The Guardian, Tommy Robinson, and Me
Britain's top rag uncovers a nonexisent “global network”.
Damn it, the Guardian is on to us. On Friday, Britain’s most important, or rather self-important, newspaper ran a piece headlined “Revealed: the hidden global network behind Tommy Robinson.”
Move over, Pentagon Papers.
Clearly, this is Pulitzer Prize-level journalism – although, unfortunately, Brits are ineligible for that particular distinction. Obviously, the Guardian reporters in question – Josh Halliday, Lois Beckett, and Caelainn Barr – have stumbled upon that obscure and highly sophisticated research tool known as Google. And through Google, they’ve uncovered the sensational, previously unnoticed fact that two “US thinktanks…have published a succession of articles in support of Robinson,” while a third U.S. think tank has – gasp! – helped pay for Tommy’s legal fees.
These three think tanks, the Guardian scribes assert, “have been repeatedly accused of stoking anti-Islam sentiment in the west and spreading false information about Muslim refugees in Europe.” (Among the institutions that have been in the forefront of making these baseless accusations, unsurprisingly, is the Guardian itself.) The Guardian writers further contend that Tommy’s support from these “prominent and well-financed groups undermines Robinson’s self-styled image of a far-right populist underdog whose anti-Islam agenda is being silenced by the British establishment.”
Hold on a second and take a look at that last sentence. Has Tommy really sought to style an image for himself as a “far-right” activist? Who on earth would do that? Or has he constantly denied, quite correctly, that there’s anything “far-right” about him? This is journalism at its shabbiest. As for his being “silenced by the British establishment” – no, he hasn’t exactly been silenced. This Guardian article itself is a perfect illustration of the fact that he has, rather, been smeared, maligned, defamed, vilified, calumniated, misquoted, misinterpreted, and misrepresented by that establishment. Consistently.
They never miss an opportunity to mention that his real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. Yes, and Cary Grant’s real name was Archibald Leach. Jack Benny was Benjamin Kubelsky. Tony Curtis was Bernard Schwartz. So what? They mention that he (Tommy, not Cary Grant or Jack Benny or Tony Curtis) was a member of the racist English Defence League – but they never add that he quit the EDL as soon as he found out it was racist.
Let’s move on to the American angle. As it happens, the two U.S. think tanks that are guilty of publishing pro-Tommy articles, according to the Guardian, are the Gatestone Institute and the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Some specifics: since Tommy’s arrest in May, Gatestone has published seven articles about Tommy. I’ve written six of them. (The other was by Douglas Murray.) Horowitz's website, Front Page, has also run several pieces on Tommy, and I’ve written two or three of them. (Just for completeness’ sake, let me add that I’ve also written about Tommy at PJ Media.)
In short, if there’s a hidden global network behind Tommy Robinson – a cabal determined to spread his evil Islamophobic message – then I’m at, or pretty damn close to, the center of it. But the Guardian didn’t even mention my name. How dare they! Credit where credit is due, blokes.
In their article, Halliday, Beckett, and Barr (sounds like a white-shoe law firm, no?) did serve up various details about how much money these think tanks have supposedly received from this or that wealthy benefactor. The obvious implication is that there are orders coming down from on high, from the deep-pocketed boys, to run to Tommy’s defense. And what follows from this is that Tommy, far from being a put-upon working-class hero who’s risked his life, imperiled his career, and endured unjust punishment at the hands of the British police and judiciary, is, in fact, a tool of some secret conspiracy of rich American Islamophobes who are busy filling the websites they fund with vicious, dishonest propaganda in Tommy’s favor.
I resent that implication. None of the editors at the websites for which I’ve written about Tommy has ever suggested that I write about him. I’ve banged these pieces out because I’ve been outraged by the way in which this supremely decent and heroic guy has been treated – by his country’s government, by its cops, by its courts, and, yes, by its mainstream media – and I’ve sent my pieces to editors who I hoped would consider them worth publishing. If I’ve submitted them to several different places, it’s because I’ve been ticked off so frequently about the developments in Tommy’s case that I had to spread these things around: I can’t expect any of these editors to run pieces on Tommy every day of the week.
By the way, the third think tank mentioned by the Guardian, the one that has helped pay his legal bills, is the Middle East Forum. I’ve benefited from MEF’s principled largesse myself more than once, when my outspokenness about Islam has landed me in legal or financial quandaries. As an American, I’m extremely proud that the MEF, based in Philadelphia and run by the estimable Daniel Pipes, has stepped in to cover Tommy’s expenses. As a lifelong Anglophile, I find it depressing that in the entire U.K., no individual or organization seems to have been willing to do the same.
The Guardian article actually quoted one Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama, a British outfit that purports to record anti-Muslim hate crimes, as saying that Americans’ support for Tommy was unwelcome “foreign interventionism” and “should alarm anyone” in Britain “who values the democratic principles on which our country are [sic] founded.” Of course, what should be alarming to pro-freedom Brits is that “foreign interventionism” is necessary at all in the desperate effort to save British liberty from the cowardly dhimmis who currently run that increasingly Islamized kingdom.