Friday, 15 July 2016

Time To Wake Up?


Dear Reader,

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” 
― Edward R. Murrow (a famed American broadcaster of yesteryear)


At the end of a hard day, it is forgivable that we like to just be fed what is in front of us with the minimum of effort on our part. But if we truly want to know what is going on in the world then we surely need a service that informs, and informs well. But can we trust that service? The answer is, regrettably, that the issue of the quality of news reporting and what is deemed to be transmittable is under scrutiny. 

John Pilger is one of those that work hard to tell us the truth, and there are others too, like Robert Fisk; but Pilger works independently and the quality journalists are too few in number, often framed by their own hype. Also, the best journalists tend not to be presented at peak-times on TV. Perhaps part of the reason for the lack of journalistic quality is the little-publicised fact that around 300 journalists (of all nationalities) were killed during the Iraqi trouble since 2003: many men who risked everything to find the truth are no longer here to tell us the story.


Illustrative is the fact that the BBC journalists interviewed in this John Pilger film of 2010 were admitting that they didn’t ask hard enough questions on going to war in 2003. Yet – wait for it! – they were recently saying the same thing after the Brexit referendum. And I don't remember much hard questioning of Cameron after the Libya incursion, which subsequently backfired in the manner of the Iraq War. As Pilger has questioned, why has Cameron not been challenged on
"the dispatch of British special forces to Libya and British bomb aimers to Saudi Arabia and, above all, the beckoning of world war three".
In other words, we don’t have journalists on the main channels that we can rely on to press hard on important matters. They have not learnt any lessons from Pilger's 2010 revelations and the quality of the journalism remains tainted. And the reporting means that politicians are often not brought properly to account.
Take this quote:
Sarah O'Connell, who has worked for BBC News for many years, gives an insider view of the organisation:
'not many national BBC news journalists see enough of life at the "bottom" of society to report on it properly or accurately. If most of my colleagues at the BBC didn't start life with a silver spoon in their mouths, by the time they've served ten years at the BBC (and the longevity and security of a BBC news staff job is recognised industry wide), they've pretty much gained honorary status of the establishment class.'
She continues:
'when you walk into a BBC newsroom you can see and hear the privilege. There are only a few genuinely working class voices. There are hardly any black faces at all.'
As an example, O'Connell describes in disbelief how widespread abuse of the parliamentary expenses system by MPs was essentially ignored by the BBC. When she tried to report the scandal, she was told by BBC News editors that 'this isn't a story, MPs have to eat.' She adds:
'But it was a story. It was one of the biggest political stories of the decade. And the BBC missed it, because, to most of their journalists at that time, the idea of having lunch for £150 on expenses, well, it just wasn't a story, was it? Not when it was exactly the kind of thing BBC news executives might be doing as well.'
As a result, politicians have got away with - and are still getting away with - what amounts to murder.  In my opinion, the way the news is generally presented tends to feed our apathy.

In addition, the BBC gets accused of just plain prejudice, as reported in the Guardian headline: 
Campaign to sack BBC's Laura Kuenssberg
All this - together with the constant bombardment of information experienced in this day and age - means that the ability of ordinary folk to form informed, quality views on the world is considerably reduced. It would appear that large-scale manipulation by the authorities and via the media is at work, and probably always has been. The problem is that the ability of the media to shepherd people into a belief appears to have considerably increased.

Ironically however, the fact that the scale of 'the problem' is now so great may well mean that the majority have, through hardship, become aware of their predicament and have had enough.

A positive antidote, however, is not to voice hate to our political governors and commentators, but to realise that we can be the originators of our own change, and that we can tell these people that it is unnecessary to be part of this total system towards growth (for the purpose of filling the pockets of the wealthy). A system that causes so much hardship - not just to us, but to all the people and creatures of the world, and to the planet. In other words, to show our humanity. Love breeds love, not greed, nor envy.

Thank you for reading this.

Here's a previous, recent, article of mine on a related issue.