For the fair minded, reading the news where Muslims are involved is a hazardous occupation on any given day.

If you have an inkling of what’s taking place outside the official narrative and at the same time happen to subscribe to the Dooley school of journalism, where your newspapers ‘comfort the afflicted’, it can be doubly depressing.

Terrorism, subjugation, crime and alleged intolerance are the standard fare and it is almost always the Muslim who is the perpetrator. Not in reality of course. Just two days ago a Jewish Israeli terrorist attempted to burn a down a church in East Jerusalem.

Total headlines on mainstream British new sites excluding newswire copy: zero. A Church being firebombed is newsworthy only it seems when it is done by the wrong kind of people. 

Editors and news-wonks have for years said that they give their readers only what their readers want. This may sound like a weasel claim, said to deflect responsibility from their own agendas, but it is not entirely without merit.

If social media platforms are taken as a gauge by which to measure reader preferences then they may well have a point. Local news sites offer a potential micro study of readers particularly those in the red wall seats where the hard done by folk of post-industrial Britain speak their minds.

Take one news page which lit up this week when news broke of two women having been stabbed outside a Marks and Spencer’s store in Burnley. Video footage showed a white bearded man in traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez dress, held by two Police officers.

Cue the online lynch mob: 140 strong lamenting the downfall of their peaceful little town.  The number may be small in the scheme of the world wide web, but given most stories get no more than 20 comments on this particular site, it was a significant coup.

The more vitriolic the comment the more likes it got. Everything from demanding the noose, to support for trigger happy police and mass deportation for followers of “religion of peace.”

Who needs enemies when you have neighbours? And don’t accept the mindless minority excuse, it’s a lot more than you would want to believe.

Ok but these things don’t happen in sleepy old mill towns and residents are bound to be horrified or even intrigued by the unusual. Not quite.

Just eight weeks earlier when a more acceptable fellow decided to do the stabbing a grand total of four posts amounting to one comment; “bloody hell” was recorded. A crime by one is a crime by all when you’re of a certain religion.

Any editor looking for clicks and eyeballs would be silly to ignore such evidence for wanting to grow their readers.

National editors it seems have also identified what their audience likes. The Daily Star just this last week dedicated half of the article on two separate stories to an entirely different one about Muslims.

Despite the stories from China featuring one horrendous crime including the rape of a four year old girl and the other about two students eloping and marrying, the entirely different episode of a Muslim man from Pakistan allegedly  forcing a Christian girl to marry him took up a significant amount of copy.

Contextualising any story is common practice. For example, a story on rape would ordinarily feature a passing mention of a significant rape case or statistics on rape. Yet these particular stories had no such link, either in the nature of the crimes or even the country in which they were committed.

Why bother with standards in reporting when you know what they want.