Monday, August 01, 2005

Beeb Hears What I'm Saying, Makes Things Worse

Just received a reply to my complaint to the BBC over yesterday's anti-Muslim photographic subliminal propaganda gambit:
BionOc
Thank you for your comments. We have changed the caption on this picture to avoid any suggestion that these French Muslims are followers of jihadist preaching. I accept that some readers could interpret the picture that way, although no such parallel was intended. Unfortunately no picture of Reda Ameuroud was available.
Best regards, Laurence Peter. Europe editor.
So now, instead of reading 'Nicolas Sarkozy has warned that hate speech will not be tolerated', the caption says 'France is home to one of Europe's largest Muslim communities'! How is that an improvement? Now they're basically saying, 'Look at this writhing horde of religious extremists susceptible to jihadist preaching! Ooh, and there are LOTS of them too!'

Laurence Peter has rather catastrophically missed the point. It wasn't the caption that was the problem, it was the fucking picture. It's the automatic association of extreme jihadist proponents with the general community of Muslims that is so terribly wrong here, and this supposed remedy only makes even clearer how ingrained is that association.

There is no reason at all that an article about the arrest of a splinter extremist of Religion X should be illustrated with reference to the mainstream of that religion. Would an article about Kahanist wackos be illustrated with a photo of Reform Upper West Side Jews filing into temple, and a caption reading 'The United States has the world's largest Jewish population'? No it fucking well would not, and we all know it.

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