Breitbart London’s headline when Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London yesterday gets prominence in today’s edition of Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.
In the belief that American conservatives are strange enough to be newsworthy in themselves, the paper dedicates a whole article to how U.S. websites reported Mr Khan’s election.
The first “influential right-wing website” the paper mentions is of course Breitbart, highlighting how the site led with the portmanteau “LondonisKhan”, derivation of the ‘Londonistan’ moniker handed to the British capital by author Melanie Phillips.
The author, David Millward, asserts the headline is an American reaction, when it was in fact a Breitbart London headline written by the site’s UK team, based just minutes away from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
Mr. Millward’s previous journalistic experiences range from Transport reporter at the Telegraph, to being a reporter for local newspaper in Oxford, England.
His article also describes how the New York Post ran with a story from News.com.au under the headline “Moderate Muslims are ‘Uncle Toms,’ said Muslim set to be London mayor” while the Drudge Report called him “the first Muslim mayor of Londonistan.”
“The initial reaction of the American Right reflects the concern voiced in the US at the presence of a large Muslim population in London and many parts of western Europe,” the paper says.
Over in Britain, the main narrative in pushed by the press, and even by some Conservatives, has been how the campaign of Mr Khan’s rival, Zac Goldsmith, was “Islamophobic”.
His campaign has been described as “appalling” and “dog whistle politics” for mentioning Mr Khan’s previous associations with Islamist extremists.
As Breitbart London reported earlier in the week:
In 2001 he was the lawyer for the Nation of Islam in its successful High Court bid to overturn the 15-year-ban on its leader, Louis Farrakhan.
In 2005 and 2006 he visited terror-charged Babar Ahmad in Woodhill Prison. Mr. Ahmed was extradited to the U.S. in 2012, serving time in prison before being returned to the UK in 2015. Mr. Ahmed pleaded guilty to the terrorist offences of conspiracy, and providing material support to the Taliban.
And Mr. Khan also campaigned for the release and repatriation of Shaker Aamer, Britain’s last Guantanamo detainee, who was returned to the UK in November.
However, some even in Zac Goldsmith’s own Conservative Party have criticised him for raising these points.
Former minister Baroness Warsi tweeted: “Our appalling dog whistle campaign for #LondonMayor2016 lost us the election, our reputation & credibility on issues of race and religion.”
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon appeared to be the only person defending the campaign. “Both candidates were asked questions about their backgrounds, their personalities, their judgment, the people they associate with,” he said.
“That’s the nature of our democracy and the rough and tumble of politics.”