It’s been said many times that those who want to know Rupert Murdoch’s views should read a few Sun editorials. It seems, though, that not even the Super Soaraway Currant Bun can sink to the depths plumbed by Creepy Uncle Rupe’s Australian print empire, after that country’s Daily Telegraph’s (no relation to the British title of the same name) coverage of the Sydney siege.
That's what I think of youse bladdy factual journalism, ya bladdy Pommie drongoes!
We know now that the siege, at the Lindt cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place, was the work of one man, and one alone. Man Haron Monis was an Iranian refugee who had styled himself as a Muslim cleric, although his following appears to have been confined to Himself Personally Now. He “was known to police and on bail in Sydney facing a number of serious charges”.
A Report sticking to the facts ...
Monis was not affiliated to any other group: he was a one-man show, someone who was adept at getting to the front of the crowd and shooting his mouth off. Unfortunately, he had managed to get hold of a gun, despite Australia’s strict laws on owning them. It is debateable as to whether Monis deserved the attribute of “terrorist”: he was little more than a sad fantasist.
... and a report dispensing with facts altogether
None of this was allowed to enter as the Murdoch Daily Telegraph went into shock horror overdrive: after the siege had begun some time after 0900 hours local time Monday, the paper published a special 1400 hours edition which screamed “IS takes 13 hostages in city cafe siege ... DEATH CULT CBD ATTACK”. The back page doubled down with “The instant we changed forever”.
Those who recall the way that the tabloid press tended to make up stories about the McCanns, Robert Murat and Christopher Jefferies will recognise the technique: the target has already been found guilty of whatever it is he is supposed to have done, and so it is open season. That there was no IS involvement, and no death cult, does not matter. We know this as Murdoch says so.
“AUST gets wake-call with Sydney terror. Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00am. Congrats” Tweeted Rupe gratefully. He then ventured a little further into his own personal fairyland with “AUST, UK and US likely to catch most plots. Lone wolves are the frightening danger”. Yeah, only the countries where they speak English are fit to deal with terror!
But what Murdoch has let slip is that, for him, the end justifies the means. Printing something that is nothing more than a speculative pack of lies is fine, so long as it succeeds in pushing the desired editorial line and sells more copies. And the desired editorial line in Murdoch’s Australian empire is to frighten the population with stories about Scary Muslims. Same as the Sun in the UK, and Fox News in the US.
This man is feted by our Prime Minister. Be afraid, UK voters. Be very afraid.