When the Truth Hurts, Attack the Messenger

Armed police will accompany frightened joggers in the Swedish city of Oskarshamn **NOTE: Not actual photo of police escorting joggers

Over a decade ago, Sam Harris observed that, when it came to dealing with Islamic extremism, “liberals in the United States and Europe often speak as though the truth were otherwise”. Western liberals, he said, have worked themselves into an extreme denialism over Islam.

One notable excrudescence of this denialism is that, whenever Islam is criticised, legitimately or not, Western liberals respond by acting “as though the truth were otherwise”, and by viciously attacking the critic. Nigel Farage and Breitbart are being attacked for reporting that armed police would soon be escorting joggers in Sweden.

Nigel Farage attacked for claiming joggers need armed police escorts in Sweden

Nigel Farage has sparked criticism after claiming a Swedish town is giving locals the option of an armed police escort due to concerns over immigrants.

Well, okay, he was criticised for reporting it – but is it true? Who cares – just attack the messenger.

Mr Farage cited a story, later written up by far right news website Breitbart and conspiracy website InfoWars

All of this is a character attack, and nothing to do with the truth (or not). Trigger-words, like “far right”, “conspiracy website” are liberally deployed.

the idea […] was created by a local police officer who has set up a volunteer programme to encourage local residents to exercise more and had nothing to do with fears over immigration

That’s a distortion, deliberate or not, of what both Farage and the original report actually said. Farage never said that it was because of “fears over immigration”. Mortimer is putting words in his mouth.

In fact, the original report is headlined, “Armed police run with anxious joggers” (the Swedish word, “Oroliga”, can be variously translated as, “troubled”, “concerned”, “anxious”, or “alarmed”), and notes specifically that the initiative was due to people being “nervous”, “scared”, and “feeling unsafe” when it’s dark, “due to events around the world”.

What events would those be? This topic is deliberately avoided.

Mortimer goes on to berate Breitbart for linking the story to an earlier story by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, reporting that half of women in Sweden were afraid to go out after dark. It’s entirely legitimate when reporting on fears over going out at night in one Swedish city to also report that the same fear is common all through Sweden. It’s called context.

Mortimer then tries some more pea-and-shells tricks:

the report only recorded fear of crime rather than instances of crime itself and made no reference to the presence of refugees as the reason women were scared […]

Yet, both Farage and Breitbart said that it reported fear of crime, not crime itself. Breitbart explicitly acknowledges that, “the Aftonbladet study makes absolutely no reference to what precisely the women are afraid of”, but it does also note that the report “comes amid a barrage of stories coming out of the country of lone women being raped and attacked by newly arrived migrants”.

Whether that’s providing context, or unfairly conflating the two issues, is a matter of opinion. But that doesn’t excuse trying to straw-man.

Official obfuscation over refugee and Muslim crime in Europe is almost routine. After the Cologne New Year’s sex attacks in 2015, officials initially steadfastly denied the involvement of refugees. During the Rotherham rape gangs’ reign of terror, police and public officially openly conspired to hide the Muslim identity of the perpetrators.

Police and public officials routinely lie about Muslim crime in Europe.

Mortimer’s final gambit is to trot out journalists like James Savage of the left-wing, refugee-friendly The Local, to claim that it’s all rubbish, and that Sweden is really “successful”, and he’d know because he lives there. Well, Walter Duranty lived in Russia, too, and he and other left-wing visitors to Stalin’s Russia steadfastly denied that anything untoward was happening in the worker’s paradise.

Sam Harris is right about liberal denialism, but it’s nothing new. The left has always denied hard truths about their utopian fantasies.

– The Independent

 


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