Wednesday, 23 November 2022 — Media Lens
On November 15, as 90 Russian cruise missiles struck at Ukraine’s energy network, a companion US-UK propaganda blitz blamed the Russian missiles for the deaths of two workers on a farm in Poland.
Last month, the United Nations environment agency issued arguably its starkest warning yet about the climate crisis. The failure by governments around the world to cut carbon emissions means there is ‘no credible pathway to 1.5C in place’. Limiting the rise of global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels was the international agreement at COP21, the UN Climate Summit in Paris in 2015.
Last week, Alex Nunns, author of ‘The Candidate – Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path To Power’ and former Corbyn speechwriter, described the current assault on democracy within the Labour Party:
‘What’s happening in the Labour Party is new. The Labour right, having had the shock of their lives in 2015, are now intent on eradicating the left entirely. This isn’t how their predecessors thought. It’s a new departure in Labour history that’ll have long term consequences.’
Last February, Emily Maitlis left her role as presenter of the BBC’s Newsnight programme to join rival media group Global. In a recent speech, Maitlis made a surprising reference to Theresa May’s former communications director Sir Robbie Gibb:
‘Put this in the context of the BBC board, where another active agent of the Conservative Party – former Downing Street spin doctor and former adviser to BBC rival GB News – now sits, acting as the arbiter of BBC impartiality.’
If every single high-profile journalist, politician and priest is currently expressing heartfelt devotion to Britain’s deceased, 96-year-old monarch, it is not because she ‘served’ her country diligently in doing her ‘duty’ for 70 years. The powerful interests that determine Britain’s political and media agenda are not sentimentalists; they do not impose ‘managed democracy’ as a kind of game. Propaganda blitzes are always pragmatic.
‘We have physicists, geometricians, chemists, astronomers, poets, musicians and painters in plenty; but no longer have a citizen among us.’
Increasingly, now, we do have citizens among us: scientists – particularly, climate scientists – who are awakening from their ‘mainstream’ slumber to the reality that they are citizens of a decaying society on a dying planet.
‘Some people felt that “Top Gun” was a right-wing film to promote the Navy. And a lot of kids loved it. But I want the kids to know that’s not the way war is – that “Top Gun” was just an amusement park ride, a fun film with a PG-13 rating that was not supposed to be reality. That’s why I didn’t go on and make “Top Gun II” and “III” and “IV” and “V.” That would have been irresponsible.’
It would indeed, and one can only admire Cruise’s honesty and selfless determination… in 1990… not to mislead young people.
In the terrifying opening to his 2020 novel, ‘The Ministry for the Future’, Kim Stanley Robinson depicts an intense heatwave in India. In an ‘ordinary town’ in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, people are struggling to cope with unbearable heat and humidity. It is the combination of the two, measured by the so-called ‘wet-bulb temperature’, that is potentially fatal. When it approaches the core body temperature of 36C, sweat cannot evaporate and humans can no longer cool themselves down. Dehydration rises to dangerous levels. Vital organs become seriously stressed, especially the heart. Unless the body temperature is reduced, death follows in a matter of hours.
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.