Monday, August 14, 2006

Racist thugs in ‘affront to society’ lock up farce

An Asian man was subjected to appalling racial violence in Edinburgh by three young thugs. They were caught, prosecuted and found guilty. The judge rebuked them harshly for their actions. BBC Scotland, the Scotsman and the Glasgow Daily Record provided similar reports shown on Google as below. Reports suggested that tough punishments had been meted out.

Racist thugs locked up for 13 years after brutal attack Scotsman, United Kingdom - Aug 11, 2006 THREE racist thugs whose savage attack on a young Asian man was described as "an affront to civilised society" were put behind bars for a total of 13 years ...

Total of 13 years for race attack BBC News, UK - Aug 11, 2006 Three young men who carried out a racist attack on an Asian man have been jailed for a total of 13 years. John Anderson, 21, got ...

RACIST THUGS CAGED Glasgow Daily Record, UK - 10 hours ago THREE racist thugs who savagely attacked an Asian man have been locked up for a total of 13 years. They left their 22-year-old victim ...

All the reports suggested that the perpetrators faced a total of 13 years in jail: “put behind bars for a total of 13 years” ... “jailed for a total of 13 years”… “have been locked up for a total of 13 years”.

Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth although the news media merely used the reporting convention that pretends that the sentence passed is the sentence to be served. This convention pulled the wool over the eyes of the public for many years about the nature of the criminal justice system. Today it merely alienates a more informed public aware of its inability to enforce change on a judicial Establishment out of touch and out of control.

How can news media change their reporting? It is not practicable for them to always include a note to the effect that less than half, sometimes much less than half of the sentence passed will actually be served. However, we should be spared the language of the reports quoted above all of which also gave the impression that the reporters considered the punishments imposed harsh if fair.

Of the three reports the Scotsman was by far the most interesting because its website contained feedback from readers.

A Cape Town reader stated: “Why say "a total of 13 years" in the title? That's a completely pointless thing to say. It really makes my blood boil. This "newspaper" gets worse all the time. Why not say, racist thugs get 4 years each in jail, for example?
It means nothing to totalise the sentences given. You are cretins, complete cretins. The thugs will be out in two years, which is 11 years of difference to what it says in your headline. Sort it out FFS.”

Ordinary citizens might be surprised that the attack took place as long ago as 1 May of last year. They will be less surprised to note that one perpetrator “had three previous convictions for assault to injury, one of which was a racial matter” and that another “had a previous conviction for assault”. The third “was a first offender at the time, although the sheriff noted he had been in trouble since.” [The Scotsman]

As Lenin said, perhaps in a different context: “What is to be done?”
BBC diversity czar’s call for reporting colour bar challenged

Civil rights group Liberty and Law has reported the BBC’s powerful editorial director of diversity to the Commission for Racial Equality following her racially charged reported comments in the Observer [13 August] about its white reporters that appear to have the backing of the corporation. It has asked CRE chair Trevor Phillips, a broadcaster himself, to intervene.

Mary Fitzpatrick is quoted as speaking of the BBC’s white international reporters in unacceptable terms: 'I get tired of repeatedly seeing programmes where [the situation is] "here we are in Africa and here's a white person, saying well, look at these people".
'I would prefer to see somebody who understands that culture, understands what's going on and can say, "look with me, because I am a part of this". It feels more authoritative and more involved.'

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup stated: “It is grossly inappropriate for Ms Fitzpatrick to attack the professional ability and credibility of fellow journalists in this way. Her remarks make it difficult to see how journalists can be treated fairly given her key role at the BBC. The BBC must act immediately to repair the damage to community relations and to its reputation as an equal opportunities employer. Its journalists must be appointed and deployed and seen to be appointed and deployed on the basis of their objective talents not on the basis of Ms Fitzpatrick ‘being tired’ or of pandering to her feelings.”

Ms Fitzpatrick also addresses domestic reporting from the same divisive communitarian perspective. She states: 'If there's a situation where the Muslim community is unhappy, you need to feel that the person that is reporting from whatever that event is, actually has some understanding.'

Observer media correspondent Rob Sharp’s understanding of Ms Fitzpatrick’s personnel philosophy is shown in two paragraphs of his report.

“The BBC's team of foreign correspondents should come from the same ethnic background as the country they are reporting from, according to the corporation's new diversity tsar. ….” and
“Fitzpatrick said that the same rule on ethnicity and reporting should be applied in the corporation's domestic coverage, and that the broadcaster should recruit more reporters who could 'confidently speak' to non-white Britons.”

Liberty and Law has successfully campaigned against racially and sexually discriminatory recruitment schemes, most recently those adopted by Avon and Somerset and Gloucestershire Police Services.

It continues to press the CRE and EOC to conclude their investigations into the Metropolitan Police Service’s publicised policy of discriminating against white males by selectively delaying their start dates.


BBC correspondents abroad 'too white', Rob Sharp, Observer 13 August 2006,,1843598,00.html