There are plenty of ranting voices out there in the wilds of the internet who will spew crazed theories and racial epithets, but that's not the subject of today's post.
This is about someone blogging under the banner of a major news organisation, who claims to dislike racism, yet seems quite happy to stir it up incessantly.
This is about how journalists can pursue a racist agenda even in an article that purports to be about something entirely unrelated.
The journalist I refer to is Andrew Bolt, arguably Australia's best-known conservative commentator and who claims to have the most popular political blog in the country (at the Herald-Sun website).
I've written a few things here in the past about Bolt's approach to racial issues. It would be no surprise to anyone familiar with the man's work that he is very fond of Northern European cultures and scathing towards non-white immigration, particularly regarding Africans and Muslims. One of the issues he (and the Herald-Sun in general) repeatedly focuses on is ethnic crime. To this end, crime committed by Anglo or other white people is merely crime; if the perpetrator happens to be non-white, then it's "ethnic crime" and their ethnicity is highlighted as being significant. Given that the Herald-Sun's readership tends to lean to the Right, and is generally worried about the erosion of values and standards in our country (as every generation is), their exists a prevailing idea that the alleged decline of our society must be because of all those immigrants.
Thus you see posts where Bolt infers that Obama is planning a race war against white people, insinuates that a violent thug could not have been white despite a police report saying so, or that the people responsible for attacking Indian students in Melbourne were all non-white.
So what about a story that might seem to contradict this dominant narrative?
Take the recent rioting in Oakleigh that resulted in a Bob Jane T-Mart store being trashed. Look at any footage of the incident and you'll observe a sea of faces that were overwhelmingly Caucasian (whether Anglo, European, or Middle Eastern). I wrote on this blog that had it been Asian or black faces, then focus would be on immigration and ethnic crime; so since the faces were white, I wondered, would race get a mention at all?
Well, yes and no. Bolt shows some photos of the white rioters in a March 21 post called Spot the Feral. And then, to reinforce a point about disrespect for police, shows 3 Youtube clips of young people creating a ruckus and having run-ins with police officers. It's a little unclear what entirely is going on in these videos, but the aggressive young people in at least 2 of them are African (probably Sudanese).
So a post about aggression, specifically caused by people who happen to be mostly white, is now highlighting the aggression caused by young African men. Of course, you might argue that that is merely coincidental, and maybe it is.
But Bolt is so fond of this footage of aggressive Africans that he shows it again on April 24. This time in a post entitled Teenagers attack police, yet again. The post refers to an out-of-control party in the Victorian country town of Sale, at which police called to the scene were assaulted. Now the ethnicity of the offending teenagers is not mentioned, but anyone who has been to Sale can tell you that Sudanese people are hardly a common sight in Sale - the populace is mostly white with a small Aboriginal population. Yet the footage of Sudanese is dragged out to illustrate it.
Two posts about aggressors who are most likely white or predominantly white. Yet that is a distraction from one of the dominant themes of the Andrew Bolt Blog, so for the sake of a clear narrative, visuals of violent black folks are provided to the reader. We wouldn't want anyone to get confused and think that anyone other than dirty foreigners commit violent acts now, would we?
Fast forward to April 29, and Bolt posts about his upcoming radio show and how he will be discussing what he sees as the problem with female police officers. This seems to be as good an opportunity as any to... show the same footage again? Yes, the Youtube clips of aggressive Sudanese youths, which he has shown twice already in recent weeks, get yet another airing. Of course, the blog post in question doesn't have anything to do with Sudanese, but neither did the other two.
Now of course you can argue, as I'm sure Andrew Bolt would, that there is no significance in the fact that the video footage, which seems to perfectly illustrate his points on a number of issues, features African immigrants. It could have been people of any race.
But of course, if you are familiar with the amount of column inches Bolt has devoted to attacking African immigration, and if you are familiar with the Herald-Sun's sneaky ways of whipping up xenophobic controversy, then you would suspect that Bolt has an agenda here. It's as if, no matter what the issue, Bolt finds a way to remind us that Africans are indeed the enemy.
The cleverness about this is that he has conveyed that idea in three blog posts that are not about Africans and do not even mention Africans.
So do his readers take the bait and embrace the subconscious programming? Commenter Brian sure does (at the third post):
At the risk of being called racist I noticed the prevalence of African and Middle Eastern people involved in those video clips. So it would seem we have imported troublemakers by the bucket load with out open immigration scheme . As if we haven’t got enough home grown trouble makers already
brian of melbourne (Reply)
Thu 29 Apr 10 (06:02pm)
Well done Brian, you successfully joined the dots that Andrew laid out for you.
Repeat something often enough, and eventually people will believe it to be true.
More like this:
Why you shouldn't believe everything you see on TV
"Send them all back"... even if they are Australian?
What's with all the resentful white people reading the Herald-Sun?
"The subject was described as having dark skin..."
Asian-fearing Herald-Sun readers of the week
Let's all blame the victim