All posts filed under: media watch

Sneer & Smear: a close look at the gentle craft of media manipulation

by Mark Doran As an arm of the corporate state — yes, it pretends not to be; but we know better, don’t we? — the BBC is naturally charged with certain vital propaganda tasks in the service of Western elite power. For example, there is the need for that Western elite power to seem at all times legitimate, accountable and well-intentioned: the sanctifying, magical word used for this purpose is ‘democratic’; and once it is deployed, no fundamental disagreement is possible. Then there is the need for that Western elite’s murderous military violence to seem necessary, just and proportionate — allowing the expropriation of foreign wealth and the progress of elite careers to continue apace without any kind of revolt from the mere taxpayer. To achieve the kind of make-over miracle by which aggression is painted as a combination of victimhood and altruism, a whole battery of beautifying propaganda terms is required, including ‘defence’, ‘response’, ‘intervention’, ‘human rights’, and ‘international law’. Even with these rousing words conveniently to hand, however, our state broadcaster might still …

State-funded BBC lets Boris Johnson claim of Russia “stockpiling novichok” go unchallenged while UK govt’s Skripal “drama” continues to defy sense & reason

The government’s rhetoric is currently so deranged, its conduct by turns so delusional and so furtive, while the basic facts of what happened to the Skripals remain so contradictory, it’s legitimate at this stage to wonder how real any of this “drama” actually is.

Gaslighting about the realities of “state-sponsored murder”

Theresa May has just semi-officially pronounced the Skripal case a Russian state-sponsored hit. No evidence was presented for this conclusion of course, but we are getting used to that now. Belief is the new evidence. And in this case we do seem to have belief in large quantities. Russia now effectively is being called upon to prove its innocence by tomorrow (Tuesday) or face Theresa’s wrath. We’ll see how that goes over. Of course there’s the immensely handy fact the “nerve agent” allegedly used is “Russian” too. Novichok no less, a Soviet-era toxin from the 1980s, described on Wikipedia as “the most deadly nerve toxin ever made.” Though it wasn’t only produced in Russia, but in Uzbekistan. And by the way the US has been “helping” Uzbekistan clean up its chemical weapons sites since 1991. And of course Russia had destroyed all its chemical weapon stockpiles by 2017. But the US still hasn’t (see MoA link above). Still, so, as far as the state machine is concerned the alleged use of Novichok about clinches it …

“We hates Putin…we hates him forever…”: the Guardian’s fresh ravings on Russia reflects West’s tipping point into new levels of dangerous insanity

There is ample evidence that the Guardian is now, following the re-shaping of its financing and management, reinvented as the paper of record for the UK/US intel agencies, which in turn currently harbour some of the most extreme anti-Russian pro-war ideologues in the business. As such its editorial policy gives us an insight into exactly who is currently getting most leverage in policy-making. When they go relatively soft on Russia you know the voices of sanity are making headway. When they begin ranting about Putin you know the lunatics have grabbed the steering wheel again and we’re heading back towards the cliff edge. Currently the Guardian’s editorial style isn’t so much ranting as it is writhing on the ground screaming “Putin…curse him…and crush him…we hates him forever…”. Since the still unexplained and increasingly odd Skripal “poisoning” hit the headlines, there has been at least one hysterical anti-Russian piece published every day over at Graun HQ. And if we thought previous bias and inaccuracy was deplorable, the journalistic standard displayed in these recent examples has become …

Reality Check: The Guardian Restarts Push for Regime Change in Russia

The alleged poisoning of ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal has caused the Russophobic MSM to go into overdrive. Nowhere is the desperation with which the Skripal case has been seized more obvious than the Guardian. Luke Harding is spluttering incoherently about a weapons lab that might not even exist anymore. Simon Jenkins gamely takes up his position as the only rational person left at the Guardian, before being heckled in the comments and dismissed as a contrarian by Michael White on twitter. More and more the media are becoming a home for dangerous, aggressive, confrontational rhethoric that has no place in sensible, adult newspapers.

WATCH: The BBC’s coverage of the breaking Skripal story – distortion & bias in defiance of its own charter

Below is a clip from the BBC Newsnight of March 5 2018, just hours after Sergey Skripal and his daughter had been found, apparently collapsed, on a public bench in Salisbury. Notice how little the narrative has changed from this very early point. All the talking points are already assembled. Worth noting: They call the prison Skripal was sent to in Rusia a “Gulag”, even though the Gulag system ended in the 1960s before the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is clearly emotive language designed to create the impression of Russia as being still an authoritarian and “Stalinist” state. There is tacit assumption from the outset that the Russian government is somehow implicated in this incident, even though at this point there had been no claims of foul play, and no statements about how or why Skripal and his daughter had been taken ill. The BBC has already – just hours into the breaking story – lined up a video clip from 2010 of Putin saying traitors will “choke” on their “30 pieces of …

FILM REVIEW: Loveless [нелюбовь] (2017)

Catherine Brown looks at the 2017 Russian film and questions the claims made in western media that it represents an indictment of Russian society. On the contrary, she suggests, the film is a celebration of the sense of collective responsibility & compassion versus narrow self-asorption & materialism Dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev (1964-), Arte France Cinéma, Why Not Productions, released 13.5.2017, 128 minutes. To start with the first thing we see on screen: Нелюбовь. Russian film director Andrei Zvyagintsev explains: The English translation of the title does not fully convey the weight and meaning of the Russian title which is literally non-love, the opposite of love, not devoid of love which is what loveless implies. It’s not hate, it’s not indifference, it’s hard to say and the reason I brought this up is because the Russian title sounds even more pessimistic. So нелюбовь is a noun not an adjective, and the film is about that thing: the non-love which mutually connects Boris and Zhenya – a contemporary, bourgeois, Muscovite divorcing couple – and which connects both to …

OpEd: For God’s sake, ‘The Times’ shrieks, do something! The Russians are coming!

 By James Howard Kunstler via Clusterfuck Nation blog: Today’s lead story, Russian Threat on Two Fronts Meets Strategic Void in the U.S., aims to keep ramping up twin hysterias over a new missile gap and fear of Russian “meddling” in the 2018 midterm elections. The Times’s world-view begins to look like the script of a Batman sequel with Vlad Putin cast in The Joker role of the cackling psychopath who must be stopped at all costs! America’s generals have switched on the Batman signal beacon, but Donald Trump in the role of the Caped Crusader, merely dithers and broods in the splendid isolation of his 1600 Penn Avenue Bat Cave, suffering yet another of his endless bipolar identity crises. For God’s sake, The Times, shrieks, do something! The Russians are coming! (Gotham City’s Chief of Police Hillary said exactly that last week in a Tweet! I think they misunderstood Mr. Putin’s recent message when he announced a new hypersonic missile technology that would, supposedly, cut through any imaginable US missile defense. The actual message, for …

Five days after Putin’s warning about the dangers of western warmongering & this is where we are

Less than 24 hours after Sergei Skripal and his daughter, have allegedly been found in a collapsed state on a park bench in Salisbury, with no official claims of foul play and no announcement of likely cause, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is already announcing what he plans to do “If things turn out to be, as many members on both sides of the House suspect they are.”

A Brief Non-Explainer on Why China’s Infrastructure Projects grow while the US Crumbles

by James Porteous A response to Why China Is Running Circles Around America at Have you ever noticed that it is almost as though America cannot exist without the “us vs. them’ mantra? Every step forward, by anyone, anywhere, is deemed to be a step back for America. Every innovation, a threat. In the piece linked above we are led to believe that we are going to read an article that compares China’s real $1 trillion infrastructure projects to the CEO of America’s largely fabricated programs of kickbacks, tax-rebates and general money-making time-wasters. But before there is even any vague hope of that happening we have to wade through an endless discussion about China’s ‘secret’ funding sources and their “innovative form of quantitative easing.” Oh dear. It is not fair, you see. They are not playing by the same rules, you see. So, dear reader, in order to save you time and effort here is the main conclusion of this item: If China succeeds in rebuilding their country and the US fails, it will …

The authoritarians who silence Syria questions

by Jonathan Cook I am loath to draw more attention to the kind of idiocy that passes for informed comment nowadays from academics and mainstream journalists. Recently I lambasted Prof Richard Carver for his arguments against BDS that should have gained him an F for logic in any high school exam. Now we have to endure Brian Whitaker, the Guardian’s former Middle East editor, using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum. Whitaker’s arguments and assumptions may be preposterous but sadly, like Carver’s, they are to be found everywhere in the mainstream – they have become so commonplace through repetition that they have gained a kind of implicit credibility. So let’s unpack what Whitaker and his ilk are claiming. Whitaker’s latest outburst is directed against the impudence of a handful of British academics, including experts in the study of propaganda, …

WATCH: Reality Check: No Sarin Gas Used by Assad in Syria?

Ben Swann looks at some of the less well known facts about the alleged sarin gas attacks

Deconstructing “The next War” section in The Economist

by Thomas Prentice How much should we let humans interfere with the functioning of machines and algorithms designed to kill people? The Economist, published a 16-page special section called “The Next War” in its issue of Jan. 27 – Feb. 2. In what is probably an unplanned revelation of the truly sick and twisted thinking of global capitalist militarist Davos elites – i.e. a mistake — The Economist, never a fan of authentic democracy, in a breakout quote in the article on autonomous weapons on p. 16 dryly says: Most people agree that when lethal force is used, humans should be involved. But what sort of human control is appropriate?” Instead of asking “what sort of HUMAN control is appropriate” the question that SHOULD be asked is: What sort of MACHINE OR ALGORITHMIC CONTROL OF LETHAL FORCE is appropriate?” Who needs drugs when reading this sort surreal delusion? It seems the global capitalist elites have already decided to go forward full tilt boogie with more and more technological / Artificial Intelligence AI control of lethal …

Lewis Carroll’s White Queen would have a career in the media today

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice. “Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.” Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewi Carroll – Alice Through the Looking-Glass Lewis Carroll invented the White Queen as an absurdist emblem of a refusal to deal. But now that deluded lady would slot right in at the BBC, CNN, Guardian et al. In fact to live in the mainstream western culture of today we need to be able to believe a lot more than six impossible things before breakfast. We need to plug into an entire matrix of the unreal, never happened, never could happen and purely ridiculous. There is now almost no point of contact between the world described in daily mainstream news and social …

WATCH: Vladimir Pozner reminds parallel universe inhabitants of a few basic realities

We are posting this mostly uninteresting pseudo-debate purely for what happens in the first few moment. Vladimir Pozner, journalist, tells the anchor man and two other guests some important realities and then leaves, refusing to participate further. The other two guests then proceed to ‘debate’ what are essentially invented issues in an invented reality. It’s a microcosm for the current struggle, which is becoming less about conflicting opinions and more about those prepared to deal with reality and those who refuse to do so. Full video can be seen here. And thanks to our Twitter friend Bryan MacDonald from whose feed we grabbed this Russians vote for their next president in March. Will Putin win his fourth term? In the Arena to debate: @albats, @vkaramurza and Vladimir Pozner. Full debate: — UpFront (@AJUpFront) February 24, 2018

WATCH: How many last hospital(s) in Aleppo can be destroyed by Russian airstrikes?

How many “last hospitals in Aleppo” did the media claim were destroyed during the fighting? One? Five? Ten? Watch this video by Tyranny Unmasked to find out…

How “free” is the UK press when over 75% of it is owned by a handful of billionaires?

It could say a lot more, and it leaves out a few important names, but at least it says something There’s been a lot of talk recently about the “Freedom of the Press”. But how free is it, when over 75% of the press is owned by a handful of billionaires? Is it really about the “right” of tax-avoiding non-doms to use their wealth to poison our society for their own ends? — EL4C (@EL4JC) February 23, 2018

Mueller Indictments: truth v lies in“The Observer View”

Today’s Observer View focuses on the Announcement by Robert Mueller that they are indicting 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies for “interfering” in the 2016 Presidential election. It is, unsurprisingly, full of misleading language, lies by omission and just straight up lies.

The Washington Post’s Shoddy Defense of the Russiagate Investigation

Clearly, the Washington Post, from the top on down, is propaganda. Their ‘news’ is heavily colored because that’s what the owner requires; it’s one reason why reporters are hired and fired: to promote war against Russia.They’ll do anything to pump Russiagate, regardless of what the actual facts are. It’s what they are paid to do.

BOOK REVIEW: Russia against the rest: the post-cold war crisis of world order

Frank Lee reviews Russia against the rest: the post-cold war crisis of world order by Richard Sakwa Cambridge University Press Chatham House London October 2017 This publication by the British academic, Richard Sakwa, follows on from his earlier work Frontline Ukraine first published in 2015. The present book identifies a continuity and unfolding of events which started with the end of the Cold War 1989-91, but which eventually broke down completely in 2014 with the onset of the Ukrainian imbroglio; the situation then settled into a new Cold War stand-off which has lasted to the present time. Sakwa has painstakingly detailed the whole sorry episode, identifying and dissecting the submerged trends which in time vitiated the early euphoria which had been triggered by the fall of the Berlin Wall. Initially the apparent transformation and ending of the geopolitical deadlock between the two super-powers gave rise to hopes of a new world order; there was a mood of cheery optimism widespread amid talk of a new epoch of peace and prosperity. Sadly, however, this elation underwent …