Media Lens: Dump The Guardian!

13 February 2019 — Media Lens

We were sad to hear that the comedian Jeremy Hardy had died on 1 February. Typically, media reports and obituaries prefixed the label ‘left-wing’ before the word ‘comedian’ as a kind of government health warning. What they really meant was that he was ‘too far left’. Normally, the media don’t label entertainers as ‘extreme centrists’, ‘neocon sympathisers’ or ‘Israel supporters’, when perhaps they should.

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Venezuela Blitz – Part 2: Press Freedom, Sanctions And Oil

7 February 2019 — Media Lens

Press Freedom – Taking A Glance At A Newspaper Stand

In support of their claim that Maduro is a ‘tyrant’ who does not allow free elections, corporate media consistently point to a lack of press freedom. When British academic Alan MacLeod of Glasgow Media Group reviewed 166 Western media articles evaluating the state of press freedom between 1998-2014, he found that all depicted Venezuelan media as ‘caged’, or unfree. Last week, Canadian political analyst Joe Emersberger commented in The Canary:
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Venezuela Blitz – Part 1: Tyrants Don’t Have Free Elections

5 February 2019 — Media Lens

In our new book, we describe a ‘Propaganda Blitz’ as a fast-moving campaign to persuade the public of the need for ‘action’ or ‘intervention’ furthering elite interests. Affecting great moral outrage, corporate media line up to insist that a watershed moment has arrived – something must be done!

A classic propaganda blitz was triggered on January 23, when Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself ‘interim President’. This was presented as dramatic new evidence that the people of Venezuela had finally had enough of Nicolas Maduro’s ‘regime’.

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Media Lens: Remembrance – The Dehumanised Human

16 January 2019 — Media Lens

It is clear even from their titles that corporate newspapers are objective, balanced and impartial. Or so we are to believe. The Telegraph and Mail are disinterested systems of communication – the prejudices of telegraphists and postmen/women certainly do not influence the content of the messages they deliver. The Times and Financial Times simply reflect the key events of our time, as of course does the Mirror. The Sun impartially spreads illumination to the benefit of all life on earth. As does the Independent, with no shadows cast by the Russian oligarch by which it is owned or the adverts on which it depends. The Observer looks on and records, a mere Spectator. Only the Guardian hints at political engagement. A staunch defender of ‘free’ comment and ‘sacred facts’, the title is commonly understood to indicate the paper’s determination to act as a guardian of ordinary people against powerful interests.

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Veneration Of Power Leading To Climate Catastrophe

12 December 2018 — Media Lens

In a recent media alert, we presented a few rules that journalists must follow if they are to be regarded as a safe pair of hands by editors and corporate media owners. One of these rules is that ‘we’ in the West are assumed to be ‘the good guys’. This seriously damaging narrative, flying in the face of historical evidence and endlessly crushing state policies, ensures that the public is kept ignorant and pacified. The consequences have been deadly for millions of the West’s victims around the world, and now mean climate catastrophe that could end human civilisation.

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Media Lens: Limits Of Dissent – Glenn Greenwald And The Guardian

6 December 2018 — Media Lens

When we think of prisons, we tend to think of Alcatraz, Bang Kwang and Belmarsh with their guard towers, iron bars and concrete. But in his forthcoming book, ’33 Myths of the System’, Darren Allen invites us to imagine a prison with walls made entirely of vacuous guff:

‘Censorship is unnecessary in a system in which everyone can speak, but only those guaranteed not to say anything worth listening to can be heard.’

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Media Lens: Follow Your Bliss – A Follow-Up

30 November 2018 — Media Lens

‘Advice I Wish I’d Had’

Last February, I responded on Twitter to a tweet from The Times urging young journalists to apply for the Anthony Howard Award. Lucky winners could spend a year writing about politics for The Times and Observer newspapers, and also for New Statesman magazine. My comment:

‘Forget it. Don’t write for the “mainstream”. Don’t write for money. Don’t write for prestige. Just “follow your bliss” by writing what you absolutely love to write to inspire and enlighten other people. Write what seems interesting, important and true, and give it away for free.’

These few words generated an imperfect storm of anger and abuse, mostly from corporate journalists and other media workers. In a piece titled, ‘Write for love not money? Journalists appalled,’ former Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook commented: ‘the outpouring of indignation from these journalists at a little bit of advice from Media Lens must be unprecedented’.

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Media Lens: The Filter Bubble – Owen Jones And Con Coughlin

14 November 2018 — Media Lens

There is something dreamlike about the system of mass communication sometimes described as ‘mainstream media’. The self-described ‘rogue journalist’ and ‘guerrilla poet’ Caitlin Johnstone tweeted it well:

‘The Iraq invasion feels kind of like if your dad had stood up at the dinner table, cut off your sister’s head in front of everyone, gone right back to eating and never suffered any consequences, and everyone just kind of forgot about it and carried on life like it never happened.’

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Media Lens: How To Be A Reliable ‘Mainstream’ Journalist

8 November 2018 — Media Lens

There are certain rules you need to follow as a journalist if you are going to demonstrate to your editors, and the media owners who employ you, that you can be trusted.

For example, if you write about US-Iran relations, you need to ensure that your history book starts in 1979. That was the year Iranian students started a 444-day occupation of the US embassy in Tehran. This was the event that ‘led to four decades of mutual hostility’, according to BBC News. On no account should you dwell on the CIA-led coup in 1953 that overthrew the democratically-elected Iranian leader, Mohammad Mossadegh. Even better if you just omit any mention of this.

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Caught In The Cross Hairs – Media Lens And The Mystery Of The Wikipedia Editor

17 October 2018 — Media Lens

In June, the BBC reported that someone operating under the name ‘Philip Cross’ had been extraordinarily active in editing Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit:

‘”Philip Cross” has made hundreds of thousands of edits to Wikipedia pages. But in the process he’s angered anti-war activists and critics of British and Western foreign policy, who claim he’s been biased against them.’

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Blanket Silence: Corporate Media Ignore New Report Exposing Distorted And Misleading Coverage of Corbyn

3 October 2018 — Media Lens

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the 17 years since Media Lens began, it’s that media professionals generally hate being challenged, critiqued or criticised. This fierce antipathetical belligerence underlies the corporate media’s total refusal to mention, far less discuss, a recent damning report on how the corporate media have been misreporting Labour and its supposed ‘problem’ with antisemitism.

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