Tag Archives: Daily Express

Israel/Gaza, Leo McKinstry and his lunatic extremist violent ideology

There is nothing special about the Daily Express’ Leo McKinstry. He is one of many journalists who will go to any length to defend Israel’s actions, however brutal, disproportionate or unjustified they may be. In his latest Daily Express column, a little unpicking highlights the extremist ideology that sits behind his words that allows for such unwavering support of a massacre of innocent Palestinians.

This is not the first time Hynd’s Blog has taken issue with Leo McKinstry’s writing. Back in 2012 my friend and social commentator Eugene Grant wittily quipped that if there was a fit for work test for journalists, McKinstry would surely fail it for his coverage of the debate around benefit claimants.

Fast forward two years and I have once again had the misfortune of stumbling across one of his deeply misleading diatribes. This time the case in point is the Gaza/Israel conflict – a subject that lends itself all too easily to hyperbole, hatred and crass generalisations.

Within a few paragraphs McKinstry throws out a paragraph that, although must be saluted for its invariably inventive alliteration, must also be picked apart:

“In practice denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a ­suicidal disdain for the interests of western civilisation.”

Three words in and we have a problem…’denouncing’. No mainstream politician in the UK has denounced Israel. In fact the opposite, politicians have gone out of their way, even when criticising Israel’s actions, to reiterate that they are ‘friends of Israel’ – whatever that actually means.

But, even if you do ‘denounce Israel’, as some people (but not the politicians McKinstry is referring to) do, then how this then leads people to inevitably ‘siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism’ is a mystery that remains sadly locked in the inner depths of the editorial room of the Daily Express.

The vast majority of human rights organisations that are then invariably are used and quoted by the politicians McKinstry is so desperate to attack, go to great lengths to highlight human rights violations by both the Israeli actors and Palestinian ones.

Criticising one side’s human rights abuses does not act to excuse the others. This complex moral concept is, I will admit, a difficult one to grasp when smashing your fingers in fury at your keyboard.

But all this is just the tip of iceberg. Next, McKinstry offers us a journalistic lesson in the importance of context stating:

“The present conflict was started by Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians and since the beginning of July more than 2,800 of these ­missiles have been launched.”

That’s right, he actually says that this ‘conflict was started by’. In true playground philosophising McKinstry throws out the perpetual eight year old’s defence of ‘he started it’. Some might consider the origins of this modern conflict to stem from deep rooted differences, understandings of history, claims of land, hurt and loss through generations of war dead….but nope, McKinstry assures us it was ‘started by’ Hamas firing rockets.

Now might be a good time to remember that Hamas only officially came into existence in the late 1980’s, some 20 years after the start of the military occupation of Gaza that still, technically, exists today.

This is not to say that Hamas is not partially to blame for the present conflict, far from it. All that is being addressed here is this bonkers assertion that Hamas could solely be blamed for ‘starting the conflict’ like McKinstry suggests.

Britain would not tolerate an ­aerial assault without striking back so why should Israel?

Putting aside my own pacifist leanings for one second to glance over at what most mainstream politicians and commentators are saying…we can see that most people are not saying that Israel can’t or shouldn’t defend itself, only that it should do this in line with International Humanitarian Law. This in short says things like, try not to kill civilians, don’t bomb schools and mosques etc. Not big asks, but apparently too big for the Israeli Defence Force to comply with as the list of alleged war crimes now runs longer than one McKinstry’s titillating tabloid tirades.

But, Israel’s actions are justified by the morally bankrupt McKinstry as he implies that if Israel didn’t kill civilians, keep an entire population under a harsh military occupation and repeatedly commit war crimes then a global Islamic jihad would come and impact us all…

Instead of traducing Israel western politicians and the media should face up to the terrifying global threat of fundamentalist Islam, of which Hamas is a key part. We see that threat all over the world from the turmoil in Libya to the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, from the stoning of women in Afghanistan to the savage persecution of Christians in Iraq.

Some really concerning issues he raises, but once again, in McKinstry’s eyes we only have 2 choices to address these issues:

  • traducing Israel western politicians or
  • facing up to the terrifying global threat of fundamentalist Islam

Remember, there is no either or here. It is one or the other. You choose.

And once again, let’s not get bogged down in the specific geo-political circumstances that might have given rise to very different factions of radical Islam that now manifest themselves in violence in different parts of world…why would we want to do that…let’s instead use a term that I honestly don’t think McKinstry knows the meaning of ‘Jihad’ and suggest they are all the same.

Of course, there is an irony here. These violent forms of radical Islam are, at least in part, a reaction of blinkered extremists and reactionaries who are unable to deal with the multicultural societies the modern era has ushered in. It doesn’t take much to spot that this description fits comfortably with someone else this blog post addresses…

But that’s unfair I hear you cry, many Islamists are violent in their small minded idiocy. Well, stick with me, we haven’t got to McKinstry’s finale yet…

In a comically dire reinforcement of his extremist ideology used throughout his article that justifies any action, however brutal, by Israel, McKinstry goes onto say:

“Only by defeating terrorists can peace be achieved.”

Violence you see dear reader, is the only solution to violence. We must go to war to prevent war.

The logic of a lunatic fanatic that looks to justify Israel’s action no matter how horrific they are.


Filed under Politics

Kate’s tits and tabloid hypocrisy

She was married into the royal family and was thrust into the public life. Against her will, a topless photo of her was published in the mainstream press. Her name? Sophie Rhys-Jones.

Sophie is perhaps better known as the Countess of Wessex, the wife of the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward.  In 1999 The Sun published a topless photo of her taken in 1988 amongst private friends.

This incident occurred in the aftermath of the media hyperbole that pursued Princes Diana right up to the moment that she died.  This was a point that Chris Tarrant, who was photographed with the topless Ms Rhys-Jones, highlighted when he asked the media, “haven’t you learnt anything from the death of Princess Diana?”

On this occasion The Sun was quick to apologise saying, “We clearly upset Miss Rhys-Jones. I have therefore decided to apologise to her and to the Palace. No more pictures of Ms Rhys-Jones would appear in the paper”.

Standards have, to a limited extent, improved since then. As Dan Sabbagh writing in the Guardian comments:

“a year or so before its closure, the News of the World considered whether to publish pictures of a topless Jennifer Anniston, but concluded after consulting with the Press Complaints Commission that it was not worth doing so because the images had clearly been taken without consent”.

Indeed, it is this point of permission which makes this article on the Guardian blog that accuses the tabloids of hypocrisy as they continue to run page 3 girls whilst condemning the photos of Kate so laughable. The blog states:

The Sun… sees no hypocrisy in supporting the duke and duchess’s bid to sue the photographer responsible for snapping Kate’s chest in a Sun Says editorial – just a couple of pages after printing a picture of Kelly, 22, from Daventry with her own breasts exposed”.

This is because Kelly, 22, from Daventry (odd second name) chose to be photographed topless in full knowledge where the photos will end up. A far cry from Kate’s circumstances.

This Guardian blog misses the opportunity to highlight just how hypocritical our tabloids still are though. There is some clear hypocrisy going on here that should be highlighted.

For example…

Richard Desmond (aka Dirty Des) commented when his Irish Daily Star published the photos of Kate saying, “I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture. The decision to publish these pictures has no justification whatever”

However you look at it, Dirty Des is being hypocritical here.

Does he have a problem publishing tits? As Conrad Clack commented in Telegraph, the Express was ‘run by a pornographer and a couple of ex-convicts”. Ouch, although of course partially true. As the Independent pointed out when profiling Desmond, he has overseen such publications as “as Asian Babes and Horny Housewives”. So, no problem with publishing tits then.

How about press standards and privacy? Well, he has removed all of his publications from the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) which he describes as a “useless body run by people who want tea and biscuits”.

This might be because the PCC has upheld complaints against Desmond’s publications on six separate occasions including, “for printing pictures of JK Rowling’s eight-year-old daughter in swimwear; for encouraging photographers to harass Prince William; and for an intrusion into the private lives of survivors of the Dunblane massacre which was “so serious that no apology could remedy it”.

In short Richard ‘Dirty’ Desmond, the pornographer, is upset that one of his publications ran photos of Kate’s tits. I wonder if Desmond is as upset about the ‘intrusion into the private lives of survivors of the Dunblane massacre which was so serious that no apology could remedy’.

The sceptic in me might suggest that he is this upset because his flagship publication The Daily Express (notorious for its dodgy reporting) is staunchly pro-royalist. Could Desmond’s newfound morality be a move to protect his main publication?

Tits, tabloid spin and hypocrisy. It doesn’t look like things have moved on that much since the late 90s.

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