In The Middle Of Both Tookie Watch And Aussie Riots
Looking for easy scapegoats after a series of violent "white" vs. "Arab" attacks in Australia, Islamic leaders and news media outlets have been quick to fault talk radio for fanning the flames. From the London Times:
Yesterday, Islamic leaders blamed the trouble on influential talk radio hosts who had whipped up racial tensions in the wake of last weekend’s attack on the lifesavers, who epitomise Australia’s white traditions and Anglo-Saxon roots.
From The Mercury in South Africa:
The President of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, Keysar Trad, said the violence was "bound to happen" after callers to some talk radio shows whipped up ethnic tensions after the attacks last weekend. As evening fell on the beach the fighting subsided and Iemma appealed for calm. "I urge everyone to back our police and respect the rule of law that is the bedrock of our Australian community," he said.
While there surely must be two sides to this story, one wouldn't know it from the coverage, where photos all appear to feature drunken "whites" clashing with police.
More background from the London Times:
TENSIONS between young white gangs and youths of mainly Middle Eastern origin erupted on one of Australia’s most popular beaches yesterday in what police condemned as a racially motivated rally driven by a mob mentality.
Thousands of people, many chanting racial slurs, were engaged in running battles on Cronulla Beach in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
At least 13 people were hurt, including five police, and 12 were arrested during the clashes, which followed a week of mounting anger over an attack on two lifeguards who were beaten up by a gang of Lebanese youths.
Furious locals, many wielding empty beer bottles and waving Australian flags, shouted anti-Middle Eastern slogans as they marched across the sand, on which was written “100 per cent Aussie pride”.
One white teenager had the words “We grew up here, you flew here” painted across his back. As the crowd moved along the beach and foreshore, one man on the back of a truck shouted: “No more Lebs [Lebanese]”, a chant picked up by the group around him. Others carried Australian flags and dressed in Australian sports shirts.
While there's no way to condone such violence, it certainly would be nice to see balanced coverage that places these incidents in better context. Some perspective would be useful, rather than the usual political agendas.
Talk radio's also playing a major role in the heated controversy over the fate of murderer Stanley "Tookie" Williams, scheduled for execution tomorrow in California, barring Arnold's personal intervention.
In a typical liberal media fashion, the Los Angeles Times has taken to slamming KFI's John and Ken for daring to balance what the paper clearly hoped would be a one-sided "debate":
Tune in to the afternoon "John and Ken Show" on talk radio's KFI-AM (640) and you get a highly personalized take on Stanley Tookie Williams and those who are lobbying for the commutation of his death sentence. NAACP President Bruce S. Gordon is "a lunatic." Los Angeles journalist/progressive political advocate Jasmyne Cannick is a "black racist" and a "crackpot activist trying to make a name for herself." Williams himself? A conman in a murderer's prison jumpsuit.
As the calendar flips quickly to Williams' scheduled execution early Tuesday morning, the former Crip has become a cause celebre for talk radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, who have been devoting the 5 o'clock hour of their 3-to-7 p.m. show to their "Tookie Must Die for Murdering Four Innocent People" campaign — announced with four gunshots symbolizing Williams' victims.
Williams, who has exhausted his legal appeals and has petitioned Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for clemency based on his anti-gang work from death row, would be the 12th man to be executed in California since a 1978 ballot initiative reinstated the death penalty. Compared with the earlier executions, the Williams case, with its colliding moral and social issues, has taken an unusual hold on the public's interest — and become daily grist for Kobylt and Chiampou.
Their broadcasts have drawn outrage from those who perceive whispers of racism coursing through radio dialogues that have included one of the hosts reading Williams' co-written "Gangs and Drugs" book in an affected street accent, mocking the speech of some of Williams' African American defenders.
"They're shock jocks," says Cannick, who, through the Urban Policy Roundtable, filed a complaint against the Clear Channel-owned station with the Federal Communications Commission two weeks ago over the "Tookie Must Die" hour. "What 'John and Ken' are doing is particularly egregious at this stage."
In an interview Thursday, Kobylt said the campaign seeks to expose what he and Chiampou see as falsehoods spread by Williams' supporters over the nature of the killings and what transpired during the trial.
"The pro-Tookie side had put together such a powerful mythology that we thought we had to do something that would dramatically [draw] people's attention to the truth of the case," Kobylt says. "It's not just two yahoos screaming, 'Fry him!' "
Critics say "The John and Ken Show" has added little to the public debate over the Williams case, which lies at the intriguing intersection of personal belief in the death penalty and in an individual's capacity for redemption.
For John and Ken, this kind of newspaper coverage must simply underscore their need to continue telling the other side of the liberal media's phony Tookie story.
TOOKIE UPDATE: Arnold has a backbone after all, he will not spare Tookie.
Blogs following the details: Michelle Malkin, Powerline, Ace Of Spades, California Conservative.
Latest AP report here. Even the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals couldn't find a reason to help Tookie. US Supreme Court not helping either, it's over.
NEW: Michelle Malkin reports on the media circus outside San Quentin.
NEW: KTVU-2 with execution details. CNN thinks it took too long to execute Tookie.
AUSSIE UPDATE: Australian tensions rising, according to subsequent news reports. Aussie Tim Blair is all over this, bloggers would be well advised to link to him tonight. Blair tears CNN to shreds over the issue.
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Images: AP, Los Angeles Times