Wednesday, 19 January 2022 — Media Lens
There has been much gnashing of ‘liberal’ teeth and pulling out of ‘centrist’ hair following the Tory government’s announcement that the BBC licence fee will be abolished in 2027.
One of the most damning assessments of COP26, the UN climate conference being held in Glasgow, came from Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist:
‘#COP26 has been named the must excluding COP ever.
This is no longer a climate conference.
This is a Global North greenwash festival.
A two week celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah.’
In their classic book on the news media, ‘Manufacturing Consent’, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky presented a ‘propaganda model’ of how the major broadcasters and newspapers operate. Whereas the ‘mainstream’ media declare that their aim is to educate, inform and entertain the public, their actual societal purpose ‘on matters that are of significance for established power’ is to avert any ‘danger’ that the public can ‘assert meaningful control over the political process’ (Herman and Chomsky, ‘Manufacturing Consent’, Vintage, 1988/1994, p. 303).
18 June 2021 — Origin: Media Lens
In focusing on the grim future in April, US vice president, Kamala Harris, surely revealed far more than she intended about the grim past:
‘For years and generations, wars have been fought over oil. In a short matter of time, they will be fought over water.’
2 June 2021 — Media Lens
In contrast to Media Lens modestly marking a mere two decades in July, the Guardian has been deluging itself with praise on reaching two centuries this year. Not that we would expect otherwise. As editor Katherine Viner proclaimed in a long, celebratory essay:
25 May 2021 — Origin: Media Lens
Recent media coverage of Israel and Palestine, not least by BBC News, has been full of the usual deceptive propaganda tropes: Israel is ‘responding’ or ‘reacting’ to Palestinian ‘provocation’ and ‘escalation’; Palestinian rockets ‘killed’ Israelis, but Palestinians ‘have died’ from unnamed causes; Israel has ‘armed forces’ and ‘security forces’, but Hamas has ‘militants’. And, as ever, Palestinians were killed in far greater numbers than Israelis. At least 248 Palestinians were killed by Israeli bombardment in Gaza, including 66 children. Palestinian rocket fire killed 12 in Israel, including one child.
11 February 2021 — Media Lens
As we saw in Part 1, in 1914 and again in 1939, millions of men and women welcomed war. Arnold Ridley and his pals did make this choice, but in reality the choice had been made for them by decades and centuries of the relentless ‘patriotic’ propaganda described by Tolstoy, which most people were powerless to resist.
9 February2021 — Media Lens
A Cogitation by David Edwards
The name Arnold Ridley will be familiar to many viewers of ‘Dad’s Army’, one of Britain’s best-loved TV comedies, which ran a long time ago (1968-1977) but is still shown on prime time BBC TV.
Ridley played Private Godfrey, the loveable, most doddery member of a Second World War platoon of elderly Home Guard troops tasked with defending a stretch of the British coast ‘from the Novelty Rock Emporium to Stone’s Amusement Arcade’.
4 December 2020 — Media Lens
Noticing the way journalists seemed unable to resist commenting on our work, even if it was just to slag us off, Glenn Greenwald tweeted us in 2012:
‘You are really deeper in the heads of the British establishment-serving commentariat than anyone else – congrats.’ (Greenwald, Twitter, 12 September 2012)
If that was true then, our relationship with the commentariat now feels more like a case of out of sight, out of mind. We have been blocked en masse on Twitter, even by loveable liberals like Jeremy Bowen, Jon Snow, Mark Steel (yes, ‘radical’ Mark Steel!), Steve Bell, Frankie Boyle (the less said about that the better) and, of course, Owen Jones and George Monbiot.
17 November 2020 — Media Lens
The Roman poet Horace famously declared:
‘Dulce et decorum est pro patrie mori.’
It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. Wilfred Owen, the great English poet of the First World War, described this phrase as ‘the old Lie’ in his famous war poem, ‘Dulce et decorum est’. Patriotism so often means ‘honouring’ those who ‘fell in service to this country’, grand ceremonies at war memorials, feasts of royal pageantry. And then sending yet more generations of men and women to fight in yet more wars.
7 October 2020 — Media Lens
One of the most imposing features of state-corporate propaganda is its incessant, repetitive nature. Over and over again, the ‘mainstream’ media have to convince the public that ‘our’ government prioritises the health, welfare and livelihoods of the general population, rather than the private interests of an elite stratum of society that owns and runs all the major institutions, banks, corporations and media. Continue reading
9 September 2020 — Media Lens
The use and misuse of George Orwell’s truth-telling is so widespread that we can easily miss his intended meaning. For example, with perfect (Orwellian) irony, the BBC has a statue of Orwell outside Broadcasting House, bearing the inscription:
‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’
6 August 2020 — Media Lens
On August 1, a rare in-depth investigative piece appeared on the BBC News website based on credible and serious allegations that UK Special Forces had executed unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. The BBC article was produced in tandem with a report, ‘”Rogue SAS Afghanistan execution squad” exposed by email trail’, published by the Sunday Times.
22 June 2020 — Media Lens
In his classic science fiction novel, ‘Foundation’, Isaac Asimov posited a future in which ‘psychohistorians’ could predict outcomes based on past history and the large-scale behaviour of human populations by combining psychology and the mathematics of probability. Using ‘psychohistory’, the protagonist Hari Seldon discovers that the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire will collapse in 500 years. He warns the galactic rulers of this likely fate, while explaining that an alternative future in which human knowledge is preserved can be attained. For his trouble, he is exiled to the remote planet of Terminus.