Iain Dale discovers media double standards over Muslims

A post yesterday on Iain Dale’s Diary reveals that the eponymous Tory blogger has belatedly woken up to the double standards practised by the media in connection with the Robert Cottage trial. He writes:

“Last October the police raided two peoples’ homes in Pendle and uncovered explosives, rocket launchers, chemicals, BNP literature and a nuclear biological suit. A former British National Party member, Robert Cottage, who stood in last year’s local elections in Colne has now subsequently been accused of possessing the largest amount of chemical explosives of its type ever found in the country.

“Maybe I have missed the story, but I have not seen this covered in any of our national newspapers or national broadcast media. Why? If these kind of things had been discovered in the home of a British Muslim I suspect the media would be playing a rather different tune. Think of the front page headlines recently when similar discoveries were made elsewhere in the country.”

Iain Dale’s Diary, 13 February 2007

Perhaps Dale should consider raising this issue with his own party. The heavily publicised report Uniting the Country (pdf here), prepared by the Conservative Policy Group on National and International Security under Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, dismisses talk of media double standards over the Robert Cottage case as a product of Muslims’ victim mentality. The authors complain (p.11) that Muslim perceptions of discrimination have created:

“an environment in which distortion also finds ready, if unwitting, acceptance. The Group was told a story in two widely separated towns of the alleged suppression by mainstream media, on anti Islamic grounds, of the discovery of a BNP chemical weapons factory. This had been manufactured from four separate reports over the space of a month in different local newspapers. The story began with a report of a BNP member being charged with possession ‘of chemical components which could be used to make explosives’. It ended, despite there being no new facts, with the claim of the discovery of ‘chemical weapons’.”