Seems familiar…

Mmm… this story in today’s Independent seems just a little familiar

On the morning of 7 October 2006 The Sun newspaper splashed a dramatic story across its front page. The story – billed as exclusive – concerned a callous and cynical crime committed by Muslims. A team of Sun reporters described in graphic detail how what the paper labelled a “Muslim hate mob” had vandalised a house near Windsor. The Sun revealed that “vile yobs hurled bricks through windows and daubed obscenities. A message on the drive spelled out in 4ft-letters: ‘Fuck off ‘.”

The article in the Indy is an extract from a new pamphlet by Peter Oborne and James Jones entitled, ‘Muslims Under Siege: Alienating Vulnerable Communities‘, which has been published by Channel 4 to coincide with a Dispatches documentary, by Oborne, on the subject of Islamophobia; a documentary that gets its first screening tonight.

As for why the story seems a little familiar, well that’s because I covered this same story here, last October, after I picked up on a report that appeared a week after the original story, on the icBerkshire website, which contradicted The Sun’s version of events, prompting several other bloggers to keep on eye this one until The Sun published its minimal retraction the following January – just over three months after the original had been published and not the full four month cited by Oborne.

Oborne’s retrospective coverage tops mine on two counts, he found the original story from the Windsor Express, dated the day before the Sun’s first article – as far as I can tell, that story wasn’t published online – and he got a response from one of the journo’s who worked on the story, Jamie Pyatt, who claimed that ‘his contacts were under no doubt as to who vandalised the house’ but otherwise, so far as I’m aware, this is first occasion that the full story has been covered by anyone from the MSM – at the time it was only bloggers like myself, Pickled Politics, Obsolete and D-Notice (who noticed the belated correction) who covered the full story and who went public with the The Sun’s misreporting.

Now it is entirely possible that Oborne pulled together his article by working backwards from the complaint to the Press Complaints Commission that propelled the Sun into publishing its belated retraction, but its difficult to say for sure as, for all that the MSM are often in the habit of levelling charges of parasitism against bloggers, there have been enough documented cases of the MSM plagiarising material from bloggers, without either permission or attribution, to make this an open question.

  • My concern is how this bigotry holds back, impacts and mutates the needed debate about the inherently backward, violent and anti-human values that are enshrined in all the major religions, including Islam, Christianity, Judaism etc.

    A voice that challenges the basic concepts of these faiths, especially if you challenge Islam, is labelled an Islamophobe, where in reality, it’s a voice that wants a fair and reasoned analysis of the negative features of these religions.

    All in all, it’s a freedom of expression and discussion that loses out.