‘If you’re sympathetic to the weak, it’s activist journalism. If you’re sympathetic to the powerful, it’s objective journalism.’

An interesting article over at Media Lens – Gaslighting The Public: Serial Deceptions By The State-Corporate Media.

It is quite a long post but sure what else would you be doing on a Sunday? The basic argument is that it accuses the state and main media companies of being unquestioning mouthpieces for the state and big business. Not asking enough hard questions and being cheerleaders for war.

None of this is new but it does bring together some interesting examples.

Peston’s counterpart at the BBC, political editor Laura Kuenssberg, also performs the required function of ‘I simply pass on’, broadcasting and amplifying the words of those in power with minimal ‘analysis’, far less critical appraisal. Relaying Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s words on the current crisis in gas supply in the UK, as he flew to New York to attend climate talks, she tweeted:

‘Speaking on the plane Johnson said..

1. gas supply probs shd be “temporary”, the squeeze is a result of world waking up from pandemic shutdowns like everyone “going to put the kettle on at the end of the TV programme” and he said he was confident in UK supply chains’

Gary Neville, the football pundit and former Manchester United defender, replied to Kuenssberg’s tweet:

‘Hi Laura do you believe this guys crap ?’

A tad blunt perhaps. But, judging by the number of ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’, it was a welcome challenge from someone with a public profile to the endless channelling by highly-paid political journalists of Johnson’s twaddle.

And on Afghanistan:

‘[corporate media] coverage gives the impression that Afghan women desperately want the US occupation to continue, and that military occupation has always been the only way for the US to help them. But for two decades, women’s rights groups have been arguing that the US needed to support local women’s efforts and a local peace process. Instead, both Democrat and Republican administrations continued to funnel trillions of dollars into the war effort, propping up misogynist warlords and fueling violence and corruption.’

‘For more than 20 years, US corporate media could have listened seriously to Afghan women and their concerns, bringing attention to their own efforts to improve their situation. Instead, those media outlets are proving once again that Afghan women’s rights are only of interest to them when they can be used to prop up imperialism and the military industrial complex.’

FAIR has summarised a 20-year-long pattern of corporate media self-censorship, scapegoating and stenography since 9-11. The US ‘war on terror’ has likely killed more than one million people at a cost of $8 trillion, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project.

Allegedly, local press officers in government departments now outnumber all the journalists in Northern Ireland put together. There are some shining examples like Sam McBride’s work on the RHI scandal or the BBC Spotlight team, but often local media just does not have the money and resources to spend on investigating stories. I also suspect that because NI is such a small place we might have too cosy a relationship between the press and government and politicians. If it is hard to go in for the kill if you have it in the back of your mind that you might change sides in the future and become a press officer.

Some would argue that the rich like to distract us all with social media froth while they get on with the task of robbing us all blind. But the truth is we generally voluntarily choose to be distracted. Speaking of which, I wonder what is happening on Twitter…

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