Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jessica Elgot is a Racialist, Not a Reporter

Hitler and Eva Braun with their purebred dogs. Six dogs were in the bunker -- all purebred.

This post is not about dogs. It is about racialism and reporting.

Jessica Elgot is a young "reporter" for "The Jewish Chronicle," but we will get to to that in a moment.

Let's start with the fact that she is a racialist.

A racialist is someone who sees the world through one lens, the lens of race, culture or religion.

The folks you find on the Stormfont web site, or at British National Party or English Defence League rallies are all racialists if not outright racists.  These folks are obsessed with the race and religion of people they see on the street corner, in the media, and in politics.

This obsession is shared by Jessica Elgot.

Though she is not hurling invective at others, her obsession is not how we are connected together, but how we stand apart.

If The New York Times said the end of the world was at hand, Jessica Elgot would write an article entitled: "End of Word at Hand, Jews to Be Most Affected."

So how do I come to write about Jessic Elgot? After all, she has not written a word about me, we live in different countries, and she herself says she does not care a whit about dogs.

It seems that someone Ms. Elgot did not know sent her a smear packet about the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed

Ms. Elgot herself says she does not care a whit about dogs, but as a confirmed racialist it seems she reflexively reached for her keyboard when she was told the documentary was opposed by "Jewish dog breeders." The result: an article for The Jewish Chronicle entitled "Jewish dog breeders call upon BBC to cancel Nazi-linked film".

Whiskey-tango-foxtrot.   Nazi-linked film? There's taking some liberties with the English language!

The morning the piece came out, I looked up Ms. Elgot. It turns out she is all of 24 years old and she wants to be a freelance journalist. Good luck with that!

I shot off an email. Had she actually talked to anyone about dogs or the history of dogs? Who was it that represented ALL Jewish dog breeders? Under what claim?

Her answers were evasive.

It turns out that she had not talked to anyone. She had not talked to Jemima Harrison nor, apparently, had she talked to anyone who knew anything about dogs or the history of dogs. Instead, she said she had received a letter "signed" by four putatively Jewish dog breeders from a Facebook group.

A Facebook group??! A letter from FOUR people??!

Yes, that seems to have been the extent of her "research".

How absurd does this story get? You cannot imagine.

For starters, let me point out that Pedigree Dogs Exposed was commissioned by Richard Klein of the BBC, a Jew according to the typing Nazis over at the Stormfront web site who happily go through the roster of all the Jews in power at the BBC.

The Executive Producer of the Pedigree Dogs Exposed update that is now in video production under commission from the BBC, is also Jewish.

But so what? What's religion got do with it? Not a thing!

We would all recognize the naked racism and anti-Semitism if the typing Nazis over at the Stormfront web site put out a headline entitled "Jews Bash Kennel Club Dog Breeders" and it turned out to be just four random people who happened to be Jewish, wouldn't we?

And guess what? That headline may yet float!

You see Nick Griffin, the hate-spewing head of the British National Party has already tweeted in support of the Kennel Club after critics noted it's obsession with racial breed purity.

Very amusing.

I actually know more people who hunt with their dogs who are opposed to breeding dogs for defect, disease and deformity than I know "Animal liberation cranks" with that view point, but never mind that.

What I'm hoping for is that someone will tell Nick Griffin that a Jewish fellow commissioned the BBC piece about the Kennel Club. I am sure Mr. Griffin will oblige with a headline or a tweet about that. After all, Nick's already got his Kennel Club rosette!

But wait, it gets better.

Caroline Kisko, the press secretary for the Kennel Club, is married to Chris Kisko who is (or was) a member of the British National Party, and who is all over the web site of the hooligan-soaked English Defence League. On one post, for example, he echoes sentiments once voiced by the likes of Hitler, Goebbels and Goering:

Since what date did accepting an invasion of an incompatable cuture into ours become desirable. (sic)

Right. Nice words those, and I cannot help but note that they nearly echo those of Steve Dean at the Kennel Club who, when asked if the Club would welcome all who are actively involved with pedigree dogs, replied: ”It is not open to everybody as this carries risks: if you do not filter the applicants then any group of people can join and thus effectively change the entire organisation.”

Right. They want to "filter" out the riff-raff. You know who you are. They're not actually against the Jews, or the Muslims, or the Pakistanis, you understand. They're just for their own kind. "Separate and equal," and all that.

Now to be clear, it may be that Ms. Elgot is not a dyed-in-the-wool racialist like Nick Griffin or Chris Kisko.

It could be that she is simply a very young and very lazy reporter who has not been too well trained.

Perhaps no one has told her that Facebook and Twitter are not news sources!

Perhaps no one advised her that a real reporter would have noted that Jemima Harrison's award-winning documentary resulted in three independent studies affirming its conclusions (one of which was commissioned by the Kennel Club itself).

Perhaps no one suggested to her that she might Google "eugenics and dog breeding". If she had done that she might have read "The Eugenics Man and the Kennel Club" right at the top, or "The Westminster Eugenics Show" just below, or "From Bassetts to Auschwitz in 50 Years."

A few more clicks and she might have read about how the Nazis were obsessed with breeding "pure Aryan cattle" and how Hermann Göring helped fund the creation of a "German hunt terrier," and how dog breeders associated with the "Verein Fur Deutsche Schaferhunde" gave Hitler "Blondi," the German Shepherd that was by his side when he ordered millions to their death.

At the very least, she might have thought of calling up Jemima Harrison.

So yes, Jessica Elgot is not much of a reporter, and she certainly seems to fit the criteria we might normally associate with a racialist.

But perhaps she is simply young, not very well-trained and lazy? That, is, in fact, almost certainly true.

What then of her editors? Where are they in all this? Any guidance from them?

Nope, not a bit. They are cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown.

I copied my correspondence with Jessica Elgot to Stephen Pollard, Richard Burton, and Alan Montague, her putative editors at The Jewish Chronicle, but they do not seem to care how poorly this story was hammered together. And why would they? Their readership is not subscribing to this publication to actually read the news of the day, is it? No, they are mostly subscribing as an act of ethnic solidarity. The Jewish Chronicle is not likely to lose too many subscribers because of a mangled and poorly-researched piece on dog breeding!

And yet, I am troubled.

How could an editor of a Jewish publication miss the fact that any story about pedigree dogs is also a story about breed purity... and that standing in the shadows of that discussion is also the dark shadow of forced sterilization and gas chambers?

Have the parallels never occurred to them? Have they never wondered why those parallels exist?

Are the editors at The Jewish Chronicle really that asleep at the wheel?

Surely the editors of The Jewish Chronicle know that the gas chambers of World War II were first suggested in 1935 by Alexis Carrel, the French scientist who won the 1912 Nobel Prize for medicine and who wrote that, "Perhaps it would be effective to kill off the worst and keep the best, as we do in the breeding of dogs."

Surely the editors of The Jewish Chronicle know that Hitler was not operating in a vacuum, and that he got a lot of his ideas from Leon Whitney, the dog breeder, veterinarian, and American Kennel Club-darling who was president of the American Eugenics Society, and who had penned a book calling for the forced sterilization of 10 million Americans?

Surely the editors of The Jewish Chronicle know that Whitney got a lot of his ideas from Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin who was President of the British Eugenics Society and who was the first person to coin the term "eugenics?" Surely they know that Galton was an advocate of closed breeding pools, and that it was this idea that was so warmly and emphatically embraced by the Kennel Club around 1900?

Surely the editors of The Jewish Chronicle know the intellectual roots of the Holocaust?


Then, how sad is that?


Ro Martinet said...

Wow. You sure took Ms. Elgot to talk, Mr. Burns. I'm glad that I'm not in her position.

She does deserve it, however (and so do her editors). You were actually merciful when spread the blame around to the editors, the nature of the publication (the JC), and the fact that Ms. Elgot might be incompetent ('not very well-trained and lazy') rather than malicious. It is nice of you to do that, because Mr. Elgot's article is the journalistic equivalent of a drive-by.

I don't know what the culture is like in the UK, but here in the USA, accusations of racism and antisemitism are radioactive. They don't have to be true in order to be damaging. Calling PDE "Nazi-linked" and saying that Jewish breeders want PDE to be pulled entirely is, at minimum, grossly irresponsible. Ms. Elgot's article is full of weasel words and semantic gymnastics (I am actually going to save it to give to my composition and rhetoric students--it will be an excellent pedagogical tool). Yes, a drive-by. Definitely.

If Ms. Elgot is held accountable for what she wrote, then this could be a real learning experience for her. I think your blog post might be the catalyst for this. When I was an undergrad, I wrote political opinion for my school paper. One of the earliest articles I wrote was a critique (actually, a drive-by) of libertarianism. I went to an internet forum for libertarians and cut-and-pasted some objectionable posts there in order to argue that libertarians were racially insensitive goons. It was low-hanging fruit and totally unfair of me to do that. I was LAMBASTED and had to make a humiliating retraction and a public apology. I was embarrassed that I was being publicly shamed, but mostly I was embarrassed that I'd done something so sleazy. Boy, did I learn my lesson! No more yellow journalism for me!

Maybe Ms. Elgot will have a similar experience now. Or maybe not. But she wrote it and now she owns it, and you are entirely right to call her out on it.

Ro Martinet

San said...

I'm afraid Ms. Elgot's journalism is indicative of her age and the type of mentors she's associating with. The editors don't pull her out nor retract because it's in their best interest to create sensation which attracts more readers.
Yes, I agree. You were very kind to state she was lazy. But this is not the only article with racialist enflamed wording that she has written. Therefore, she doesn't care to correct herself nor do the editors. She is motivated by the typical marketing strategies that so many journalists employ these days. What will the customer buy? Her age might be an influence yes, but her character dictates a pattern of "slash and burn" then go over the tactics to see what the outcome is... Hmmm. Yes, come to think of it, many of my reporter friends did this kind of thing to a lesser degree when it was about competing for a job. I'm not surprised about the reporting of this journal because there are so many more doing the same thing. I do love this entry because it speaks my sentiments exactly. Thanks.