As with most of us, I like to think the mainstream media outlets in western democratic societies are fundamentally reliable in terms of providing us with genuine proven news, along with unbiased reporting and expert analysis. Certainly the ultra conservative bias of the Murdoch media empire is obvious to all, but that in itself is no real problem, the reader or viewer can easily judge where the fact ends and loathing begins. It’s become so obvious it’s now humorous.
Of course opinion is an end-product of detailed examination, consequently opinion pieces and Letters to the Editor provide for stimulating debate.
I’ve long been a writer of letter to newspaper editors and grateful that editorial staff often see fit to print my letters. As I live in Perth, naturally the staff at the West Australian newspaper are more often burdened with my thoughts on matters important to me, than Eastern states based media. I genuinely only write if I care / see a wrong that should be rectified, or indeed a right that should be praised.
As any inveterate letter writer knows, they’re not always published – another may write of the same topic more succinctly, or perhaps the editor feels there is little public interest in continuing a debate. However for the first time, I am feeling a little uneasy about a letter of mine not being published, in fact it’s three letters, on the same topic, over three years, all written in answer to the letters of others. Normally that still wouldn’t give me any cause for reflection, however the topic happens to be Muslim people and their behaviour.
This latest occasion centres around a letter published in the West Australian on Wednesday 15th February (this week). As you will read in the copy below, the writer is overjoyed at finding some of the Muslim faith drink, personally I’m more concerned at Christian priests and ministers sexually abusing children, but it seems Muslims are the real danger to our society. But that’s not what prompted me to pen a reply to his letter.
The writer goes on, as have others in the past couple of years, to warn that Muslim men are running rampant through Germany and Sweden, molesting women. I am married to a German and my wife and I spend at least two months in Germany and Europe every year, often longer. This so called fact, is an example of fake news, it is patently incorrect, worse, it is stirring up racial and religious intolerance on a falsehood. The letter I wrote to the West Australian in response (on the same day) is as follows:
While my observations concur with Charles Hunt’s statement re Muslims drinking alcohol as apparently negotiable (as indeed is the consumption of pork for many Jewish people these days), as a frequent traveller to Germany (married to a German), I take strong issue with Mr Hunt’s assertion that drunken Muslim men are running rampant through the streets molesting women. One is far more likely to see neo-Nazis actively pursuing hatred and vitriol in the streets. My experience of Muslim men in Germany, is they are unfailingly polite and courteous, almost always offering to help women and the elderly with suitcases and shopping etc at street crossings and railway stations.
I am open to criticism that my reply may have been badly composed and there were a couple of spelling mistakes (the letter was composed on my phone), however it worries me that the West Australian seems content with printing letters from people making these assertions, (which in these uncertain times), many may choose to believe, yet they don’t appear to want a dissenting, experienced view aired. Given the orchestrated fear of Islam and Muslim people constantly created by fanatical, lunatic terrorists and governments such as the Abbott / Turnbull circus, or the increasingly bizarre President Trump, I feel saddened that mainstream media appears to be allowing the festering flames of intolerance to go unchecked.
As Paul Simon wrote in that beautiful song … “Silence like a cancer grows.”