Sunday, 31 March 2019 15:17

GERMANY – Far-Right News Website Employs ‘Whataboutism’ in Covering Christchurch Terror Attack

The day after the Christchurch massacre, far-right platform PI-News relativises the attack by pointing the finger at Islamic terror attacks. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for March.

This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of March, 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.

Germany march 2019Date of publication: 16 March 2019

Media Outlet:  PI-News (“Politically Incorrect”) is a far-right news website that defines itself as “Against the Mainstream, Pro-American, Pro-Israel, Against the Islamisation of Europe, For Fundamental Laws and Human Rights”

Link: https://bit.ly/2YtBf2R

Headline: “Media coverage limited or non-existent – 113 Islamic terror attacks in the last 30 days”

Description of the anti-Muslim content: The article starts by acknowledging the gravity of the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch and the grief it caused the Muslim community. However, the tone quickly changes and the sincerity of this acknowledgement is undermined by the subsequent paragraph which states “we wish that the same media would track Islam’s constant trail of blood with the same attentiveness”. The article claims that the media does not report on Islamic terror attacks and that the “media could conveniently refer back to these resources and address them every now and then at least”. The piece ends with the rhetorical question “Why is nobody doing this?” This question is meant to lead the reader to one conclusion: The media is biased and there must be a specific reason why Muslim deaths on the other side of the globe are highlighted, while attacks perpetrated by Muslims are not discussed. Considering the blog’s track record, it is fair to assume that the article blames the alleged “Islamisation” of the Western world and in particular Germany. 

Myth debunked: This article relativises the Christchurch attack by means of a strategy resembling “whataboutism”. Whataboutism is a logical fallacy which aims to discredit the opponent by accusing them of hypocrisy. In other words, rather than arguing one’s own case when accused of flawed behaviour, people making use of whataboutism will go on the offensive and simply call out the flaws of their opponents. Similarly, PI News does not simply condemn the attacks but instead cannot help but point to the perceived “danger” that Muslims in general allegedly still pose. In a way, this strategy also resembles victim blaming, since the group of people who were targeted by the Christchurch attack are promptly cast in a negative light, almost as though PI News intends to prevent any empathy that the Christchurch massacre might generate for Muslims. 

Sadly, this article is far from being the only attempt at such a reversal. Here are four articles from other far-right blogs that follow suit: An article on “achgut.com” writes the “truth of the matter is: the West has basically gotten used to Islamic terror, accepts it daily"; another article on “philosophia-perennis.com” holds that “only a couple of weeks ago, 20 Christians were murdered in a Church on the Philippines [...] but that only merited a side note in the German media”; and an article on “freiewelt.net” argues that while it is good that the Christchurch massacre receives media attention, “numerous attacks on Christians are suppressed [...] and that is fatal.”

More to read:

What Is 'Whataboutism,' And Why Is It Suddenly Everywhere?

Publicizing terrorism: How journalists should cover attacks

 

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