I never watch the TV news, but this morning I needed some background noise so put on Sky News for ten minutes. The topic at hand when I switched it on was the Rohingyas, and the reporter appeared to be firmly in the pay of a professional lobby group hired to make their case.
The camera hovered around a muddy creek and what they hoped to portray as a huge crowd of desperate refugees, but you could tell it was no more than a hundred people. Yes, they were using some not-so-clever framing to deceive us. The presenter spoke with that incredibly annoying “mournful voice” which has become the norm whenever skinny brown people are shown on the news, telling us the people fear for their lives. The camera zoomed in on a youth in military uniform as the presenter told us this soldier “might” be from the same group that massacred a bunch of Rohingyas earlier in the day. The claim of slaughter was presented as corroborated fact.
The presenter told us the people had walked for days, desperately fleeing Burmese soldiers. But their clothes looked awfully clean and they seemed to have plenty of energy left. A bloke started handing out some sort of biscuits from a small box and a clamour went up. The presenter told us “this is what starvation looks like”. None of the people looked as though they were starving. They focused on “an eighty year old woman” who had walked a long way and could barely stand. Cue plenty of hamming it up for the camera. Then they switched to a woman who had given birth on the road, zooming in on a baby that looked a few months old. The woman complained she’d had no help and no medicine. Do the ordinary Burmese or Bangladeshis get either? The presenter told us the refugees were all women and young children because the men had been slaughtered. There was a time when journalists, upon hearing such a story, would have checked out the mass graves and interviewed survivors, but nowadays they just tell us a story and expect us to believe it. Of course, having heard the same stories emerge from Syria only to find these slaughtered men re-appear as child refugees at the docks in Dover, nobody does any more. Lastly, we were told of a woman whose legs had been blown off by a landmine. Now I’m no expert, but she didn’t look like someone whose legs had just been blown off by a landmine. For a start, she still had her legs. Also, she wasn’t screaming her head off. They carried her in a blanket across the creek where they found an MSF doctor “just by chance” who saved her. Presumably he had a full combat trauma theatre on standby just in case. At that point I switched it off.
The presenters must know they’re peddling absolute bullshit, that’s beyond doubt. What they probably haven’t realised is no-one is buying it any more except the permanently gullible who by tomorrow will be pushing Theresa May to start bombing Yangon.
Over the sixteen years since September 11 2001 the media campaign of denial and deflection regarding Islamic-inspired atrocities has had a predictable result.
Which is why I’m hearing sentiments along these lines:
I no longer care in the slightest whatever happens to Muslims, anywhere in the world, and quite a large number of other people feel that same way, too. With justification. Frankly, a dose of “ethnic cleansing” in Burma sounds like a fine idea.
I wrote some time ago about the dangers of forcing people to take sides, and we now seem to have arrived where our betters have led us. Unfortunately, it’s a different destination from the one they thought.
(This post from the Gates of Vienna blog is also worth a read. H/T Bardon)