“What kind of leader launches an open assault on the press, accusing it of jeopardising public safety and demanding that it put its ‘house in order’? What sort of ruler proposes ‘guidelines’ to the press on what stories it should cover, and even worse, what kind of language it should use to cover them, what kind of people it should employ, and what kind of values it should uphold and communicate to the mass of the population? Kim Jong-il, perhaps? Saddam Hussein, before he was chased into his hole in the ground and later executed? How about Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London?
“This week, ‘Red Ken’, as some people insist on calling him, launched a report on British media coverage of ‘Muslim issues’. Titled The Search for Common Ground: Muslims, Non-Muslims and the UK Media, the report was commissioned by Livingstone’s Greater London Authority. It explores the alleged rise of Islamophobia in the media. And in the name of tackling the apparent spread of prejudice through the papers (especially tabloid ones), Livingstone and his supporters have crossed a line normally only transgressed by despots: they’re using their political clout to try to shape the media in their own image. Strip away all the PC lingo about ‘protecting Muslims’, and the London mayor’s latest initiative comes across as an intolerable attack on press freedom.”
Brendan O’Neill continues the ex-RCP’s journey from ultra-leftism to right-wing “libertarianism”.