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Contentions

Melanie Phillips Column Sparks Police Complaints Against the Spectator

This may come as a surprise to you if you’ve ever read the Guardian’s coverage of Israel, but there are apparently very strict rules that prohibit the British media from publishing racist or discriminatory articles. While that hasn’t seemed to curb the borderline anti-Semitism at the Guardian, a Muslim advocacy group has filed a police complaint against the Spectator for publishing an allegedly “offensive” column by Melanie Phillips:

A Melanie Phillips blog post on the Spectator website which referred to the “moral depravity” of Arab “savages” is being investigated by the Press Complaints Commission.

The online comment piece, headlined “Armchair barbarism”, focused on media coverage of the murder of five members of a Jewish family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar by Palestinian militants earlier this month.

While the Guardian and the Independent both claimed that there was an investigation against the publication, the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson writes that this is untrue. While two Muslim advocacy groups have filed complaints with the PCC and the Bedfordshire Police, the case hasn’t gone further than that.

Of course, the case doesn’t have to go further than that. The advocacy groups have already succeeded at portraying a fairly unobjectionable Spectator column as Islamophobic, thanks to the compliance of the British media. As Nelson points out, the scheme went something like this:

1) Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, gets angry about what he reads on Melanie’s blog.
2) Complains to the PCC.
3) Complains to the police.
4) Phones up The Guardian and says “The PCC are investigating The Spectator!! Story!! Police too!!
5) The Guardian duly writes it all up, on its website.
6) The Independent follows up The Guardian.
7) An inverted pyramid of piffle is thus constructed.

A foolproof plan. And, as of now, there’s still no correction on the Guardian’s website.



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