Media

Media Disinformation and Political Discourtesy

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Disturbing. The Daily Mail runs a story with headlines that imply the ‘pro-Russian’ activists in East Ukraine are anti-Semitic on the basis of a few leaflets but in the story itself we are told that the person who purportedly signed the ‘order’ flatly denies doing this. The denial is much more credible than assertions that the documents are authentic and yet on the basis of this obvious set up John Kerry condemns the East Ukranian activists. The article is worth reading as a fascinating example of how allegation and invective have taken the place of evidence and analysis in mainstream media reporting and among high level politicians in the west. To elucidate, more than seems decent among rational folk, people who are given to issuing fascistic orders, in writing, are not given to repudiating them the next day.

Also very disturbing in the article is Obama’s comment the day after reaching agreement with the Russians to work together to defuse tensions in East Ukraine: “Late last night, President Barack Obama said he was sceptical about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United States and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn’t make good on its commitments. ‘My hope is that we actually do see follow-through over the next several days, but I don’t think, given past performance, that we can count on that,’ President Obama said at an impromptu news conference at the White House a few hours after the end of the meeting in Geneva. ‘We have to be prepared to potentially respond to what continue to be efforts of interference by the Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine.” Under which definition or understanding of diplomacy or common courtesy do you reach an agreement with anyone and then make public aspersions on their reliability.

9/11 and The Reality Gap

The gap between reality as perceived by mainstream media professional and reality as perceived by the public who follow discussions in the alternative media is enormous. I was listing to a phone in discussion on LBC this evening. The topic was the anniversary of 9/11 and one caller suggested that there should have been a proper inquiry to determine what really happened. The programme’s host was immediately dismissive saying “here we go again” and “we know what really happened .. two planes were flown into the Twin Towers”. “What about the collapse of Building 7?” asked the caller. “What is Building 7?” replied the host who then went on to assert that he knew more than the caller, that he had the facts and all the caller had was crackpot ‘conspiracy theories’. I found the host’s ignorance appalling – and this was one of the more thoughtful of the LBC presenters. I’ve seen this attitude so many time on popular mainstream media shows; anyone who questions the political consensus, the consensus being sold by the political elites, is maligned as a crackpot of some kind. The fact that large numbers of people question the official story on 9/11 elicits analysis of their supposed psychology rather than engagement with their stated reasons for doubting the official story. I begin to wonder if media pundits are instructed to stay away from discussion beyond a narrow consensus, to stay within a ‘walled garden’, or if they are chosen for their ignorance.

This same gap is apparent in the response of the general public and that of the media and political classes to the Syrian crisis and that gap is growing. A single example of this is the attempt by mainstream media and politicians to create a consensus that there is evidence that Assad’s government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on Syrians in the Ghouta region. No such evidence has been presented only an assertion that this evidence exists whereas those who follow the alternative media, the analytical media, understand that such evidence as there is points to the rebel forces that the UK, France and the US have been supporting.

I think that we should redefine or rename the mainstream and the alternative media as the oligarchic media and the democratic media or something along those lines, the defining characteristic of the first is that it is essentially a ‘few to many’ dissemination of information and opinion while the second is a ‘many to many’ discussion of information and its meaning.

Elysium

The premise of Elysium is that in 2054 the megarich live on a space habitat far above the polluted and overpopulated Earth. The poor live in terrestrial megacities and are very oppressed by the corporation bosses a bit like the contrast that exists now between the rich in rich nations and the poor in poor nations but more so. The plot is that the main protagonist ‘Max’ played by Matt Damon is an ordinary guy who is very oppressed by the megarich bosses of the megacorps and their robot cops and administrators. Max steals a ‘magic key’, they call it ‘computer codes’ but I know a magic key when I see it. He fights his way to the magic city of Elysium and uses the key to change everything so that the robots start working for everyone and sharing the world’s resources fairly instead of keeping them for the selfish few. Max dies but his job is done the world is saved and everyone lives happily ever after.

That’s it, that’s the plot of Elysium. The sets are very pretty and I would liked the scenery a lot more than the very childish plot. Honestly anyone over twelve should be embarrassed to have come up with guff like this. Then there are the fights. Big, long, noisy and improbable fights have become a new staple of these ‘blockbuster’ films.

Disappointing after the hype. A good core idea wasted. Maybe it could be rebooted as a TV series.