The distiller — today’s UK headlines, summarised and analysed

Tuesday 19th June 2017

Good morning


Brief overview: Today’s papers cover the suspected terrorist attack that took place yesterday. A white male drove a van into a crowd of Muslim men outside their mosque, killing one and leaving ten more injured. On the left, the papers make it clear who is to blame. On the right, the usual lone wolf/mental illness/problems at home narrative has been taken. Whilst I try to keep an objective approach, it is frustrating to see the same copy and paste strategy from the right wing of the media when it comes to dealing with attacks of this nature.

By Martin Rowson of the Guardian (link)

Outside of the headlines: Otto Warmbier, the US student held as a prisoner in North Korea for attempting to take a propaganda sign, died after returning home in a coma. This could have huge ramifications on the already heavily strained USA - North Korea relationship.


The Daily Mail

Owned by: Daily Mail and General Trust, owned by Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere

Editor: Paul Dacre

Political leaning: Right / far right

Daily circulation: circa 1,490,000

Today’s leading headline: I’d do it again

Today’s Mail quotes the attacker as he left the scene, shouting that he would carry out an attack like that again if given the chance. The paper describes the man as being ‘consumed with hate’.

Afterthought: The irony of the Daily Mail describing someone committing an act of violence against Muslims as ‘consumed with hate’ is not lost. This is a paper that consistently spews out anti-Muslim rhetoric and whipping up a frenzy around the topic.

The Daily Telegraph

Owned by: Telegraph Media Group, owned by Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay

Editor: Chris Evans

Political leaning: Right

Daily circulation: circa. 460,000

Today’s leading headline: Terror suspect ‘turned against Muslims’ after London attack.

Today’s Telegraph covers the Finsbury attack. The paper describes Osborne as a ‘father of four’, and states that he was ‘increasingly agitated’ following the recent attacks in London, which the paper refers to as ‘outrages’.

Afterthought: Osborne may well have become increasingly agitated following the recent attacks, but let us not ignore the role that the right-wing media played by raising the levels of hysteria, not just in the last week but across the last few years. Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson are prime examples of this sort of right wing extremist hate speech.

The Times

Owned by: News UK, Rupert Murdoch’s company.

Editor: John Witherow

Political leaning: Right

Daily circulation: circa. 446,000

Today’s leading headline: Jobless ‘lone wolf’ held over attack on mosque.

Today’s Times has chosen to describe Osborne as a lone wolf, and jobless. The paper goes on to describe Osborne as potentially having underlying mental problems. The paper then goes on to say that Osborne had recently split with his partner, and had been thrown out of a pub the day before.

Afterthought: Shocker: the lone wolf narrative has been used to describe a white suspected terrorist. Throw in mental illness and family troubles and you have the full shebang. Shameful angle to take from this paper.

The Guardian

Owned by: Scott Trust Limited, run by a board with a policy of non-interference.

Editor: Katharine Viner

Political leaning: Left

Daily circulation: circa. 161,000

Today’s leading headline: Fresh terror in London as van drives into crowd at mosque.

In a similar vein to the other papers, today’s Guardian covers the terrorist attack carried out by against Muslims outside their mosque. The paper states that the man has been identified as a 47-year-old from Wales. The paper goes on to praise the actions of the Imam, who intervened ‘to keep [the] crowd calm’ as they apprehended the suspect.

Afterthought: Today’s Guardian cartoon speaks volumes. Following any attack involving a Muslim, the right-wing papers in this country scream with outrage about how the suspect could have been radicalised. Today, their headlines are remarkably empty of such criticisms. This issue should be pressed further by the left and central branches of our county’s media.

The i

Owned by: Johnston Press, whose CEO is Ashley Highfield, significant ties to the BBC

Editor: Oliver Duff

Political leaning: Centre

Daily circulation: circa. 264,000

Today’s leading headline: ‘An attack on all of us’

Today’s i covers yesterday’s terrorist attack at Finsbury Park. The 46-year-old terrorist, Darren Osborne, rammed a crowd of Muslim men leaving the mosque, killing one and injuring ten. The paper goes on to say that the Iman has been ‘praised after crowd restrains attacker’, before handing him over to the police.

Afterthought: This attack comes after years and years of right wing tabloid media in this country ramping up their islamophobia. 1 in 3 people arrested on suspicion of terrorism in Britain last year were far right white extremists, although caution should be used with this figure as it doesn’t take representation into account. Osborne allegedly shouted that all Muslims should die.

The Daily Mirror

Owner: Trinity Mirror. Its chairman is David Grigson, formerly the chief financial officer at Reuters

Editor: Lloyd Embley

Political leaning: Left / far left

Daily circulation: circa. 716,900

Today’s leading headline: Hero of the mosque.

Today’s Mirror covers the wake of the van attack, directing praise towards the Iman who saved Osborne from the crowd. The paper notes that he ‘bravely stopped an angry crowd battering’ the suspect.

Afterthought: Mohammed Mohmoud, the Imam, deserves a huge amount of praise and credit. The spotlight should be on his exemplary behaviour.

Financial Times

Owner: The Nikkei, which is based in Tokyo.

Editor: Lionel Barber

Political leaning: Centre

Daily circulation: circa. 193,211

Today’s leading headline: Russian threat to target US forces as Syria jet shot down.

The Financial Times covers the further straining of the relationship between Russia and the US lead coalition. The warning comes after an American jet downed a Syrian plane yesterday, and follows years of proxy micro aggressions between both sides. It is the firs time the US lead coalition has shot down a Syrian jet since the fighting began in 2011. Russia stated that in doing so, the coalition had flouted international law.

Afterthought: The war being fought in Syria has served as a proxy war for both Russia and the USA. Both sides escalate and antagonise each other, with neither giving an inch on most occasions.

The Sun

Owner: News UK, owned by Rupert Murdoch

Editor: Tony Gallagher

Political leaning: Right / far right

Daily circulation: circa. 1,611,464

Today’s leading headline: Imam saved mosque maniac.

Today’s Sun covers the attack. The paper praises the Iman who restrained the crowds surrounding Osborne after he fled his van.

Afterthought: This paper, together with the Daily Mail, has deliberately incited hatred in bulk against Muslims in this country. As such, any praise it offers has absolutely no authenticity to it. In the past, Sun columnist Rod Liddle wrote that ‘a significant proportion of Muslims living in Europe hate us and want us dead’. Read the full piece below.

Rod Liddle of The Sun

Scottish Papers

Daily Record

Owner: Trinity Mirror. Close ties to Scottish Labour.

Editor: Murray Foote

Political leaning: Left / far left although under Foote its allegiances have become more blurred.

Daily circulation: circa. 160,550

Today’s leading headline: Saved… by the people he was trying to kill.

The Daily Record today covers yesterday’s attack, and talks of the Imam who shielded the attacker from being beaten by the gathered crowd.

Afterthought: The Record’s coverage is similar to that of the other papers today, heaping praise on the Imam.

The Herald

Owner: Newsquest

Editor: Graeme Smith

Political leaning: Central / Left

Daily circulation: circa. 29,000

Today’s leading headline: Revealed: The plan to keep EU workers in Scotland.

Today’s Herald covers a paper published by academics which outlines a potential special visa deal for EU workers. The proposals will potentially allow employees from key sectors to remain in the country following Brexit.

Afterthought: Scotland has a chance to forge its own relationship with the EU as we head into this key period.


Final Thought

News shouldn’t tell you how to feel. The news should present facts, and allow you to formulate your own opinion. Regardless of your political affiliation, try and read beyond the headlines that most of these papers push on you, from the left and the right.

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