Tag Archives: The Sun

The Sun: United Against IS (A Review)

Where The Sun front page, and editorial fail, my initial skepticism is reassured by Sara Khan who delivers on how to challenge extremists.

Right now Britain and about 60 countries are committed to undermining ISIS. Fascists that use religious nationalism to bring Sunni Muslims together under a caliphate. It includes flag waving, and demanding that all muslims of various sects unite.

With that in mind The Sun front page stood out:


A right wing tabloid uses religious nationalism to bring all people of faith together as one nation. It includes a cut out flag (Page 3), and demanding that all people of faith unite.

Strength through unity. Unity through faith.

The blood runs cold, that the answer to fanatical religious nationalism is religious nationalism lite. That such an image concept, that has caused such misery in the world, might serve to combat extremism is insulting to those that think about it’s execution. Those of no faith appear to have nothing to say about fighting religious extremism, according to the blurb.

However, open the paper and a different story emerges. The editorial begins:

THE Sun today calls on Britain to unite against the murderers of Islamic State.

Whatever your faith — or if you have none — you can help crush the greatest evil of modern times.

The arrest of a suspected IS terror cell in the UK and the slaughter of aid worker Alan Henning show why we must stand together.

We must help snuff out the warped ideology of IS and stem the flow of Britons to its ranks.

Britain is a beacon of tolerance, a mainly Christian country that embraces all religions. IS seeks to destroy that unity by sowing the hatred that acts as its recruiting sergeant. We mustn’t let it happen.

Cheers for remembering us of no faith this time. But then the faux pas that we are mainly a Christian country. That does not bare scrutiny. A Christian Country destroying an Islamic State. That will make borderline radical Islamists stop in their tracks. Not.

We are mainly a no faith country, that embraces religious freedom for all including those of no faith. Equal citizenship is not a matter of religion, or your politics, or even whether you think we should be fighting this war or not. Here we celebrate freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.

The young woman on the front page could choose to wear the hijab. Under ISIS, the Niqab is mandatory with armed thugs demanding women keep their faces covered. The celebration in the UK is not our faith, but our ability to live voluntarily by our conscience in matters of belief. We may manifest our right to religious expression and identity. As equally, we may denounce religion. Free speech – it lets you speak out against hate.

Thank goodness for Sarah Khan, director of Inspire, saving the day in the paper:

People of a non-Muslim faith can help in this fight against IS by stamping out hate as a whole. IS plays into the fears that some people have about the Muslim faith and burn the bridges within our society.

If we respond by promoting hate to each other we are letting them win. They want Muslims to feel marginalised so they will want to join their twisted cause.

We need to say we’re not going to allow you to destroy us and we say that by not tolerating hatred or violence to anyone.

The common theme here is to make a stand against any hatred or extremism. It’s not what it means to be British.

Exactly what this blog stands for.

The aim of #makingastand are worth supporting:

Through #makingastand we commit ourselves to rejecting terrorism and violence practised in the name of Islam. Together we will:

Challenge hatred and extremism wherever we find it.

Exert influence in our Mosques and communities.

Create local support networks and partner with statutory agencies.

Equip our communities with counter-narratives and help families identify the signs of radicalisation.

Spread the word with the use of the #makingastand campaign.

If you follow the link above you will see a familiar image. The blurb next to it this time brings out a positive image of challenging extermisim.


Sara Khan and Inspire have been given a huge platform. Please help to support, and take action.

Ok I still hate The Sun, and considering it’s past headlines this may strike some as insincere. But Iram Ramzan is right when she says the front page does grab your attention despite it’s flaws. The counter narrative just went public in the best selling tabloid newspaper against religious extremists and the far right.

That in itself is cause for some optimism, in the tabloids wobbled first steps on the issue.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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My Huffington Post Blog

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Filed under British Society, Culture, politics, secular, World

Ed Miliband – Is The Sun Shining Or Setting On Him?

This was Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party in Britain, at the Leveson inquiry 2012 into hacking and malpractice of newspapers.

“Organisations like News International had huge power and I think politicians were reticent to speak about some of these practices that were exposed. I include myself in that. There came a moment when I found it impossible not to speak out. I knew at that moment I was crossing a rubicon,” he said.” [BBC News]

This was Ed Miliband on the appalling tragedy at Hillsborough where 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death through no fault of their own:

“Two decades of torment… innuendo and downright lies spread about the person you loved: lies about rushing the gate, lies about ticketless fans, lies about the drunkenness of the victims.”

He demanded The Sun Newspaper apologise for being involved in the tissue of lies. The main selling title of the aforementioned News International. To this day The Sun newspaper is boycotted in most of Liverpool, even as toilet paper

Speaking of which, The Sun has just sent free to 22 million homes this week a special edition of the paper “This Is England.” Guess who it is holding a copy proudly?


Mr Ed “there’s an election in less than a year and I need the press” Miliband.

Miliband has now apologised, considering the inquest into events at Hillsborough are still ongoing. With the World Cup on, stress on British values to combat extremism in schools, must have seen like a good idea.

Plus bear in mind the Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Leader of UKIP Nigek Farage also posed:



Also, whilst the toadying to Rupert Murdoch’s News International is sickening, it can only happen because The Sun is the best selling newspaper in Britain.

All of which is enough to make you question what are our British values all about …

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Was it Twitter Wot Won it?


If the American Presidential election was decided by social media it would be a landslide:

On Twitter, Obama has 21.5m followers; Romney has 1.6m. On Facebook, Obama has 31.6m likes; Romney has just 11.6m. The list goes on – Obama’s YouTube channel has 254,000 subscribers, Romney, just 27,000; Obama’s Instagram feed has 1.5m followers, whereas Romney’s has only 68,000.

More on that can be found here.

In reality it will be a handful of swing states (marginals to us Brits) which will tip Romney or Obama via the electoral college into the White House. Though I have occasionally received breaking news via a Facebook status update:

… it’s worth remembering that not everyone is on social media. Recent research from the Pew Research Center points out that, while the number of Americans who regularly go to social media networks to find out their news has doubled since January, it is still only a regular news source for a relatively small number of people: just 17 per cent of the population.

As Talan puts it: “It’s like breakfast. You want to have it – it’s a really important meal – but it’s not the only meal.”

Also twitter is like preaching to the choir rather than converting infidels. Studies that looked at the influence of social media on voting need look at not just voting intention, but whether social media use meant more likely to vote, helped them change their mind, persuade others to vote, campaign for a particular candidate and how. If there was a scale included (not just yes or no) the data may enable us to see whether social media is more a communication tool or an influential opinion maker.


Like “It’s The Sun Wot Won It!” on the front page of the same newspaper in Britain when the Conservative Party narrowly retained power in 1992 claiming their support helped John Major overturn the opinion polls. Traditional media are still the main way we receive news – and whether it is a column in The Wall Street Journal or a video clip of Fox News we make use of Twitter or Facebook to share with others in the digital age.


Celebrity endorsement probably are less about giving a candidate new supporters, rather it is about creating enthusiastic supporters to definitely vote, get campaigning plus all the publicity and campaign finance that helps come polling day. The photo above of Katy Perry was tweeted (sent) to the 28 million people that follow her – that photo was retweeted (sent to others to see) by over 14,000 of them to those following them. So an audience beyond fans of Katy Perry could see that photo.

By the way if you would like to follow me on Twitter feel free @JPSargeant78

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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