"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

THE NEWS, it's not what you think...

The 'news', by that I mean the dominant news, can be more harmful to you than a prejudice reinforcing cliche, an episode of '24'. A world where the bad guys are arabs (replacing the yesterday's criminal black stereotype so often employed in cop films) aided by white people who have been corrupted by these cunning arabs. A world created by centuries of Imperialism and the literature that reinforces it.

"...culture and politics cooperated, knowingly and unknowingly, to produce a system of domination that involved more than cannon and soldiers - a sovereignty that extended over forms, images, and the very imaginations of both the dominators and the dominated. The result was a "consolidated vision" that affirmed not merely the Europeans' right to rule but their obligation, and made alternative arrangements unthinkable." (1)

The main reason why this can be so? The dominant news has created an aura of respectability around itself. One that is in most cases totally unsubstantiated. When Fox news has a 50% share and the BBC is considered the bastion of liberality there is a real misconception that the 'news' is infact the the news.

When George Galloway, the former Labour MP now with the anti-war Respect party was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on BBC's Newsnight.

Jeremy Paxman: "Mr Galloway, are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?"

George Galloway: "What a preposterous question. I know it's very late in the night, but wouldn't you be better starting by congratulating me for one of the most sensational election results in modern history?"

JP: "Are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?"

GG: "I'm not [pause]. Jeremy, move on to your next question."

JP: "You're not answering that one?"

GG: "No, because I don't believe that people get elected because of the colour of their skin. I believe people get elected because of their record and because of their policies. So move on to your next question."

A typical interview for a politican that is not toeing the corporate/mainstream line. Impartiality went out the window, this was a direct intimation of racism. A ridiculous one at that. This is what passes for news. One tiny instant, one sentence, in a 24 hour 1000 channel news machine.

Could anyone expect that this same line of questioning would be levelled towards Tony Blair. This sort unabashed ignorance is not limited to reporting politics and politicians. The news remains selective as to who and whom it criticizes in the corporate/economic world, thats why reports of CO2 emissions from planes don't appear beside cheap flight adverts, thats why the increase in lung cancer figures don't feature beside stories about Formula 1 racing (20 million pound cigarette boxes flying round a circuit), and so on and so forth...

The news changes every day, and therefore the importance of stories also fall in and out of favour. Thats why Tony has managed to resurrect his career on the back of 'saving' Africa. The news helps us forget what the truth is.

Mark Borkowski on Public Relations
Does the mighty BP really find proper journalism so threatening?
Mark Borkowski on Public Relations
06 June 2005

One thing that makes huge corporations especially cross is when the media advisers they assume will help protect them from bad publicity fail to exercise proper PR housekeeping and end up landing them in sheep dip.

Step forward the WPP media buying company MindShare, who recently issued a memo to the effect that BP wished to follow Morgan Stanley's lead in expecting newspaper and magazine publishers not to run any editorial about their sector, good or bad, without a) informing them, and b) agreeing to pull any BP ads that might be running. This immediately painted BP as paranoid and run by control freaks instead of a modern, forward-looking corporation.

continued... The Independent

Ambushing Dissent
by David Cromwell and David Edwards

May 11, 2005

"The 'societal purpose' of the media is to inculcate and defend the economic, social and political agenda of privileged groups that dominate the domestic society and the state." (Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky - Manufacturing Consent)

Highly-paid presenters have privileged access to 'respectable' mainstream politicians which they are very keen to maintain. It is vital that such high-level sources not be seriously alienated or offended by pertinent, but potentially damaging, questions.
Overlooking obvious truths about mass violence conducted by western governments, media professionals are expert at cultivating a veneer of dogged commitment to truth.

Even when being questioned sharply, leading politicians are treated respectfully with no insinuation that the interviewee is despicable or malevolent. No such considerations apply, however, when the media confront "rogues" or "mavericks" who represent a challenge to established power and the ideology underpinning its brutality. In these special cases, the doctrinal system requires that threatening figures be dealt with aggressively, typically with ridicule and contempt.

continued... Znet

1. A summary of Edward Said's 'Culture & Imperialism'