If you're in Sydney doubtless you will have heard or read about Ironboy vs Ultron. It's a kind of epic one day event run by Make a Wish with the cooperation of the NSW Police. This report sums up what it's about:
Nine-year-old Domenic, who has cystic fibrosis, has always dreamed of being a superhero — and today that wish comes true, with him being sent on a special mission under his new identity of Iron Boy.
Of course it's a great way to give this kid a truly memorable experience. It's fantastic PR for a worthy cause as well as for the boys in blue.
Now, maybe I'm gonna sound like a flint-hearted arsehole when I say this. But I can't help feeling a tad unsettled by the exercize. Now, my reservations are not so much about Make a Wish and the plods, but the mainstream media in general.
They have really gotten into the spirit of this event big time. They've been enthusiastically playing along, broadcasting updates on a fictional story about good vs evil. And surely a big part of their motivation for taking part is to do some good.
So, there's a lot to like about what they've been doing today. But there's another epic war going on in the real world. That's the one between the West and Islamism. Now I'm not saying that the former is wholly good, and the latter wholly evil. But surely when it comes to Islamic State in particular, evil is not too strong a word. (Hell, they roam around chopping kids heads off, pack raping women and girls, burning people alive! What else can you call them?) Also, it's a tad naff to say that this global conflict is only about good and evil. But that's definitely part of the wider story, which is really about civilization and barbarism.
And in this very real war -- which has already taken lives in this very city, and many thousands elsewhere in the world -- the mainstream media's reaction has been strange, and reticent. It's like they don't really want to know about it.
Now, I'm not saying that they all have to side with the democratic West in every case, although it would be a pleasant surprise if they did occasionally. It would also be heartening if they reported developments objectively (and comprehensively) much more often than they have been.
The really disturbing thing is how sympathetic to Islamism and disdainful towards Western values they so often are. Rather than doing what they're supposed to do and telling us what's going on without fear or favour, they've been selective about what they report. They've even occasionally engaged in cover-ups about the extent of the violence and depravity of some Muslims. Events in Rotherham, Sweden and Germany come to mind here. Then there's the mainstream media's line that Islam never has anything to do with terrorism, and their tendency to condemn anyone who criticizes it as being Islamophobic, and racist.
It's so silly it's actually kinda childish. (Which may actually explain why they're so enthused about reporting on a cartoonish heroism tale to make a kid's fantasy come true!)
Now, I'm not saying that they literally believe in Ironboy and Ultron. Nor am I saying they should apply the moral simplicity of today's theatre to the real world. I'm just noticing the incongruity. My point is that this is a good cause that the media have taken seriously and have been fired up about -- albeit for just one day. Yet there's another good cause that they seem very reluctant to get behind -- namely, documenting the extent of Islamist evil in the world.
You gotta wonder: Why do they find it so difficult?