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Twisting the facts to make me appear a racist bigot

"The Press Council has upheld a complaint against the Irish Independent that an article by its columnist Kevin Myers breached its Code of Practice relating to incitement to hatred."

Thus the opening words of a report -- with an equally toxic headline to match -- by the 'Irish Times' legal correspondent Carol Coulter. Ah! So, I'm a racist bigot who has finally been found guilty of incitement to hatred! Coulter's report then detailed some earlier allegations by Hans Zomer, of Dochas, and these no doubt reinforced readers' belief that I had been promoting hatred towards Africans.

But only at the end of her report, after some 700 words, and in her penultimate sentence, did Coulter disclose that the Press Council, "did not, however, find reason to conclude that it [my article] was likely to stir up hatred, or that it was intended to do so."

There you have it. A news 'report' which began with a headline declaring that I was guilty of incitement to hatred, then ended by accepting that I wasn't guilty of anything of the kind. In between, a selective and tendentious manipulation of the findings had created a poisonous and personally damaging falsehood about me. Yet the truth was far easier. Coulter could simply have reported the council's main findings: that my article was NOT likely to stir up hatred, and it had NOT been intended to; and moreover, that three of the four complaints against me were dismissed without mention.

Only one was upheld: that my article was likely to cause grave offence. And it was this which allowed Coulter to fabricate the essential untruth that I had engaged in incitement to hatred, upon a mere textual technicality. Because the term "causing grave offence" is, bizarrely, included within the Code of Practice's general category against "incitement to hatred". But there is a profound difference between "inciting hatred" and "causing offence". An inciter uses hate to rouse mobs against a third party: but he who offends, does so to his audience alone.

Now I believe that a political columnist who deliberately incites racial hatred should be sacked; but, actually, so too should a columnist who never offends anyone. For it's sometimes inevitable that we who ply this trade will hurt people's feelings, especially when confronting dearly held beliefs, or a long-established intellectual status quo. And the status quo on the subject of aid to Africa is now utterly ruinous, as under its aegis, Africa is river-dancingto disaster. So, in my original article, I tried to jolt people into some sort of reaction, for I am sick and tired of the doctrinal sanctimony with which Africa is treated in the Irish media.

The Press Council's main finding against me was that I employed "a level of generalisation that was distorting and seriously insulting to Africans".

Oh really? Well, regardless of Press Council adumbrations, I still believe Africans are the authors of most of their own misfortunes. The AIDS plague and the continent's population explosion were certainly not caused by a continental epidemic of African chastity: and the regular eruptions of murderous, tribal violence are hardly the fault of the white man.

Moreover, if Africans are offended by my thoughts, that's a shame, etc: but those hurt feelings aside, what future has Africa, unless reproductive continence and an abolition of homicidal tribalism are embraced as social norms, as they largely are across most of the world? We who give aid to Africa must have free and open debates, in which some people will inevitably be in error, both in what they say and how they say it: allowing individuals to be wrong is what defines freedom of speech and thought and inquiry. For what I say today -- having heard the opinions of others who follow -- I might disagree with, in both tone and content, tomorrow.

Yet who is going to challenge the dominant media consensus in Ireland with any sort of iconoclastic vigour when a national newspaper can effectively turn a general acquittal of charges of inciting race hatred, made against an unfashionable, non-liberal columnist, into a headlined declaration of his guilt? What kind of public discussion is possible, not just on Africa but on any issue dear to the liberal-left heart, if such disingenuous journalistic practices are allowed to corrupt the truth?

At work, here, of course, is the all-conquering agenda of political correctness. This gibbering dogma presumes the existence of permanent victim-groups -- women, gays, Africans, the unemployed, asylum-seekers, yawn -- who are down-trodden by an evil caste of middle-class, heterosexual males (generically known as 'Kevin Myers').

Yet despite the infantile banality of this belief system, it is now the established orthodoxy within our universities and schools of journalism, and has become especially powerful within the many quasi-autonomous, state-funded bodies which dominate the administration of this state.

And listen: if you want to find a perfect example of both the "moral integrity" and the "intellectual seriousness" underlying this world view, Coulter's sly and mendacious report on the Press Council's findings about me is actually rather hard to improve upon.

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