Thursday, 16 April 2009

Our manipulating media

YOU are going to start thinking that I'm being obsessive, but I just have to mention the BBC Radio 4 Today programme again this morning.

This time it was an item on the seven o'clock news bulletin which caught my attention.

The newsreader in a cheery voice, put on especially for the report, announced that the biggest democracy in the world was going to the polls with 714 million voters in India choosing their next government. The report told us that although terrorism and the collapse of the global economy were the main issues, people were just as concerned with local issues such as roads, schooling and local jobs.

By this time you could have been forgiven for thinking "it's just like one of our elections here in Britain", but then, slipped in before the announcer told us that early voting had been brisk, was the news that six policemen guarding a polling station had been killed, slaughtered within hours of it opening!

Is life so cheap in India that the death of six policemen on election duty doesn't warrant leading in the report on the election in that country?

No, of course not. But in the thinking of the BBC that's not the propaganda it wants to disseminate. The Beeb wants us to think of India and Indians as being just like us so that the fact that there are around 5 million living here in Britain doesn't unduly concern us.

If the BBC was reporting the news properly, it would have started the report with:
"Within hours of the polls opening in the Indian election, six policemen had been murdered."

But the BBC just peddles its own propaganda so it reported:
"The biggest democracy in the world goes to the polls today where the issues are terrorism and the global economy", all in the hope that the listener is thinking . . "just like here in Britain then."

Starting the news item with the slaughter of six policemen wouldn't have had that desired effect.

I dislike more than anything else those who are manipulating the media to suit their own ends. There was a classic yesterday in the Waltham Forest Guardian . . and no, I'm not talking about their story of the frail little black lady who was quietly gardening when she was set upon by half a dozen BNP skinhead thugs.

This time the newspaper was being just a little more subtle.

It reports that:
"A debate between the candidates in the upcoming Wanstead by-election has been cancelled."
and that the reason was because:
"Organisers and speakers at the planned debate feared BNP members from across the country may have turned up at the meeting to "hijack" it."

But that's not how the Ilford Recorder saw it. It reported:
"Tonight's by-election hustings have been cancelled after the Labour Party candidate refused to share the stage with the British National Party.
"Ross Hatfull contacted the organisers of the Wanstead by-election hustings scheduled for this evening to say that he would not debate with the BNP".

To clear up any confusion, the Conservative candidate writing on the Vote-2007 website made it very clear that it was just the Labour Party that had pulled the plug on the debate:

"If Ross Hatfull's reason for withdrawing from the hustings was the presence of the BNP, why did he leave it until the morning of the event rather than when the invitation was originally made a couple of weeks ago? (When I had the original phone call, the Residents' Association Chairman made it perfectly clear that all 6 candidates were being invited).
I was very much looking forward to this event and the Labour Party have done themselves no favours by doing this. Cowards."

The Waltham Forest Guardian reporter is one Daniel Binns. You can contact him here at Why not drop him a line and tell him what you think about his "story"?

You can read his report here. Why not give your take on his reporting in the Comment's Section?

Finally, please support this appeal from Civil Liberty to help with the legal costs of Mark Walker's case against his unfair dismissal from his job as a teacher. Please read the report here.

Civil Liberty were brilliant when helping Tina in her legal battles after losing her job as a graduate mental health worker with Cumbria NHS because she was standing as a BNP candidate. We would never have even got to court if it hadn't been for the financial help Civil Liberty provided and although she lost her case (the law has since been changed and another year later she would have won), actually being able to have her day in court shocked the authorities and showed that BNP members will make a stand against this sort of persecution.


Bert Rustle said...

Guido Fawkes gives an appraisal of lobby journalists

Bert Rustle said...

The power of India's regions... Samajwadi, one of several regional parties who could hold the key to the formation of the next government, wants to ban both the English language and computers in India. ...... In Uttar Pradesh, the largest state ... votes going ... along the lines of caste or religion. While Mayawati is the new phenomenon, drawing her strength from the Dalits – the most backward and least influential of castes – the Sawajwadi party hopes to be backed by the mid-segment among the castes, the influential Yadavs and others, besides the Muslims. ...... N Chandrababu Naidu ... has unleashed his extended family's film power and a slew of promises, including ... free power for farmers (last time he opposed these two moves and lost), free colour TVs, direct cash subsidies for all the poor, cheap loans, free water, free education, free ... well, almost everything. ...Commenter BookerReader adds ...

The reality is, even after more than 60 years of independence, people are voting more along the lines of caste, region, religion and class. ...

Yesterday, at least seventeen people died as result of Maoist guerrillas attacking people going to the polling booths. The Maoists have considerable support from large swathes of rural areas, which have in many cases regressed over the last few decades.

... I cant help feeling democracy in India is failing for a large part of Indias population. Democracy is not just about casting votes at the ballot box; its also about good governance, accountability, addressing fundamental issues and upholding law and order. ...
[emphasis added]