When terrorism isn’t newsworthy

At the Scottish Islamic Foundation website Osama Saeed lambasts the media’s almost total failure to report the conviction of Neil MacGregor, the self-proclaimed “proud racist and National Front member” who threatened to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead one Muslim a week until every mosque in Scotland was shut down:

“Imagine if a Scottish Muslim had pled guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Cathedral and behead one Christian a week until all British troops were pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There would be outrage, right? It would be splashed over the front page of every newspaper in the land. It would be the top of all news bulletins. There would be volumes written on what motivated him, his family background and his beliefs. There would be a rich stream of analysis from a variety of positions. Government would be asked what it was doing to avoid such a thing from happening.

“So when news came into the Scottish-Islamic Foundation office this week of one Neil MacGregor pleading guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead one Muslim a week until all Scottish mosques were shut down, we thought it couldn’t possibly be true. There had been no build up to such a trial, no coverage during it and none on the verdict. We Googled it, and nothing came up. Not a sausage, nada, zilch.

“Immediately, we fired out a press release. If this hadn’t been brought to the attention of our media, surely they’d cover it once they heard of it? Seems not. Well, apart from Scotland Today (brief mention 10 minutes in).

“So I phoned up the newsdesks of some of our major newspapers and asked how this could have happened. Some said they’d get back to me, but haven’t. Others put their hands up and said it was a big mistake. Helpfully, it was pointed out that some news outlets rely entirely on output from the Glasgow Courts Press Agency, and it seems that they might not have put anything out on this. It’s something we’ll be following up. At the Atif Siddique trial in 2007, there were even unidentified figures there on hand to brief the press on a plot to behead the Canadian prime minister which wasn’t even brought up during the trial, but led the news the next day as a result.

“There is a chance for redemption. MacGregor will be sentenced on March 6. This should provide a sufficient hook for media outlets to give coverage.”

But these double standards are par for the course, quite frankly. The media initially ignored the Robert Cottage case. And coverage of the Brian Donegan trial was non-existent. Violent extremism is deemed worthy of serious attention only when the violent extremists aren’t white.