Despite an almost unprecedented outpouring of openness over migrant crimes since Cologne, the mainstream media is still uncomfortable setting the facts out plainly. Old habits die hard.
The horrific tale of the Cologne sex assaults went straight from local news reports to global new media — Breitbart London — bypassing the traditional national news.
Mainstream news carriers like ZDF even carried apologies for covering them so slowly, and accusations of self censorship have permeated. Yet despite the contrition surveying the reports of this weekend’s latest batch of migrant crimes suggest lessons have not been learnt.
One such crime reported in local and national media this weekend past is a classic of this young genre, that of a young woman being “groped” and robbed outside a railway station. This time taking place in Stuttgart, the 23 year old was sexually molested by a gang of four men in a shopping arcade attached to the main railway station, losing her purse and cigarettes in the process.
Both the local paper, the Stuttgarter Nachtrichten and the national Bild left the description of the attackers at the bottom of their reports, which given the present political climate in Germany and anxiety over migrant attacks could be expected to be of primary interest to readers. The attackers, aged between 18 and 27 were said to be of “Arab” appearance and wearing dark clothes.
Another report on the same day in the Stuttgarter Nachtrichten failed to mention these aspects in the headline, or first paragraphs, again leaving them as the last detail in the piece. This time a 25-30 year old “southern appearance” man — a favourite euphemism in the German press for an African migrant — followed a 16 year old girl.
Chasing after the young woman, the man who was reported to speak German “with a foreign accent” said “indecent” things to her and “masturbated in front of her”.
This burying of the facts in copy is not at all unlike the initial reporting of the Cologne sex attacks by national media.
Breitbart London reported three weeks ago on how the initial BBC report on Cologne did not mention the migrant nature of the violence until the 18th paragraph of their copy. The German equivalent, Deutsche Welle, kept the descriptions of the attackers out until the tenth paragraph.
Treating the fact of a migrant crime wave in Europe as secondary information in news reporting isn’t just seen in British and German news agencies — it is endemic in Sweden too, or so it was until the police announced they would stop giving out offender descriptions at all so not to seem racist.
Breitbart London reported in November on the light sentencing of a gang of violent migrant rapists who left their young Swedish victim with life-changing in injuries.
The typical reader of Sweden’s best selling daily Aftonbladet, scanning headlines and the first few paragraphs of each story would have been left with only half the story, as the fact the assailants were recently arrived refugees escaped the report until the 14th paragraph.