THE PITIFUL EXPRESS SURVEY ON TURKEY THAT WHIFFS OF RACISM

TURKEY-COUNTRY

The Daily Express hit new levels of absurd hyperbole last Sunday with a claim that nearly a fifth of the population of Turkey would relocate to Britain if the country joined the EU.

Revealing the results of its ‘Exclusive poll’ in an article titled ’12 MILLION TURKS SAY THEY’LL COME TO THE UK ONCE EU DEAL IS SIGNED’, the paper did its best to try and stir up tensions ahead of next month’s EU referendum vote.

The revelation came from what the Express called ‘the most extensive survey of its kind’ – 2,600 adults interviewed across all 27 provinces of Turkey.

But in reality, the survey is a laughably vague one that most social researchers would dismiss as being of no real meaningful use.

The survey (available here) asked a single question – ‘If Turkey becomes a full member of the EU, and Britain remains in the EU, would you, or any member of your family, consider relocating to Britain?’

15.8% of respondents answered yes to this question and 84.2% answered no.

So that’s just less than 1 in 6 expressing an interest in moving to Britain in a snap survey. But there’s quite a big difference between saying you’d consider moving somewhere and actually relocating there with no guarantee of a job or a home.

There would likely be a similar result if the same amount of Brits were asked if they would ever consider relocating to Spain. Imagine how ludicrous it would then sound to claim that 10 million Brits were about to emigrate.

But on the basis of this one question, the Express claims that 12 million Turks are ‘planning to move to Britain when the country joins the EU’ as if they’re poised to buy their plane tickets.

No attempt was made by the paper to examine this answer with any follow up questions – how likely would they be to move? would they still move without an offer of a job or accommodation in place? is Britain their number one choice for relocation or would they prefer another country in Europe?

Presumably because the paper got the result it wanted. Whatever percentage had answered yes to that question (and 15.8% is reasonably low), the paper could have run with a similar ‘shock exclusive’ headline based on its ‘bombshell’ report. If 2% had said yes, it could still have run with a headline that 1 million were coming and the only way to stop it, of course, is to vote for Brexit.

Nevermind the fact that, despite reports in certain sections of the press, it seems unlikely that Turkey will become a member of the EU for at least another decade and any relaxing of visa restrictions will not apply to the UK, regardless of the result of the EU referendum.

But there are more sinister undertones to this report and other similar articles in the press that resemble some of the scaremongering reporting before Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2014: the stereotyping of nations as desperate scroungers waiting for the first opportunity to flood into our country, take what they can and bring down the quality of life.

Britain is already home to around half a million Turkish citizens and there hasn’t been any evidence of them diminishing our quality of life or burdening the British taxpayer.

Yet the Express writes that Turkey’s membership of the EU would result in Britain being flooded with criminals that would ‘threaten the country’s security’. Another fear is that unemployed Turks would arrive in droves.

The paper is keen to remind readers that the country is ‘predominantly Muslim’ and that among those who would consider emigrating are ‘women who wear head coverings such as the burka’.

It was also mentioned that there are around 9 million privately registered firearms to Turkish citizens, next to this helpful image.

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Which equates to around 11% of the Turkish population owning guns. Much less than the estimated 31% of US citizens that own guns, although there hasn’t been too much evidence of the Express worrying about American immigrants making Britain less safe.

Lies, scaremongering, racial stereotyping… it seems that anything goes in the big EU scrum. Things are likely to get even nastier yet.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

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THE DAILY MAIL, THE TORY MP AND THE LIES ABOUT UK BORDERS

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(Photo: Policy Exchange)

It seems that hardly a day goes by without one of the tabloids publishing made-up stuff about our borders, immigration and the impact of the EU on controlling population flows.

The latest example comes from multiple offender the Daily Mail, who would have you believe that UK border officials are just rolling over and waving through known terror suspects simply because they brandish an EU passport.

In an article called EU RULES FORCE BRITISH OFFICIALS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN HANDING TOP SECRET INTELLIGENCE TO TERROR SUSPECTS OR LETTING THEM WALK INTO BRITAIN UNCHALLENGED (a trademark long-winded title), Tory Justice Minister and Brexit campaigner Dominic Raab (pictured) claims to have uncovered an ‘obscure ruling’ from the European Courts.

The paper claims that if UK security officials want to refuse entry to a terror suspect from the EU, they must justify it by handing over intelligence that has been gathered on the individual. This includes handing over paper files, ‘even where to do so would endanger national security’.

The paper goes on to state that Mr Raab has warned that ‘thousands of criminals and suspected fanatics who could otherwise be turned away are being allowed to waltz through the UK’s porous borders, owing to Brussels rules on free movement’.

Mr Raab adds that in the last decade, only 11,000 EU nationals have been turned away at border control compared to 200,000 non-EU nationals.

The story was also picked up on the Breitbart and Britain First websites.

Alarm bells would be ringing with most rational readers by this point. Are we really to believe that, in this time of heightened global security and increased anti-terror measures, border police have to choose between handing over all the security files on terror suspects or allowing them to walk in unhindered?

According to the article, it all comes down to Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. But a quick look at Article 47 shows that this is merely about the right to a fair trial (below). So should someone pursue legal action upon being denied entry, they are entitled to fair representation and fair treatment (for PDF of the full Charter, click here).

EU charter

Which surely most people would agree is fair enough, unless we want to start living in an authoritarian state where people can be jailed or expelled without any recourse.

The Daily Mail article seems to be based around a particular case where a man with joint French-Algerian nationality was refused entry to Britain on account of Islamic terrorist activities in Algeria in the 1990s. The man appealed to the European Court of Justice. The Daily Mail claims that the ECJ ruled that the Home Secretary must disclose security information to the man, thus endangering national security.

But this is blatant misinformation. The case, which was heard in 2013, clearly states that information given is ‘limited to that which is strictly necessary’ and that the man is entitled only to be informed of the ‘essence’ of the grounds on which the decision was made, taking into account the ‘confidentiality of the evidence’ (see below – full details of the case available here).

ECJ ruling

In other words, a suspected terrorist was refused entry at the UK border. He appealed demanding to know the grounds for the decision. The ECJ ruled that he was entitled to know only limited information, due to the risk to national security.

In some ways, this is the complete opposite to how the Daily Mail and Mr Raab have reported it. Absolutely no evidence whatsoever of the thousands of terror suspects coming in unchecked or of intelligence files being handed over to them as they’re sent away.

As for the 11,000 EU nationals turned away compared to 200,000 from outside the EU, it’s an erroneous comparison as the 200,000 were turned away for a multitude of reasons. Only a small percentage were related to terrorist activities. Nobody is denying that there are fewer restrictions in general for visitors from EU countries.

With still over a month to go until the EU referendum, there is likely to be a lot more of this disinformation ahead.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

RIGHT WING PRESS TRY TO STIR RELIGIOUS TENSION OVER BUS ADS

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Several right wing publications have been trying to stir up tensions between Christians and Muslims over a forthcoming ad campaign on the side of buses due to run over Ramadan.

The adverts will run as part of a campaign by the charity Islamic Relief to raise money for victims of the war in Syria. The text in the ads says ‘Subhan Allah (Glory be to God). Gather the rewards of Ramadan. Donate now’. This will feature on buses in five cities, including London, to try and encourage donations during the festival which starts next month.

However, the usual suspect tabloids – never one to miss an opportunity – have seized on the story to try and link it to supposed preferential treatment afforded to Islam and ‘political correctness gone mad’.

Most have contrasted it with a decision to ban an advert for the Lord’s Prayer in cinemas last December. The Daily Mail writes how the decision ‘highlighted the power of political correctness’ in its article. Similar articles ran in the Daily Express, the Sun and on the Breitbart website. All mentioned the Lord’s Prayer example alongside Boris Johnson’s attempts to ban a bus advert against homosexuality put out by a Christian group in 2012.

However, there are different regulations regarding advertising in cinemas and on public transport. The Digital Cinema Media policy prohibits both political and religious advertising (see point 2.1.3 below) whereas Transport for London’s policy prohibits political advertising but not religious ads.

cinema ads policy

So neither Christian nor Muslim groups would be permitted to show an advertisement in a cinema. Both, however, would be allowed to display messages on the side of buses under current rules. Christian messages have been placed on public transport in the past, as can be seen here:

christian bus ad

And here:

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The second of those coming in response to an atheist ad campaign, also allowed under current TfL guidelines:

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So hardly a case of Islamification or political correctness gone mad. Whatever your views on religious groups being allowed to promote in this way, it’s a level playing field at least. Regarding the move to stop the anti-homosexuality ads, that was done on the grounds of the message being discriminatory, not that it came from a Christian group.

Perhaps the last word should go to Christian Today, who published an article titled SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE OFFENDED BY ‘PRAISE ALLAH’ BUS ADS?

Showing a bit more rationality than the tabloids, the article states : ‘Although the organisation (Islamic Relief) is inspired by Islam, its practices are humanitarian. It is not a proselytising organisation, it is a humanitarian one that seeks to help people without discrimination to faith.’

The article concludes: ‘The decision to ban the Lord’s Prayer advert was made by the cinema chains because of its religious content. However Transport for London has responsibility for adverts in London. It chooses to ban slogans linked to a “political party or political cause” but does not ban religious advertising.’

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

TABLOID SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST LABOUR CONTINUES

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(Photo: US Embassy London)

With the local and London mayoral elections just around the corner, more misreporting in the right-wing press on Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan and party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In The Daily Mail, another attempt to try and portray Mr Khan as an extremist. In an article written on Tuesday with the headline LABOUR PLUNGED INTO FRESH RACE ROW AS VIDEO EMERGES OF LONDON MAYORAL CANDIDATE SADIQ KHAN USING ‘UNCLE TOMS’ SLUR AGAINST MODERATE MUSLIMS, the paper refers to a 2009 Iranian TV interview that has emerged where Mr Khan uses the phrase ‘Uncle Toms’.

The phrase originated in America and was often used in a derogatory way to describe a black person seen as obedient and subservient to white authority figures. The Daily Mail reports that use of the phrase is evidence that Mr Khan ‘views moderates with contempt’.

But although use of the phrase was ill-judged, Mr Khan – who was minister for community cohesion at the time – was speaking about attempts to engage with all parts of the Muslim community in the interests of counter-extremism.

The full quotation (which The Daily Mail ‘buries’ about two-thirds into the article) is: ‘I wish we only spoke to people who agree with us. I can tell you that I’ve spent the last months in this job speaking to all sorts of people. Not just leaders, not just organisations but ordinary rank and file citizens of Muslim faith and that’s what good government is about, it’s about engaging with all stakeholders. You can talk about articles in the newspapers about what an organisation might get but the point is you can’t just pick and choose who you speak to, you can’t just speak to Uncle Toms.’

So the point he was making was – if you want to tackle extremism, you can’t just engage with people who already agree with you. You have to engage with everyone. If he’s viewing people as ‘Uncle Toms’, he appears to include himself in that category also.

Mr Khan has since admitted that use of the phrase was a mistake. Politicians as well as others say ill-advised things occasionally. The current London Mayor Boris Johnson had to apologise for calling black people ‘piccaninnies’ back in 2003. There’s no evidence of The Daily Mail referring to Mr Johnson as ‘unfit to be London Mayor’ as it has Mr Khan.

Meanwhile, The Sun has hurled yet more mud at Mr Corbyn in an article JEREMY CORBYN RANTED AGAINST ISRAEL AND DEMANDED IT BE CUT OFF BY THE REST OF THE WORLD.

The article goes on to say that Mr Corbyn addressed crowds who ‘waved Hitler posters’ and ‘brandished Nazi swastikas’ at a Palestinian demonstration in Trafalgar Square in 2002.

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(Photo: Tsering Lahmo)

The paper tries to make it appear as if the event was an anti-Jewish rally full of Nazi-loving types. What it fails to make clear is that it was a protest against Israeli government aggression towards its Palestinian population. The Hitler pictures and swastikas were directed against former right-wing Israeli president Ariel Sharon, who many believe should have been tried for war crimes.

Although the pro-Palestinian events that Mr Corbyn frequently attended undoubtedly did attract anti-Jewish individuals, they also attracted Jewish groups such as Anti-zionist Orthodox Jews and Jews For Justice For Palestinians, along with groups from other faiths.

One similar rally in Hyde Park, also from 2002, contains a transcript of a speech given by Mr Corbyn (available here) in which he talks of the ‘unity of Muslim people, of Christian people, of Jewish people and of people of no faith’.

Whatever one’s opinions of the Labour Party or the situation in Palestine, what is undeniable is that what is being written in these papers about both Mr Corbyn and Mr Khan is incorrect, part of a deliberate and orchestrated campaign by the Tory-supporting press to smear its opponents by searching through old footage and clippings to find anything that can be twisted and used against them.

Whether it’s done to further right-wing or left-wing causes, this kind of thing is tabloid journalism at its very worst.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

THE SUN PRINTS MAD ‘KILLER PORRIDGE’ ARTICLE

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Nobody really expects tabloid papers to write sensible news articles but every once in a while one of them goes that extra distance to produce something especially barmy.

This week it’s the turn of The Sun, who published an article called WHY YOUR MORNING PORRIDGE COULD BE KILLING YOU.

No doubt causing hundreds, if not thousands, of alarmed Brits to spit out mouthfuls of the grey cereal as they took in the headline at the breakfast table, the article begins with the same tone, stating ‘the daily bowl of steaming oatmeal could actually be DEADLY’ because it contains ‘an unhealthy dose of carcinogenic WEEDKILLER’.

The article is about a lawsuit taking place in New York against Quaker Oats after testing found traces of the herbicide glyphosate in some oatmeal.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in weedkiller such as Roundup and was classified last year as a ‘probable’ carcinogen by the World Health Organisation.

However, the levels of glyphosate detected fall well below the limits set by both US and EU regulators that would pose a risk if consumed by humans. The tests revealed glyphosate levels at 1.18 parts per million, well below the 30 parts per million level allowed in cereal grains by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The lawsuit in the US acknowledges this. It states ‘There is nothing unlawful about Quaker Oats’ growing and processing methods’. The lawsuit has nothing to do with health risks. What it’s concerned with is false advertising, because Quaker Oats is advertised as ‘100% natural’.

Although the WHO classification as ‘probable’ carcinogen may sound alarming, it’s worth remembering that classified carcinogens include alcohol, processed meats and salted fish.

So the story here is that your morning porridge is probably not quite as healthy and natural as you thought it was. But, contrary to The Sun‘s infantile reporting, you’re more likely to die at the breakfast table of a heart attack after over-reacting to sensationalist tabloid rubbish.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.