Media Lens: Russell Brand’s ‘Revolution’ – Part 1, ‘The Fun Bus’

11 November 2014 — Media Lens

On October 23, 2013, Russell Brand appeared to crash through the filter system protecting the public from dissident opinion.

His 10-minute interview with Jeremy Paxman on the BBC’s Newsnight programme not only attracted millions of viewers – the YouTube hit-counter stands at 10.6 million – it won considerable praise and support from corporate journalists on Twitter. Brand was arguing for ‘revolution’ and yet was flavour of the month, cool to like. Something didn’t add up.

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How George Bush won the war in Iraq – really! By Greg Palast

29 March 2013 — Vice Magazine

If you thought it was “Blood for Oil”–you’re wrong.  It was far, far worse.

Because it was marked “confidential” on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn’t believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq. Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies. Continue reading

Hugo Chavez vs "The Network" By Greg Palast

14 March, 2013 — Vice Magazine

London, February 2002. A tiny, dark and intense woman waited at the end of a lecture until I was alone, brought her face strangely close to mine and whispered, “President Chavez needs you. Right now. To Caracas. Right now. You must come to see him.”

President Who? All I knew about this Hugo Chavez guy was that he was an Latin-American jefe, led a bungled coup and was filled with a lot of populist bullshit and a lot of oil.

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The Israel Lobby’s Power Comes From the American Ruling Class

30 July 2011 — Al Jazeera

“Prince Walid bin Talal bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud, the second biggest shareholder in News Corporation after Murdoch, recently gave an interview, on his yacht, to the BBC flagship programme Newsnight. The Saudi prince declared himself “a good friend” of Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch (probably the next executive to be charged by the police in the scandal). He defended both men briskly, but in doing so drew attention to the fact that he is the second biggest shareholder in the Murdoch empire, and that the Murdochs were major shareholders in his own Rotana media empire in the Middle East. An unholy alliance, surely? Mr Murdoch is the co-owner, with Prince Walid, of Fox News – one of the most virulently anti-Muslim television stations in the world. The station gives a megaphone to the likes of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin. In the US, Fox’s role was to throw gallons of petrol on the flames Islamophobia which were leading to the burning of the Holy Quran by vigilantes.” Read the full article here


6 May, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

Sometimes humanity catches a glimpse of itself in the mirror of some great disaster and is shocked by what it sees. The war of 1914-1918 demolished, forever, the assumption that ‘progress’ was pre-ordained, a God-given gift buried in the natural world, so that all we had to do was uncover the path and follow it. Instead, we learned that technology could just as easily deliver mass death as mass production. The Second World War confirmed the terrifying amorality of science – we can build a world glittering with labour-saving, health-giving devices, and +still+ end up with a lifeless, incinerated planet.

But climate change is the ultimate mirror. In our lifetimes it will reveal the answer to the great question of who we are as a species: Is human society basically rational and free, or are we slaves to a billion selfish thoughts and actions that have become encrusted in political institutions over decades, centuries and millennia? Are the forces of reason able to transcend the forces of greed? Is the need for collective human action able to overcome the individual concern for instant gratification and familial security?

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4 December, 2009 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

One of our readers recently took us to task for a serious omission in our new book, ‘Newspeak in the 21st Century’ (Pluto Press, 2009). He asked how we could possibly have failed to include the BBC’s Newsnight presenter, Emily Maitlis. In August 2008, Maitlis opened Newsnight with these words about the conflict between Russia and Georgia:

“Hello, good evening. The Russians are calling it ‘peace enforcement operation’. It’s the kind of Newspeak that would make George Orwell proud.” (BBC2, August 11, 2008, 10:30pm)

When has a BBC journalist so much as raised an eyebrow while channelling US-UK propaganda about the “peace enforcement operation” in Afghanistan or Iraq? It is unimaginable that a Newsnight presenter would declare such claims “the kind of Newspeak that would make George Orwell proud”.

Our book devotes two whole chapters to the BBC: the first, exposing the magnificent fiction of BBC “balance”, and the second presenting a handy A-Z compendium of BBC propaganda.

Another ‘Newspeak’ reader was so keen for its arguments to be given a fair hearing that he paid for 100 copies of the book to be sent to the BBC. Thanks to his generosity, and the efforts of our publisher, a copy was sent to virtually all senior BBC news journalists and editors, members of the BBC Executive Board, as well as the BBC Trustees.

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6 November, 2009 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

In an interview last week, Jeremy Paxman – leading interviewer on BBC 2’s flagship Newsnight programme – claimed that he had been “hoodwinked” by US government propaganda prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Paxman commented:

“As far as I personally was concerned, there came a point with the presentation of the so-called evidence, with the moment when Colin Powell sat down at the UN General Assembly and unveiled what he said was cast-iron evidence of things like mobile, biological weapon facilities and the like…

“When I saw all of that, I thought, well, ‘We know that Colin Powell is an intelligent, thoughtful man, and a sceptical man. If he believes all this to be the case, then, you know, he’s seen the evidence; I haven’t.’

“Now that evidence turned out to be absolutely meaningless, but we only discover that after the event. So, you know, I’m perfectly open to the accusation that we were hoodwinked. Yes, clearly we were.” (Paxman, ‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?‘, Coventry University online interview, October 28, 2009. The entire interview is available here:

Consider the admission that Newsnight’s leading interviewer could respond to government claims clearly intended to supply a pretext for war on what was, even more obviously, the very brink of war: “If he believes this to be the case; he’s seen the evidence, I haven’t.”

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Media Lens: I, (Fascist) Robot – The BBC’s Gavin Esler Lets Rip

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

September 26, 2007


In response to our September 18 alert, ‘The Media Ignore Credible Poll Revealing 1.2 Million Violent Deaths In Iraq,’ BBC Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler sent one Media Lens reader the following response:

“Sorry but this medialens inspired stuff is very sophomoric. The last time I remember a robotic response from people like this was watching film of the nuremberg rallies. I always wondered why people marched to another’s beat without any obvious thought from themselves. Perhaps you know the answer, or perhaps you merely intend to keep marching.

“Please don’t write to me again in someone else’s words. It is so embarrasing for you. Please learn to think for yourself.


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