‘Moonbat’ Mahathir is still lurking at BBConline. His nickname, mind you, goes unreported. Earlier I criticised the lack of editorial comment on Mahathir’s recent comments. This case remains. The fact is that over several days, in several reports, the BBC has not devoted one of its ‘experts’ to examining let alone condemning the racism and militarism of this man. It has not slipped in a correspondent to talk of possible senility in a 78 year old, or described his outburst as ‘schoolboyish’, ‘or ‘feisty’ or any of the other epithets used by the BBC on George W Bush or Donald Rumsfeld. One would have thought a sly comment like, ‘Mahathir Mohamed, known playfully to some of his critics as ‘Moonbat’ Mohamed’, might have been heaven sent to the BBC to discount some of the force of Mahathir’s views. The BBC has been determinedly straight in describing old Moonbat.
Some might say, ‘let’s hear what he’s got to say’. Others might say that Mahathir’s comments are rather mild by some Islamic standards. A cynic might say that since Mahathir was chosen by the Beeb as an expert for one of its discussions, they are reluctant to consign him to the loony bin. From the BBC’s ‘profile’, it is clear he is viewed as a champion of the third or at least second world in an era of globalisation. He is a man who has helped his country to develop despite the ‘selfishness of the west’ (my phrase- their attitude). Unfortunately these value judgements are obscuring the real issues.
This man indicates just what is wrong with the current thrust of Islamic leadership. His ideas give primacy to the struggle that Muslims perceive they have with the West. His notion of development is to give them the means to overcome the West. His aim is primarily and ultimately to militarise to confront the ‘Jewish dominated colonialists’. It is a vision as articulate, sweeping and ignorant as that of Adolf Hitler. Ok, this old man is never going to achieve the horrors of Hitler, and thus gets away with it, but he might inspire someone and something else; in fact that’s what his remarks obviously intend to do. As far as I am concerned, BBC, print the whole thing- but critique it, editorialise, roll out the experts and the correspondents, if, that is, you have the guts, knowledge or brains.
BTW, I saved two versions of the latest article. The first was entitled ‘Mahathir repeats Jewish ‘Jibe’’. To me this implied that Mahathir has made a joke about the Jews, rather than the carefully worded argument for a unified, sophisticated Jihad that he did in fact make. Later on, the headline was changed and a more profound note struck, ‘Mahathir unrepentant on Jews’. Still though, Mahathir’s monologue was interrupted only by GW Bush and Ariel Sharon, who for the BBC’s ideally groomed reader would count for roughly nothing.
Also BTW, BBC online have put up an article entitled ‘Mahathir calls for a peaceful Islam’ that has all the news and scrutiny value of being savaged by a dead sheep. What it does demonstrate though, is that the BBC’s relationship with Mahathir is too close for them to report him objectively.