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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Fact or fiction. The UK's news service

Yesterday over half a million people marched in London in protest against the governments cuts.
Although if a very small minority hadn't went down the route of direct action you could have been forgiven for thinking not much was going on in our capital.
It's no great surprise to me that the media has been pretty quiet about it all though.
There is a huge gulf between what is going on and what is being reported as going on.
I accept that some people will ask “what do you mean? It was on the news all day”, but this was a huge moment in the UK's political history.
So let's not pretend otherwise.
Here was a very large amount of individuals taking to the streets to raise their voices in unison to decry this governments ideological cuts, while even more where at home doing so in cyberspace.
Add everyone all together. Those on the streets, those hammering feverishly on keyboards and even the armchair malcontent who were sitting quietly at home seething, and we are talking about a very sizeable chunk of this countries citizens feeling rather pissed off about how we are collectively carrying the can for the global mismanagement of financial resources.
In hindsight this moment in time could be considered the catalyst that kick started a new political awakening within our society.
So when taken in that context I would strongly say that the media has in fact been quiet.
Very quiet.
Of course the BBC are being beaten with the recession stick just as hard as anyone else, and it would seem that they are currently running a little scared of those in government who hold the purse strings.
They're locked into survival mode and appear to have decided that being part of the problem is more agreeable than being part of a solution.
It's sort of understandable isn't it? Dishonourable and immoral, but understandable. They're scared to provide impartial reportage as the backlash could be catastrophic for them.
Although on saying that it also seems to smack of one of those scenes in a movie where the hero puts his gun down to save the life of his partner and then the psychopath/bad guy/coalition party kills the partner anyway.
If they keep capitulating in the face of the governments ongoing digs at them then the end result will probably be the same as telling them to fuck off.
Maybe they should think about that.
Although if I was to take the silver screen analogy a little further I could say it currently looks like the coalition are making the BBC squeal like a pig and they are mistakenly doing so in the misguided hope that the abuse will stop.
I think that most of us are aware that this approach to bullies has never worked.
So meanwhile, while we wait for the BBC to grow a pair, the alternative that is Sky news continues unchallenged in reporting skewed reports in an attempt to paint the world in an image that will benefit their tyrannical leader Mr Burns.
Sorry that was a Freudian slip.
I mean Rupert Murdoch. The media mogul and all round megalomaniac and not the nuclear power plant owner, and all round megalomaniac of The Simpsons.
How my mind could have jumped to that comparison is a mystery, although I'm sure I can be forgiven for the little faux pas.
Of course there was some lip service paid to the vast majorities peaceful demonstration, but as usual the press preferred to focus on a minority, a very small minorities, attempts at direct action.
It seems obvious to me that this is a game they are playing. A dangerous game.
It's called misdirection, and it's working.
Illusionists use it all the time. Draw a persons focus to one hand while the other is doing the business.
It's a very old trick.
It's also called psychological manipulation, but that sounds a tad too insidious doesn't it?
Too Big Bother? Too conspiracy theory nut job like maybe?
Yet what is going on?
In all honesty I don't consider myself to be any more intelligent than my fellow man, but as it seems to be as plain on the nose on my face that they manipulate what they tell us I can't really wrap my head around why others are either oblivious to it, or worse, don't actually mind much.
Daily I see inane comments from people that I personally consider rather clued up and I have to ask them what the score is.
Is it really just blind faith in what we are told? Is it that simple?
Or is it a sort of wilful head in the sand attitude that is on display?
Pastor Niemoller must be spinning in his grave.
“First they came for the truth, but I said nowt as I don't have much to do with the truth” could be the updated version.

Here's a small example of what I mean about media manipulation just in case some people really don't get it.
Early on in the day the BBC news described the protest as attracting tens of thousands while Sky news offered a figure of a quarter of a million.
I wouldn't care to argue about the specific veracity of the figures at that point in the day, but think about how the information has been given to us.
Does tens of thousands sound as much as a quarter of a million?
I would say no.
That a quarter of a million is made up of tens of thousands is true, but using one instead of the other plays with peoples perceptions.
I could just as easily say that a crowd of ten million was a crowd of tens of thousands.
That would also be true, but in your mind would you consider for a second the sheer magnitude of ten million if I described it as such? Do you see what I mean?
That's actually a far more subtle use of language than some other reports I seen.
Here's another angle for your consideration.
Mid afternoon it was reported on news channels that a number of police officers had been injured.
It's a fact.
They were, and I'm not even going to dispute it.
As the day progressed more would be injured to.
The problem lies in mentioning this and then failing to report on the protesters who had been injured.
I don't believe for a second that at that point no one else apart from police officers had required medical attention, but by failing to draw attention to them the news has once again beamed information into our homes that would promote a less than balanced impression of the situation.
Why? Can anyone tell me why?
Similar happened in the past regarding Israel and Palestine.
Israel had a policy of seeking retribution for every life they lost from a Palestinian attack on their citizens.
Now regardless of whether you agree with this eye for an eye attitude it is fair to say that we in the west heard of the roadside suicide attacks and the death toll when it happens to Israelis, but it was rare to hear about the Palestinian loss of life in retaliation.
I don't recall that ever being a leading news story.
Once again it plays with the information and beds in a perception of what is going on.
A false perception.
Okay it would be easy to jump forward and claim that the Israeli, Palestinian issue is a huge leap from what is going on in how news is reported about a march in London, but I could just as easily argue that it's the same issues, just separated by scale.
Deaths for deaths, Injuries for injuries.
Is it worth commenting on the mantra of the recession being Labours fault.
It probably is as I see it mentioned enough by others.
How blatant is that for manipulation?
Say something often enough and it will stick actually works.
Lets all forget that it is a global recession.
Neatly avoid talking about the financial meltdown of the sub prime market.
Dismiss any finger pointing at the banks or businesses who legally exploit tax loopholes while the rest of us pick up the tab.
Instead lets just blame the previous government, who while being complicit to an extent can't really shoulder all the blame.
In fact weren't they just one cog in a large capitalist machine? The same machine that the coalition will happily continue to be a cog in.
On a daily basis I'm genuinely surprised that people accept this bollocks without question.
For fuck sake. Please start questioning what's going on and challenge what they are saying to us as it's either complete and utter bollocks or at the least a glimpse of reality while they keep what is really going on out of the headlines.
The reason we need to oppose this sort of information manipulation is because historically we have seen where it has led.
We need a free an unbiased media in this country. One that we can rely on to provide us with the facts that we can then use to form decisions on.
At the moment we don't have it and unless we kick up a fuss we aint going to get it.


  1. Wow, what a rant. But I agree absolutely. No further comment needed, you said it all & better than I could.

  2. Wow. Thanks. I'm just as you said ranting, but thank you again for the kind words.
    I just feel increasingly impotent in the face of this misinformation that is being put across to us all. It's not that i want them to report with an agenda that reflects my views. I just want to be able to watch the news and accept what they have said. Someone I know who was at the march has told me that a police officer told him that they had gauged attendance at 500,000, while another privately said it was closer to 700,00 maybe more. Then when he got home he was shocked to see the BBC claim 250,000.

  3. No surprise, but I thought I would mention it to illustrate my point.
    Today AOL's mainpage has six items for us the peruse.
    The best music in movies, a game thing, an update on soaps, a bit about body modifications and another bit about Jade Goody being skint before she died.
    When you consider what is going on in the world and at home that's a feckin joke.

  4. Bit strange. According to the stats no one has looked at this at all, but there's one comment hereand it has been discussed on facebook and reposted by others.

  5. Well I've looked at it!
    It didn't go unnoticed that a large chunk of the video footage shown over and over was of a guy smashing a window with a great lump of manipulation to make many concentrate on violent outbursts and miss the point entirely.

  6. Very true Jacqui. It's not just in what they say, but in the images they show as well.
    I watched a few times Sky showing us a police officer putting out a poundland bar-b-q with an extinguisher.
    Lost of smoke, but not much else going on. It was all rather pathetic.
    I've just been told that The Daily mail are complaining about the left wing biased shown by the BBC in the coverage of the march. Although to be fair when people lean so far to the right even something that lies inthe middle ground is to the left of them.

  7. That's should say lots. I must be getting giddy.

  8. "Bit strange. According to the stats no one has looked at this at all, but there's one comment hereand it has been discussed on facebook and reposted by others."

    Do your stats register it if it is read on a rss feed?

  9. I think it does, but then again I couldn't say 100%. It was a blogger fuck up anyway. Seems common the stats freezing and then when it kicks back in it hasn't registered a load of hits.