The Sun feigns outrage over racist killing of a Polish man — their hypocrisy is astounding

A Polish man was killed in Essex last Saturday by a group of 15–16 year olds in an apparent hate crime. The man, named as Arkadiusz Jóźwik, was murdered after he was heard speaking Polish to his friends. After details of the attack emerged, The Sun were quick to condemn the incident. But rather than condemn it, I argue, they should be taking responsibility.

Police reported in July that hate crime in the days following the EU referendum rose by 57 percent and, according to research by The Independent, the trend was highest in areas which voted leave. This crime fits the trend — Harlow, the area in which the murder took place, voted to leave the EU 68% to 32%, compared to the national vote of 52–48.

The Sun’s reporting on the story took me by surprise. You wouldn’t think the headline, ‘KILLED BY TEEN MOB FOR BEING POLISH’ came from a newspaper which has peddled anti-immigrant sentiment for years.

A selection of The Sun’s headlines.

Make no mistake — our media and certain politicians are directly responsible for the rise in hate crime. The disgusting rhetoric Nigel Farage has spouted over the course of his political career and the constant demonisation of immigrants in the tabloid press has undoubtedly contributed to the terrifying statistics.

Nigel Farage’s ‘Breaking Point’ poster bore resemblance to Nazi propaganda.

To be clear, though, I’m not saying Nigel Farage or the newspapers endorsed violence (though we could argue about the former), but their racist words create an environment in which racist actions are given a space to flourish. When people are bombarded day after day with messages that people from other countries are coming to take their jobs, are increasing crime rates and are responsible for their poor financial situation, is it any surprise that the racists among them will be fuelled to go out and commit hate crimes?

It’s not the first time, though, that The Sun has hypocritically reported on a tragic event. Look back to last year at the refugee crisis — the newspaper printed story after story about refugees in Calais and how Britain couldn’t deal with them, despite taking fewer than 200. But when a preventable death of a Syrian child happened and the public saw the reality of the situation, The Sun, it seemed, suddenly gained a heart.

After a few weeks, though, their racist stories came back. They slowly blew up a balloon, and when it inevitably popped, they threw it away and claimed no responsibility, only to start blowing another up when nobody was looking. After this tragic murder of a Polish man, I hear another one pop. In a couple of weeks, I have no doubt that the cycle will start again.

People must begin to see that toxic words turn into toxic actions, and that toxic actions have toxic consequences. It’s time to recognise the disgusting language in our media and political system and call it out for what it is — a way for the richest in society (i.e. Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere) to get everybody else to fight amongst each other while they, when nobody is looking, continue to accumulate billions in wealth and pay next to nothing in tax. Unsurprisingly, this comes at the expense of precisely the same types of people who are reading their newspapers.

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Rupert Murdoch, a tabloid reader, and an immigrant are sitting at a table. There are 10 slices of cake laid out on it. Rupert Murdoch takes 9 of the slices and then proceeds to tell the tabloid reader: “watch that immigrant, he’s after your cake”.