Front Page      The Wisdom of the Crowd - Contd

Op-Ed by Alexandra Ares 
September 2016

(continuation from the home page)

Like many people, I‘ve been particularly worried about the out of control influx of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe, with nothing being done to shut off the spigot. As thousands of New York Times readers have noted over the summer, the coverage of the media in general, and the New York Times in particular, has been astonishingly one-sided. If not reckless. The New York Times Editorial team has hammered Europe the better part of the year with articles urging open borders and putting the interests of the migrants above the interests of the host countries, without the slightest effort to balance the two. 

While everyone sympathizes with the tragedy in Syria and wants to help, we can’t ignore the fact that it is mainly a sad consequence of its own society, inflamed by the radical Islamic views of its factions. Even Saudi Arabia, the rich country next door, keeps its doors closed for fear of importing unrest and security threats, and prefers to finance the building of 200 mosques in Germany and the bills of some UN refugee camps instead.

If radical Islam were a virus that killed 200,000 people in Syria alone (and many more in other parts of the world), the global efforts would have been to prudently contain this virus, so that it would not spread elsewhere. The position to advocate wide open gates to a population who comes from a zone of high-security threats prone to bring in radical Islam is not prudent. This virus fiercely opposes gay rights, women rights and broad democracy, of all which are progressive movements recently established. NYT editorial page contradicts itself over and over by supporting the unrestricted spread of Islam in Europe, while at the same time defending these progressive movements.

The media coverage has cherry-picked the pictures of children and women and the facts that suited the compassionate narrative, ignoring or minimizing all the unpleasant truths: the overt lack of intention of Arabs to assimilation in their Western host societies and the desire of many to convert Europe to Islam; ISIS’s announcements early this year to spread Islam all over Europe; the growing number of terrorist incidents since 9/11: the failed attack in the high-speed train in France this summer, Charlie Hebdo, the terrorist attacks in Denmark, the beheadings and alarming proliferation of terrorists acts by radical jihadists settled in the UK; the high Muslim unemployment rates in Spain and France, the vocal advocacy for establishing Sharia Law in all the European regions where Muslim migrants have already become a significant minority.)       

In this context, the justified desire of the countries in Eastern Europe to defend their national security regarding opening themselves to a tide of imported terrorism, Islamic values and interests, has been unjustly labeled as racist and xenophobic. The desire for the same of the local populations in Western Europe has been underreported. Overnight, defending ones’ borders, values, and way of life became radical and reactionary for the host countries, while totally normal for the Arab countries and their migrant populations.

That’s not all. In a humanitarian effort to save the people of Middle East from their own strong-armed theocracies, the failed by-product of radical Islam, the New York Times has been unwittingly urging the smaller countries of Europe to give up their national sovereignty and submit to the rising strong arm of Germany and of the European Commission. The rights and voices of the native people in the smaller EU countries were overlooked, dismissed or disproved of.  

In the BBC documentary series called The Code, the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy fills a big jar with jelly beans and asks 166 people to guess how many jelly beans are inside. After he records all the answers, he counts the jelly beans: there are 4010. Then he looks at all the answers, and although most answers are either underestimating or overestimating the number of jelly beans, the median guess is surprisingly on point: 4015. This is called “the wisdom of the crowd” statistics. As a regular reader of the NYT online comments at each of the many articles supporting the migration of great numbers of Middle Easterns to Europe, my empirical observations are that the readers have been opposing it and have been largely ignored by the paper.

In all this madness, it was the otherwise liberal readers, the normal folks, with their thousands of online commentaries at the lopsided skewed reporting and editorializing, who became the voice of civil society and waged the war for prudence and common sense. They rang alarms and wrote articulate, poignant posts, which showed a dispassionate realism that sadly lacked in much of the unwittingly trouble-stirring, politically correct media. The same thing happened before the war in Iraq.  

The situation has spun out of control and Germany closed its borders, finally acknowledging the fact that its well-intended open invitation to migration had been not well thought out. Same with its unilateral abrogation of the Dublin Convention for registering migrants at the first EU port of entry. The number of ISIS and radical jihadist being infiltrated is unknown, and the sheer number of migrants compromises the quality of the vetting process. This fact compounds with Western Europe’s flurry of jihadist attacks from its already accepted Arab immigration, which, overall, purposely declined to assimilate. As Merkel, Sarkozi and Cameron summed it up for The Economist in 2010: Multiculturalism in Europe didn’t work.

Many NYT readers pointed out that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Germany’s well-intended position is actually compromising Europe’s security. By changing its demographics, opening Europe to radical Islam, and failing to defend its values, Germany is opening Europe to a third-world conflagration. If history and geography are to be any guide, apart from the US with its unique history, every country where people of different religions and tribal allegiances had been forced to live together ended up fighting and resenting each other. We have no reason to believe in a rosier picture in the future European Union.

The broader population is tired of politicians and media ignoring their views. Trump has signaled and seized the trend this summer, bluntly telling things as they are and incensing the establishment. Sanders, too, became a mouthpiece of what people really want, not what they are told to expect, and for this he has been marginalized by the press. Colbert, who had stolen viewership from mainstream networks for years, has become mainstream himself because CBS understood that to be real is to be the most profitable. The winners of US Open showed, too, that the media can not crown its favorites (Williams and Federer). And the unfolding events in Europe, which Sunday woke up to the madness of open borders and finally tried to restore order, show that the warnings of the readers have been legitimate.