Hard News by Russell Brown

Left Wing Liberal Evil

As some readers will doubtless be aware, I have a status amongst many members of the local right-wing blogosphere as the very symbol of Left Wing Liberal Evil.

Given that I'm a director of two small companies and have an interest in another, I write for two business magazines (and am in fact the Magazine Publishers Association's - ahem - business columnist of the year); that I deal with commercial sponsors and advertisers; and that I'm really quite keen on selling stuff for money, I find it quite amusing when they refer to me (and they do) as a "fundamentalist leftie" (and thus "more dangerous" than an Islamic fundamentalist) and a member of the "extreme left".

Well, I guess that if they're obsessing about me they're not drooling on anyone else, so whatever …

But it gets even sillier. There's a "non partisan" blog called NZ Media Bias where some of them gather to hold the "MSM" (and more particularly the likes of me) to account. Well, that's the plan, anyway. The site actually seems to have become a place for them to gather and mightily embarrass themselves.

This Kiwiblog thread sees some of the sillier utterances unravelled, but I think the latest post there warrants highlighting in its own right. Take it away, Jason:

New Zealanders have been done a huge dis-service. You could be excused for arriving at the conclusion that without provocation, Australian louts set about to violently beat anyone that had an Arab appearance. The Main Stream Media certainly implied, even stated this was the case.

But the truth of the matter was radically different, in fact so different that it is surprising this could have been overlooked.

If the MSM of New Zealand had it's way, you wouldn't remember in February of this year when an Australian woman was violently gang-raped by Lebanese-Australian youth, one of them reportedly said to her that she was about to be "f----- Leb-style" and that this was happening because she was "an Australian pig".

Gangs of Middle Eastern men have been committing crimes, motivated first by racial issues, against other Australians, reportedly this crime wave is at epidemic levels, with seemingly random acts of violence targeted at any non-Muslim Australian.

These were the things we weren't told, at best these issues were glanced over, at worst we were deliberately misled, you decide.

He's right, you know: the dirty "MSM" didn't report that crime in February of this year. BUT THAT WOULD BE BECAUSE THE CRIME TOOK PLACE IN 2000. The quotes emerged in the 2002 trial of the Lebanese gangsters responsible for a series of vicious rapes in Sydney in 2000 and 2001.

The case - which culminated in an unprecedented 55-year sentence for the ringleader - was reported by the "MSM" in 2002. Indeed, as anyone with even a passing familiarity with the case would know, it was reported more extensively than any comparable case before or since.

Should we be charitable and assume that he just got the date wrong by five years but was contending that the gang rapes have been ignored in the current reporting? That's completely wrong too, as a simple Google News search shows. And, yes the evil New Zealand evil "MSM" mentioned it. Here's the New Zealand Herald story from Monday.

But it's easy to see how Jason could have become confused: if you Google those phrases, you will find page after page after page of sweaty right-wing blogs (and the occasional Mark Steyn column) using virtually identical language to make the equation Muslim = Rapist.

I've actually been trying to find some data that might illuminate the persistent "Muslim rape" meme, but all I've come up with is one other case, from 2002, involving a 27 year-old Pakistan-born Australian resident who committed rapes of young girls in June and July of that year. He subsequently said that he committed at least one rape because the girl was not wearing traditional Muslim dress (and was thus of low morals), but I wonder if that was some sort of defence tactic: his lawyer described him as "a cultural time-bomb". Meaning that the poor chap couldn't help it, presumably …

That was a very nasty crime, but hardly an isolated one in Australia in the intervening years (the overall rate of sexual offending in Australia has been much higher than New Zealand's for quite a long time now). That it can still be used to smear an entire ethnic and religious community - and to justify racist attacks on that community - says something about the people saying it.

I actually think the author of the post isn't a bad guy, and he faces some personal challenges. But as a demonstration of the rank idiocy generated in the right-wing echo chamber, this takes some beating. He needs to find some new friends.

The SMH continues to run good, extensive coverage of the violence in Cronulla and elsewhere, including this digest from online discussion forums in which both "Anglos" and Australian Muslims lament the actions of thugs on both sides. Unfortunately, racial attacks appear to have spread to Perth and Adelaide. And more racist text messages calling for vigilante action against " grease ball monkeys" are circulating. A Cronulla man beaten in retaliatory violence by Lebanese gangsters on Monday night has, however, pleaded for everyone to calm down.

Those of you who find Leighton Smith annoying might care to peruse this story about the racist rabble-rousing conducted by ugly - but hugely popular - Australian talkback host Alan Jones in the days leading up to the riot. It's fair to say that anyone who said what Jones said on New Zealand radio would not have been on air the next day. "Cheeky darkie" it ain't.

Janet Albrechtensen in The Australian makes the point that there has been a problem with ethnic Middle Eastern gangs harassing women at the same beach, but that does not justify lynch-mob violence. (And when a group of white thugs chases an innocent brown man chanting "String him up!", yes I think it's fair to use the phrase "lynch-mob violence".)

Anyway, there's a story on Philip Anchutz, the owner of Walden Media, Disney's joint production partner in Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which I think makes too much of the religious conservative angle. Frankly, if I was launching a fantasy film a week out from Kong, I'd be looking to for every niche I could get.

The family went to see the film on Sunday, and it's … tidy. Everything is in basically the right place, the film looks good and the story gets told. It's actually hard to believe this is Andrew Adamson's debut live-action feature. And just think how bad it could have been if, say, Tim Burton had got hold of it.

Cosmic Variance looks at American public hostility towards atheists.

Jon Stewart looks back on this year's papal election and Stephen Colbert on Bush in 2005.

File system on the Xbox 360 cracked - before most people have even been able to buy one.

Chris Bell of NZBC interviews Christian of the Datsuns.

And, finally, Jessie from The Backyard blogs Monday night's New Zealand Music Industry Commission pub quiz, into which I was drafted when Damian Christie suffered a hamstring injury during warm-ups. I saved their asses, really I did. Although we only came third. I also had the unexpected privilege of introducing Jessie to her boss. Not, you understand, that her boss didn't know her - he just didn't know that she was Jessie from The Backyard.