This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of December, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 17 December 2018
Media Outlet: Social media pages of Schild en Vrienden
Author: Dries van Langenhove, head of the far-right organisation Schild en Vrienden
Description of the anti-Muslim content: During a march against the Marrakesh UN agreement on migration in Brussels, Dries van Langenhove, head of the extreme right-wing organisation Schild en Vrienden, gave an inflammatory speech attacking traditional media for becoming a pro-migration propaganda machine, and left-wing media for their political correctness when covering migration in Flanders. According to him, Muslim terrorist attacks are generally reported as “incidents” and Muslim terrorists as “confused men”. In his speech, he also claimed that while there is a “wave of criminality by migrants”, the media portrays migrants as “small children” and “victims”. On this occasion, as well as many in the past, Dries van Langenhove also claims that there is a plot by the media to silence him “because he tells the truth”.
Myth debunked: Dries van Langenhove has recently become very popular among the extreme right youth in Flanders. The claim that he is constantly censored by the media and that he is a “martyr of political correctness” can be disproven by looking at his recent media coverage. Van Langenhove was ranked 11th on a list of the most popular people in Flanders in 2018 by the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. A TV documentary, which aimed to expose the violent views of his organisation, had the effect of increasing his notoriety. While it is true that the hate content in Dries van Langenhove’s video prompted Facebook to ban his account for 30 days, the footage is still available on other platforms such as YouTube and has been widely reported by most of the newspapers in Flanders. And yet, he claims that he is censored because he tells the truth. Van Langenhove is partially right to criticise media standards when it comes to the coverage of terrorist attacks, but for the opposite reason. For example, terror attacks by Muslims receive 357 percent more press attention in the U.S., according to a study by the University of Alabama. Van Langenhove’s claim that media do not call “terrorist attacks” the criminal actions committed by a Muslims perpetrator is wrong. Contrary to what Van Langenhove states, analyses show that attackers are generally labelled “terrorist” when the perpetrators are Muslim (and the whole race or religion bears the blame) and “lone wolf” when they are white (and only the individual bears the blame).
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