Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The London Blasts: Urgent Comment (Or: Freedom of "Duh!")

The London Blasts: Urgent Comment

13 July 2005: The Bombers Identified, The Report Censored

1) Censoring Crucial Information

Now that the police have identified at least three of the four bombers who struck London last Thursday as young British Muslim men, the question of how British Muslims could become so alienated as to carry out such a horrific attack has come to the centre of political and public attention.

In this context, it is absolutely extraordinary that the most authoritative source of information about this crisis, the joint Home Office and Foreign Office report, 'Young Muslims and Extremism', which was leaked to the Sunday Times and published with a front-page headline three days ago, has been entirely censored from today's coverage and commentary in the serious British newspapers.

Extraordinary, but predictable. The conclusions of the 'Extremism' report are politically explosive. The mass media is once again serving power, not truth - and not the security of the British people.

It is of overwhelming importance at this time of national crisis, when British Muslims are facing a massive backlash, that the anti-war movement stands by the Muslim community both physically and politically, and forces the media, local, national, and internet, to acknowledge the existence of the 'Extremism' report, and its conclusion that it is British foreign policy, not rabid preachers or medieval theology, that is driving young Muslims towards suicidal and murderous protest.

Please use the Pressurise the Media page to send a message to at least one national media outlet, and to at least one local media outlet.

2) How The Mass Media Works

Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explain:

‘That the media provide some information about an issue... proves absolutely nothing about the adequacy or accuracy of media coverage. The media do in fact suppress a great deal of information, but even more important is the way they present a particular fact - its placement, tone, and frequency of repetition - and the framework of analysis in which it is placed.’

Herman and Chomsky explain that, ‘the enormous amount of material that is produced in the media and books makes it possible for a really assiduous and committed researcher to gain a fair picture of the real world by cutting through the mass of misrepresentation and fraud to the nuggets hidden within.’

That a careful reader, looking for a fact can sometimes find it, with diligence and a skeptical eye, tells us nothing about whether that fact received the attention and context it deserved, whether it was intelligible to most readers, or whether it was effectively distorted or suppressed.’

The 'Young Muslims and Extremism' report has been 'effectively suppressed', despite a front page splash in a national newspaper. The crucial conclusions were buried in the middle of the story, were not referred to in commentary inside the newspaper, and have not been repeated in subsequent editions of any newspaper. Placement, tone, frequency of repetition, framework of analysis: the report exists in the public domain, but it does not exist.

This is an authoritative government report on the single most important issue in Britain today. It's invisible.

Let us make it visible.




Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

Before London Bombing, Leaked UK Memo Warned Iraq War a Key Cause for Growth of "Extremism" in Britain