Friday, 30 October 2015

Media reporting of the Swedish neo-Nazi killer and other white extremists

Appropriately grisly subject matter for Halloween. I have written before about how the media reports of racially motivated murders when the assailant is white. Here are some more case studies:

A week ago (23rd Oct 2015) a Swedish terrorist stabbed a teacher and pupil to death while 2 others are in hospital recovering from wounds. It was deemed a neo-Nazi hate crime by the police and given little coverage by the mainstream. It has sharply fallen off the agenda since. This happened in a town where mosques were burnt down in the 90s. Imagine it was white majority churches.

How many would remember the attacker's name or even the incident itself?
How much profile does the media give acts of extremism when the perpetrator is white? Researching this article has proved a lot harder than you'd think for a story about a Nazi violence only a week old.

Some analysis of the narrative:


The terrorist motives are clearly being softened. They emphasise the killer's mask being like Star Wars character Darth Vader which is firstly inaccurate and secondly not as attention-worthy as the true intention behind the crime. This trivalises a terrible act. The mask actually represents his own perverse tribute to the Nazi storm-troopers. They also did not specify which ethnicity he targeted. Minority lives don't matter in their agenda.

 Dog-whistle site for sinister bigots, Breitbart implied the school of mainly migrants deserved attacking with this divide and conquer headline:


There is a similar narrative from Daily Beast. Another terrorist Dylann Roof, murdered 9 black people at a Charleston, SC church in another racially motivated act of terror. DB acknowledge he was a white supremacist contradicting their initial defence of him based on superficial Facebook journalism.


In the aftermath there was extensive burning of black churches which you would think would be major news. The UK TV outlets that covered the killing did not broadcast any of this. Too much truth for Middle England let alone Middle America.


Michael Brown, the black teenage police victim in the incident which sparked the Ferguson riots was even compared unfavourably to white serial killer Ted Bundy by the relatively liberal New York Times. The lengths the media go to provide this good/evil judgements contributes to a racial landscape that sees significant funds raised for the killer policeman and rallies in support of him.

The black shooter in Virginia never received such a defence from the same publication:


It seems the media pick and choose who they apologise for. How can the killer have played the 'race card' when his former employers settled out-of-court on his lawsuit, effectively acknowledgement of  his claim of discrimination.

Based on such evidence, it is hard to defend Daily Beast against accusations of racism in the reporting of killers. There is growing evidence that this exists at multiple media organisations, including unsurprisingly Fox News but even the liberal news outlets mentioned. Tim McVeigh was afforded this measured humanising piece from the Washington Post in 1995. How many of us even know who Tim McVeigh was? The only terrorist who saw proper US judicial process after killing 168 people including 19 children.

Even the justice system seems to have a problem. This is the shocking case of a US cop who executed a black man and was given immunity.

The Huffington Post do a brilliant synopsis of the whole issue:






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