All posts tagged: media watch

The Parallel Universe of BBC Panorama

The folks at Panorama LOVE Putin, or at least love to hate him. In the last two years there have been no less than five (five!) episodes devoted to the man, and indeed the myth. The most recent Putin-hit piece aired just last week – in the run up to the World Cup – its rather more mundane title simply: “Putin’s Russia with David Dimbleby”. The documentary, for want of a better word, opens on David Dimbleby wandering through a Moscow market looking at *sigh* Russian nesting dolls, and it doesn’t get less predictable from there on in.

January 2016 brought us “Putin’s Secret Riches”, January 2017 “Trump: The Kremlin Candidate”, March of this year brought us two inside a week, “Putin: The New Tsar” and “Taking On Putin!”. As the titles suggest, none of them were especially objective or open-minded. That’s not in the BBC’s remit.

Of Fake News and History Suborned (In War and Peace)

Brief: The gulf dividing established institutions—governments, political parties, academia, the judiciary, legislature, bureaucracies, the national security state, think-tanks, lobby groups, and especially the mainstream media—and those within and across the broader body politic, particularly those who’d challenge the chokehold such institutions seek to impose on the information and knowledge that forms the foundation of our political discourse as well as that of the official historical record, is expanding at a rate of knots. With a focus on one man who saw it all coming, it’s time to reflect on the backstory of this bourgeoning, perilous impasse, and what the implications might be for geopolitical stability and security, and indeed, the future of humanity.

Systematic News Suppression in Today’s U.S.

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s chaired the National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President’s Daily Brief. But now retired, he’s a critic of the very same government he had spent his career representing, and especially of its virtually fully controlled press

WATCH: The Weaponisation of Social Media

Now openly admitted, governments and militaries around the world employ armies of keyboard warriors to spread propaganda and disrupt their online opposition. Their goal? To shape public discourse around global events in a way favourable to their standing military and geopolitical objectives. Their method? The Weaponization of Social Media. This is The Corbett Report. Transcript of this video, along with download links, sources and an audio-only version are available here.

Western Press Descend into Insanity as Syria Narrative Collapses

Syria has disappeared from the front pages of the Western press recently, and for good reason. It’s not going well over there, as far as the “allies” are concerned. Yesterday the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed what many of us had already deduced – there were no chemical weapons present at the sites targeted by the US/UK/French missiles. That’s not been reported in the Western press, at all. Exemplified by the eternally on-message Guardian, who haven’t had a headline regarding Syria in over a week. The Royal Baby and ABBA’s new song and a stuffed anteater, all apparently too important to be bumped from the front page. Also yesterday, the Russian and Syrian authorities transported 17 witnesses of the alleged Douma “chemical attack” to the Netherlands. The witnesses, including the little boy who featured strongly in the White Helmets propaganda video, spoke at a press conference before taking questions (video is embedded above). All denied a chemical attack had taken place. This, along with Robert Fisk et al’s reporting on the …

ITV Journo accuses Russian OPCW Ambassador of threatening a child…

Please note, that as of the time of posting, NO evidence has been cited that these people have changed their story, and NO evidence has been cited that they have been threatened in any way. The British @itvnews reporter was so butt-hurt by the Russian #OPCW reps bringing the #Syria/n witnesses to the Hague from #Douma to expose the #WhiteHelmets chemical hoax, he accused the Russians of threatening them & young Hassan who was sprayed with water in the staged video pic.twitter.com/AE8rr6uVI1 — Walid (@walid970721) April 26, 2018 Rupert Evelyn from ITV news. A question first for our Syrian visitors: How threatened do you have to feel to change your story and deny a chemical weapons attack? And a question for you ambassador: How low do you have to go to bring a little child all the way here and threaten them? If you have an opinion you wish to express to Mr Evelyn re:journalistic standards of behaviour, feel free to contact him through his twitter. Please remember to be polite.

WATCH: This is extremely dangerous to our democracy…

A few days ago, every local news station in America owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group – a massive media conglomerate – read short a statement about the spread of “fake news”. The same statement, word-for-word. CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, it didn’t matter. They were united in their chant. As you watch the montage – put together by user “D” on youtube – you have to ask yourself: What is the mechanism behind this? Who wrote the statement, and what structure allows their words to be spoken by hundreds of mouths to millions of viewers? Most importantly – how revealing is this of our media? How often has this united-front of opinion been present, but less obvious?

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.

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, …

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 Magnitsky case: another example of manipulation in western media war against Russia

by Eric Zuesse An accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, was employed by a wealthy American investor, William Browder, and died in a Russian prison on 16 November 2006. How did it happen; who was to blame for it? The Russian Government was blamed for it, and this blame produced in 2012 the first set of economic sanctions to squeeze Vladimir Putin out of power. Magnitsky’s death in prison thus provided the factual basis for the first of the economic-sanctions regimens that were imposed by The West against the Russian Government, the 2012 Magnitsky Act — sanctions that preceded the 2014 sanctions which were imposed on account of Russia’s response to America’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine. However, that account of the Magnitsky incident is full of lies, according to a 2016 documentary investigation into the matter. But publication of this video investigation — at youtube or anywhere — is effectively banned in The West. Here’s how Gilbert Doctorow, who is one of the extremely few people in The West who managed to see this totally-suppressed-in-The-West investigative news-documentary …

New Year’s Message and Warning from a War Correspondent

Sometimes it is useful to take a break from news bulletins and newspapers, and even from ‘friendly’ Internet publications. Occasionally it is good to realize that there are actually two parallel realities that are constantly competing for the ‘hearts and minds’ of people living all over the world. There is real life and ‘fake life’. There is reality and elaborately manufactured pseudo-reality, which is designed to appear more real than the reality itself. It is like that chemically produced green apple shampoo that smells more authentic than the fruit itself.

Catalan Independence and Media Hypocrisy

1.3 million people marched in the streets of Barcelona on the 11th of November. They were protesting the arrest of Catalonian MPs and other officials. The charges? Sedition. The Catalan independence referendum was held peacefully and fairly. On the day votes were cast riot police broke up crowds and raided polling stations. People were injured trying to vote. To no one’s surprise, the people of Catalonia voted AGAINST the people hitting them with sticks for wanting to be free. The Spanish government dissolved Catalonia’s local government and had MPs seized. The ex-President of Catalonia fled to Belgium. He has since been handed over to the Spanish government. 1.3 million people marched against this. That’s a one, a three, and five zeroes. The Spanish press didn’t cover it. But fortunately, for now, people can upload reality to twitter. Watch this video of last nights protest of around a million people calling for Spain to release Catalan political prisoners. Then follow this link to see how this vast crowd was depicted on the front pages of Spain's …

More ‘Fake News,’ Alas, From the New York Times

From The American Conservative via Information Clearing House Disregarding President Trump’s insistent claim that the establishment press propagates “fake news” requires a constant effort—especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes. I cherish the First Amendment. Mark me down as favoring journalism that is loud, lively, and confrontational. When members of the media snooze—falling for fictitious claims about Saddam’s WMD program or Gaddafi’s genocidal intentions, for example—we all lose. So the recent decision by Times editors to publish an op-ed regarding Paul Manafort’s involvement in Ukraine is disturbing. That the Times is keen to bring down Donald Trump is no doubt the case. Yet if efforts to do so entail grotesque distortions of U.S. policy before Trump, then we are courting real trouble. Put simply, ousting Trump should not come at the cost of whitewashing the follies that contributed to Trump’s rise in the first place. The offending Times op-ed, the handiwork of Evelyn N. Farkas, appears under the title “With Manafort, It Really …

North Korea: Headlines full of “Fire and Fury” Signifying Nothing

In truly perverse fashion, the newspapers have all suddenly remembered that Nuclear war is possible, and that it’s probably not a good idea. This is all built on the developing war of words between Trump’s administration and North Korea.

The Guardian’s propaganda on Venezuela: all you need to know

With the Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented.

Mass Arrests of Protesters: Outrageous in Russia, Barely Worth Mentioning in US

by Adam Johnson, July 13, 2017, FAIR Major media’s relative lack of interest in the mass arrests by Metro DC police on Inauguration Day is a fact noted by activists and journalists since the incident almost six months ago. One way to measure the dearth of coverage is to compare the attention paid to comparable protester arrests in Russia last month. On June 12, over 1,700 Russians throughout the country were arrested for “unauthorized protests” in opposition to President Vladimir Putin and government corruption. “Dozens”—including opposition leader Alexei Navalny—were kept in jail longer than a day, but the vast majority were let go immediately. (Navalny, as well as some others, got between 15–30 days in jail.) More than 200 Americans were arrested on January 20 after “rioting” broke out in downtown Washington, DC, in the hours leading up to and after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Some were let go over the next few weeks, but the bulk of the 200+ still face 10–80 years in federal prison for “felony rioting.” It’s important to note at least two major differences …

Hungary: Paradise for liberals

by István Lovas Do you wonder what you are going to read in the mainstream press on Hungary tomorrow? I will tell you. The same as yesterday, and the same as in the past almost seven years since Hungary’s right-of-center Fidesz government, led by the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, was elected. You will learn that Mr. Orbán is a populist, an autocratic ruler, a menace to Europe, and a politician not hesitating to use anti-Semitic language in order to win over voters of the far-right Jobbik, and cover up uncomfortable truths about whatever is on the agenda in Hungary on that day. He, of course, has muzzled the media, made the court system a handmaiden of the ruling elite, abolished checks and balances, while he is suffocating the voice of dissenters, creates inordinate fear, chases away half of the country beyond Hungary’s borders, and the rest of the stuff. Lately, Hungary has been called the safe haven of the European ultra-right. At the time when Hungary’s authorities have arrested and expelled two such figures, such …

Our media are not fit for purpose

by Philip Roddis This morning, just after eight, BBC Radio 4’s John Humphrys interviewed an American ‘expert’ – didn’t catch the name – on the first meeting, today, of Trump and Putin. In the time between my reaching for the bread bin, and two slices of the moderately browned popping from the toaster, said expert had presented as incontestable truth – no need to back up such a claim – Russia’s ‘aggression’ as against America’s ‘caution’. People buy this crap, you know, if only subliminally. Why? Because the west, anglo saxon west in particular, long ago traded independence of foreign policy for favoured status in Washington, so framing the boundaries for mainstream discourse on global affairs. And because, thanks to English as world lingua franca, most of us grew up on a cultural diet of the US as force for good: the orientalist corollary being the inscrutable asiatic; untrustworthy and capable of unspeakable acts. (Nowadays no one says such things out loud of course. An age that’s given rise to so many new and useful …

Reuters (finally) realize there are Nazis in Ukraine

by Kit Two days ago Reuters published this report, headlined “How Trump can show he’s tough on anti-Semitism”. I’m not sure why Trump – who has never been called an anti-Semite before, never publicly criticised Israel and whose daughter and son-in-law are both Jewish – suddenly needs to show he’s “tough” on anti-Semitism, but apparently he does. How is Mr Trump going to achieve this? He’s going to denounce Ukraine…because the government is endorsing fascism. For the sake of brevity I will present a bullet point list of the Ukrainian issues that so trouble the article’s author, Josh Cohen: “…local authorities [in Kiev] recently voted to rename a major street after a former Nazi collaborator and anti-Semite named Roman Shukhevych.” “In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, (OUN-UPA)” “Numerous Holocaust memorial sites – including Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis – have been vandalized or desecrated by anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas.” “…the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory …