As I said in 'Can I be a martyr too please? Part II', the Mail is excellent at giving its readers just enough information to draw their own conclusions. The Express, however, is shit at that. It must draw every conclusion explicitly for its readers.
The headline is a great example - where the Mail waits for its readers to reach the point in the story that explains that three Muslims were in the prayer room before they find the Muslim connection, the Express bungs it right in the headline. Not only that, it calls it a 'Muslim 'insult' to the cross' to spice things up a bit further. It's now not only an insult to cover a cross, but a Muslim insult. As if this is a common thing Muslims do on purpose to offend Christians.
Given that I don't believe in any of this pretend person in the sky stuff, it's difficult for me to see how this is supposed to be an insult. I know Muslims aren't supposed to worship idols, so I can see why they'd cover things up that they considered to be idols while they were praying. I can't for the life of me work out why this would be considered an insult.
The story is illustrated by a picture of Nadia Ewedia, the BA employee who demanded that she be allowed to wear a visible cross. She is perfect for the Express to create a ham-fisted connection with, since as far as the Express readership is likely to be aware, all she did was ask to be allowed to do something she said others could do. The crucial difference is that the porter in this story is alleged to have assaulted someone and thrown about racist language.
So, there was a Muslim insult to the cross and the person involved in the headline is like Nadia Ewedia. No, not an insufferable godsquadder who made a series of unreasonable demands - the sanitised version of her the tabloids painted. The poor victim. Thus is the reader of this article armed before it even starts. Poor victim sacked for stopping a Muslim insult.
Then the fun really starts.
The opening paragraph says the porter was devastated last night after being sacked. Standard bit of misdirection to make the story sound newer than it is, since it appeared elsewhere days ago.
After telling us that the porter became increasingly angry after seeing the crucifix and statue of Mary regularly covered up without actually corroborating that claim, the story tells us:
On one visit he discovered three Muslims – two patients and a consultant – inside the prayer room with the two icons masked by a cloth. A picture of the Virgin Mary had also been placed face down.There's one incredibly vital piece of information missing from this. What were the Muslims doing in the chapel?
From this account, you'd be forgiven for thinking that they were in there to cover up the cross and the statue and put the photo face down as an insult rather than praying, which they almost certainly were doing. After all, if they'd really wanted to insult the Christians, they'd have taken the things away.
This is followed with:
Mr Protano is alleged to have uncovered the symbols and stood the picture back up before leaving the room. But minutes later there was a “confrontation” in the corridor after the group followed him out.Look carefully at the picture the paper is painting here. The porter walked into the chapel and uncovered the symbols and put the photo face up without any incident at all, and there was only confrontation after he left the room. How likely is that?
The Muslims accused Mr Protano of using racist language and assault, but he strongly denies the charges against him and claims they verbally abused him.
We also get:
Police released him after four hours of questioning following the assault complaint and passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide if he should be charged.Perhaps the senior detective thinks there should be any action because the alleged assault might have taken place in the Chapel where there were no witnesses other than the people involved, but we're still given the impression that there should be no action because the Muslims are lying.
A senior detective told the Daily Express: “I do not believe there should be any action over this, but the decision does not rest with me.”
Appropriately, the porter's friend asks:
“Maybe he should not have done what he did while the group was inside the prayer room, but do you deserve the sack? Would this have happened if it had been the other way round?”What would have happened if it had been the other way round?
The Express wouldn't be painting the Muslim who entered the Chapel and rudely covered things up as the victim, that's for sure. Nor would the paper be downplaying the assault allegations.
One thing that probably would have happened exactly the same is that it would have included the 'Have your say' question 'Should Britain's Christian traditions be defended?' but just with the lead in slightly changed. You'd still have got exactly the same comments too.
This kind of thing is pretty common now. I mentioned how the Mail covered the story of the boy who had alledgedly been attacked by the Slovakian woman with a metal bar before, but there was also the incident of the 'race clashes' at a dairy in Windsor, in which a dairy owned by Muslims was firebombed and some of the dairy's vehicles were smashed up. This was reported in the Mail and Express as Muslims causing trouble. Even the Sun appeared to know that Muslims were unlikely to be responsible for that one, even if it did go on to report about Muslims hounding soldiers out of their new home in Windsor when they actually didn't.
We know all too well what would have happened had the situation been the other way round. The same as happened this way round. The Muslims would have been reported as the aggressors, regardless of the facts.
The Sun and Telegraph haven't covered this one. Yet.