Media Lens: So What Is Objective Journalism?

21 March 2017 — Media Lens

‘Just The Facts, Ma’am’

So what is objective, impartial journalism?

The standard view was offered in 2001 by the BBC’s then political editor, Andrew Marr:

‘When I joined the BBC, my Organs of Opinion were formally removed.’ (Marr, The Independent, January 13, 2001)

And by Nick Robinson describing his role as ITN political editor during the Iraq war:

‘It was my job to report what those in power were doing or thinking… That is all someone in my sort of job can do.’ (Robinson, ‘”Remember the last time you shouted like that?” I asked the spin doctor’, The Times, July 16, 2004)

‘Just the facts, Ma’am’, as Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wryly describes this take on journalism. Continue reading this...

Media Lens: Rehabilitating Bush – The Deadly Illusion Of Corporate Dissent

3 March 2017  — Media Lens

 The title of the editorial said it all:

‘The Guardian view on George W Bush: a welcome return’

In a tongue-in-cheek, almost jovial, piece the Guardian unsubtly rehabilitated a man responsible for crimes that are among the most egregious in all history.

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Media Lens: The ‘Superficial, Arrogant Smugness’ Of BBC News – Peter Oborne Delivers Some Home Truths On BBC Radio 4 Today

22 February 2017 — Media Lens

In a recent media alert, we noted the occasional tell-tale signs of uncomfortable truths that slip through cracks in the propaganda façade of BBC News. Very occasionally, the propaganda nature is clearly highlighted and can be enjoyed for its directness and the flustered BBC response it provokes.

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Media Lens: Undermining Democracy – Corporate Media Bias on Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Syria

6 February 2017 — Media Lens

Are we able to prove the existence of a corporate media campaign to undermine British democracy? Media analysis is not hard science, but in this alert we provide compelling evidence that such a campaign does indeed exist.

Compare coverage of comments made on Syria by a spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in October 2016 and by UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson in January 2017. Continue reading this...

Media Lens: Deranged And Deluded: The Media’s Complicity In The Climate Crisis

30 January 2017 — Media Lens

In an important recent book, the Indian writer Amitav Ghosh refers to the present era of corporate-driven climate crisis as ‘The Great Derangement’. For almost 12,000 years, since the last Ice Age, humanity has lived through a period of relative climate stability known as the Holocene. When Homo sapiens shifted, for the most part, from a nomadic hunter-gatherer existence to an agriculture-based life, towns and cities grew, humans went into space and the global population shot up to over seven billion people.

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Media Lens: BBC Propaganda Watch: Tell-Tale Signs That Slip Through The Cracks

13 December 2016 — Media Lens

Even the most powerful systems of propaganda inadvertently allow uncomfortable truths to slip out into the public domain. Consider a recent BBC News interview following the death of Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro. Dr Denise Baden, Associate Professor in Business Ethics at the University of Southampton, who has studied Castro’s leadership and Cuban business models, was asked by BBC News presenter Justine Mawhinney for her views on Cuba and Castro. It’s fair to say that Baden’s responses didn’t follow the standard establishment line echoed and amplified in much of the ‘mainstream’ media.

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Media Lens: Fake News About ‘Fake News’ – The Media Performance Pyramid

5 December 2016 — Media Lens 

In the wake of Brexit and Trump, ‘mainstream’ media have done the formerly unthinkable by focusing on media bias. The intensity of focus has been such that the Oxford Dictionaries have announced that ‘post-truth’ is their ‘Word of the Year 2016’.

‘Post-truth’ refers to ‘circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Continue reading this...

Media Lens: Filtering The Election

18 November 2016 — Media Lens

Introduction

When the likes of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Assad, and now Donald Trump, are declared the latest ‘New Hitler’, we learn little except that they are enemies of the establishment. It means the ‘On’ button has been pressed on a propaganda machine designed for maximal demonisation, leaving no room for public doubt. This inevitably drives comparisons in the direction of Hitler and the Nazis.

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Media Lens: Flagship Of Fearmongering: The Guardian, MI5 And State Propaganda

8 November 2016 — Media Lens

Readers of the Guardian woke up last Tuesday (November 1, 2016) to find that the newspaper and website had been given over to promoting MI5. To be more precise: the paper was trumpeting a fearmongering ‘exclusive’ with MI5 Director-General, Andrew Parker. It was billed as ‘the first interview of its kind’ and was conducted by the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, and the diplomatic editor, Ewen MacAskill. However, it quickly became clear that this ‘interview’ consisted largely of the two senior Guardian journalists listening to the MI5 chief and diligently writing down what he said with no discernible challenge or scrutiny.

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Media Lens: Yemen Vote – The Responsibility To Protect- Profits

3 November 2016 — Media Lens

At first sight, compassion appears to loom large in ‘mainstream’ politics and media. When the American and British governments target countries like Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, ‘compassion’ is always at or near the top of the agenda.

Time and again, the cry from the political system is: ‘We Must Do Something!’ ‘We’ must save Afghan women from the ‘Medieval’ Taliban. ‘We’ must save Kuwaiti new-borns flung from their incubators by Iraqi stormtroopers. ‘We’ must save Iraqi civilians from Saddam’s shredding machines. ‘We’ must save civilians in Kosovo from Milosevic’s ‘final solution’.

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Media Lens: ‘Centrist Soft-Liberal Feminism’ – Presidentialising Hillary Clinton

17 October 2016 — Media Lens

A Guardian piece last month described: ‘How September 11 revealed the real Hillary Clinton.’

While even supporters recognise that Clinton’s campaign has been notably cold, passionless and bereft of conviction, ‘The Clinton who emerges from the WNYC [New York Public Radio] tapes is passionate, raw and unrestrained.’

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Media Lens: Media Silence Over Deadly Sanctions: From Iraq To Syria

10 October 2016 — Media Lens

Awkward facts that erode the ‘benign humanitarian’ self-image of the West are routinely side-lined or buried by the corporate media. Consider, for example, the severe impact of sanctions imposed on Syria by the United States and the European Union.

An internal United Nations assessment, revealed on September 28 by Rania Khalek in The Intercept, makes clear that the sanctions are punishing ordinary Syrians and preventing vital aid, including medical supplies, from reaching those in dire need. Access has been denied for blood safety equipment, medicines, medical devices, food, fuel, water pumps and spare parts for power plants, amongst other items.

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Media Lens: The Great Libya War Fraud

3 October 2016 — Media Lens

National newspapers were ‘unimpressed by Jeremy Corbyn’s victory’ in the Labour leadership election, Roy Greenslade noted in the Guardian, surprising no-one. Corbyn secured almost 62% of the 506,000 votes cast, up from the 59% share he won in 2015, ‘with virtually no press backing whatsoever’.

In reality, of course, Corbyn did not just lack press backing. He won in the face of more than one year of relentless corporate media campaigning to politically, ethically, professionally, psychologically and even sartorially discredit him. That Corbyn survived is impressive. That he won again, increased his vote-share, and took Labour Party membership from 200,000 to more than 500,000, is astonishing.

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Media Lens: Menwith Menace: Britain’s Complicity In Saudi Arabia’s Terror Campaign Against Yemen

13 September 2016 — Media Lens

The ‘mainstream’ Western media is, almost by definition, the last place to consult for honest reporting of Western crimes. Consider the appalling case of Yemen which is consumed by war and an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

Since March 2015, a ‘coalition’ of Sunni Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, and supported by the US, Britain and France, has been dropping bombs on neighbouring Yemen. The scale of the bombing is indicated in a recent article by Felicity Arbuthnot – in one year, 330,000 homes, 648 mosques, 630 schools and institutes, and 250 health facilities were destroyed or damaged. The stated aim of Saudi Arabia’s devastating assault on Yemen is to reinstate the Yemeni president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and to hold back Houthi rebels who are allied with the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Saudis assert that the Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, are ‘proxies’ for Iran: always a convenient propaganda claim to elicit Western backing and ‘justify’ intervention.

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