Media Lens: Covering Israel-Palestine – The BBC’s Double Standards

22 April, 2008 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

An Exchange With The BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen

The media reported last week that at least 22 people, including five Palestinian children, had been killed during Israeli ‘incursions’ into Gaza. The Israeli military ‘operation’ were ‘sparked’ by a Hamas ambush that had left three Israeli soldiers dead. Reporting followed the usual script that Israel‘s state-of-the-art weaponry is deployed as ‘retaliation’ for ‘militant’ Palestinian attacks.

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Not fit for purpose? By William Bowles

25 April 20008

The word Socialism is unfortunately, much-discredited yet and still the idea lives on regardless, as events in the Southern Americas reveal. But what of us in the so-called developed world?

Revolution I hear you cry? In the West? Not likely is it? In fact, both Marx and Lenin, when asked about revolution in the UK were a little more than disparaging about the idea. And what goes for the UK probably goes for the rest of the West.

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Media Lens: EXTRA ZERO An Exchange With The Independent’s John Rentoul

9 April, 2008 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

In the wake of the July 7, 2005 London bombings, the Independent’s John Rentoul commented:

“A Muslim friend of mine in the East End of London says that the sense of victimisation and injustice goes so deep among his fellow religionists that he sometimes despairs. ‘This all goes back to the burning of The Satanic Verses,’ he says. It was in 1988 that we should have realised that we were up against a culture … he doesn’t like the term ‘Muslim community’ … that tended to irrationalism and self-pity. Salman Rushdie did not create that culture, but he provided a focus for it and fed its sense of grievance. — “The Iraq issue serves much the same purpose today” (Rentoul, ‘Islam, blood and grievance,’ The Independent, July 24, 2005)

According to Rentoul, then, the invasion of Iraq and the mass slaughter that followed was feeding irrational self-pity in Muslims. He added:

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Sink or Swim in the capitalist ocean? By William Bowles

9 April 2008

When a group of so-called Aboriginals from I believe Borneo (or maybe it was Papua New Guinea) visited the UK recently they were gob-smacked to find homeless people on the streets of London. The concept ‘homelessness’ simply didn’t exist in their vocabulary and reinforced by the vast wealth that surrounded them (the ‘Aboriginal and the homeless). So too was the idea of the ‘nuclear family’. The concept of ‘living apart’ is totally alien to them.

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Trapped on Planet Bail-out — Bad Science Fiction By William Bowles

4 April 2008

“Britain, a touchstone for democracies around the world.” – BBC ‘reporter’ commentating on the state visit by president Sarkozy of France to the UK, BBC1 6pm news, 26 March, 2008

The great Polish writer, Stanislaw Lem (he wrote the novel ‘Solaris’) developed a theory of fiction writing based upon the idea that no matter how far-fetched the story or how wild the setting, that it should nevertheless be internally consistent down to the tiniest detail. Then and only then, will the far-fetched or even the impossible not only become believable, but also make a world we could live in.

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The Audacity of Depression By Joe Bageant

Rage fatigue, plastic dirt and happy hour in techno-totalitarian America

One of the best things about the hundred or so book festivals in America is that, with luck, a writer can manage to get drunk with some of his or her readers. And with more luck, the readers pick up the tab. Bear in mind that 90% of all real writers, people for whom writing is their sole income, spend much of their time counting their change in the rest room of the hotels where they are being put up while on tour. Believe me, there are better rackets than writing.

So here I am at the Virginia Festival of the Book copping a smoke on the back dining patio of the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville with one of my readers — a somewhat elegant sixty-plus blonde who runs a small public library financial support group down in ancient marshy Northumberland County, Virginia.

Created in 1648, it is the area James A. Michener wrote about in Chesapeake, and a place where, she tells me, periwinkles planted three hundred years ago on the graves of slaves still bloom. My wife, a historical librarian doing colonial African-American research, tells me these periwinkle marked slave graves can be found throughout Virginia.

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<strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>MEDIA <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

On March 22, an Economist magazine editorial described the recent violence in Tibet as a “colonial uprising”, a “revolt” against foreign occupation. This was accurate, as was the implication that China has no legitimate claims over Tibet. (‘A colonial uprising – Tibet,’ The Economist, March 22, 2008)

By contrast, recent media coverage of the fifth anniversary of the 2003 <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>US-UK invasion of Iraq depicted the conflict as an “insurgency”, with the <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>US military engaged in “counter-insurgency”. American media analyst David Peterson commented:

“In other words, in Tibet, China is a +colonial power+ and +doesn’t belong there+. Okay. But in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military forces are +not+ a colonial power imposing their will from the outside, but +do belong there+, quite unlike the people who are resisting the U.S. forces, who clearly lack this right.” (Email, March 22, 2008)

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