Media Lens: The Syrian Observatory – Funded By The Foreign Office

4 June 2018 — Media Lens

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, journalist Peter Hitchens commented last month on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR):

‘Talking of war, and Syria, many of you may have noticed frequent references in the media to a body called the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, often quoted as if it is an impartial source of information about that complicated conflict, in which the British government clearly takes sides. The “Observatory” says on its website that it is “not associated or linked to any political body.”

‘To which I reply: Is Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office not a political body? Because the FO just confirmed to me that “the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras.” That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? I love the precision of that 60p. Your taxes, impartially, at work.’

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Faking it By William Bowles

January 2018 — InvestigatingImperialism

It’s time I did a piece on this Fake News nonsense being put about by the Western propagandists, the originators of fake news and what better place to start than the BBC, the fountainhead of impartial and objective journalism, not.

Hacking, leaking and disputing the facts, it’s never been easier to distort the truth. Thanks to the digital revolution, anyone can dispute established facts and share it with the world on social media – be it for commercial or political gain. But when the line between fact and fiction becomes blurred the very fabric of our society can be endangered. Public trust in traditional media and political institutions has plummeted and some argue the unity of our nations is at stake. How can a free and fair media still operate in a digitised world and restore trust in political debate? – Davos The Fake News Challenge to Politics

The above quote is from the BBC News Website on 28 January 2018. It’s probably the single most disingenuous piece of journalism the BBC has ever published, for what it’s really telling its public is that the BBC no longer has a monopoly on deciding what is the truth. No wonder it thinks the ‘unity of our nation is at stake’.

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Coverage of Iran Protests Illustrated With Protests Not in Iran–Organized by Fringe Cultists By Adam Johnson

11 January 2017 — FAIR

When it comes to covering protests in other countries, it seems any vague picture of brown people protesting can stand in for those actually on the streets expressing their grievances. Since the outbreak of protests across Iran three weeks ago, several major outlets have used pictures of demonstrations  in the United States, France, or United Kingdom—organized by a fringe, cult-like group, Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK)—in place of images of the entirely unaffiliated protesters, 6,000 miles away, who are the topic of discussion. Continue reading

Media Lens: Fake News About ‘Fake News’ – The Media Performance Pyramid

5 December 2016 — Media Lens 

In the wake of Brexit and Trump, ‘mainstream’ media have done the formerly unthinkable by focusing on media bias. The intensity of focus has been such that the Oxford Dictionaries have announced that ‘post-truth’ is their ‘Word of the Year 2016’.

‘Post-truth’ refers to ‘circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Continue reading

Media Lens: Anatomy Of A Propaganda Blitz – Part 2: ‘Hitlergate’

17 May 2016 — Media Lens

Anatomy Of A Propaganda Blitz – Part 2: ‘Hitlergate’

The recent furore surrounding a supposed ‘Labour antisemitism crisis’ is a classic propaganda blitz of the kind described in Part 1 of this alert.

Dramatic New Evidence

As with so many propaganda blitzes, intense media coverage was triggered by ‘dramatic new evidence’; namely, the discovery of a graphic posted by Naz Shah two years ago, before she became a Labour MP. The graphic shows a map of the United States with Israel superimposed in the middle, suggesting that a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict would be to relocate Israel to the US.

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Media Lens: ‘Our Only Fear Was That He Might Pull His Punches’ – BBC Caught Manipulating The News

13 January 2016 — Media Lens

‘Our Only Fear Was That He Might Pull His Punches’ – BBC Caught Manipulating The News

Nobody with a questioning mind seriously expects impartiality from BBC News. Certainly not anyone who has followed its reporting on the National Health Service, Scottish independence, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn or a myriad of other important issues.

While some may believe that the corporation’s failure to provide fair and balanced journalism is a relatively recent phenomenon, many others will recognise that it stretches back many decades: coverage of the West’s destruction of Libya in 2011; the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003; Nato’s war on the former Yugoslavia in 1999; genocidal UN sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s; the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91; the miners’ strike in 1984-85; the Falklands War in 1982; and on and on.

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Media Lens: ‘Address Your Remarks To Downing Street’ –The Sunday Times Editor Deepens His Snowden Debacle

24 June 2015 — Media Lens

‘Address Your Remarks To Downing Street’ –The Sunday Times Editor Deepens His Snowden Debacle

George Orwell once wrote:

‘I really don’t know which is more stinking, the Sunday Times or The Observer. I go from one to the other like an invalid turning from side to side in bed and getting no comfort which ever way he turns.’ (George Orwell, quoted, Bernard Crick, George Orwell: A Life, p. 233, Penguin Books, 1992)

The competition remains fierce, but the Sunday Times edged marginally ahead with a recent front-page exclusive that stank to truly celestial heights. As we noted in our previous alert, the Sunday Times dramatically claimed that Russia and China had ‘cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden’. The ‘exclusive story’ contained precisely no evidence for its anonymous claims, no challenges to the assertions made and no journalistic balance. In a CNN interview the same day, lead reporter Tom Harper trashed his own credibility, and that of his paper, when he blurted:

‘We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government.’

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The Strategy of the Venezuelan Opposition and How it Works By Steve Ellner

25 March 2014 — Venezuela Analysis

The strategy and tactics of the Venezuelan opposition is a replay of events that took place leading up to the coup against Hugo Chávez on April 11, 2002 and is similar (although in some ways quite different) from the script that has been used in the Ukraine and elsewhere. The blatant distortions and in some cases lies of the media (CNN in Spanish playing a lead role) represent an essential element in the strategy.

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