How the Far-Right Use Mainstream Media to Fuel Extremist Ideology

Recently, I was looking at the Facebook page of the English Defence League. One of the cyber strategies which they employ to incite and propagate their racist ideology, is to post articles from mainstream media which depict minorities, usually refugees or Muslims negatively, then allow supporters to post comments which not not condone, but more often than not, increase the intensity of discrimination to a level which could be considered a hate crime.

In this post, I will analyse one of the articles from the British media used by the EDL hierarchy. The article is from the British newspaper The Daily Express and was published online on December 3, 2014. The article can be found at:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/542926/French-open-hostel-Calais-migrants-heading-UK

The headline and sub-heading for the article are as follows:

headline

Already in the headline and sub-title, there are some interesting aspects. The hostel is described as both massive and five-star, depicting the center as both luxurious and vast in size. The out-group are labelled as migrants and they are depicted as looking to sneak into, by sneaking they are constructed as doing something dishonest, and therefore cannot be trusted. The center is described as to be opened within days, thus this is an imminent issue which must be dealt with, and finally, the British are describing as reacting with fury to the French authorities decision to build an enormous, luxuriously furnished hostel for migrants as they wait for an opportunity to enter Britain illegally.

However, a picture of the hostel doesn’t appear to match the description:

hostelHardly five-star!

I wish to focus on how the refugees are depicted by the Daily Express journalist.

They are described as a growing army, thereby being seen as a danger and threat to the people of the UK, and as army are often involved in conflicts and wars, they British population must prepare themselves for an inevitable conflict which will take place on their shores.

The refugees are depicted as having eyes on Britain and its generous benefits. This appears to paint the out-group as not only predatory, but also scroungers ready to take advantage of the British welfare system.

They are described as living rough, which may construct them as being anti-social or uncivilized.

The previous center was bulldozed because of rioting. If the refugees rioted to such a degree that the building had to be destroyed, then the individuals are seen as not only uncontrollably violent, but also a threat to the British civilized society.

It is predicted that the out-group will flock to Calais because of the new refugee center, thus it can be seen that hyperbole is being used to exaggerate the situation.

The migrants are said to sleep in disease-ridden tent city. The fact that they are having to live in such dire conditions doesn’t garner any sympathy from the journalist, but appears to imply that the individuals are themselves disease-ridden, which would be a threat to the health of the British, if or when those people were to enter the UK, as the as seen as unhygienic and potential disease-spreaders.

The camp where the migrants are staying is named as Jungle II, which implies a place both uncivilized and of danger.

The out-group is described as migrants flood in from war zones. The flood metaphor depicts an uncontrollable force, but also they are described as coming from places of conflict. But again, the fact that they are escaping from regions of war, does not gain them any sympathy, but rather they are looked upon with suspicion.

Furthermore, the migrants are constructed as hooded gangs prowl, again threat, danger and potential violence.

 

The far-right are able to select and share such articles as means to legitimize their discriminatory ideology and  position their racist rhetoric as part of mainstream media. Such negative constructions of minorities acts as a source of increased levels of hate, which can be seen and understood, if the comments on the Facebook page are read.

Reading such article as presented here from The Daily Express can only lead to a heightened of racial tension and discrimination among the readership who accept such rhetoric.

  

Advertisements

Gender in the Far-Right: An Observation of Masculinities in the EDL using Corpus Linguistics

men

I’m interested in looking at gender in the far-right. I collected at a corpus of texts from the Facebook page of the English Defence League (EDL), a far-right, Islamophobic, street-protest group. I collected threads written by EDL supporters, cleaned them of images etc. and used WordSmith to analyse the data. The reason for looking at gender is that when I compiled frequency data of non-function words, I found the following:

edl frequency

 

I found it of interest that both man and woman were frequent within the data, and thought it would be worthwhile to study this further.

In this post, I’ll be focusing on man and men.

The most frequent collocates of man or men were as follows:

women (with men) 46, Muslim (with men) 39, Muslim (with man) 22, white (man) 17, woman (with man) 13

women (with men) 

When concordance lines are searched, the phrase men and women can be seen as follows:

concordance men and women

Men and women are described as brave, decent, great, real English and magnificent. It’s interesting that the phrase is used to describe non-Muslims. The data does not provide any examples of men and women used to describe Muslims. As the above concordance lines demonstrate, the in-group is constructed positively.

Muslim (with men/men)

muslim man

Muslim men are constructed as being violent, both towards Muslim women and men from other social groups. They are also constructed as being polygynous, and thus being culturally incompatible with with the accepted norms of British society. Furthermore, marriage to young wives is also focused upon, which is seen as unacceptable to British culture.

White man 

white men

The construction of white man / men  is more ambiguous than discourses found on white supremacist forums. In the concordances there does appear to be an acknowledgement that certain white men commit crimes. However, they are also constructed as being victims and less likely to commit a crime than a non-white male.

 

It is of interest that the EDL supporters appear to focus on sexual violence when defining and constructed masculinities.

muslim men

 

 

 

 

 

Incitement to Hatred on Every Concordance Line

Continuing on the theme of the English Defence League, I find analyzing the concordance lines from a corpus of texts from the EDL’s Facebook page quite alarming.

In England and Wales it can be an offence to stir up hatred on the grounds of:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation.

I’m using Sketch Engine (http://www.sketchengine.co.uk/) to analyze the data, and this is an example of what I am observing:

incitement to hatred

The EDL’s motto is “Not racist, not violent, no longer silent”, and yet members post such material online. The data appear to contain examples of incitement to hatred. From a linguistics approach perhaps they are also examples of lexical drift as the discourse becomes increasingly violent when compared with texts written by EDL leaders.