Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Sun's editorial(s) on Norway

In the aftermath of the tragic events in Norway on Friday, several media outlets began to speculate as to who was responsible and, predictably, fingers were pointed at Muslims.

The front page of Saturday's Financial Times referred to 'Islamist extremism fears', while the Sun mentioned a 'homegrown al-Qaeda convert' and a 'homegrown Islamic convert' in its coverage:

(Every British national newspaper put this atrocity on the front page on Saturday except the Mail and the Express. What stories did they consider more important? The Mail went with '150 human hybrids grown in UK labs', while the Express led on 'Cleared: Man who killed burglar'. They also included a story on their front pages about the exhibiting of the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress at Buckingham Palace.)

But if you visit the Sun's website, it will appear that yesterday's editorial about events in Norway read:

Norway's pain

Carnage in a city centre. A massacre at an island youth rally.

Terrorism brought slaughter yesterday to the friendly and civilised streets of one of Europe's most peaceful nations.


The Sun and its readers grieve today with the people of Norway, stunned by the assault on their capital Oslo and the island of Utoya.


How well we remember, from London's 7/7, the shock and misery when an ordinary summer's day turns into a nightmare of smoke, flames and bodies in the street.


Just as on 9/11 in New York and in Madrid in 2004, horror came when everyone least expected it.


The gentle nation best known for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize suffered its most violent attack since World War Two.


But neither al-Qaeda nor any other extremist group has exclusive rights to murder and mayhem.


The picture emerging in Norway last night was of one blond-haired, blue-eyed man being behind the Oslo bombing AND the island camp massacre.


Acts of terror can be an easy resort for any loner who believes their own personal grievance against the state is justification for indiscriminate violence.


Take Timothy McVeigh, a US Army veteran whose warped world view was all the reason he needed to kill 168 innocent people in the Oklahoma bombing in 1995.


Or Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who waged a 17-year mail bombing campaign that left three dead and many more injured because he didn't like modern American life.


Whatever the "reason" behind the terrible attack on Norway, whoever is responsible shares one thing in common with all terrorists.


Their evil is matched only by their cowardice.


Today, sympathies lie with Norway, our loyal friend and trading partner across the North Sea for centuries.


We share their pain. We salute their courage.

But for readers of the print version of the newspaper, the editorial looked quite different. The sections in bold are the words removed from the current online version:

Stand strong with Norway


Carnage in a city centre. A massacre at an island youth rally.


Terrorism, the scourge of the West, brought slaughter yesterday to the friendly and civilised streets of one of Europe's most peaceful nations.


The Sun and its readers grieve today with the people of Norway, stunned by the assault on their capital Oslo and the island of Utoya.


How well we remember, from London's 7/7, the shock and misery when an ordinary summer's day turns into a nightmare of smoke, flames and bodies in the street.


Just as on 9/11 in New York and in Madrid in 2004, horror came when everyone least expected it.


Why Norway? The answer is simple.


Because it is brave. It is a loyal member of NATO and plays its part in Afghanistan and Libya.


It has courageously stood up to Muslim fanatics trying to stir up hatred in Norway, where Islam is the second largest religion.


Recently it refused a grant to an Islamic leader demanding that those who did not observe Ramadan should be decapitated.


By daring to oppose terrorism, Norway has become a victim of it.


Attack


The gentle nation best known for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize suffered its most violent attack since World War Two.


We do not know if yesterday was the work of al-Qaeda, which has threatened Norway before, or Libyan madman Gaddafi, who has vowed revenge on NATO. Last night one extremist Islamic group had already claimed responsibility.


The lesson for us are clear.


Osama Bin Laden may be dead. But the tentacles of al-Qaeda, and groups linked to it, spread deep into the heart of Western nations.


That is why our security cannot be relaxed, especially with the London Olympics only a year away.


The Government must keep its promise to change the law so our judges can no longer free terror suspects on human rights grounds.


Muslim hate preachers must be arrested, as the law allows. We need the decent Muslim majority to help stop their impressionable young men being recruited as bombers.


We must find every penny our security services need.


We must ask ourselves whether – like Norway – we offer too cushy a life to bogus asylum seekers.


And we must recognise that quitting Afghanistan with the job only half-finished will put Britain in peril.


But neither al-Qaeda nor any other extremist group has exclusive rights to murder and mayhem.


The picture emerging in Norway last night was of one blond-haired, blue-eyed man being behind the Oslo bombing AND the island camp massacre.


Acts of terror can be an easy resort for any loner who believes their own personal grievance against the state is justification for indiscriminate violence.


Take Timothy McVeigh, a US Army veteran whose warped world view was all the reason he needed to kill 168 innocent people in the Oklahoma bombing in 1995.


Or Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who waged a 17-year mail bombing campaign that left three dead and many more injured because he didn't like modern American life.


Whatever the "reason" behind the terrible attack on Norway, whoever is responsible shares one thing in common with all terrorists.


Their evil is matched only by their cowardice.


Today, sympathies lie with Norway, our loyal friend and trading partner across the North Sea for centuries.


We share their pain. We salute their courage.


So despite admitting they did 'not know' if al-Qaeda was reponsible, they put ''Al-Qaeda' massacre' on the front page anyway.

This version of the editorial has been deleted from the Sun's website and the 'new' version contains no mention of the fact it has been amended.

(Post updated following Terry's comment to correct the Duchess of Cambridge's title.)

38 comments:

  1. You are performing a public service. Keep it up.

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  2. Leave it to The Sun to drag asylum seekers into this.

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  3. I agree with Charlie, what you blog about is so important because it notes how papers can tell such blatant falsehoods and lies. I think many people were guilty of assuming this was the work of Islamic extremists but no, this man was (it appears) a Christian extremist. I think he'll be singled out as a lone wolf though, if this turns out to be the case, not as an example of how bloodthirsty Christianity can be...

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  4. Top stuff. They bend with the slightest breeze. Thank you for the good work.

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  5. To be fair, the Guardian also had a page three story blaming al-queda. I wonder if that's also been redacted from their website

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  6. The Guardian hasn't got clean hands over this either. This piece exposes their own revisionism: http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/editorial/oslo-attacks-analyst/

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  7. I am pretty sure in london and this was on my way to work that morning.. Sun's front page had removed that AL qaeda thing

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  8. Wow... From what I've read about this guy, fears about Muslims, immigration and adherence to the propaganda of right-wing extremists are what this guy claim are the reasons for his actions. The Sun initially responds to this by... spreading more of the same hateful propaganda and misinformation. The mindset that led to their initial claims is the same mindset that this terrorist claims to hold.

    I don't think it's too much hyperbole to suggest that The Sun itself is perhaps part of the problem that led to this tragedy. Let's just hope that the right-wing extremists in the UK (many of whom will probably have read the hate-filled original but not the amended, factual piece) don't decide to follow suit.

    I also note, with sadness but no surprise, that while they were quick to suggest that Islam was to blame for the attack, they don't even mention that Breivik is a self-identified Christian. As ever, it seems OK to claim that over a billion Muslims are terrorists, but it's apparently wrong to suggest that Christians have their own lunatics.

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  9. Orwellian in their deceit.

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  10. Interesting the way The Sun original editorial ranted on about "al-Qaeda, and groups linked to it..." and then went on to write that no body knows whether they had anything to do with the tradegies in Norway. I know that Editorials allow for some personal views to be portrayed, but this Editorial was blatantly inflammatory. As we know know there was no link between the Norwegian who has admitted the bombing and shootings and for a National newspaper to even allude to it (without knowing the true facts) is just wrong.

    Actually, the Editorial in the print edition of The Sun reminds me somewhat of the coverage led by Sky News' Kay Burley in the immediate aftermath of the bombing in Oslo.

    Interesting that!

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  11. No lessons learned from Hillsborough then. Let's talk no longer about pariah states, more pariah corporations.

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  12. Do you think execs at The Sun use 1984 as a training manual? Nothing like a good bit of rewriting past articles and pretending they were never published to pass the time of day.

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  13. Thanks for pointing this out. I agree with Charlie, keep it up.

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  14. "Princess Catherine's wedding dress"

    Only a tiny point - but the hatchet-faced gold-digger is still just a duchess, not a princess.

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  15. Well done, excellent service, also truly shocking bigotry on top of already horrific story

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  16. I glanced at the headlines on saturday morning, after it had been revealed the man was a right wing christian and was scratching my head in disbelief at the anti-muslim angle. Good post. I hope a big apology is on the way.

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  17. Morally speaking, this sort of poisonous misinformation is every bit as scandalous as phone hacking.

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  18. Thank you all for your very kind comments about the blog.

    Thanks Terry - I have now corrected her title.

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  19. Christian extremist - blame the individual. Muslim extremist - blame the religion. Gotta love hypocrisy

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  20. Billy Bragg's wonderful "Scousers Never Buy The Sun" is a strong hint to us all. http://vimeo.com/26203800

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  21. Well done for this and keep it up.

    As an LFC supporter I wish more than most that the disgusting rag would disappear forever, unfortunately I fear it's readership (picture viewers) will keep on buying regardless of how cancerous it is.

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  22. Bob said...
    'Christian extremist - blame the individual. Muslim extremist - blame the religion. Gotta love hypocrisy'

    I don't think he is a Christian extremist. He is a psychopath who has used a number of themes to justify his attack. This is different to a Muslim extremist who uses a fundamental and literal interpretation of the Koran to justify his attacks.

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  23. Interesting to look at today's front pages. Six of the national dailies lead with this, three with the death of Amy Winehouse and the Express with some bobbins about pensions!

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  24. The Express couldn't care less about events abroad unless it is an unelected dictator in Brussels forcing us all to eat our own children.

    They care even less about Norway as it's a Liberal lefty country and they care even less again about this story as it wasn't Muslims who carried it out and there were no British people killed. The paper appeals to the very littlest of little Englanders and it's proud of that fact.

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  25. Thanks to your work here. I posted a brief comment piece linking to Tabloid Watch here: http://mondoweiss.net/2011/07/scourge-of-the-west-murdoch-sheet-shifts-its-bogeyman.html

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  26. I've just done a word seach on "Anders/Breivik Melanie/Philips" and guess what? Brievik's manifesto quotes her extensively. What a surprise!

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  27. gezr said:

    "I don't think he is a Christian extremist. He is a psychopath who has used a number of themes to justify his attack. This is different to a Muslim extremist who uses a fundamental and literal interpretation of the Koran to justify his attacks."

    So, let me see if I understand this clearly. Anders Breivik wasn't a Christian terrorist, he was just a psychopath, whereas a Muslin terrorist is, by definition, a product of a literal interpretation of the Koran.

    Well, hello Richard Littlejohn. Fancy meeting you here!

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  28. Anonymous I will ignore your pathetic slur and address facts. Do you have proof there was a singular ideology behind his attacks e.g. fundamental christianity?

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  29. gezr said:

    “Do you have proof there was a singular ideology behind his attacks e.g. fundamental Christianity?”

    And do you have proof that there was a singular ideology behind Osama bin Laden's attacks, e.g.,
    Islamic fundamentalism?

    No, of course you don't.

    Face the fact. You're a bigot who's trying to assert that all Muslin terrorists are the sole product of a literal interpretation of the Koran, while simultaneously maintaining that Anders Breivik's murderous Crusade had nothing to do with Christianity at all.

    Biased much? As Bob said:

    "Christian extremist - blame the individual. Muslim extremist - blame the religion. Gotta love hypocrisy."

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  30. Anonymous, Islamic terrorism is driven by an ideology based on a literal interpretation of the Koran to justify their actions. It appears Breivik justified his actions around racism, nationalism and other themes including some Christian themes. To identify him as a Christian extremist is short-sighted and does nothing understand his motives, however perverse they may be.

    You seem to have got your knickers in a twist and gone into smear mode with a hastily constructed straw-man argument. I am not suggesting Christian themes were not used by Breivik and I am not blaming Islam or Muslims for the actions of the few. I think the term Muslim or Islamic terrorist / extremist defines their ideological purpose. Again I ask what else are they using to justify murder?

    I would ask you to be civil and think about it a bit.

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  31. gezr said...

    “Anonymous, Islamic terrorism is driven by an ideology based on a literal interpretation of the Koran to justify their actions.

    It appears Breivik justified his actions around racism, nationalism and other themes including some Christian themes. To identify him as a Christian extremist is short-sighted and does nothing understand his motives, however perverse they may be.”

    What's perverse is your attempt to blame the Koran for Muslim terrorism, while simultaneously distance Breivik from Christianity, even though Breivik considered himself a Christian crusader.

    gezr said...

    “You seem to have got your knickers in a twist and gone into smear mode with a hastily constructed straw-man argument.”

    On the contrary. If you look back at my posts you will see that my argument has remained exactly the same. As Bob said:

    "Christian extremist - blame the individual. Muslim extremist - blame the religion. Gotta love hypocrisy."

    gezr said...

    “I am not suggesting Christian themes were not used by Breivik and I am not blaming Islam or Muslims for the actions of the few.”

    But that's exactly what you are suggesting, and you prove it with your next statement, which reads, “I think the term Muslim or Islamic terrorist / extremist defines their ideological purpose. Again I ask what else are they using to justify murder?”

    So what your saying is that if a Muslim or Islamic terrorist/extremist commits some atrocity then they are doing it for ideological reasons based on a fundamental reading of the Koran. However, if a self confessed Christian does exactly the same thing... it's for completely different reasons, and has little to do with Christianity at all!!!

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  32. Anonymous said...

    "So what your saying is that if a Muslim or Islamic terrorist/extremist commits some atrocity then they are doing it for ideological reasons based on a fundamental reading of the Koran. However, if a self confessed Christian does exactly the same thing... it's for completely different reasons, and has little to do with Christianity at all!!!"

    Except gezr is arguing that it isn't exactly the same thing because Islamic terrorists are doing it for ideological reasons based SOLELY on a fundamental reading of the Koran, whereas Breivik appears to base his ideology on a smorgasbord of ideas INCLUDING BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY Christian ones.

    C'mon, it really wasn't that hard to understand what he meant, you appear to be just looking for an argument here.

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  33. Anonymous said...

    "What's perverse is your attempt to blame the Koran for Muslim terrorism, while simultaneously distance Breivik from Christianity, even though Breivik considered himself a Christian crusader."

    Again you seem to be getting your knickers in a twist or are being deliberately mendacious. I have not advocated either of the above. I stated Muslim extremists use a literal interpretation to justify their actions. This singular theme is not obvious with Breivik hence to call him a Christian extremist is simplistic. It ignores important factors such as racism, nationalism and far-right tendencies that must be addressed.

    Anonymous said...

    "On the contrary. If you look back at my posts you will see that my argument has remained exactly the same. As Bob said:

    "Christian extremist - blame the individual. Muslim extremist - blame the religion. Gotta love hypocrisy." "

    ...and I maintain that this is simplistic and divisive. I do not believe he is a christian extremist as I have already explained. Equally I agree there are many who wrongfully tar all muslims with the action of a few.

    Anonymous said...

    "But that's exactly what you are suggesting, and you prove it with your next statement, which reads, “I think the term Muslim or Islamic terrorist / extremist defines their ideological purpose. Again I ask what else are they using to justify murder?”"

    I prove nothing of the sort. Perhaps if you take time to read what I have said carefully. The term muslim extremist merely identifies their source of ideology. This term in no way denigrates the whole religion.

    Anonymous said...

    "So what your saying is that if a Muslim or Islamic terrorist/extremist commits some atrocity then they are doing it for ideological reasons based on a fundamental reading of the Koran. However, if a self confessed Christian does exactly the same thing... it's for completely different reasons, and has little to do with Christianity at all!!!"

    No a muslim extremist may commit his acts for a number of reasons but importantly he justifies his actions of his perceived or instructed interpretation of the Koran. Again you try and simplify this and you seem almost determined to label the nutjob a christian terrorist. This smacks of the bigotry you are so quick to smear people with.

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  34. Robbert said...

    Anonymous said...

    "So what your saying is that if a Muslim or Islamic terrorist/extremist commits some atrocity then they are doing it for ideological reasons based on a fundamental reading of the Koran. However, if a self confessed Christian does exactly the same thing... it's for completely different reasons, and has little to do with Christianity at all!!!"

    Except gezr is arguing that it isn't exactly the same thing because Islamic terrorists are doing it for ideological reasons based SOLELY on a fundamental reading of the Koran, whereas Breivik appears to base his ideology on a smorgasbord of ideas INCLUDING BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY Christian ones.

    C'mon, it really wasn't that hard to understand what he meant, you appear to be just looking for an argument here."

    Robbert, is isn't hard to understand what gezr means, both your statement and mine are in agreement and sum it up completely. I am not disputing/misunderstanding what gezr has said, what I am complaining about is the intent behind it.

    Let me try and explain further. It is clear that Anders Breivik's actions were motivated by many issues, including his support for far-right Zionism, a hatred of Islam and multicultural society and also a desire to destroy, what he calls “cultural Marxism”. It's also no coincidence that July 22, the day Breivik carried out his attacks, is also the date in 1099 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem was established during the First Crusades, therefore, tying into his rather unhealthy obsession with the Knights Templar.

    The mistake gezr makes, however, is that he states that Islamic/Muslim terrorists are, in contract to Anders Breivik, not influenced by anything else, but a fundamentalist reading of the Koran.

    That is completely wrong, because what this is to do it to grant Breivik a degree of individuality, while in contrast de-individualising Islamic/Muslim terrorists into an undifferentiated mass, robotically acting out a 'back to basics' version of the Koran.

    The fact is that neither the Bible or the Koran are manuals for terrorism. As with Breivik, there are a whole series of Influences acting on your average Islamic/Muslim terrorist to make him do what he does, completely outside anything the Koran has to offer.

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  35. gezr said...

    “a muslim extremist may commit his acts for a number of reasons but importantly he justifies his actions of his perceived or instructed interpretation of the Koran.”

    On 6th July 2006, Bradford born Shehzad Tanweer, one of the 7/7 bombers posted a video that stated, 'what you have witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger until you pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq. And until you stop your financial and military support to America and Israel.'

    This means that Tanweer, like Anders Breivik, also provided various reasons as to why he acted as he did, so what's the difference between these two terrorists, except that one's a Christian and the other an Islamist?

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  36. Anonymous, your continued insistence to not actually understand or ignore what I have said smacks of idiocy or you are troll. Robert managed to get in one, yet you claim his statement is in agreement with yours, but he is repeating in nice simple terms for you what I have said!?!??!

    I think

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  37. gezr said...

    “Anonymous, your continued insistence to not actually understand or ignore what I have said smacks of idiocy or you are troll.

    Robert managed to get in one, yet you claim his statement is in agreement with yours, but he is repeating in nice simple terms for you what I have said!?!??!

    I think”

    Here's what you said on 25th July:

    “I don't think he is a Christian extremist. He is a psychopath who has used a number of themes to justify his attack. This is different to a Muslim extremist who uses a fundamental and literal interpretation of the Koran to justify his attacks.”

    Then, on 27 July, your last post amends this to say:

    “a muslim extremist may commit his acts for a number of reasons but importantly he justifies his actions of his perceived or instructed interpretation of the Koran.”

    This I agree with, indeed, a Muslim extremist may commit his acts for a number of reasons, as was also the case with Christian extremist Anders Breivik.

    What I still don't agree with, however, is the idea that the two should be treated differently. If someone who justifies his terrorism on the basis of his interpretation of the Koran plus other reasons, is a “Muslim extremist,” then, surely, someone who justifies his terrorism on the basis of his interpretation of the Bible plus other reasons, is a “Christian extremist.” Either both are religious extremists, or neither are.

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  38. I'm a Muslim, so I may be a little biased in this...

    "Islamic terrorism is driven by an ideology based on a literal interpretation of the Koran to justify their actions."

    I just wished people would actually try to understand the Quran before just rehashing what others say. A lot of the bombing "Muslims" only manage to justify their actions from the Quran by taking single sentences out of context.

    In the Quran we have a complete verse that just says:

    "A punishment onto those who pray." (107:4)

    I've never heard anyone argue that Muslims shouldn't pray, because we are told to pray many times.

    The same is true of those who take bits of verses out of context and say "The Quran tells us to kill the disbelievers wherever we find them".

    If you're in the UK, it might be worth watching the last part of "The Life of Muhammad" - still on iplayer until Monday evening.

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