It’s a story that would tug at anyone’s heartstrings, unless you’re a heartless, racist, xenophobic, bigoted, Islamophobic hatemonger, and that’s just the point: a recent article that ran in at least two British papers, the Daily Mail and Metro UK, provided an enlightening case study in how media manipulation works. It’s the same on this side of the Atlantic as well; the establishment media in America as well as in Britain is today not remotely a news source. Instead, it is wholly and solely a propaganda arm of the hard-Left, devoted to turning you into a loyal, docile member of the new collectivist, open-borders, socialist, authoritarian post-republic that is being foisted upon us.
The tearjerker story in question ran in the Mailonline and Metro on Wednesday, with minor variations between the two. “A refugee who fled the war-torn Middle East after her relatives were killed,” the Daily Mail intoned, “says life in Hull is ‘the same’ as Iraq.”
Good heavens! Life in tranquil, stable Britain the same as Iraq? Why, what horrors is Intesar Hassan, 55, suffering, and why? “Since arriving in the city, the mother says she has been left mostly bed bound and reliant on a wheelchair, after enduring squalor at her home and having to wash in her kitchen sink. The mother-of-four says her life in Hull is in fact ‘hell’, adding: ‘When I think about Iraq and Hull, they are the same to me. When I came here my health conditions worsened and are getting worse day by day in this house. I cannot walk, talk or eat due to the conditions I am living in. All night long I worry about the house.’”
It seems that Hassan and her family were “placed into their private-rented house in west Hull on their arrival in the city eight years ago. Since then, Ms Hassan claims there has been no maintenance carried out on the house, while also stating there is no heating and there’s damp on the walls.” She complains: “I open the window at night because I can’t breathe from the damp inside the house. This situation is reminding me and re-traumatising me from past experiences. I told the Refugee Council that the house is freezing but they didn’t do anything. We have no heating and no maintenance work has been done on the house in the past eight years. I fell down the stairs in the house which led to me needing to have my gall bladder operated on. I have letters from Castle Hill Hospital, GPs and occupational therapists which recommends I am placed into a new house suitable for disabled people, but I have waited on Hull City Council’s housing list since the day I arrived in Hull.”
Sounding the sole discordant note, a spokesman for the Hull City Council said that the the house “was ‘immaculate’ upon the family’s arrival, with the tenants denying access to maintenance workers,” and also, “its environmental health team had also been denied access to the house.”
But that Hull City Council spokesman is doubtless just an “Islamophobe.” Intesar Hassan’s predicament is a shame indeed. But beyond the British media spin, a few questions remain. Notably these: What obligation do British taxpayers have to provide for her needs? How did they incur this obligation? And why do the Daily Mail and Metro think her misfortune is newsworthy? Note how the stories in both are almost identical, evidence of a coordinated campaign.
There are no doubt British citizens who have cold houses that are served by inadequate maintenance staff. Yet would any of them ever get written up in the Daily Mail or Metro? Of course not. And why is that? Because stories such as this one are meant to further a narrative, to appeal to one’s emotions so that resistance to mass Muslim migration is softened.
After all, who would be so callous as to deny an old, bedridden woman a bit of taxpayer money to get her a new place, right? And haven’t these refugees from war-torn Iraq suffered enough? How could you possibly oppose their mass migration into the UK, you cruel, greasy Islamophobe?
Articles of this kind are, in short, no less state propaganda designed to inculcate views and attitudes in the populace than anything turned out by Goebbels. Every time one is published, it must be called out. The more aware the public is of how it is being manipulated, the less effective that manipulation will be.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.