Following the Herald Sun’s “African gang crisis” coverage about alleged Sudanese youth violence, it is hard not to assume Murdoch tabloid editors just stick on a blindfold, spin round a few times, then chuck a dart at a giant map of the world to determine who to target for their next bullshit beat up.
If so, it means we could soon find the Daily Telegraph — which has already done Middle Eastern and Vietnamese gangs in recent years — running weeks of hysterical front pages on how the out-of control youth from the Central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan are terrorising Sydney’s suburbs.
Presumably such coverage will be accompanied by breathless declarations from federal ministers insisting Sydneysiders are too scared to go out for dinner lest they face Kyrgyz gangs taking over the streets with their national sport of falconry.
Some cynics suggest the “African gangs” story is a beat-up, simply because statistics show Victoria’s crime rate fell last year by 6.2% and a Victorian is 25 times more likely to be assaulted by someone born in Australia or New Zealand than Sudan or Kenya.
But honestly, “facts” can prove anything. Take, for instance, the fact that the Herald Sun employs people whose tax returns list their occupation as “journalists”.
Still, many people seem to want to bury their heads in the sand over this crisis, based solely on the handwringing denials of bleeding heart lefties such as the deputy commissioner of Victorian Police, who has responded by saying “there is no gang crisis”.
Really, what would the second in command of the Victorian Police Force know about the state of crime in Victoria? No, you want the truth, you better get a real expert, like Channel 7 did when they interviewed Blair Cottrell, the neo-Nazi head of the United Patriots Front.
And you’ll never guess what? It turns out Cottrell and his fascist associates are actually quite concerned about what they call the “immigrant crime crisis”.
How about that? A group headed by a man who once tweeted the “day of the rope was near” — in reference to the neo-Nazi term for white racists rising up and killing non-whites and their white supporters — is worried about non-white immigrants.
I mean, what next? News I’m about to go grab another beer? (Breaking: I just did.)
Not that Channel 7 pointed out Cottrell and his group were neo-Nazis. Rather, they described his group’s plans to patrol the streets to target Sudanese youth as an attempt to “come together to help average Australians deal with what they are calling an immigrant crime crisis. They’re hoping to create a kind of neighbourhood watch.”
Fair enough, as most historians now agree that “a kind of neighbourhood watch” is the best way to describe Adolf Hitler’s brown shirts. Presumably, Channel 7 is also planning an exclusive screening of a “little-seen” documentary about Nazi rule in Germany produced by Joseph Goebells.
I remember the good old days when there was a thing called “Godwin’s law”, which states that any political debate would inevitably involve raising the spectre of Hitler. Its purpose was to criticise a tendency to fall on lazy “just like Hitler” arguments to shut down the other side.
Recent developments have rendered this law redundant, however, because it is actually pretty hard to say “you can’t just go round calling people Nazis” when the news promotes a man on the record as advocating portraits of Adolf Hitler be put up in classrooms across the country.
Of course, you could say it’s not much of a leap to Blair Cottrell when the loudest voice to date on the supposed threat of Sudanese gangs has been Peter Dutton — a former cop during the quasi-fascist reign of ex-Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, whose biggest claim to fame is the satisfaction he appears to take from running torture camps for asylum seekers.
Of all Dutton’s sustained interventions on the matter, the most ludicrous was his widely mocked statement that Sudanese gangs were making Melbournians “scared to go out” for dinner. With wages stalling at record lows amid dangerously rising costs of living, if anything about dining out in Melbourne is scaring people, it is the bill.
Cynics might even suggest an attempt to deflect from this reality is the actual purpose of the Murdoch press and the Malcolm Turnbull government that so loyally follows its lead.