16 July 2019 — Off Guardian
OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK’s Media Freedom Conference, was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually…creepy.
Let’s just look back at one of the four “main themes” of this conference:
building trust in media and countering disinformation
“Countering disinformation”? Well,that’s just another word for censorship.
This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT “spreads disinformation” and they “countered” that by barring them from attending.
“Building trust”? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, “building trust” is just another way of saying “making people believe us” (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust).
The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels…off.
Here is CNN’s Christiane Amanpour:
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral…we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence.”
Being “truthful not neutral” is one of Amanpour’s personal sayings, she obviously thinks it’s clever.
Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for “bias”.
Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish “the truth”, to get around impartiality…and then set about making up whatever “truth” is convenient.
Oh, and if you don’t know what “creating a false moral quivalence is”, here I’ll demonstrate:
MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media.
OffG: But you’re supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down.
BBC: No. That’s not the same.
OffG: It seems the same.
BBC: It’s not. You’re creating a false moral equivalence.
Understand now? You “create a false moral equivalence” by pointing out mainstream media’s double standards.
Other ways you could mistakenly create a “false moral equivalence”:
- Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism.
- Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights.
- Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia’s “interference in our democracy”
- Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever.
- OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT.
These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media’s double standards, and if you say they are, you’re “creating a false moral equivalence”…and the media won’t have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree.
Because they don’t have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell “the truth”…as soon as the government has told them what that is.
Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and theHuffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how “fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality” by “being even handed between liars the truth tellers”. (I’ve been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).
Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda.
“Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments”, this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our “enemies” in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means.
I said in my earlier article I don’t know what “media sustainability” even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means “save the government mouthpieces”.
The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. “Building media sustainability” is code for “pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government” or maybe “getting people to like our propaganda”.
But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt…
“Navigating Disinformation” was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don’t have to.
The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information
Have you guessed what “disinformation” they’re going to be talking about?
I’ll give you a clue: It begins with R.
Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that “disinformation isn’t for any particular aim”.
This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought.
The reason they have to claim that “disinformation” doesn’t have a “specific aim” is very simple: They don’t know what they’re going to call “disinformation” yet.
They can’t afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as “disinformation.” Left or right. Foreign or domestic. “Disinformation” is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague.
So, we’re one minute in, and all “navigating disinformation” has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start.
Interestingly, no one has actually said the word “Russia” at this point. They have talked about “malign actors” and “threats to democracy”, but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that “propaganda”= “Russian propaganda” that they don’t need to say it.
The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use “disinformation” has not just been dismissed…it was literally never even contemplated.
Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know “more than most” about disinformation, she says.
Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing…then immediately calls for regulation of social media.
Then he talks about the “illegal annexation of Crimea”, and claims the West should outlaw “paid propaganda” like RT and Sputnik.
Then he says that Latvia “protected” their elections from “interference” by “close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies”.
Everyone nods along.
If you don’t find this terrifying, you’re not paying attention. They don’t say it, they probably don’t even realise they mean it, but when they talk about “close cooperation with social media networks”, they mean government censorship of social media. When they say “protecting” their elections…they’re talking about rigging them.
It only gets worse.
The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster “traditional media”. The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren’t paid enough, and don’t keep up to date with all the “new tricks”.
His solution is to “promote financing” for traditional media, and to open more schools like the “Baltic Centre of Media Excellence”, which is apparently a totally real thing. It’s a training centre which teaches young journalists about “media literacy” and “critical thinking”.
You can read their depressingly predictable list of “donors” here.
I truly wish I was joking.
Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally “protect journalists”, but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to “defend” RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible). She talks for a long time…without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring.
Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse “propaganda” platforms. She shares an anecdote about “a prominent Slovakian politician” who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is “dubiously financed, we assume from Russia”.
They assume from Russia. Everyone nods. It’s like they don’t even hear themselves.
Then she moves on to Hungary.
Apparently, Orban has “created a propaganda machine” and produced “antisemitic George Soros posters”. No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to “fake news sites”. She calls for “international pressure”, but never explains exactly what that means.
The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to “counter lies about Ukraine”. Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)
She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through “disinformation” and becomes “incoherent rambling”. She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you’ll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian “cognitive influence” is “toxic…like radiation.”
Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle.
On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again.
She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars “just for being muslims”, nobody questions her.
She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn’t mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.
She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were “forced”. A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It’s simply a lie.
Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution.
Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the “Ministry of Information”.
Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the “countering disinformation” panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.
When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this “threat” – here’s the list:
- Work to distinguish “free speech” from “propaganda”, when you find propaganda there must be a “strong reaction”.
- Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
- Regulate social media.
- Educate journalists at special schools.
- Start up a “Ministry of Information” and have state run media that isn’t controlled, like in Ukraine.
This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom…and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it.
They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia….and Russia takes up easily 90% of that.
They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik.
This wasn’t a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month’s worth of 2 minutes of hate.
These aren’t just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion. They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants…whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality.
They don’t know, they don’t care. They’re true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says “Freedom”.
And that’s just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority.
Truly, perfectly Orwellian.