Tweet Checking: Tommy Robinson's BBC Bias Stupidity... and More
Most of the world is looking at what - or who - the President of the United States has been tweeting, but Disclaimer does not want to be obvious. Who know what he’ll tweet now that Michael has pleaded guilty and is helping the Mueller inquiry. Not wishing to tread over previous ground, your humble columnist has gone even deeper into the cesspool of the Tweetsphere…
5. Gerald Simpkins
The term “Eurabia” is coming back again after going AWOL for a few years—it seems that ethnic slurs go in cycles. It is one of those Alt-Right (formerly just Hard Right) myths that just will not die, no matter how many times it is debunked.
This particular way of putting it—a way popular amongst Leavers in the run-up to the referendum last year—makes a strange assumption: that pretty much every single Turk in Turkey, upon accession to the EU, will up sticks and move to Western Europe. Well, you can hardly blame them given that the whole of Poland and Romania have emptied out and…oh wait. That didn’t happen. The only example I can find of an entire population voluntarily leaving its homeland to move to another country is (allegedly) that of the Angles. Invoking the Turk as some kind of barbarian invader also doesn’t match the reality: a 2013 survey “demonstrated that while one third of those surveyed agreed Turkey should persevere with the goal of becoming an EU member, two-thirds of the public lean closer to the view that Turkey should not become a full member.” The most recent survey of general Turkish opinion also shows that 60% of Turks have a negative opinion of the EU. Why move to a place you by-and-large dislike?
There’s also this implied idea that Turkey, and Muslims in general, are somehow not part of Europe, even though several European countries have had Muslim-majorities in their native populations (namely Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia) for as long as their modern forms have been extant, not to mention that 3% of Turkey is already in continental Europe. Islam has also existed for far longer in Europe than say Protestant Christianity has, whether it be through the 8th century Umayyad invasion of Iberia and the formation of Al-Andalus, the conquests of the Ottoman Empire, or in the establishment of the nation of the Crimean Tartars.
4. The Western Spaghetti
You may say anti-Semitism is just too easy a target, and I agree, but it is still too common an occurrence to ignore, especially when the US President is defending neo-Nazis and “race realists” who chant “Jews will not replace us!”
There is no source given for this almost illegible page, nor anything given to source the claim the ZOA backed it in 1945. No date for this page is given either. After a bit of creative Googling, I eventually tracked down the original document here (and yes, I understand the irony of debunking anti-Semitism through the use of a website obsessed with the “Israeli lobby”, but I have to work with what’s available). The text of the page is taken from what appears to be the summary of a lecture given 18th November 1943 at a Jewish community centre in San Francisco by a Rabbi Dr James G. Holler, the then chairman of the Administrative Committee of the ZOA. It seems to just be his opinion as opposed to an official statement by the ZOA. As Holler says, what he thinks in terms of the number he gives is that of “occupied Europe”, not the whole of Europe.
Even if it was an official statement, the historic demographic data would not bare it out: contemporary US diplomatic documents give the total Jewish population in Europe in 1942 as 9,237,314. The American Jewish Yearbook of 1933 gives a similar figure. This is well in line with the common estimate of Jewish victims of the Holocaust totalling at around 5.93 million (Dawidowicz (1986) ), around a third of the total global Jewish population, and two-thirds of Jews remaining in occupied Europe.
It’s also a very curious thing to use to promote ideas of a Jewish conspiracy, given that Holler here is denying the possibility of “dual allegiance” which the ZOA were being accused of by the American Council of Judaism (anti-Semites rarely admit differences amongst Jews. Why would they? It ruins the “all-encompassing Jewish plot” angle…).
It’s also important to just serve a reminder: Holocaust revisionism/minimisation like this is a form of Holocaust denial. Don’t let the bastards confuse you and get away with it.
3. Nicola Sturgeon
There is nothing inaccurate per see about Sturgeon’s tweet, but it just so happens to ignore that fact that although total numbers are up, less deprived students in Scotland are getting a raw deal. According to a Sutton Trust report from May this year, young Scots from “disadvantaged areas are four times less likely to go to university than those from wealthy backgrounds”, but a 2015 book had already long concluded that the free tuition system was “reproducing existing social inequalities." As Kevin McKenna summarised it in January: “We have now entered the 11th year of SNP power in Scotland and the attainment gap, the territory on which Nicola Sturgeon asked us to judge her and her party at the ballot box, shows no signs of contracting.”
2. Mark Pantano
Absolutely, American conservatives respect women so much. In fact, Roy Moore respected women so much he couldn’t help but try to usher multiple girls into womanhood as quickly as possible (Bush Snr seems to have had the same idea). Bill O’Reilly respects women so much he gave one $32 million to keep quiet. Indeed, the US president respects women he can barely stop grabbing them in their most womanly area (even if he attempts, through modesty of course, to deny it).
In all seriousness though, that a conservative would argue this given all that has happened over the past year just goes to show how insular American right-wingers are, but also in all seriousness, American liberals and leftists are as well. In the post-Weinstein world, we have to finally listen to what many women have been saying for years: this has nothing to do with ideology, but power. That NBC host Matt Lauer got fired for harassment two months after giving Bill O’Reilly a grilling underlines that this issue is by-and-large non-partisan, nor is it relegated to just one part of the media, or society for that matter.
This one has less to do with untruth, but more with to do with stupidity. The clip itself is from Russia Today, so you can already guess as to its validity, but it’s best not to tweet criticism of a media outlet one day, then tweet it the very next:
Actually both the Danish case and the British case mentioned in the RT clip were both reported on by the BBC before RT did, but that’s not the real issue here (the BBC article he tweets is actually worth reading however).
The issue here is not restricted to Robinson either: from Left to Right, all manner of politicos will bash the BBC, the most trusted news source in the country, before immediately being invited on to speak their mind - and then returning next week to alleging “BBC bias” with the most venomous snarl a creature can muster.
It’s sad and pathetic and needs to stop: either never interact with the BBC again and carry on criticising it, or just shut up and stop bashing the great British thing that is the envy of the world
About the author
Harris Coverley writes the Tweet Checking column for Disclaimer and is constantly looking for readers to help him correct the worst of internet. No stupidity or falsehood is too great a challenge.
He lives in Manchester and holds an MA in Intellectual History from UCL. He also writes short fiction and poetry, the former of which only Disclaimer has had the good sense to publish.
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