Media Tormentor Returns

Scott Burgess couldn’t keep away from blogging.

He marks his return by picking a couple of Independent articles on, respectively, the legacy of the Ottoman Empire and the possible reasons for the most recent Bali bombing and treating them the way a prowling ginger tom deals with a pair of startled rabbits with no means of escape.

Congratulations to the Independent – which, in my absence, has successfully completed the transition from “newspaper” to “daily propaganda pamphlet”. Long in coming, the change was finally completed with the publication of Saturday’s edition, the cover of which entirely eschews such outmoded conceits as, say, reporting the news, in favour of a list of six reasons “why Europe should embrace its Muslim neighbor”.

Admittedly, some of these reasons may at first seem somewhat odd to those few among the readership who have not been properly educated. Such a reader might, for example, take issue with the assertion that “the Ottomans, with the ships and caravans, achieved domination of the silk road and taught the west everything it knew about trade before the advent of ocean growing ships” – naively assuming that perhaps the Roman Empire, which predated that of the Ottomans by over a millennium, knew something about trade as well.

Similarly ignorant readers may hold the erroneous belief that Rome had both a highly successful governmental bureaucracy and a moderately imposing standing army. Wrong again – for, as we are informed by the Indy, it was the Ottomans (empire established 1299AD) who were “the pioneers of a disciplined bureaucracy and inventors of a standing army”.

Ouch. But he’s not finished there:

Meanwhile, editors of the Sunday edition seem to have discovered that it’s best not to actually read the stories that they’re commenting on, as the facts reported in the news columns might undermine the more important political point that needs making.

Hence, we find this observation in yesterday’s leader (leader, not online):

“There can be little doubt that the bombs in Bali are linked to issues surrounding the war. It is no coincidence that Australia, whose citizens are likely to be the majority of the victims, is fully committed in Iraq.”

We needn’t concern ourselves with the fact that similar bombings have been taking place in Indonesia since at least 2000 – this bombing is essentially and indisputably about Iraq. We know this because Australians are “likely to be the majority of the victims”.