Friday, January 22, 2010

Review of Banned in Britain by Michael Savage

On 5 May 2009, the American talk show host Michael Savage woke up around 7:00 AM and turned on his computer to check the news.

Imagine Mr. Savage’s surprise when, scanning the headlines, he read: “RADIO HOST MICHAEL SAVAGE BANNED FROM UK FOR ‘EXTREME VIEWS’.

Following a link to the Independent, Mr. Savage saw an article titled, ‘Named and Shamed: The 16 Barred from the UK.” Looking at the profiles on the other 15 individuals who were listed alongside of himself (all notorious murderers, terrorist and rapists) Savage wondered what he had done to induce the Home Office to include his name on their blacklist.

That is the question Michael Savage has tackled in his 2009 bestseller Banned in Britain: Beating the Liberal Blacklist. His conclusion is that he was banned from entering the UK because the Government of Britain, like the government of America, no longer puts a premium on free speech. At least, it does not value free speech when the speaker, like Michael Savage, is known for his biting attacks on big government and his defence of traditional liberties.

Though not without his faults, Michael Savage is a tremendously intelligent and erudite radio host of a syndicated show with 10 million listeners. He holds master's degrees in medical botany and medical anthropology and he earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in nutritional ethnomedicine. As a scientist, he helped to rescue rainforests in the South Pacific and has catalogued hundreds of disappearing medical plants around the world. He is the author of 25 books on topics as diverse as homeopathy, children’s nutrition and how to beat Alzheimer’s in addition to five New York Times-bestselling political books. Mr. Savage was even honoured by Talkers Magazine in 2007 with the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award.

To explain their decision to block Mr. Savage from entering the country, the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith issued a press release claiming not only that Mr. Savage had sought “to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred,” but accused him of already having “provoked others to commit crimes.” It also accused him of fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.

These accusations were based on remarks Mr. Savage made which were then edited and taken out of context and posted on the Media Matters website, a liberal think tank planned by Hillary Clinton and funded by George Soros. In these remarks Mr. Savage talked about killing terrorists in the Middle East and he referred to the terrorists as Muslims (ergō Mr. Savage advocates the killing of Muslims - you get the picture.)

It was not until Michael Savage hired a UK Law Firm to initiate libel proceeding against Ms. Smith that the Government’s real agenda came to light. Using the Freedom of Information laws, Savage’s lawyers were able to force the British government to reveal emails and other documents that had never been intended to be read by the public.

These emails, which Mr. Savage has published in Banned in Britain, show that he was chosen for the banned list specifically because he is a white and non-Muslim. Given that most of the other names on the list were Muslims, the Home Office wanted to balance things out to show they were not racist. One email that a Home Office Official sent on 27 November 2008, said: “I can understand that disclosure of the decision [to ban Savage] would help provide a balance of types of exclusion cases.” Another document read, “We will want to ensure that the names disclosed reflect the broad range of cases and are not all Islamic extremists. Otherwise the exercise could play into the hands of radicals who allege falsely that the unacceptable behaviours policy is targeted specifically at the Muslim community.”

What better way to correct this supposed imbalance and preclude the objection that Britain is anti-Muslim then to add Michael Savage to the list of terrorists. This was done, as one email reveals, with the approval of Gordon Brown himself.

The Home Office has refused to remove the false statements from their website even after Savage’s lawyers issued a defamation complaint against the Ms. Smith and the Home Office. The libel lawsuit, which has continued even after Ms. Smith had to step down following the expenses scandal, seeks £100,000 in damages. Savage is also demanding an apology and a retraction of his name from the list.

Even as the British Government was preoccupied with their campaign against Michael Savage, the real threats to national security were allowed to slip through the cracks. For example, at the time the British government was adding Mr. Savage’s name to the ban list, ostensibly for reasons of national security, they were releasing the Libyan terrorist who was convicted of blowing up Pan American Flight #103 killing 270 people. (This seems to reflect a rather distorted idea of national security). Even as Mr. Savage was fighting to have his name removed from the list of murderers and  terrorists, a real murderer and terrorist, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi (the madman responsible for the Lockerbie bombing and the deaths of over 200 people) was being released by the British Government.

Banned in Britain is more than Michael Savage’s triad against the Government of Britain for blocking him from entering the country. It is a expose of the whole culture of political correctness that is short-circuiting rational debate throughout Britain and America. Savage shows that the inclusion of his name to the banned list is not an isolated incident, but one which illustrates Labour’s fixation with suppressing dissenting political views. He also shows that Britain is not alone in these totalitarian tendencies. Just last year various prominent members of the US Senate, including House Speak Nancy Pelosi, circulated a bill in Congress for the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.” The bill would require the holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced. Whether a radio host met these standards would be decided by a totalitarian “Federal Communications Commission.” That means censorship – censorship of ideas.

The real reason behind the “Fairness Doctrine” bill was not a concern for fairness at all, but an apprehension about the growing number of citizens who listen to conservative talk radio. As Nancy Pelosi said, “Conservative radio is a huge threat and political advantage for Republicans, and we have had to find a way to limit it.” Put in layman's terms, that means to use Government to suppress conservative ideas.

“Do you have any idea what this means?” writes Michael Savage reflecting on this trend.

“It means that the liberals have become the most extreme form of ‘thought police.’ It means that the liberals have declared conservatives criminal. It means that the liberals in England have criminalized conservative thought and conservative speech.”

As of writing this review, the home office has still not removed the press release accusing him “to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.”  (I know because I just viewed the press release today off the Home Office’s website) He continues to be listed alongside Russian skinheads imprisoned for murdering 10 immigrants and a Hamas terrorist who executed two Jewish parents and bashed in the head of their 4-year-old daughter.

For a nation that has incredibly lax immigration standards, with illegal immigrants working for the very Home Office itself, it is indeed ironic that Britain should distinguish itself by being the first Western nation to ever black-list a member of the US media.

See my other posts on thought control:

Thought Control in American Society 


Is that liberalism?


Lord Waddington on British Thought Control


Free Speech in Europe 


Thought Police Muscle up in Britain 


Big Brother Britain 


Musings on England


The Orwellian Legacy of Tony Blair


Thought Reform 101 


The Retreat of Reason


Thought Police article in HTML


Thought Control








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