Clickbait Evening Standard story undermines efforts to stop anti-Muslim bigotry

A 70 per cent rise is bad enough without sensational use of an old video


Reporting on the 70 per cent rise in hate crimes against Muslims this year, the London Evening Standard’s website led with a video of an attack on a Muslim girl.

The story begins:

“Shocking images of a woman in a hijab being attacked from behind and beaten unconscious reveal the reality of an increase in hate crime in London.

What the Standard doesn’t tell you is the horrific incident in question took place nearly three years ago, in November 2012. 

The CCTV footage was ‘revealed’ in February 2013 at the time of the attacker’s conviction (four years in jail).

Why is this being used as an example of a rise in hate crimes this year? 

A 70 per cent rise is bad enough without sensational use of an old video.

Trying to make people take seriously attacks on Muslims is admirable. But shoddy reporting of this kind means that:

  1. people share this video as an example of a spike in attacks this year.
  2. when this is shown to be false, it gives ammunition to people who pretend there is no problem.

Recycling the video like this might be good for increasing internet traffic to the Standard’s website, but it risks undermining efforts to tackle anti-Muslim bigotry.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

DONATE to support MediaWatch here.

Sign up for our weekly email by clicking here.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.