European news aggregator The Local has blamed Breitbart London for reporting that the island of Sardinia was taken hostage by migrants earlier this week, while steering clear of claiming that any facts in Dr. Thomas D. Williams’s report were incorrect.
Earlier this week Dr. Williams, Breitbart News’ Rome Editor wrote that a day-long protest by immigrants paralyzed city traffic in the island’s capital city of Cagliari, quoting local politician Daniele Caruso who said: “Cagliari is hostage to illegal immigrants”.
But the report has triggered the ire of The Local and its left-wing sources in Italy, who have shot back with an analysis by New York Times contributor Angela Giuffrida claiming that “Lurid headlines on global websites claim Sardinia has been ‘taken hostage’ by protesting migrants. But locals have poured scorn on the reports. We have definitely not been taken hostage, a local politician and journalist told The Local.”
Giuffrida, who has previously worked for a construction industry magazine and for the Abu Dhabi Media Company, wrote:
On Monday, a group of migrants marched through Cagliari, before sitting down on one of the Sardinian capital’s main streets, blocking traffic in a protest which local newspapers say lasted seven hours.
Their gripe? They don’t want to stay in Sardinia.
Amid all the wrangling over the tightening of borders to stem the flow of refugees towards northern Europe, the story was initially confined to the local press.
But the British version of Breitbart, an American right-wing website which has campaigned against immigration to Europe, soon picked up on the story, screaming in its headline that the ‘Italian vacation island’ had been ‘taken hostage by illegal immigrants’.
The Daily Mail ran the story too, a few hours later, citing the Breitbart version. The British newspaper instead went with ‘Somali refugees bring Sardinian port of Cagliari to a standstill as they demand to be allowed to leave’ as its headline.
The Breitbart story described how the migrants from Somalia and Eritrea “paralyzed” traffic.
Both articles, published on Tuesday, painted a picture of a Sardinia in which immigrants are running riot.
The arresting headlines were backed up by comments from right-wing politicians in the local press.
She uses a quote from left winger Enrico Lobina to hit back at Breitbart’s report, claiming: “There was certainly no violence on their part.. We definitely haven’t been inundated”.
But then, towards the end of her aritcle, Giuffrida admits: “It is true, however, that the protest inconvenienced drivers in Cagliari… While the protest frustrated drivers, the situation only became fraught when baton-wielding police arrived, Lobina said.”
Her article is illustrated with pictures of rioting migrants, along with an admission that “It’s not the first time migrants in Italy have protested – whether it be over their refusal to be formally identified, their dislike of Italian food, or lack of Wifi”.