Anorak News | If This Is War

If This Is War

by | 2nd, September 2005

‘THE papers love a good war. And it’s a good job they do because almost every day there’s a new one to shout about.

‘And coming up next on Al Jazeera, EastEnders’

Take the Mail’s news of “war of the downloads”. The paper reports on how “the first shots in a price war over music downloads were fired yesterday”.

Was anyone hurt? The Mail doesn’t say? Reports from the frontline are sketchy. But do not doubt it is war. As the paper’s front page states in black ink: “WE ARE AT WAR.”

So it seems. But before Cliff Richard gets one between the eyes, the paper says that its front-page war was declared not by music pirates but by suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan, who, though dead, made his voice heard on a video broadcast by Al Jazeera.

The Arabic broadcaster has carved out a niche as the ultimate reality show channel, routinely broadcasting the thoughts of Muslims who want to blow themselves up, and kill and maim lots of other people in the process.

But the Mail recognises that few of its readers in the shires have access to the channel and transcribes the words of the Yorkshireman who blew up himself and six others on a train near London’s Edgware Road station on July 7.

The crux of the murderer’s argument is that since we all live in a democracy, and he doesn’t care for the elected administration and its foreign policy, we are all viable targets. “We are at war and I am a soldier,” says he.

But the Express has heard enough. “Should Al Jazeera be banned in Britain,” it asks. The paper can’t decide and wants its readers to help it answer its own question with a “yes” or a “no” – “calls cost 25p from a BT landline”.

The paper provides no arguments for or against, nor does it offer free subscription to Al Jazeera with every order of Express owner Richard Desmond’s Television X satellite channel.

It’s terribly hard working out which way to vote. Readers rarely like being made to think – which is why the Sun exists. So it’s to the Sun we go, and therein learn that Khan used his broadcast to boast that more attacks are on the way.

When they will be, Khan does not say. What form they will take, he is unable or unwilling to tell us. He simply maintains that there will be more.

And when there are, we can read all about them in the papers and see the pictures on Al Jazeera. Unless the Express readers vote “no” and we go the way of a media blackout…’

Posted: 2nd, September 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink