Blog Archives

Media 99: Anti-semitism campaign a fabrication – Norman Finkelstein charges the British elite & its media

Richard House has drawn attention to the latest Media Lens report: ‘Suspending Chris Williamson – The Fury And The Fakery’ – which includes a comment in a forceful and eloquent video by American political scientist, activist, professor and author, Norman Finkelstein (right), whose mother survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the Majdanek concentration camp and two slave labour camps and whose father was a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Auschwitz concentration camp. He writes:

‘Corbyn . . . did not present a threat only to Israel and Israel’s supporters, he posed a threat to the whole British elite. Across the board, from the Guardian to the Daily Mail, they all joined in the new anti-semitism campaign . . . this whole completely contrived, fabricated, absurd and obscene assault on this alleged Labour anti-semitism, of which there is exactly zero evidence, zero.’ 

Media Lens points out that more than 150 Labour MPs and peers – the “infamously pro-war, Blairite section of the party have added to the propaganda blitz by protesting against the decision to readmit Williamson in a statement led by the bitterly anti-Corbyn deputy leader Tom Watson”. 

A recent blog on the Jewish Voices for Labour site also stated that a “hostile, personal campaign is being waged against Chris, who is a hard-working and diligent MP with great standing in his constituency and a strong record of anti-racist campaigning”.

It adds: “This country stands in desperate need of a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, aiming to unite people around protection and promotion of hard won rights and services, the party needs the dedication and principled commitment of Chris Williamson and others like him”.

In 2018, Noam Chomsky commented on this campaign: ‘The charges of anti-Semitism against Corbyn are without merit, an underhanded contribution to the disgraceful efforts to fend off the threat that a political party might emerge that is led by an admirable and decent human being, a party that is actually committed to the interests and just demands of its popular constituency and the great majority of the population generally, while also authentically concerned with the rights of suffering and oppressed people throughout the world. Plainly an intolerable threat to order.’ (Chomsky, email to Media Lens, 9 September 2018).

He commented on these issues again this month in correspondence with journalist Matt Kennard:

‘The way charges of anti-Semitism are being used in Britain to undermine the Corbyn-led Labour Party is not only a disgrace, but also – to put it simply – an insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The charges against Chris Williamson (right) are a case in point. There is nothing even remotely anti-Semitic in his statement that Labour has “given too much ground” and “been too apologetic” in defending its record of addressing “the scourge of anti-Semitism” beyond that of any other party, as he himself had done, on public platforms and in the streets.’

Media Lens’ challenging conclusion asks what sanction the Labour Party should put on those politicians who personally voted to authorise illegal British and US wars in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria – acts which did not merely offend but killed, maimed and displaced millions of people, bringing whole countries to their knees.

 

 

 

0

Venezuela: Murdoch press publishes Pompeo’s Corbyn slur while the FT sheds a positive light on events

As other papers headline the US secretary of state’s strictures on China, Iran and UK, the Times reports a remark made by Mike Pompeo about Jeremy Corbyn’s “disgusting” support for the Maduro regime his refusal to denounce the president of Venezuela and his praise of the socialist regime’s “effective and serious” efforts to reduce poverty.

Mainstream media rarely refers to the US’ economic warfare, its imposition of sanctions on this oil-rich country, which are leading to food shortages and civil unrest and still less to the damaging IMF austerity regime.

The US and around 50 other countries say Mr Maduro is clinging to power on the basis of bogus elections – despite the reports of international observers – see Media Lens’ evidence. As Ian MacLeod, in Manufacturing Consent in Venezuela: Media Misreporting of a Country, 1998–2014, published in December, finds:

“The major newspapers in the UK and US reproduce the ideology of Western governments, ignoring strong empirical evidence challenging those positions”’

Alan MacLeod, a member of Glasgow University’s respected Media Group, documented the bias throughout the Chavez era in his book, Bad News from Venezuela: Twenty years of fake news and misreporting.

Fair, an American media bias watch group, published a February article by Mark Cook, Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America. Mark, writing from his home in Caracas, effectively and entertainingly debunks the allegations of shortages of food and painkillers.

As many countries predict the imminent bankruptcy of the regime, the FT – which notes Washington’s ‘relentless social media campaign against the Maduro government’ – alone in mainstream media presents (rather reluctantly) some evidence challenging the totally negative picture presented.

It reports today that some substantial debts are being paid and that the Venezuelan people are tired of the conflict – no longer responding to Mr Guaidó’s calls to demonstrate.

Venezuela is paying debts

  • State-owned oil company PDVSA, is paying holders of PDVSA’s bonds, due in 2020, the $71m in interest payments owed from late April.
  • In mid-April, Russia’s Finance Minister announced the Maduro government had paid more than $100m to cover an interest payment due in March
  • In the first quarter of this year, ConocoPhillips disclosed that it had received $147m from PDVSA as part of a settlement awarded by an ICC tribunal.

Venezuelans are tired of the conflict and no longer responding to Mr Guaidó’s calls to demonstrate

In another FT article, planning a Saturday march to win over the military, Mr Guaidó urged his followers to march to military installations and hand over copies of a letter in which he urged the armed forces to support a “peaceful transition”. But few people heeded the call and even Mr Guaidó, who had been expected to lead one of the marches, did not turn up.

State of play (FT)

Mr Guaidó has acknowledged that he does not yet command enough support within the military to force regime change.

Mr Maduro has accepted that his administration needs to “rectify mistakes”. To that end, he authorised thousands of popular “assemblies” over the weekend to discuss what needs to be changed.

 

 

 

 

o

Media 83: BBC in the dock again

Setting aside the ‘left-wing’ partisan views, two BBC insiders – former senior BBC figures – have disputed the frequently brandished depiction of BBC ‘impartiality’.

Media Lens quoted Greg Dyke, a former BBC director general, who believes, ‘The BBC is part of a “conspiracy” preventing the “radical changes” needed to UK democracy.’ He says that a parliamentary commission should look into the ‘whole political system’, adding that ‘I fear it will never happen because I fear the political class will stop it.’ And recalled the words of Sir Michael Lyons, former chairman of the BBC Trust, who said there had been ‘some quite extraordinary attacks’ on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by the BBC.

Reading ML’s (Killing Corbyn) dissection of the role played by BBC News – in particular, its political editor Laura Kuenssberg ‘fed’ by two public relations companies – recalls the classic display given as she attempted to ‘down’ Jeremy Corbyn. A would-be demolition expert, Laura completely abandoned her regular target after a good performance in the last general election and avidly described the losses and distress of Theresa May

       

In December it was reported that Labour MP Chris Williamson was invited to appear on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme to discuss the mainstream media ‘blackout’ of the news about Jeremy Corbyn’s award from the International Peace Bureau.

That ‘blackout’ would almost certainly still be in place if the award had not ‘gone viral’ on social media and it was pointed out that the MSM had given extensive coverage to Theresa May putting a star on a Christmas tree and to William and Kate receiving a Blue Peter badge.

Of late Momentum has been firmly in its sights – an easier target than Corbyn

Aggressive moi? Birmingham Momentum

Failing to toe the policy line, Norman Smith, the BBC’s Assistant Political Editor ‘tells it like it is’ – and describes meeting a group of Momentum supporters in Brixton and finding no-one fitting the hard-left stereotype:

“What Steve, Samira, Nadine and Roland (and we add hundreds of thousands) have in common is an enthusiasm fired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign. They are Corbyn’s foot soldiers. Steve – a self-confessed “middle aged, BBC Radio 4 addict”- says he joined the Labour Party ‘about 20 seconds’ after Mr Corbyn’s victory. Samira also joined after Mr Corbyn won. “For the first time”, she says, “I felt there was somebody I could stand behind and that I could trust”.

The latest issue: the BBC’s role in portraying opposition to gentrification profiting developers, evicting local residents, as a left-wing power grab

There is widespread opposition to the destruction of estates where thousands of families lived, small businesses trading for generations, in this case by a private fund, the Haringey Development Vehicle, owned jointly with the developer Lendlease. Read more here.

Last night the SKWAWKBOX published exclusive evidence showing a BBC journalist leaking sensitive information to an anti-Corbyn activist in the London borough of Haringey

It included the journalist’s personal opinions about the case and about statements made by the complainant against the councillor. It commented, “The leaking of the email and the information it contained raised serious questions about the ethics and appropriateness of sending it – and about the BBC’s impartiality in the way information and claims were presented”.

The identity of the journalist and councillor in question, along with details of the information and the untrue claim, will be released shortly in a separate Skwawkbox article.

 

 

 

o

Media 80: election result confirms waning influence of corporate media

Readers from other countries (left) who found the Media 79 article of interest are directed – for a fuller account – to a detailed article in Media Lens discovered after this post was written. As George Monbiot writes:

“The billionaire press threw everything it had at Jeremy Corbyn, and failed to knock him over. In doing so, it broke its own power.

Its wild claims succeeded in destroying not Corbyn’s credibility, but its own. But the problem is by no means confined to the corporate media. The failure also belongs to the liberal media, and it is one from which some platforms might struggle to recover . . .

He adds that broadcasters allow themselves to be led by the newspapers, despite their massive bias, citing the 2015 election campaign, during which opinion polls revealed that the NHS came top of the list of voters’ concerns, while the economy came third – but received four times as much coverage on TV news as the NHS, which was commonly seen as Labour’s strongest suit: “This appeared to reflect the weight given to these issues in the papers, most of which sought a Conservative victory”.

Monbiot records that an analysis by the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck College found that, despite the rules on impartiality and balance, when Corbyn’s leadership was being challenged last summer, the BBC’s evening news bulletins gave almost twice as much airtime to his critics as they gave to his supporters. They often ascribed militancy and aggression to him and his supporters, but never to his challengers and quoted one report on the BBC News at 6 which finished with the words,

“This is a fight only one side can win. The others are being carted off to irrelevance. The place for political losers”. The accompanying shot showed a dustbin lorry setting off, painted with the word Corbyn”.

Suzanne Moore also looks at the futile attempts of these tabloids to ‘crush Corbyn’ in the Guardian but in a slightly less crude way the Times and the FT also devoted much space to this end (see the Rachman FT article and cartoon, below) – and signally failed to achieve their objective.

Many ‘ordinary’ people have suspected that social media has been becoming far more influential – Suzanne observing that: “the hope of so many on social media and the tirelessness of those out campaigning contrasted with the stunned, sometimes agonised coverage of the old men who govern the airwaves”.

After detailing the evidence of bias in the Guardian George Monbiot concludes that the liberal media have managed to alienate the most dynamic political force this nation has seen for decades:

“Those who have thrown so much energy into the great political revival, many of whom are young, have been almost unrepresented, their concerns and passion unheeded, misunderstood or reviled. When they have raised complaints, journalists have often reacted angrily, writing off movements that have gathered in hope as a rabble of trots and wreckers. This response has been catastrophic in the age of social media. What many people in this movement now perceive is a solid block of affluent middle-aged journalists instructing young people mired in rent and debt to abandon their hopes of a better world”.

Monbiot asks why it has come to this, even in the media not owned by billionaires – apparently not taking into account that retaining the lucrative corporate advertisements is of crucial importance to    newspapers. He points to the selection of its entrants from a small, highly educated pool of people adding “Whatever their professed beliefs, they tend to be inexorably drawn towards their class interests”.

He ends “We need to interrogate every item of the news agenda and the way in which it is framed” and we enlist his support for Media Lens, which is doing exactly that”. 

 

 

 

 

bb

 

 

 nn

Media 57: corporate control of British & American society

media lens new header

In their latest post, Media Lens say that people on the political left embrace Bernie Sanders because he talks honestly about corporate control of society. We include a summary of their article here, believing that the British media is also, to varying degrees, an ‘arm of the ruling class’.

  • Sanders talks about the causes of vast and shameful inequality in the world’s wealthiest country.
  • He talks about corporate media bias rooted in advertiser funding.
  • He talks about ‘whether or not we think it’s proper for the United States to go around overthrowing governments’.

They see Sanders’ recent discussion with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks (TYT) show as an astonishing departure from standard, six-second soundbite politics. Imagine a high-profile UK politician talking like this about the media:

‘First of all, we’re talking about the corporate media, right?…We need to break through the fog of the corporate media, which does everything that they can to keep us entertained without addressing the real issues. I’m on the corporate media every single day and you don’t know how hard it is just to try to demand that we begin to talk about the real issues. They really do not want to. They talk about everything under the sun, but not the real issues.’

Sanders is not arguing that the corporate media is merely biased, or unbalanced, in reporting issues; he is arguing that it never talks about real issues.

He offers a jaw-dropping example: ‘Here’s the story. I have been mayor for eight years, Congressman for sixteen, a US Senator for nine years. Do you know how many times people in the media have said: “Bernie, what are you going to do to end poverty in America? This is an outrage! We have 47 million people in poverty, what are you going to do about it, Bernie?” The answer is zero. Not once.’

The remarkable result, as Sanders notes:

‘Concepts of income and wealth inequality, concepts of justice, learning what goes on around the rest of the world [are] never talked about in the corporate media.’

So what is going on? Why won’t corporate media discuss real issues?

Sanders explains: ‘I had to write a letter to the presidents of all of the networks to tell them that on their Sunday shows they never talk about climate change. Almost never talk about it. Why? Well, does it have to do with the fact that they get a lot of coal company and oil company money advertising? I think it does. They don’t talk about it.’

He is correct. The not-for-profit Media Matters for America reported that, despite ever-worsening warnings of the dangers and a long list of broken temperature and other records, media coverage actually declined in 2015. (Much more detail is given in the article, link below). He adds:

‘I want a vigorous effort to address climate change. I mean, I am very worried. I talk to these scientists. This planet is in serious danger. You can’t cuddle up to the fossil fuel industry; you’ve got to take them on.

‘The fact is that big business does not want the public to be alarmed about climate change because people will demand action that will cut into corporate profits’.

‘So the media is an arm of the ruling class of this country and they want to talk about everything in the world except the most important issues. Because if you talk about real issues, and people get educated on the real issues, you know what happens next? They actually may want to bring about change.

‘They are scared to death. They get scared to death of the idea that young people are actually getting involved in the political process and want real change. That working class people are saying, “You know what, we need to end establishment politics and economics, and move in a different direction.” That is their nightmare.’

After a passage about the press coverage shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Corbyn received during the leadership campaign Media Lens editors end:

Like most leftists, we support Sanders’ comments and reject the liberal commentariat for reasons to do with concern for the welfare of all citizens, not just the rich, and above all out of fear for the survival of our species and planet. Business as usual – with corporate power subordinating everything to profit – is now the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. As Klein says, and she is not overstating: ‘If the next president wastes any more time… the climate clock will run out, plain and simple.’


Read the Media Lens article here: http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2016/816-last-chance-president

 

‘Corbyn’s key political positions are in actual fact supported by a majority of the British public’

media lens header 2
David Edwards of Media Lens responds to a Guardian article by Polly Toynbee in which she suggests that voting for Jeremy Corbyn would amount to a ‘betrayal’ of the electorate by quoting Ian Sinclair’s argument that in fact it is Toynbee, not Corbyn, who is out of touch with public opinion.

Sinclair noted that Corbyn supports a publicly run NHS, a position supported by 84 per cent of the public, according to a November 2013 YouGov poll.  In addition:

  • ‘He supports the nationalisation of the railways, a position backed by 66 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.
  • ‘He supports the nationalisation of the energy companies, a position supported by 68 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.
  • ‘He believes the Royal Mail should be publicly owned, a position supported by 67 percent of the public, according to the same poll.
  • ‘He supports rent controls, a position supported by 60% of the public, including 42% of Conservatives, according to an April 2015 YouGov poll.
  • ‘He opposes the retention of Trident nuclear weapons, a position John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, notes is supported by a “smallish plurality” in “the majority of polls”.
  • ‘He strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq War, which was also opposed by the more than one million people who marched through London on 15 February 2003.
  • ‘He has long pushed for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, a position favoured by 82 per cent of the public, according to a May 2014 YouGov poll.’

Thus: ‘Corbyn’s key political positions are in actual fact supported by a majority of the British public.’

Edwards ends: “Like Blair and the rest of the establishment, the Guardian and other corporate media claim their motivation is to preserve Labour’s electability, rather than to attack any and all politics that stray off the ‘centrist’, ‘modernising’ path.

“In reality, it could hardly be more obvious that this collection of profit-seeking, corporate enterprises – grandly and laughably proclaiming themselves ‘the free press’ – is opposing a threat to their private and class interests”.

 

Media 35, IPCC report: misgivings confirmed

Deceptive, reassuring propaganda peddled by corporate media and corporate politics

Media Lens reminds us that for more than 25 years, since the IPCC was set up in 1988, there have been numerous scientific ‘wakeup calls’ and nothing significant has changed. (Below, Professor Ray Wills’ sketch)

IPCC warnings

In fact, ML continues, turbo-charged, fossil-fuel driven capitalism has proceeded to run amok. And, for the vested interests who are the winners in the global economy, the tiny ‘one per cent’ or less, it is vital that nothing stops their continued ‘success’. Their cynical propaganda campaign is often dressed up as the need to be ‘sensible’ and to take measures that do no ‘harm’ to the economy.

IPCC vol 1 coverMedia Lens reports that the new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that the impacts of climate change are likely to be ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible’. Impacts include droughts, floods, heat waves, endangered species, crop failure, food insecurity, famine and even war.

However BBC reports preferred to highlight the reservations expressed by Richard Tol, one of  seventy researchers: ‘Is climate report overly alarming?’

This headline linked to a piece by its environment correspondent, Matt McGrath, who trailed it on Twitter: ‘Dissent among scientists over key climate impacts report’. But, as several Twitter users observed, the ‘dissent’ among ‘scientists’ amounted to the objections of only one individual, Professor Richard Tol, only one IPCC author out of 70.

Tol is not a scientist but an economist who previously published research showing that climate change may have some benefits at lower levels of warming and has worked with Bjorn ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’ Lomborg and others to downplay the importance of tackling the climate crisis.

Leo Hickman, chief adviser on climate change at WWF-UK, retorted: ‘Hey, BBC, I’ve fixed the headline for you: “One go-to contrarian scientist dissents over key climate impact report”.

BBC News at Ten’s Huw Edwards, BBC science editor David Shukman, Channel 4 News and ITV are arraigned by Media Lens, the latter having chosen a most misleading headline, ‘UN report hopes to show opportunities climate change may present’.

Medial Lens condemns the media arm of a corporate system ‘that is very clearly out of control’ as being as stupid and irresponsible:

“Humanity simply will not survive much more business-as-usual. And yet, all around us we see immense global economic forces hell-bent on charging ahead ever faster with no interest whatever in the near-term consequences.

“If we continue to look to corporate media and corporate politics for hope, this deceptive, reassuring propaganda may well continue to the bitter end. Ordinary people will have to take action . . . This is not hype; it is that serious, that late. The choice is ours”.

Main source: http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2014/761-the-neverending-wakeup-call.html

Media 34: study finds BBC favours campaign opposing Scottish devolution

media lens header

 Media Lens’ ‘Amazing Litany’ Of BBC Bias summarised:

 Coverage of the Scottish independence referendum, due to be held on September 18 this year, is a compelling example of the deep establishment bias of the corporate media. Some critics have characterised the BBC’s coverage, in particular, as though Scotland is merely a region or a county of the United Kingdom calledScotlandshire‘.

Findings of a year-long study conducted by a small team led by Professor John Robertson (University of West Scotland) summarised:

scotlandshire text

Professor Robertson told Media Lens that there was also: ‘undue deference and the pretence of apolitical wisdom in [official] reports coming from London – the Office for Budget Responsibility and Institute for Fiscal Studies, for example; but, also, Treasury officials [were] presented as detached academic figures to be trusted.’ (Email, March 18, 2014) . . .

He added that: ‘the conflation of the First Minister’s wishes with the YES campaign seems a classic case of undermining ideas by association with clownish portrayal of leading actors [in the campaign]’.

This media performance was, he said, reminiscent of past corporate media demonisation of former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill and Labour leaders Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot. The Scotsman also wrote an article in this vein.

Finally, Professor Robertson noted that there was a strong ‘tendency to begin [news] reports with bad economic news for the Yes campaign […]. Reports leading off with bad news or warnings against voting Yes were more common than the opposite by a ratio of 22:4 on Reporting Scotland (BBC) and a ratio of 20:7 on STV.’

So how did BBC Scotland respond to Professor Robertson’s documented evidence of clear bias in its coverage of the Scottish independence referendum?

Amazingly, BBC Scotland sent a 6,000-word letter to Professor Robertson in an attempt to demolish his study and undermine his credibility, copying it to the professor’s principal at the University of West Scotland. This unprecedented move seemed deliberately calculated to intimidate the researcher. In a careful and detailed response, Robertson rebutted the BBC criticism of his one-year study, and he concluded:

‘I think I’ve answered all the questions needed to contest these conclusions. […] The BBC response is a remarkably heavy-handed reaction. Why did they not report the research, let their experts critique it on air and then ask me to defend it? Instead we see a bullying email to my employer and a blanket suppression across the mainstream media in the UK. I’m shocked.’

Following Prof. Robertson’s solo appearance before the Parliamentary Committee, BBC Scotland put up a four-man panel to counter him. Prof. Robertson hailed the Committee Chairman’s ‘dogged extraction of the fact that the BBC had never mounted such a campaign against a piece of research before, ever.’ Prof. Robertson also noted that the Committee had exposed the BBC’s ‘failure to record and organise criticism of their performance’.

We asked Prof. Robertson to expand on what had been the response to his study from academia, including his own colleagues and management. He told us that at his institution, the University of West Scotland, there had been: ‘strong support for me at all levels, including the Principal, for my right to expression of intellectual ideas. Otherwise, a disturbing silence with no leading academic in politics, history, media theory prepared to protest the suppression of my report.

The Telegraph reports that a BBC spokesman said: “The BBC’s coverage of the Scottish referendum debate has been fair and balanced and we will continue to report on the story without fear or favour.”

Russell Brand: “A movement for the people, by the people, in the service of the land”

Media Lens has drawn attention to Russell Brand’s address at the recent GQ Men of the Year awards ceremony, from which he was ejected after cracking a joke about sponsor Hugo Boss. His comment article later included these reflections:

If you can’t criticise Hugo Boss at the GQ awards because they own the event, do you think it is significant that energy companies donate to the Tory party? Will that affect government policy?

Will the relationships that “politician of the year” Boris Johnson has with City bankers – he took many more meetings with them than public servants in his first term as mayor – influence the way he runs our capital?

Is it any wonder that Amazon, Vodafone and Starbucks avoid paying tax when they enjoy such cosy relationships with members of our government?

From the Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman, which may be watched here:

russell brand on newsnight

  •  I don’t get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm, which is quite narrow and only serves a few people, I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.
  • I am not not voting out of apathy, I am not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations.
  • (His revolution’s achievement won’t result in) a huge disparity between rich and poor, where 300 Americans have the same amount of wealth as their 85 million poorest Americans, where there is an exploited underserved underclass being continually ignored, where welfare is slashed while Cameron and Osborne go to court to continue the right of bankers receiving bonuses.

As editor of a recent issue of the New Statesman he added:

  • I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites. Billy Connolly said: “Don’t vote, it encourages them,” and, “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one.”
  • The London riots in 2011 . . . were by that very definition political. These young people have been accidentally marketed to their whole lives without the economic means to participate in the carnival.
  • Apathy is a rational reaction to a system that no longer represents, hears or addresses the vast majority of people. A system that is apathetic, in fact, to the needs of the people it was designed to serve.
  • The right has all the advantages, just as the devil has all the best tunes. Conservatism appeals to our selfishness and fear, our desire and self-interest; they neatly nurture and then harvest the inherent and incubating individualism.
  • Our materialistic consumer culture relentlessly stimulates our desire. Our media ceaselessly engages our fear.
  • The two extremes are absolutely interdependent. The price of privilege is poverty. David Cameron said in his conference speech that profit is “not a dirty word”. Profit is the most profane word we have. In its pursuit we have forgotten that while individual interests are being met, we as a whole are being annihilated. The reality, when not fragmented through the corrupting lens of elitism, is we are all on one planet.
  • We are far from apathetic, we are far from impotent. I take great courage from the groaning effort required to keep us down, the institutions that have to be fastidiously kept in place to maintain this duplicitous order. Propaganda, police, media, lies.
  • The apathy is in fact a transmission problem, when we are given the correct information in an engaging fashion, we will stir.
  • I don’t mind giving up some of my baubles and balderdash for a genuinely fair system, so can we create one?
  • Self-preservation and the survival of the planet. This is a better idea than the sustenance of an elite.
  • The only systems we can afford to employ are those that rationally serve the planet first, then all humanity.

Now there is an opportunity for the left to return to its vital, virile, vigorous origins. A movement for the people, by the people, in the service of the land.

.

Is the ‘free press’ structurally hard-wired not to obstruct US and UK regimes bent on war ?

 

David EdwardsDavid Edwards concludes a detailed and searing analysis of the way in which Blair’s 2003 “obvious web of deceit” was greeted, not even with whispers of dissent, but “with thunderous applause and praise by the political-media ‘club’ ”, by writing:

“For any rational viewer or reader, the cynicism, and the silence about that cynicism, was jaw-dropping. . .

“Much has been made of different newspapers being ‘for’ and ‘against’ the war in Iraq. But in fact all newspapers and broadcasters failed to raise even the most obvious objections to the case for believing the war was necessary, legal or moral. In March 2003, the way journalists feign fierce dissent while tossing feeble challenges for political executives, fellow ‘club’ members, to swat away, had never been more obvious.

“The Iraq war showed how the ‘free press’ is structurally hard-wired not to obstruct US and UK regimes bent on war. The corporate media – entrenched in the irrational and dangerous assumption that it should accept frameworks of debate laid down by ‘mainstream’ political parties – took key illusions seriously. As a result, the fraudulent discussion about Iraqi WMD raged on and on with the real world left far behind.

“And this was no passive media ‘failure’; it was an active, resilient determination to promote ‘the view from Downing Street’ and Washington. In 2002 and 2003, hundreds of Media Lens readers and other media activists – including journalists, academics, lawyers and authors – sent many hundreds of rational, referenced emails to newspapers and TV stations. Time and again, their crucial evidence and sources were simply ignored. The idea that coverage of the Iraq war represented a terrible ‘failure’ for the corporate media is an exact reversal of the truth. Iraq was a good example of how these media consistently excel in their structural role as defenders of powerful interests.

“The real ‘failure’ was the emergence of undeniable evidence that the media had all along been boosting Bush-Blair lies. But even this would have mattered little in the absence of Iraqi resistance and the vast death toll generated by the US determination to divide and conquer that resistance. If Iraqis had quietly accepted the conquest, the talk would not have been of ‘media failure’ but of ‘humanitarian success’, with all criticism dismissed as ‘carping’. This was indicated very clearly by the BBC’s then political editor Andrew Marr in April 2003, when he commented that the quick ‘fall’ of Baghdad, with Iraqis ‘celebrating’, had put an end to all ‘these slightly tawdry arguments and scandals. That is now history’. (Marr, BBC 1 News at Ten, April 9, 2003)

It is a bitter, even surreal, irony that the media ‘failure’ on Iraq is being lamented by journalists who have since repeated the same performance on Libya, Syria, Israel-Palestine, Iran, Venezuela, WikiLeaks, climate change, and much else besides.”

Read the article here: http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=725:blair-speech&catid=51:alerts-2013&Itemid=202