Faycal Cheffou, the only person to be charged with last week’s Brussels attacks that killed 31 people, was released on Tuesday of this week.
The authorities seized and named Cheffou hours after the attacks. Media outlets were quick to condemn him.
He was suspected to be the “man in the hat” at Brussels airport. The suspected third bomber was caught on CCTV pushing a luggage trolley next to two men thought to be bombers.
Police released Cheffou due to a lack of evidence. But the press seemed convinced of his guilt only days earlier and wanted to join the dots for us.
The Guardian newspaper excitedly reported on “Cheffou’s suspicious movements at the time of his arrest in Brussels”.
Its “news” said that he had “reportedly become increasingly radicalised”.
The Daily Mail newspaper’s thoroughgoing journalism told us that “it is also said” Cheffou “was planning to go to Syria” and was “a danger”.
Apparently he criticised poor treatment of asylum seekers—a sinister move for the Mail.
The “facts” about the EgyptAir plane hijacking on Tuesday also changed hour after hour.
At the same time as being outraged at terrorist acts, the media barons are quick to whip up more hatred against Muslims.
Unsurprisingly they were not quick to retract any of the allegations they had thrown at Cheffou after he was released.
The claim on the Sun newspaper’s front page last year—“1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”—was used by every racist to justify their hatred of Muslims.
Based on a survey the Sun paid for, it came out just after the Paris attacks.
The Sun said its poll was a “wake up call”.
Attacks increased as racists soaked up the lies and sought some kind of retribution.
One interviewer who helped conduct the Sun poll spoke out afterwards in disgust. They said “there was no mention of the word ‘jihadi’ in the script at any point”.
But Rupert Murdoch’s rag didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good Islamophobic headline.
The press standards watchdog ordered the Sun to print an apology last week. It sort of did—in a single column statement on page two.
But the damage was already done.
Bosses use their control of the media to sow division among working class people.
They want to mislead us into believing that austerity is necessary and that we must accept cuts.
Yet there are no such sacrifices for them.
So the next time the press tells you that striking junior doctors are “using patients as cannon fodder” or attacks “lefty teaching unions”—don’t believe the lies.