Our free and fearless press is hot on anti-Semitism. We saw this in its pursuit of what was claimed to be anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, although few stopped and asked themselves how a party led until last year by Ed Miliband could, within a few months, come over all anti-Semitic. But the point stood - the press picks up on anti-Semitism, calls it out, exposes it, subjecting those it accuses to the full glare of publicity.
Steve Bannon: behaviour excused by the press
Or maybe not: the British press is not so keen on calling out anti-Semitism when it happens in the USA, and on the right. Then, it is toned down, made more acceptable. Thus when Donald Trump chose Breitbart head man Steve Bannon to be his chief strategist, the Mail described him as “Ex-Goldman Sachs banker turned Breitbart News exec whose ex-wife claimed he didn't want his daughters 'going to school with Jews’”.
The “going to school with Jews” remark is OK because he’s an “Ex-Goldman Sachs banker”. Bannon is not really an anti-Semite, you see. Likewise, in the USA Newt Gingrich explained away Bannon’s behaviour by saying he could not be anti-Semitic as he had worked in Hollywood. Equating Goldman Sachs and Hollywood to Jews is one of the oldest anti-Semitic tropes, and there is our fearless press lapping it up.
You think I jest? Anti-Semitism gets one mention in the article, and readers are immediately told that Bannon has denied it. Likewise, the Murdoch Sun has merely mentioned that Bannon has been accused of anti-Semitism, as well as glossing over his being a White Nationalist. Some in Britain might not know what that means. They should get clued up: it means the racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic extreme right.
It means intolerance, guns, bigotry, and turning the clock back. It explains more easily the endorsement of Trump by the KKK. But in the UK, there is one alleged journalist who is more than happy to welcome Bannon’s presence, and that of The Donald: step forward Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, who claims in an article for the Murdoch Times that those opposing Trump and Bannon are the real bigots.
Sadly, Mel sells the pass in no style at all when she rants about “the anti-white racism of Black Lives Matter”. Wanting African-Americans to enjoy the same rights and status as their white neighbours, including their treatment by law enforcement agencies, is simply revised to become “anti-white racism”. And all she can say about Breitbart is that it “Exposes Islamist violence and intimidation”. The reality is somewhat different.
Breitbart invents and distorts to create the impression of Islamist violence. It is effectively a mouthpiece for white supremacists. The Jewish Telegraph Agency has warned of “5 things Jews need to know about Trump’s chief strategist”. The Anti-Defamation League has strongly opposed Bannon’s appointment. Yet we have a Jewish voice in a supposedly mainstream newspaper telling us it’s all the Left’s fault, and won’t be a problem.
Not long ago, the press in Britain had no problem calling out the National Front, the BNP, the EDL, Britain First, and all the other bigots. Now that Steve Bannon - arguably peddling something rather more extreme - gets a job with someone the right-leaning part of them likes, it is all toned down, or even excused and declared acceptable.
The UK press’ dereliction of duty over Bannon is disgraceful. No change there, then.