Launchpad For A Revolution? Russell Brand, The BBC And Elite Power By David Cromwell

30 October 2013 — Media Lens

When someone with interesting things to say is granted a high-profile media platform, it is wise to listen to what is being said and ask why they have been given such a platform. Comedian and actor Russell Brand’s 10-minute interview by Jeremy Paxman on BBC’s Newsnight last week was given considerable advance publicity and generated enormous reaction on social media and in the press, just as those media gatekeepers who selected Brand to appear would have wished.

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Tilting At Easy Targets: Climate Change And The ‘Highly Ideological’ Liberal Mindset By David Cromwell

27 September 2013 — Media Lens

When a senior UN climate official warns that the world is ‘heading for a heart attack’ (The Times, September 23, 2013), there is clearly no time to lose in taking the radical action necessary to avert disaster. But we also have to understand why it is that no matter how many scientific warnings and ‘wake up calls’ are issued, we are still headed for climate chaos.

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‘Damning Evidence’ Becomes ‘No Clear Evidence’: Much-Delayed Report On Congenital Birth Defects In Iraq By David Cromwell

19 September 2013 — Media Lens

In a 2010 alert, ‘Beyond Hiroshima – The Non-Reporting Of Fallujah’s Cancer Catastrophe’, we noted the almost non-existent media response to the publication of a new study that had found high rates of infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city. The dramatic increases in these rates exceeded even those found in survivors of the atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn was a lone exception in reporting these awful findings. 

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‘The Planet Can’t Keep Doing Us A Favour’ By David Cromwell

29 May 2013 — Media Lens

Sometimes we get so sick of the phrase ‘history in the making’ that the brain tends to switch off. What is it this time?, we sigh. A new high-tech piece of military technology that will boost US killing power? A big jump in a newspaper’s online advertising revenue? The world’s best footballer, Lionel Messi, joining ‘an exclusive list of adidas athletes to have their own signature product’? Sometimes the ‘history’ in question only stretches back a few years, maybe a century or two. Only very occasionally, if the claim is truly deserved, does it stretch back to the earliest era of written records.

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Media Lens: ‘You Say What You Like, Because They Like What You Say’ By David Cromwell

13 May 2013 — Media Lens

The local elections in England earlier this month saw the right-wing UK Independence Party win over 140 council seats, gaining around 25 per cent of the vote where it stood. This led to a deluge of media headlines and stories echoing UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s gleeful claim of a ‘game changer’ in domestic politics. The Conservatives ended up with egg on their face after veteran Tory Ken Clarke had labelled UKIP ‘a collection of clowns’.

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Media Lens: Heading For A Different Planet By David Cromwell

26 March 2013 — Media Lens

Global Warming, Propaganda-Journalism And The Definition Of Insanity

The systematic propaganda of the corporate media – its deep-rooted antipathy towards upholding proper journalistic standards in the public interest – extends to its coverage of human-induced climate change. The Independent recently delivered a masterpiece of headline obfuscation with: ‘World cools on global warming as green fatigue sets in.’

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Media Lens: BBC Newsnight, Iraq And The Export Of Democracy By David Cromwell

5 March 2013 — Media Lens

It is a prerequisite for corporate journalists that they respect the ideological conventions of their paymasters and of state power – a vital source of ‘news‘ and ‘informed’ comment, after all. At the same time, the corporate journalist likes to project a self-serving image as a valiant investigator, a champion of democracy, and a facilitator of fair and balanced debate. All too often, of course, the public can see through the charade.

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