Once upon a time, the Telegraph was a right leaning newspaper, but with reporting that could be trusted, even by those who did not buy into its politics. But it was also a little staid and dull. Now, though the dullness has been banished, the reportage can no longer be trusted, and even those of a conservative persuasion are uneasy about the title that has earned the nickname of the Maily Telegraph.
The morphing of the Telegraph into a broadsheet Daily Mail was underscored recently when its hacks posed as constituents of Liberal Democrat MPs, while recording discussions from the unfortunate Members’ surgeries. Mail journalists have since said that not even the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre would have allowed such acts.
Now, in a move that once more follows the Daily Mail, the Telegraph is going in for Muslim scare stories, this being epitomised by a ridiculously titled comment piece “David Cameron must face the challenge of Islamisation”. Why is “Islamisation” a challenge? What in the UK is being “Islamised”? The piece – to which no hack has seen fit to append his or her name – talks of pork being taken off school menus, but in France.
Then we are told of “enormous numbers” of Muslim immigrants, which sounds dramatic until you realise that this group still accounts for less than five per cent of the UK’s population. And, of that whole, many are not devoutly religious, or even religious at all (this last being inconvenient to those who routinely portray such groups as monolithic adversaries).
Moreover, the writer notes that “Britain is beginning to experience French-style anxiety about Islamisation” without a hint of irony: the French political party quoted is the extreme right Front National, and the anxiety is fuelled not only by this repository of bigotry, but also by hacks who generate hyperbolic scare stories. To emphasise this, the writer tells that “around 40 per cent of the Muslim community support the establishment of Sharia” while not managing to cite one source for the figure.
And, to put the lid on it, we get “Government attempts to ease tension by empowering to [sic] unelected ‘community leaders’ have caused huge resentment”. No prizes for guessing that no example of this is given. But that there needs to be a “dismantling” of “Islamisation” is once more stressed. The problem with this argument, though, is that there is not even one proven example of “Islamisation” in the article.
So there is nothing to “dismantle”. The impression is given that this is little more than a modern day Corporal Jones jumping up and down while shouting “we’re being overrun by Muslims – don’t panic”.
For a supposedly quality paper, that’s not good enough.