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Sunday 2 June 2013

Gilligan’s Islamophobia Goof

[Update at end of post]

It’s not easy nowadays for Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan to put out an article without him getting called out for a mixture of falsehood and misrepresentation. This is probably because falsehood and misrepresentation is exactly what he indulges in. And today he has been at it again, twisting the available facts to fit the Telegraph’s narrative, that the “Islamophobia Industry” is getting above itself.
Wonder why he's standing there?

The truth about the 'wave of attacks on Muslims’ after Woolwich murder” proclaims the headline, which should immediately put readers on their guard: Gilligan proclaiming “the truth” is rather like the same claim coming out of the Daily Mail, and for the same reason. What he has concluded – probably even before writing the piece – is that it’s all been exaggerated.

So Fiyaz Mughal of the Tell Mama project, which, as it says at the top of the page, is all about Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks, should not have been surprised to have been contacted by Gilligan, only to find that, after answering his questions, what appeared in the Tel had been selectively edited to fit Gilligan’s narrative, with a great deal of information deliberately left out.

For instance, Mughal admits that a small number of reported attacks originate from outside the UK (2% to 3% of the total), but that these are filtered out when exporting the data for further analysis. Gilligan reinvents that into “Not all the offending tweets and postings, it turns out, even originated in Britain”, the inference being that the data used by Tell Mama is unreliable.

And the Tel’s man with the cycling hotline to Bozza is not impressed with the inclusion of online attacks: “They were offensive postings on Twitter or Facebook, or comments on blogs: nasty and undesirable, certainly, but some way from violence or physical harm”. Like, oh I dunno, the comment made by Mehdi Hasan about Gilligan’s involvement with Iranian Press TV, perhaps.

Somehow Gilligan managed not to find that to be some kind of trivial non-event, even rewarding Hasan with the snarking send-off “liar leaves job after the latter left the Staggers for the HuffPost UK. Why? Hasan made a mistake in an article he wrote about Gilligan, which he later corrected. Gilligan managed not to even correct his transcription error, even after he got rumbled.

What we have here is a hack who has demonstrated an ability to be hostile and selective in his reporting of anything to do with followers of The Prophet (see Gilligan’s attack on Engage, plus the obsession with Lutfur Rahman which Mehdi Hasan highlighted) being given more opportunities by his employers to go over the same ground, knowing what the result will be.

What that makes the Sunday Telegraph I will leave to others to conclude.

[UPDATE 3 June 1325 hours: the Mail has, predictably, lifted the Gilligan story, probably because the angle fits their agenda, to make a similar attack on Tell Mama. This also uses the assertion "The TRUTH" (see my comment on that device, above).

The difference is that Fiyaz Mughal was clearly on his guard when the Dacre attack doggies called, and responded with a firm "no comment". Readers are left in no doubt that this raised questions over the way Tell Mama presented its figures, and they are also told that the project is "Government funded", which means it must be A Very Bad Thing.

What the Mail does not explain is that attacks made online are little different to the online attacks they themselves mount on a variety of targets, and which on occasion land them in hot water, even if they only agree to open their wallets at the door of the court. Clearly these cases are very different to those brought by mere Muslims]

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