Sunday, 5 August 2018

Where is the mainstream media condemnation of this extreme-right "ambush"?

On Saturday August 4th 2018 a group of around a dozen masked extreme-right thugs "ambushed" the socialist bookshop Bookmarks on Bloomsbury Street in London, where they trashed book displays, chanted anti-Muslim slogans, slandered staff as "paedophiles" and reportedly intimidated staff with threats to return and "show what they can do".

The bookshop raiders had clearly just come from a protest in support of Alex Jones' extreme-right conspiracy channel InfoWars, and they're so damned stupid they even uploaded videos of themselves plotting their "ambush" and then carrying it out.

The mainstream media silence on this self-described "ambush" has been deafening, especially given the numerous potential avenues to explore.

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the book-burning events in Nazi Germany (especially if they've seen Indiana Jones), so the book-hating fascists are back angle pretty much writes itself when a bunch of extreme-right idiots raid a bookshop, ridicule books based solely on the covers, and shout about how they hope the shop gets burned down.

Another angle that pretty much writes itself is the contrast between extreme-right fanatics endlessly posing as champions of free speech, and this extreme-right raid on a shop because of their ideological hatred of books they have no intention of even reading!

Yet another easy angle to write is the extraordinary level of immunity to cognitive dissonance it must take to go from a "free speech" protest against YouTube's sanctions against a handful of InforWars videos (for breaking their community standards) straight to barging into a left-wing bookshop to set about trashing the place and intimidating the staff for spreading the wrong kind of information!

Given that these angles are so obvious, and so easy to write, it's incredible that pretty much the entire mainstream media has ignored this story.

The Guardian has covered it, as have the Independent, and while they're far more neoliberalism-lite outlets than socialist ones, they at least deserve a bit of credit for covering what most of the rest of the heavily right-wing skewed mainstream media have ignored.

What's the betting that if it is covered in the right-wing propaganda rags, the coverage will be sympathetic to the ambushers, and damning about "lefty snowflakes" for daring to object to it?

Now let's just consider how the mainstream media would have reacted if the roles were reversed. Imagine it was a group of lefties protesting against a conservative bookshop. Let's even say that these hypothetical lefties didn't even wear masks, enter the premises, rudely intimidate staff, or call slander them as "paedophile" with no possible justification.

Let's say they just stood outside protesting and dissuading customers from entering, rather than "ambushing" the place and yelling abuse at the workers.

We know that this kind of thing would chime with the extreme-right victim complex narrative that their freedom of speech is being repressed, so even if the event was entirely non-violent, right-wing leaning hacks would no doubt exaggerate it into some kind of intimidating riot.

There is plenty of precedent for this kind of media exaggeration too.

In 2015 the disgraced former Tory minister Priti Patel's complaints about a gang of "threatening thugs" intimidating her at her office were widely reported in the right-wing press ... but just contrast her claims of thuggery and intimidation with an actual photo of the protest.

Then there was the Jacob Rees-Mogg protest that was whipped up into headline news by the mainstream media as "violent left-wing thugs kicking off", when it was soon revealed that although noisy and unruly, the lefty protest only turned violent when a white-shirted Rees-Mogg supporter (who likes to dress up as a Nazi in his spare time) waded into the heated discussion to start shoving and hitting people.

When lefties protest against the right, the mainstream media instantly go into hysterical and wildly inaccurate shrieking mode, but when right-wing thugs actually "ambush" a lefty bookshop, throw books around, chant abuse, intimidate staff and reportedly threaten to return to "show what they can do", the mainstream media silence couldn't be more deafening.

This staggering lack of journalistic balance paints a frightening picture of a catastrophically failing mainstream media. Ever willing to talk up, exaggerate, and even lie about the misdeeds left-wingers when they non-violently protest against the right. And equally willing just bury the story when right-wing extremists actually resort to "ambushes", intimidation, and grotesque abuse.

Is it any wonder the extreme-right is on the rise in Britain under such circumstances?

Buy a book?

If you identify as any kind of lefty-liberal (democratic socialist, progressive, social liberal, anarchist, syndicalist, green anarchist, social democrat, left-libertarian) why not show your solidarity with Bookmarks by picking a book to order from their online catalogue.

If enough people order a book from them, this would certainly demonstrate the power of the Streisand Effect to the neo-fascist book-hating thugs wouldn't it?

Order a book here

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