Tag Archive: Propaganda

More political and journalistic crap

UKIP’s appeal to former Labour voters is not about policy. It’s emotional. How else can we explain people voting for NHS privatisation, tax cuts for the wealthy and attacks on working people.

Source

How do we explain then that Labour’s appeal about the cost of living crisis; taxing the rich for the benefit of the poor; promoting equality and diversity coupled with more state spending to benefit the needy is not ‘emotional’? 

Even the dire novelty record Ukip Calypso unsettles serious politicians. “Leaders committed a cardinal sin, open the borders let them all come in,” run the lyrics. If you haven’t heard it, imagine Tomorrow Belongs to Me from Cabaret rewritten by a group of Seventies nightclub comics who say “no offence” after they have said something deeply offensive, which is often. Who cares? Most of Westminster, that’s who.

Source

If the average person in this country is not offended – and I have yet to see any evidence that they are – just who is this ‘Westminster’ who are? 650 politicians (plus a few more journalistic hangers-on)  out of approximately 65million – and that percentage is? There is also the point that if our politicians are now so powerless that the only thing they can pontificate on is some obscure satirical record, then just why do we need them and their exorbitant costs? Are they not creating a smokescreen to cover up their impotence as rulers of this country?

Some questions to prove that you shouldn’t believe – or put too much weight on – all that you read.

 


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2014
03/08

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David's Musings

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Media? What media?

When one considers that the public perception of our political parties is dependent upon the media – something which presumably accounts for the swings in opinion poll ratings, one has to wonder at the thought processes in the heirarchy of said parties – but yet again I digress.

Just at the moment it becomes known that David Cameron employs a non-British national as a nanny to his children, his party not only appoints a new minister but one that then gives what might be called a controversial speech on the subject of immigration. It is noted that John Mann is  now demanding that the entire cabinet disclose how many domestic staff from overseas they employ. Why stop there -should he not demand the same of his own party, heads of quangos, heads of NGOs, etc, etc?

It has now become known, via the Coffee House ‘Evening Blend’ – an email available on ‘free’ subscription which is supposed to inform those interested in what is important within the field of politics – tells us that his Nanny, a Nepalese by the name of Gita Lima, has applied for a British passport. That the application dates from 2010 seems to matter not to our media – and why it has only just been ‘discovered’ is another matter – no doubt because the media suspect a ‘story’ in that it is now inferred Brokenshire considers Cameron to be one of the ‘wealthy metropolitan elite’.

For heaven’s sake, just what is the media hoping to accomplish with this non-story? Those who are able to ‘work the system’ do it all the time. Bankers do it; accountants do it; MPs do it – even the lowly benefit claimant does it – so why is this news? No one seems to care anymore – such stories have become so repetitive that they now hardly register on our consciousness. Are there not far more important matters on which our media could expend their energy – and in so doing provide news which is fair, balanced and authoritative?

I would have thought that this story warranted reams of print – and questions put to our political class about how they intend to fight a proposed ‘genuine political union’. One cannot but help notice that at the end of Waterfield’s piece is a statement from one of the rent-a-quote crowd; in this case: Nigel Farage. Should not Ukip have been breaking this news, rather than a journalist – on the other hand as Waterfield no doubt spends more time in Brussels than Ukip MEPs, it is understandable.

Another article which would be worthy of journalistic endeavour is this one on Conservative Home authored by Nick Denys, Digital head of Bright Blue (and who is Bright Blue? See here). Cameron had already promised that if the 2015 general election produces another Coalition any ‘deal’ would have to be ‘signed-off’ by his MPs, yet if we are to believe what we read in this article he appears to have had yet another change of mind. Denys believes that rather than just MPs, the entire Conservative membership should have a say. Leaving to one side that in 2010 Cameron achieved residency rights at No10 on less than 25% of the total votes cast, I suppose it follows that an even smaller percentage of the electorate should decide whether a coalition government should be allowed to govern us. Should not the journalistic fraternity be writing about how this is not democracy – and while they are at it, pointing out that representative democracy is not democracy either?

That the standard of journalism in the UK cannot sink much lower is beyond denial – and when the flagship of the UK’s media is exposed as a liar where the amount of funding it receives from the European Union is concerned; one can but ask why should we believe one word that that news outlet – or any other outlet – tells us? From Wikipedia we learn that journalism is a method of inquiry and literary style that aims to provide a service to the public by the dissemination and analysis of news and other information and that journalistic integrity is based on the principles of truth, disclosure, and editorial independence.

Inquiry and literary style? There is none. A service to the public? There is none. Dissemination and analysis of news? There is none. Journalistic integrity? There is none. Truth? There is none. (With the exception, of course, of Christopher Booker!)

 


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Rhetoric

We all know that rhetoric is language, that may not be honest or reasonable, which is intended to influence people. We also all know that a rhetorical question, although sometimes amusing and even humorous, is rarely meant for pure, comedic effect.

George Freeman, with this article in the Speccie, manages to accomplish the first, in respect of rhetoric, with the content; and the second, in regard to comedic effect, with the first words he pens.

What we are beginning to see – and what will no doubt increase – is a barrage of vacuous output, none of which will contain any element of truth; least of all when it is output from Open Europe or the Fresh Start Group.

To mislead the British people on any matter affecting them, but especially over such an important matter as our membership of the European Union, is not just disingenuous, it is deceitful and thus not the act of honourable people. Yet the words of those who can now only be considered dishonourable will be repeated by our media and offered to us as ‘news’.

One can only say that the foregoing brings two points to the fore. First, it is becoming more and more apparent that we appear to have a state controlled media – either that, or they do both indeed share a ‘common purpose’; and secondly, he who was held to be a master of propaganda was in fact purely in the kindergarten class. 

 


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War games – Mark II

It is both laughable and sad to see that having made one attempt at ‘war games’, the europhile, Cameron mouthpiece, ‘think tank’ (now there’s a misnomer if ever there was one) Open Europe, in association with the Fresh Start Group, will be repeating the futile exercise in ten days time, albeit on an even grander scale.

Having witnessed the lack of thought content and blinkered vision that emanated from the first war game which produced zilch really, one can but foresee the same result. One read of the agenda for this two-day event and the speakers involved leaves little doubt about the final outcome.

As with the first assembly and the clowns who partook in that event, this latest assembly of clowns just do not seem to understand that ‘change’, aka reform, will not – and cannot – happen without treaty change, which necessitates an IGC and the agreement of all 28 Member States.

No doubt the resultant propaganda, which will result from this second attempt, will be used to further the Cameron dream of accomplishing that which is doomed before it even starts.

Comparing the methods of propaganda currently practiced by our political elite and their sycophants today, one can only come to the opinion that Goebbels was in the kindergarten class.

 


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Journalistic Principles

To change masters is not to be free.

Jose Marti y Perez (1853-1895)

According to the Pew Research Centre (an American fact tank) there are 9 Principles of Journalism.

  1. An obligation to the truth;
  2. Its first loyalty is to the people;
  3. Its essence is a discipline to verification;
  4. Its practioners must retain an independence from those they cover;
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power;
  6. It must provide a public forum for criticism and compromise;
  7. It must strive to make the interesting significant and relative;
  8. It must keep the news proportional and representative;
  9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

Of those, I would suggest the most important are the first five, although that is not to say the remaining four are not important: an obligation to the truth; loyalty to the people; disciplines of verification; independence from those they cover; and acting as a monitor of power. If only those principles were embedded within this country’s media we would not suffer the gratuitous, vacuous and mindless ‘news’ that with which we are presented.

Two further examples of the paucity in the level of journalism we suffer come from Polly Toynbee (no surprise there) and Cameron Penny (just what is it about those people that bear the name: Cameron?). Both linked articles miserably fail the first five principles of journalism as set out by the Pew Research Centre.

Toynbee writes that the people complaining is of no use if they shun participation in the democracy that rules their life. If a democracy exists that results in people being ruled, then it cannot be termed a democracy – at least not in the strict use of the word democracy. 

Penny writes about immigration yet fails to acknowledge that that bone of contention has been forced on the people of this country without their agreement; that the fabric and traditions of the indigenous people have been changed beyond recognition and without their express agreement.

Both articles are aimed at a ‘blinkered’ audience, yet what of those reading these articles not of that ‘blinkered’ mentality? One has to ask the author of both articles: where is their obligation to the truth? Do not ‘comment’ pieces have an obligation to the truth?

Toynbee used the word ‘arse’; a use to which I will not succumb, other than to make the point that with the politicians and our media so far up each others it matters not whether, under present conditions, we change our politicians or our daily media source – we are not free, least of all from the blight of propaganda.

 


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Unadulterated propaganda

For too long the people of the UK have suffered from a media which is no longer fit for purpose. It has ceased to be a means by which ‘news’ can be disseminated and it has ceased its ability to investigate the news with which it is presented. It now takes at ‘face value’ that with which it is presented and promptly regurgitates it, in the manner of a compliant lap dog, at the behest of the various masters to which it appears to have become beholden.

For how long have we been informed that David Cameron is going to hold a referendum in 2017, assuming he regains office following the 2015 General Election, with article after article repeating this ‘ad infinitum’. At the same time how often has Richard North, EUReferendum, pointed out, along with this blog, that that which he (Cameron) proposes cannot happen? Only recently Richard North has yet again explained why, for the umteenth time, Cameron’s plan cannot happen, yet still we get Daniel Hannan writing an article, the content of which is pure tripe, with the Telegraph publishing it. Where was there a Telegraph editor to say to Hannan: sorry Dan but this is pure crap and as such it will not appear in this newspaper?

While the Guardian informs us that Cameron  told a summit of EU leaders in Brussels that the criteria used when negotiating the entry of new member states had to be changed to curb what he called “mass population movements”; and the Mirror informed us that Cameron would raise UK immigration concerns at the ‘crunch’ EU summit in Brussels; neither newspaper attempts to inform their readers that this subject was not on the Agenda and therefore would not, nor could not, be discussed. In any event the Conclusions of this recent European Council meeting makes no mention of this, something which is hardly surprising. In confirmation of the foregoing we find EurActiv repeating just that with reference to Cameron’s call that transition controls need be  changed for new members of the EU – from which:

But EU diplomatic sources claim this is just empty rhetoric.“If he was serious about changing the rules, the UK would have raised the question at the previous General Affairs Council, whose conclusions on enlargement Cameron endorsed. No other member state is raising this question in such a hysterical way. Enlargement policy is going on as it is without changes.”

Another EU source confirmed there had been no debate on this issue at the Council and that the “UK is isolated on the issue.”

“What Cameron said to the leaders is that he wants a discussion on this topic right before the next enlargement. That’s probably Montenegro in about five years’ time and Cameron will be gone by then. Believe me, comes summer we won’t even talk about this anymore. This is aimed at his domestic audience before 1 January,” he said, referring to the lifting of labour restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.

If the media are able to hold politicians to account over their expenses, is it too much to ask that they also hold them to account over misrepresentation of facts? Is this not an illustration of double standards by the media? That so much ‘tittle-tattle’ – an example of which is this – can be written about three men who we are to assume are important, but never will be while our true government lies elsewhere, beggars belief. That all this garbage is apparently lapped up and believed by the public also beggars belief.

To paraphrase H.L. Mencken our media has degenerated to a nadir whereby it has now become just a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. In such a situation no-one benefits – not politicians, the media, nor the public.


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Irresponsible journalism

Autonomous Mind writes about what can only be termed irresponsible, misleading and thereby propagandist output by the media in regard to the demonstrations that recently took place in the Ukraine, reports that would have us believe said demonstrations were in protest at the failure of the Ukraine to join the European Union when in fact the real reason for the demonstrations was entirely different.

It is not just the example that Autonomous Mind highlights that leads one to believe our media is either incompetent or that there are other ‘forces’ which affect their output. To illustrate, take a look at this or this from FullFact; the former link being on the subject of whether the Scots face an additional £1,000 in taxation after independence; and the latter on the question of exactly how much smoking costs the NHS.

In both examples we find that the media has reproduced information from politicians and government sources with no apparent attempt at providing ‘the other side of the picture’. Just how are the electorate expected to understand the facts, or to form an opinion, when that which they receive is but propaganda?

If one works for a ‘news outlet’, does not one have a duty to present said ‘news’ in an impartial manner? Does that not demand that when presenting one view, that in fairness they have a duty to present an alternative view? When writing an article, do not journalists have an obligation to present a ’rounded’ report/article?

That journalists per se (there are notable exceptions: Booker) don’t, whether in the print, audio or visual media, can but lead one to surmise they are constrained by their employers. But that begs the question of where is journalistic principle; does not that principle require dissemination of not just news , but also different aspects/opinions of that news?

Of course, if journalists decided to uphold the principles of their profession, they would refuse to be constrained by conditions imposed by their employers – but then one has to ask whether just how many of them have a ‘common purpose’?

For ‘news’ to become that which it should – a means of ‘informing’ the public – is not just dependent on journalists rediscovering their principles. It also requires the public to realise that they are not being presented with ‘news’ – that they are being conditioned’. 

Utopia it may be, but what is needed is for the public to accept that they are being ‘conditioned’ (an ‘ask’ too far?) and once accepting that, to stop purchasing newspapers; to stop paying their tv licence fee and to watch tv  later on ‘catch-up’ via ‘iplayer’ (for which no licence fee is required) – thus denying those that rely on ‘conditioned’ revenue, their income – and an outlet for propaganda

Extrapolating this idea of ‘withdrawal’ of ‘conditioned behaviour’ further, it does not take that much imagination to realise that we, the people, have the ability to bring to a grinding halt the ability of the ‘state’ to function if we were so minded. We do not need to resort to ‘armed rebellion’ – much as I would like to see lamp posts ‘adorned’ – we can bring this situation of ‘state-slavery’ to a grinding halt by more peaceful means.

All the people need to do is ‘engage brain’.

Just an observation…….

 


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Just who is ‘brain dead’?

Lord Ashcroft announces on Twitter the latest findings from a poll conducted by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) which read: CON 30%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%. Bearing in mind the current situation, with particular regard to the dire straits of our country both economically, socially and militarily; and the current debate on ‘matters EU, the renegotiation, repatriation of powers meme – one has to ask just who is ‘brain-dead’?

Just who is the more culpable: an electorate that can now favour the political party that had a finger in the former that caused, on all three fronts, our present position; or the political party – one whose raison-d’être is based on ‘independence’ – that appears unable, or unwilling, to make ‘political capital’ from the latter?

(Having posed that question, it is only reasonable to point out that, yonks ago, in order to earn some ‘extra’ I worked part-time for BMRB and noticed, immediately, that questions were posed in a certain format – which had to be proffered ‘verbatim’ – and which were designed to produce the result that those who had commissioned the survey wished to receive).

In respect of opinion polls, I would suggest that what we are seeing is but another aspect of propaganda; in respect of a political party which should – and could – be making political capital, I would suggest that what we are seeing is just ineptitude.

Just an observation……….

 


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I never said that! Prove it!

One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.
Golda Meir, My Life

It is being reported by Politics Home that the Conservative Party has erased a 10-year backlog of speeches from its website and also hidden the archive from internet search engines. That data may now be unviewable, however the NewStatesman has recalled nine utterances by Cameron and one by Osborne.

What has occurred here is but yet another form of censorship, an act practiced almost every day by our political elite; so much so that any hue and cry over this latest example is pointless. Censorship comes in many forms – and not just by ‘burning books’. It can be practiced by refusing to talk about a subject, most notably where the matter of our membership of the European Union is concerned. It can be practiced, as in my case, by an MP refusing to countenance any further correspondence on a subject, or subjects. It can be practiced in schools, as currently, where only certain elements of a subject are taught. It can be practiced in the field of adoption, were only prospective parents who had views acceptable to the state, chosen.

Propaganda, the act of spreading incorrect information to the point where the content becomes accepted as fact, is also yet another form of censorship. This is something in which our political elite excel, aided and abetted by a compliant media. George Orwell envisaged many people being employed ‘re-writing’ history to fit the ‘word de jour’ – nowadays it doesn’t have to be written, it an be obliterated with ‘one click of a mouse’. Isn’t progress just awesome?

And we do not live under a democratised dictatorship? 


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The subtleness of propaganda

Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.
Lysander Spooner

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.
Noam Chomsky

Having highlighted an example of propaganda in this earlier post, let us look at some more instances of this subtle art to control the minds of the people.

It is reported that Simon Jack, the Today Programme’s business presenter, interviewing a German banker about the  putative Free Trade Agreement between the USA and the EU, said: I get the impression that there aren’t a huge amount of import tariffs between the two countries, are there? Since when has the EU been a ‘country’? But how many of those viewers will now be under the impression that the EU is now a ‘country’?

Paul Goodman, yup – he of the blinkered vision, writes on Conservative Home, about ‘class’ within the ruling political elite, a subject we are led to believe has been exacerbated by a comment from John Major. One can but agree that while we suffer the faux democracy that is representative democracy then yes, the source from whence our ruling elite emerge could be held to be a matter of importance. Were Goodman to remove his blinkers he would then be able to see that there is another way and that in that other way it would matter not from what class our politicians came. The fact that he chooses not so to do can but lead one to the view of (a) he is but a propagandist for the ruling elite; (b) that he has ‘vested interest’ in allowing a system of faux democracy to persist; or (c) the man is but a cretin (bearing in mind, in respect of (c), the man is an ex-politician, to paraphrase Mark Twain, I repeat myself).

Writing on the Staggers Blog, Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford have an article about the amount of publicity (media coverage) that Ukip has achieved over the last few years. Not that I have ‘checked out’ their ‘facts’, but let us assume, for the sake of argument, they are correct. Has not Farage and his Party indulged in propaganda by ‘banging on’ about independence and the need for a referendum now; yet not addressed the effect that a ‘No’ vote would have in regard to our relations with the world outside that of the EU? Has not Farage used propaganda when talking about ‘independence’? For whose independence is he calling; that of his country, that of his people, or that of his own? Consider, while the present system of faux democracy is continued, it is not the independence of the people for which he campaigns; it is not the independence of his country for which he campaigns; it is but his independence, should he gain power, to inflict his views on the people. In that regard, Farage was quite correct when he said that it is impossible to get a fag paper between our political parties.

If we are to have ‘true’ democracy as encapsulated in the 6 Demands – bearing in mind the derivation of the word – then these people have it. And the sooner we have it, the sooner we, the people, will be ‘independent’ and thus no longer serfs to our political elite!

Yet again, just saying………….

Afterthought: For those readers who do take an interest in ‘matters political’, perhaps the title of this post should have been: The unsubtleness of propaganda?


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