JOHN MENADUE. Our White Man’s Media again on display in London (Manchester) terrorist attack.

The following article was posted on 27 March 2017. Substitute ‘Manchester’ for ‘London’ and the story is very similar.  John Menadue

I have often commented that a person from Mars reading or listening to our media would conclude that Australia is an island parked off London or New York. We saw that last week in the coverage of the London terrorist attack. We continue to cling to the coat tails of the London and New York media.  

Where is the sense of balance or proportion.? The data shows that less than 3% of deaths from terrorism occur in Western countries like the UK, the US or Australia.

The US Department of State, in its report on terrorism in 2015, reported that there were a total of 28,328 deaths from terrorism worldwide. The main countries where the deaths occurred were Iraq 6,932; Afghanistan 5,292; Pakistan 1,081; India 281; Nigeria 4,886; Egypt 656; Philippines 258; Thailand 75; Libya 462; Syria 2,748. No Western country was anywhere near in the ‘top’ ten.

Our media continues to exaggerate the extent of the terrorist problem in Western countries like the UK, the US and Australia. But it is always graphic and easy news, particularly when a camera is around. We all remember the hype over the Boston marathon bombing when three were killed. Only three people have been killed in Australia in a terrorist attack in the last 20 years. Media coverage suggests something very different. (See my blog ‘the terrorism threat here is because our troops are over there‘.)

From London last week we were told how brave Londoners were and how they were determined to go about their business as usual. We gave a good run to their bravery, but we scarcely mention the bravery of tens of thousands of people in the Middle East, or Nigeria, suffering from terrorism.

Our media relies on feeds from London or New York and is largely ignorant or unconcerned about the plight of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. After all, they are not people like us!

Our media scarcely ever asks how it could be that there has been such a surge in terrorism. Yet the data shows very clearly that the surge in terrorism worldwide occurred after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, instigated by George Bush,, Tony Blair and John Howard. They are the real culprits and cause of continuing world terrorism.

Before the invasion in 2003, ISIS and Al Qaeda were unknown in Syria and Iraq.

Yet there has not been a royal commission on our illegal and immoral involvement in Iraq which has spawned the terrorism upsurge.. The British attempted this to some degree through the Chilcott Enquiry.

Our media, turns itself inside out over the London terrorist attacks but shows little interest in addressing the basic and fundamental issue of the factors which have driven international terrorism and deaths of millions of people since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

To hide the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq and the grievous consequences thereafter we are encouraged to focus on a symptom-terrorism- flowing from the invasion, rather than the invasion itself.

What nonsense Malcolm Turnbull speaks when he tells us that the London attack was really an attack on the parliamentary system itself. We know that terrorists seek maximum publicity for their attacks and focus on an iconic building, like parliament. But the real motivation for these terrorist attacks is surely the invasion of Muslim lands by foreign powers that has let loose a whole range of ethnic, tribal and sectarian feuds – and a powerful incentive for retribution against the Western powers that have brought such death, damage and humiliation to Muslim lands.

But our White Man’s Media avoids the obvious.

One consequence of the disaster that has unfolded in the Middle East has been the millions of refugees who have fled and seek sanctuary elsewhere. But even there we try to avoid responsibility and play politics with the most vulnerable people on earth.

At some point we will have to be a national reckoning to expunge our guilt and complicity at what we helped set in train in Iraq in 2003.

In our national life of the last decade, two major failings stand out. The first is our inability to respond adequately to the challenge of global warming. The second is the calamity set in motion by John Howard in the invasion of Iraq. On both these issues the media and particularly News Corporation bear a heavy responsibility.

A whole anti-terrorist industry – government, non-government and even universities – has grown up in the West to combat terrorism. It is a great money-spinner for many. Terrorism is a threat, but we have it all out of proportion.

Our White Man’s Media is grievously failing to tell the true story of what has driven the surge in terrorism. We badly need some honest history from our media. But what an orgy it has had over the London attacks last week.


John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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7 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. Our White Man’s Media again on display in London (Manchester) terrorist attack.

  1. One group embedded in the statistics but seldom mentioned are the the insane. This is not a slur, just a medical fact. Granted the induced terror and inflammation of that by the media it is not surprising that sick unbalanced irresponsible individuals will see it as their job or duty to attack. Their claim adherence to a cause adds justification to their irrational thinking.
    The article implies that the bias of the media is a privatized section of the government PR machine. But then again there is no such thing as a gift especially to a government.
    And as we see again and again a government prefers citizens to be terrified. Well at least excluding genuine serious threats like climate change or hatred. “We shall decide by which threats our people will be threatened and the ways in which they will be threatened”.

  2. Avatar richard le sarcophage says:

    The double-standards are pure racist contempt for non-Westerners, exactly what you would expect from a fakestream media TOTALLY dominated and controlled by the Right, who are nothing if not racists. It feeds the West’s unbounded narcissistic self-regard, too, we having adopted, holus-bolus, the Israeli worldview, (which also was Afrikaaner South Africa’s) that the lives of non-Western untermenschen are utterly worthless, while those of Western ubermenschen are infinitely precious.
    Making it even more vile, these terrorists are often plainly dupes controlled and protected by Western ‘law-enforcement’ and ‘intelligence’ forces, unleashed whenever the ruling Western regimes need diversions from other travails, or some new aggression is planned against a Moslem target state, or a Western regime needs a justification for some new domestic repressive or surveillance measures. Just watching Q & A at the moment, and the sheer mania of Islamophobic idiocy and viciousness is quite despicable, as were two recent episodes of Media Watch, where the Murdochite Islamophobic hate campaigns in the Daily Telegraph were strongly supported. The Guthrie Effect is gathering strength. And now we have an Hansenite bigot DIRECTLY equating Islam to Islamist terrorism, without a word of contest from the ABC apparatchiki. Un-bloody-believable!!!!

  3. Avatar John Brittle says:

    Your third cheap sneer at the Australian media in recent weeks shows you understand little of Australian or world media. Read, watch or listen to the media and you will find much reported from the Middle East, from Nigeria and other points about many actions, terrorist and otherwise. Of course we report more from the UK and US than from Uruguay or Lesotho. How much is reported about Australia in Syria and Nigeria? How is the media continuing “to exaggerate the terrorist problem in Western countries”? Making up stories? Exaggerating numbers? The media reports what happens in many parts of the world. What is major news in one area might be two paragraphs in another. When I worked in New York the New York Times ran a regular items “from the police blotter”. One day it reported that a 13-year-old boy had been shot dead while attempting to rob a liquor store. Under New York State law, liquor could not be purchased with a credit card, you had to pay cash, which made liquor stores targets for robbery. Had this happened in Australia it would have been a major story on radio, TV and in newspapers. In New York it rated two lines. But it was reported. Everything is relative. And I don’t believe that numbers dictate what is of interest.

    • John Brittle, As you say it is a matter of balance. Describing a post as “A cheap sneer” hardly makes for balance. And which ever way you like it the numbers quoted covering London and the Middle East are unbalanced.
      Michael D. Breen

  4. Greg Bailey Greg Bailey says:

    I think we need to bear in mind that the commercial media has two essential functions: the first is to deliver audiences to advertisers as this provides them with their revenue; the second is to create a sense of fear and anxiety within the general community. It does this by focussing on local murders and muggings and correlates terrorist attacks in Europe and North-America with civilisational attacks. If the establishment political parties are to remain relevant, they need to have an enemy–apart from each other–against which they can demonstrate their capacity to protect their citizens and their way of life, as vague as that expression might be.

    Terrorist events are then grist to the mill for the commercial media and the ideology it wants to push, one which utterly precludes searching for the real causes of terrorism, most of which relate to economic inequality garbed in a religious cloak. Indeed, the West needs terrorism as an other against which its own civilisation standards seem so superior. If only the commercial media could prosecute an educational function beyond the uncritical dissemination of neoliberal ideology.

  5. Well said. And I note there has been much, much less reporting of the events in Mosul this week than of London. These events included multiple deaths from an explosion following a coalition strike on an ISIS truck loaded with explosives:

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