As Zelo Street regulars will recall, former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie demonstrated his talent for forthright bigotry recently when he went after Channel 4 News presenter Fatima Manji, who had committed the heinous crime of not only fronting Channel 4 News, but also dressing in the same way she always does. The latter involves wearing a headscarf, or hijab. For most viewers this does not present a problem.
But for Kel, coming at the time of the Nice attacks, it meant the broadcaster was in league with the Scary Muslims (tm), and was a provocation of a severity not known since someone went up to one of Derek and Clive at a Spurs home game against Arsenal and said “Hello”. What was Kel to do? He wasn’t going to be put upon by someone doing something worse than coming up to him and saying “Hello”, was he?
So Kel not only went after Ms Manji, Jon Snow, and anyone else he could connect to Channel 4, he also doubled down on the abuse later, which led the presenter and her boss to complain directly to press regulator IPSO. Around 2,000 other complaints had already been received by IPSO by that stage. The regulator is now facing the prospect of bawling out the Sun, or demonstrating that is is a toothless sham.
All this has put Kel in what Spike Milligan might have called A Very Difficult Position. He’s been called out for his boorish, aggressive and bigoted behaviour, but saying sorry is out of the question for those who live in their hermetically sealed elite media bubble. So he is not just going to continue to play the helpless victim, he is also going to complain about Channel 4 to media regulator Ofcom. Seriously.
We know this because he has spelled it out in his latest lamentable column for the Sun, where he firstly says the BBC nearly banned symbols of religious affiliation, but didn’t, and then suggests the Beeb’s consideration for so doing - “especially at a time of heightened religious tension” - automatically applies to Channel 4, even though the BBC didn’t rule on the issue, and what they decide is not binding on other broadcasters.
He then deploys a diversionary tactic, combined with faux appeal to authority, by telling “I am the liberal in this argument as progressive female Muslims look upon the headscarf as a sign of submission … Don’t take my word for it … I know a Turkish Muslim who [miraculously agrees with him]”, before dropping his bombshell: “I will be looking at making a formal complaint to Ofcom under the section of the broadcasting code which deals with impartiality”. A Sun pundit will call lack of impartiality on a broadcaster. Ri-i-ight.
And the reasoning? “Since the question of religious motivation was central to the coverage of the Nice attack, I would ask whether it is appropriate for a newsreader to wear religious attire that could undermine the viewers’ perception of impartiality … For television dealing in such sensitive issues, surely it makes sense that reporters, when dealing with Muslim terrorist outrages, don’t wear the headscarf”. No it doesn’t.
Kel says he’s going to make his decision next Friday, which is code for “Ofcom is more likely to act than IPSO, so withdraw your complaint, Channel 4 people, or I’ll have you worked over, because I can”. If Ofcom have any cojones, they will be waiting for the SOB and will refer him to the precedent legal case of Arkell versus Pressdram 1971.