By in Politics

Freedom of Speech vs Fox News

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a lot has been made of freedom of speech. Words and images are powerful tools but that people should be killed as a form of criticism against their art is obviously a world none of us wants to live in. Yes Freedom of expression is vital in a balanced world, but a recent news item on Fox News also highlighted the other side of the coin. News channels obviously have an obligation to report responsibly, to deliver as factually accurate information as possible. So when Fox News pundit Steven Emerson took the seat as a political and terrorist expert to report on Birmingham, UK recently I'm sure looks of bafflement, amusement and horror greater his report, at least here in the UK. To report that what is widely regarded as England's second city was an Islamic enclave was a complete fabrication -

“In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.

“And, parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.”

Birmingham has a population of about 1.1 million, about 20% of which are Muslim. Yes there are areas that are culturally more Muslim than anything else and within those areas there will be some who take a more fundamentalist view point. Within that minority there may even be those willing to use violence or intimidation against non-muslims, but that amounts to a ridiculously small amount of people. To claim that the city would be a no-go area to non-muslims is irresponsible. I'm sure most people in the UK laughed off such reporting but this was an American "expert" on an American channel. Firstly if such blatant miss-management of the truth is being openly peddled by the media, what other overseas information is also being edited to suit a purpose. Secondly, how many people buy into this without questioning the facts.

Freedom of Speech is one thing but surely corporate mangling of the facts is just as much a travesty as those who oppose such hard won freedoms.

Image Credit » personal photograph

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Secre wrote on January 12, 2015, 10:23 AM

Apparently news now means being allowed to make up your 'facts' and distribute this garbage to the public at large.

GedWrites wrote on January 12, 2015, 10:45 AM

If our American friends didn't know anything about the UK they may be thinking the country is turning into an Islamic state. The terrorist attacks in Paris were carried out by Islamic fundamentalist they think, if it is true then they certainly don't mind who they kill because two of the dead were Muslim, two ordinary people who got in the way of these idiots. I have my own thoughts about the Muslim population in the UK but at this moment I better keep them to myself.

Shadi wrote on January 12, 2015, 3:02 PM

I learned to never take media reports for granted. There are lot of half trues and sometimes outright lies. But I do know that freedom of speech should not be confused with insulting.
As you said, media is a powerful tool and it can move people to any direction. Sadly, such falsehood from Fox News will only direct people toward hate and violence.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 13, 2015, 12:17 PM

It isn't just Fox News with poor reporting. It's too easy to pick on Fox from the liberal perspective. The rest of US news channels are liberal minded and primarily repeat the party line, distort news or consciously leave out informative damaging to the agenda. The bottom line is all news sources print and screen, liberal or conservative has to be viewed with a grain of salt as they are all shoddy most of the time.