social media has been brilliantly manipulated.  Rumours and unsubstantiated claims have been spread, supposed conspiracies exposed and continual conflation of any Arab or North African involved in criminality with 'refugees' .

It is depressing - though not entirely surprising - to see the Mail following this lead with such gleeful insouciance.

Power without responsibility, and all that.

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