On Sunday 20 May, Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times tweeted a link to an article on young British fascists. The tweet drew such a negative response it was deleted.
The Times appears to have deleted their disgraceful "hipster fascists" Tweet. pic.twitter.com/hfI55F082m
— Harriet Clugston (@HarrietClugston) May 20, 2018
Although the tweet didn’t give a complete picture of the article itself, it has drawn attention to wider problems at the Times.
People were quick to point out the issues with the tweet:
Fixed that for you, ya weird Nazi-enabling old shits pic.twitter.com/YLoq1Domc7
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) May 20, 2018
But there is a difference between the tweet and the article, as the author has been pointing out online:
Classic case of reading only the tweet and not even the first sentence of the actual piece…"breathing new life" is a quote from Hope not Hate; "hipster fascists" a quote from another anti-racist group https://t.co/MRXCqvYUfS
— Andrew Gilligan (@mragilligan) May 20, 2018
The tweet read:
Middle class and well-spoken, dressed in skinny jeans and New Balance trainers – meet the hipster fascists breathing new life into the British far-right.
But the opening of Gilligan’s article [paywall] reads quite differently, as much of it is taken from quotes:
A 23-year-old City banker leads a movement of young “hipster fascists”, which is “breathing new life” into the British far-right, according to anti-racism campaigners. Middle class and well-spoken, dressed in skinny jeans and New Balance trainers rather than bomber jackets and boots, members of Generation Identity (GI) are accused of using slick branding and coded language to “normalise” extremist views.
Journalists working in the mainstream media often don’t have any say on how their work is published and promoted. As such, Gilligan has some right to be angry, but his anger should be directed at the Times.
It’s well known that social media links and headlines are read far more [paywall] than the stories they’re promoting. It’s also far from the first time an outlet has been accused of ‘normalising’ modern fascists. There have been muliple articles detailing this in recent years. And professional editors at the Times should be aware of the far right using image as a ‘propaganda tool‘:
— Rossalyn Warren (@RossalynWarren) May 20, 2018
The problem goes beyond social media too. This was the print edition:
The problems with the article also run deeper. And the Times can’t escape its own track record when it comes to how people engage with its articles.
Reading between the lines
One thing people are pointing to is the obvious class issue (the following tweet also references an article from the Mail):
Sometimes the press doesn't even attempt to hide the prejudice it has towards the working class. Middle class women do drugs shock! A middle class fascist! These are things for the commoners surely. pic.twitter.com/Z2XihjKWan
— Natalie Bloomer (@natalie_bloomer) May 20, 2018
The quoted comments from Hope Not Hate don’t really help here [paywall]:
it’s also in a sense about the quality of them. The older traditional lot are seeing them breathe new life into the movement. We haven’t seen someone like [Dupré] in a while . . . a young, articulate, normal-looking far-right activist who works at a bank like Standard Chartered.
Yet Gilligan does nothing to point out the problem with this language. Expressing shock when middle class people are bigoted is dishonest. The “hipster fascists” are not exceptional in many of their beliefs. Just look at some of the politicians in UKIP or the Conservatives.
The Times also published a recent article titled:
Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate
This is a popular argument among the far right. The Times has also fallen in with the right in its demonisation of trans people. And Gilligan is one of the journalists there who has published multiple, non-favourable articles on the subject – some of which turned out to be untrue.
The Times can’t publish articles denying Islamophobia and bashing trans people and expect to escape scrutiny on how it covers fascists. Gilligan’s article wasn’t what the tweet suggested, but that doesn’t mean it was without fault. The media need to do a better job reporting on the far right. Especially when they’re more likely to call out the targets of bigotry than the bigots themselves.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
– You can also read and support other independent media outlets:
Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Red Pepper, New Internationalist, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella Caledonia, Vox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine, The Bristol Cable, The Meteor, The Skwawkbox, Salford Star, The Ferret.
Featured image via Pulek1 – Wikimedia
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?