The media's reaction to Sir David Amess' murder last week highlights the double standards now present in coverage of such events, writes Timothy Tennant. 

It's a mark of the prevalence of the anti-Enlightenment philosophies of Rousseau and Marcuse that one of the few pieces of information available to the public on the afternoon of Friday 15th October was that David Amess was an anti-abortionist.

When an inexplicable random murder occurs, a selfish type of defence mechanism kicks in; most murder victim and perpetrator are known to each other. Do we know anyone likely to kill us because of our unfashionable views? No, of course not. And after all, unlike the less developed moral universe of many around the world from parts of the US to Russia to Somalia, we don't respond to murder with a sense of vengeance. Instead, we seek to understand that the perpetrator may have suffered himself and be as much as a victim as the slain, because this concept in itself makes us human. Plus, what if in this age of intersectionality where tribe is paramount, there are repercussions?

Rage and, even more reprehensible, objectivity gets us nowhere. Better distance ourselves from the victim in as many ways possible. Might he even got what he deserved? A creature of the establishment whose advocacy of neo-liberal capitalism inflicted much privation on the developing world.

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The editorial offices of mainstream media outlets must have collectively slammed on the breaks when the facts became clear; a socially conservative, white male Christian politician was murdered by a radical Islamist in a Church. There was a grim predictability that the BBC would struggle with this, but the depths to which information was deemed tolerable for consumption by an untrustworthy public breaks new bounds of deceit. Within twenty-four hours we knew more about David Amess views on abortion, Thatcherism and support for Brexit than any tangible information about the killer.

He was initially described as a 25-year-old, then a 'British National'. That is unusual. Wayne Cousins or Jake Davison were never described as 'British Nationals'. We know that Jake Davison once liked one of Donald Trump's tweets and had issues with women. Though the media didn't mention it, one suspects David Amess's killer's ideological prescription for women's role in society would be less benign than either Wayne Cousins or Jake Davison. We know the politician, in the photos attending his daughter's wedding, appears the embodiment of patriarchy and establishment, and much can be learnt about the mindset of a man who poses with a Union flag. But his murderer? Initially nothing (though we are now slowly starting to see more of a picture emerge).

Amess had an identity which fitted neatly into a despised political tribe, 'Brexiteer', whereas his murderer was merely a 'British National'. Later, as he was identified the media quickly explained that his father was a diplomat who had worked against radical Islamists in Somalia and as far as anyone knew this was a nice, well to do family. The average house price in the area is £1.5 million. Lockdown had forced the lad onto the internet where social media radicalised him, and such is the Prime Minister's belligerent attitude during PMQs it is inevitable a misguided youngster would see it entirely permissible to attack an MP. In effect this was somebody who could be me or you or your brother or son.

As the narrative ran its preordained course, interviews with Brendan Cox were published and Kim Leadbetter's partner reportedly asked her to step down from her role as MP. This and David Amess' opposition to abortion, no doubt informed by his Christianity, were crucial in shaping the Marcusian reality. The Guardian, another outlet that must have found it exceedingly difficult to report on the attack, tried to level things up by headlining President Macron's apology for the bloody murder of Parisian Algerians – 60 years ago. More stories of asylum seekers being wronged by the British State appeared on their frontpage by Monday morning. Opinion pieces mentioned threats to female MPs, but nothing comparable to the thirst with which they consumed George Floyd's death and how this explained a wider story of White Oppression.

The media and progressive politicians will let this story fade away. Hopefully the funeral will appear stately, formal, almost abstract from most normal people's lives. Give him a plaque, having already made Southend a city, then let him reside alongside all those other dead white men who haunt British politics. No days of rage, knee taking or murals. No weaving of his tale into educational packages. According to the Mayor of London, David Amess merely "passed away". The only truth we can draw from this is what kind of a person David Amess was; remember, he was against abortion.

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