The blowback against faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh, following his talk earlier this week of “The Muslim Problem”, has overcome the usual Sun editors’ tactic of ignoring the ruckus, sniggering into their reassuringly upmarket coffee, and planning the next slice of bigotry. Kav is an IPSO board member. The condemnation came not merely from Muslim groups, but the Board of Deputies of British Jews. A response was needed.
So it has come to pass, with Kavanagh bringing forth a mealy mouthed apologia which will convince no-one. Here is a flavour of the snivelling excuse-making.
“SOME Sun readers may have missed the concocted explosion of Labour and Islamic hysteria over a column I wrote on Monday about Muslim sex gangs”. It wasn’t concocted, and it wasn’t just Labour and Islamic.
“This fake fury was largely confined to a small circulation, mostly-online newspaper and a letter from Labour lefties dragooned by the Muslim Council of Britain”. Whining at the Guardian is pointless. And you forgot the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
“My offence was to write about the attitude of predatory Muslim men towards white women - what I called ‘the Muslim Problem’ … I was instantly denounced for fomenting a Nazi-style “Final Solution” comparable only with the Jewish Holocaust. It was a ludicrous, offensive and perverse distortion of the truth”. The response was to the point, and the only offence came from the person who wrote the original article.
“A letter calling for my dismissal signed by 105 cross-party MPs was led by Labour’s Naz Shah, the Bradford MP suspended last year for anti-Semitism”. No thanks, I don’t want to look over there. You missed the Board of Deputies again. Tories like Sayeeda Warsi and Anna Soubry signed that letter. Going to smear them? No, thought not.
“At the outset I want to state the vast majority of Muslims in Britain are decent, generous, hospitable and law-abiding men and women who add to the fabric of this nation … They have nothing whatsoever to do with the customs and primitive practices referred to in my article. Indeed they are as appalled as the rest of us by extremism”. Didn’t say that on Monday, did you? This is just back-pedalling.
“But it is impossible to write about Muslims without catching the eagle eye of MCB assistant general secretary Miqdaad Versi”. Muslims can read Shock Horror!
“I have been on the receiving end of his vigilance - he has had two IPSO adjudications against The Sun”. Your racist drivel is so far beyond the pale that not even sham press regulator IPSO is prepared to wipe your arse over it.
“As a Sun journalist and as a board member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, where he is a regular complainant, I represent a particularly juicy target”. No, but you do have a responsibility to behave half-decently.
And then he gets to the Sun’s exploitation of Labour MP Sarah Champion. “I cited Rotherham Labour MP Sarah Champion who bravely broke ranks and identified the problem everyone else on the Left had shied away from … The Sun asked Ms Champion if she would write an op-ed piece for the following day’s paper, expanding on her comments … She happily agreed and filed an article that was approved by her office … Sarah was delighted”. Until she realised she’d been had for a mug.
“Presumably got at by Corbynistas, she has subsequently sought to distance herself from her own article and has now resigned for her ‘poor choice of words’”. The Labour leadership won’t speak to you, so you’re just making it up.
Then comes the shameless attempt to pin Kavanagh’s excursion into Nazi territory on to Ms Champion. “On Monday, I paid tribute to Sarah’s courage, saying: ‘Thanks to ex-Equalities chief Trevor Phillips and Labour MPs like Rotherham’s Sarah Champion, it is acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than cultural problem’”. Acceptable to say Muslims are a specific problem. Very Third Reich 1930s.
And then he gets to the point. “My mistake, apparently, was to describe this as ‘the Muslim Problem’ … I can honestly say it never occurred to me that this could be interpreted as a play on ‘the Jewish Problem’ and I will happily apologise to anyone who is thus offended”. It was stark staring obvious to anyone with brain plugged in and a hole in their backside. And never mind waiting to apologise - do it now.
Plus, hey, free speech! “This fake outrage is more than simply a personal attack on me or upon the Sun newspaper. It is a pernicious attempt to stifle and smother free speech”. So said every racist bigot for the last 100 years and more.
And cue the get-out clause. “The letter from the MPs fails to pinpoint a single mistake or error of fact in my article. It even concedes there are no grounds at all for referring this to Ipso for adjudication. It infringes none of the Editors’ Rules of Conduct”. Because the Editor’s Code prevents religious groups complaining. Next.
Proportionality, too. “The letter is nothing less than an attempt to gag not just me but anyone else who dares to venture an opinion which contradicts their narrow point of view”. That nasty leftie attacked my peaceful steel toe-cap with their vicious groin!
Oh, and “Nor can The Sun be accused of Islamophobia. Thousands of our hardworking newsagents are Muslim and have our respect”. Some of his best friends are Jewish.
Trevor Kavanagh remains a racist bigot. He also remains a faithful servant of Rupert Murdoch, now CEO of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) which is shilling relentlessly for Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, even as he excuses white supremacists and neo-Nazis. The agenda of the Murdoch press is as transparent as it is repugnant, as it is little more than incitement against a convenient minority target.
In the 1980s, under the less than benign editorship of the disgraced Kelvin McFilth, the Sun merely picked on black people and those from the island of Ireland. Now it targets followers of The Prophet. In a generation, the target may have changed, but the vicious bigotry remains the same. Kavanagh’s whimpering will not do.
The Murdoch press has been caught bang to rights once more. Don’t Buy The Sun.