Liberal war media let rip over Paris, IS and ‘defence of civilization’

Doesn’t the heart surge to hear crusading Western liberals warn of the ‘existential threat’ from Islamic State and the call for ‘dutiful military responses’? And all in the name of ‘our civilizational values’.

Some, like arch-neocon Douglas Murray peddle their ultra-zealous message with undisguised hostility for Islam. Others, like Paul Mason, try to dress-up the case for Western militarism in more faux left tones, warning, again, about that looming ‘threat to our civilization’.

And there’s always Jonathan Freedland’s cloying pitch for the war agenda. His latest is an invocation of the “grey zone” (read, liberal comfort zone) of ‘civilized coexistence’, while lamenting the West’s “inaction” and ‘lost opportunity’ to attack Syria in 2013.

It’s all too typical of the Guardian. In the immediate hours after the Paris attacks, reactionary views on the need for civil clampdowns and revenge bombing filled the airwaves. In contrast, we now belatedly learn, the Guardian spiked any critical comment suggesting that the attacks might be causally linked to Western aggressions in the Middle East.

At least we have the ‘resolute impartiality’ of the BBC to rely on. Or that, presumably, is how we’re expected to understand the monologue rantings of This Week’s Andrew Neil, almost quivering with hubris as he invoked the greats of French philosophical thought, in his lambasting of IS as ‘Islamist scumbags’.

andrew neil

Missing from Neil’s list of French greats and achievements was Frantz Fanon, (born on the French colony of Martinique, 1925). If only that fine voice of resistance to decades of French oppression in Algeria was here today surveying France’s ongoing colonialist interventions and the tragic fallout of IS violence.

In taking apart the myth of BBC leftism, Mehdi Hasan notes how Neil’s Thatcherite presence has loomed large over the corporation for decades now. As David Edwards records, Neil also stated on his Daily Politics show in 2005: “We went to Iraq to make it a better place.”

Yet, this warmongering right-winger has been roundly commended for his This Week performance, not only by ‘classic liberals’ and Tories like Toby Young and Dan Hodges, but by a chorus of  ‘celebrity liberals’, from Richard Dawkins to Stephen Fry to Piers Morgan.

Thankfully, writer Bea Campbell provided some rational objection to Neil’s crude invocation of Enlightenment figures. But doesn’t it say so much about the poverty of intellectual thought these days that ideological carpetbaggers like Neil can command this kind of applause and adulation for wallowing in such bathos?

And with the default media and political rush to embrace ‘France’, the reactionary liberal finds even safer platforms to wage more ‘civilized war’:

In “How to be a Western liberal in an age of terror”, Stephen Daisley, STV’s digital political correspondent, pours forth in another such rant:

What we need as keenly as military might is civilisational confidence. […]It’s time to get a little less dainty and a lot less squeamish. We are already deploying drones and extra-judicial killing; we should be prepared to extend the use of these techniques where necessary. As we eliminate the hard infrastructure of Islamism, we will need to target its softer furnishings: Hate preachers and inciters should face deportation or the loss of British nationality, as applicable. Intelligence gathering and policing will become more intensive and at times intrusive but we must take care to cabin this to counter-terrorism. There will be difficult decisions on how we go about identifying suspects, how long we may detain them, and the conduct of interrogations. None of these are easy questions; some make me very uncomfortable. We are fortunate to be rich and privileged and alive. We don’t get to be innocent too. [Emphasis added.]

Here speaks the voice of the ‘liberal hawk’. That’s not an oxymoron, just a fair reading of how people like Daisley profess their ‘Western civilized values’ through a chest-beating desire for ‘moral vengeance’ and more illegal murder.

One can only presume that STV know Daisley is peddling such virulence on an STV site.

Daisley is also, unsurprisingly, a dedicated apologist for Israel’s mass crimes, and a vanguard liberal voice on the ‘perilous dangers’ of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘anti-Semitic associations’.

If nothing else, it all helps dispel the facile notion of the ‘objective journalist’, as so often peddled by news organisations.

Just don’t try saying anything truly challenging of such media or the establishment power structure. Amid all the live correspondence from Paris, which BBC or other ‘objective’ reporter would dare raise the truths of France’s and the West’s dark culpabilities in creating the space for IS to emerge?

In an act of true, independent journalism, Glenn Greenwald has alerted us to the case of reporter Elise Labott, suspended by CNN for sending an innocuous tweet about US refusal to admit refugees fleeing the conflict. As Greenwald documents, many more journalists have met similar career fates for daring to editorialise with words and sentiments decidedly ‘off-message’ for their corporate employers and political overseers.

One Twitter message summarises it perfectly:

If you’re sympathetic to the weak, it’s activist journalism. If you’re sympathetic to the powerful, it’s objective journalism.

As Greenwald says, “No truer tweet has even been written”.

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