There is a new minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport: the press’ favourite, tainted John Whittingdale, has been rightly given his marching orders by new PM Theresa May and has been replaced by Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley. Those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet have decided to send Ms Bradley a reminder that they will not tolerate any backsliding on their agenda.
That means no let-up in the assault on Channel 4, which Whittingdale wanted to sell off. So it was no surprise to see former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie use his first column following Ms May’s reshuffle to put the boot in on the broadcaster, with his chosen remedy for its alleged transgressions to be, er, selling it off. As an aside, Kel gave his readers a little of that Islamophobic bigotry that he does so well.
The headline says it all: “Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?” And it gets worse: “Would C4 have used a Hindu to report on the carnage at the Golden Temple of Amritsar...of course not”. Two things here. The presenter in question, Fatima Manji, was the Channel 4 News studio anchor last Friday. She was not “fronting coverage” of the Nice attack. And it was not “Muslim terror”.
ISIS, or whatever they’re calling themselves this week, have claimed the Nice attacker as one of their own, but the driver of the lorry that mowed down scores of people on the Promenade des Anglais was not known to be even slightly religious. This does not deter Kel: “Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim”. He’s not thought this one through, has he?
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He would not have so much as suggested that, had a practising Christian committed a murderous act, anyone who went near a church regularly should be barred from reporting on the matter. But he’s not listening. “Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male- dominated and clearly violent religion?” The ordinary viewer as defined by Kel.
Then he loses it: “So why did they do it? The suggestion is that Ms Manji, left, who I don’t blame as she is just a pawn in this TV news game, had been rostered on some time ago … On that basis why didn’t they send her to Nice instead of Snow? Of course, there was a very good reason for that … The people of Nice, and the people of France, would view a foreign reporter wearing a hijab in these tense times as massively provocative”. Bullshit. There is a significant Muslim population in Nice. Nobody would have batted an eyelid.
Why is he ranting on like this? Simples. “I do hope that the new Culture Secretary flogs the joint as the country desperately needs the £1billion … It is coverage like this that raises a question mark over the future of Channel Four. They are a licensed business. Let’s sell that licence to somebody who can supply balance in these difficult times”.
Balance. As demanded by Kelvin McFilth, the cretin who once said “You just don't understand the readers, do you, eh? He's the bloke you see in the pub, a right old fascist, wants to send the wogs back, buy his poxy council house, he's afraid of the unions, afraid of the Russians, hates the queers and the weirdos and drug dealers”.
Rupert Murdoch’s prejudices, and agenda, are once again revealed by the Sun.