Tag Archives: media

A Princess

Some news you may have missed

The press is busy promoting our beloved Prime Minister’s attempts to deflect attention from his complete lack of ideas over negotiations about the UK’s membership of the EU (apparently he will be publishing his “list of demands” next month which is a bit like his answer to the leader of HM Opposition at PMQ’s which in a nutshell was “we have no idea so you will have to wait and see what Gideon comes up with”).

But if you can be bothered to read the article there’s an interesting paragraph right down at the bottom where you will see that Michael Froman, a US Trade Representative, stated that, “We have no FTA with the UK so they would be subject to the same tariffs – and other trade-related measures – as China, or Brazil or India” if the UK left the EU. Now I may be a little bit cynical here but surely that should be a headline item? Would it have been a headline if it were directed at Scotland outside the UK? I’m sure that it would have made the front page of every newspaper and it would have been the headline on every TV and radio news show. But I’m just a blogger, I should leave these things to the people who know. Mind you, RT saw it as a big enough story to headline it which probably means that it’s propaganda or something.

In some other news, the majority of the European Parliament voted to drop all charges against the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. It was a slim majority mind you (285 for and 281 against) but that’s democracy for you. The MEP’s urged member states to, “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender,” in a press release.

The press release goes on to say, “Parliament is concerned about “recent laws in some member states that extend surveillance capabilities of intelligence bodies”, including in France, the UK and the Netherlands. It is also worried by revelations of mass surveillance of telecommunications and internet traffic inside the EU by the German foreign intelligence agency BND in cooperation with the US National Security Agency (NSA).” So it would appear that the EU is not too bad an outfit after all. Oddly there is not much coverage of this in our media, but oh, look there’s a princess. There’s absolutely no mention of this story on our beloved, unbiased, BBC. Maybe someone missed it?

A Princess

A Princess

And finally, 343 UK university professors say they will “halt all cooperation with Israeli schools in an effort to draw attention to Israel’s violations of international law.” The action is part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign which aims to” boycott Israel as part of  non-violent resistance to defend the Palestinian cause.” Surely such a move would be bound to feature in the organs of the UK state? Well they don’t appear on the BBC, although BDS appeared back in July. Look there’s Harry! Is that a potential princess he’s with? Phwoar.



Media Tyrant

The tyranny of media

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there has been a concerted media campaign in almost all of the media against Michelle Thomson MP (and by association the SNP). Almost every media outlet has carried negative stories about her alleged business dealings. The story has run in the newspapers, the radio and TV and it has been getting ever more lurid by the day (almost as if the story has run out of steam but someone wants to keep it going.)

It is an extension of the SNP bad rhetoric that the media spouts on a daily basis, but this time they are performing a giant, combined character assassination against an individual MP. We saw the same tactics used against Jeremy Corbyn recently as well. I do not intend to indulge in conjecture about the erstwhile SNP MP’s business dealings. What is more interesting to me is the attack itself. So lets take a look at it in a bit more detail.

The first, and most obvious, point about the attack is the concerted nature of it. Almost every newspaper is at it, it’s all over TV and radio news too. All of the media outlets are acting in unison, they have decided among themselves (or been directed) to relentlessly pursue Michelle Thomson and the SNP over this story. Why would they do this?

The UK has one of the most concentrated patterns of media ownership outside of China, if we take a look at who owns what we see that just 6 entities own almost all of it (excepting the BBC). Of these 6 none support the SNP, the BBC is certainly no SNP supporter either since it sees itself as the protector of the UK and the SNP as a threat. So it would appear that there is collusion over this story. It is the type of attack which we saw during the independence referendum as part of Project Fear. It also replicates the tactics used against Jeremy Corbyn. It’s hardly surprising that we see our media morph into tyrants when they are only governed by a Code with a regulator which lost its falsers years ago.

Perhaps there is a pattern forming? If you oppose the current neo-liberal ideology then you will probably be attacked. If you are perceived as a threat to that ideology then you can expect to feel the full force of the UK media monster. The media are behaving as a tyrant, ruthlessly attacking anyone who it perceives as a threat to itself or the status quo. There is no doubt that the SNP pose just such a threat. They threaten the very existence of the status quo. They threaten the comfy, pampered existence of the people and companies at the very top of the UK.

We also need to look at who this message is intended for. It’s certainly not for me, I switched off to the UK media a long time ago when I realised that most of their output was propaganda or meaningless celebrity padding. So it must be for someone else, probably soft SNP voters if such a person exists. But I think the whole campaign will backfire. We got both barrels during the independence referendum and those scars have healed thicker than the injured skin from which they arose. This will probably harden our resolve.

The UK media, with the exception of the BBC, all operate on the same business model. They rely on advertising to pay the bills so that they can sell their offerings at reduced rates. They only attract advertisers by having decent circulation figures, if those figures go down then so does the advertising revenue. So the best way to counter the media tyrant is to attack it at it’s very roots. Pay it no attention and give it no money.

The companies which advertise in the media are very proud of their reputations, if they think that their reputations will suffer due to their association with a particular media outlet then they will run to the hills and take their money with them. If only there was a way to show how tyrannical our media has become?

Trolls are bad politics

A troll’s a troll fur a’ that.

Poor wee Dougal Alexander, he was hayin a guid moan at the £100 per head Labour List Conference at Dartmouth House in Mayfair this week. That’s 15.4 hours work at the minimum wage for a half day conference. I guess they weren’t wanting any of those working class types turning up and lowering the tone. No, this event was purely for the Labour Party elite to address a compliant press and didn’t Dougal do well? He got a piece in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Drum, Huffington Post, The Spectator and Politics.co.uk.

What Dougal was moaning about was that it is “getting harder for politicians to campaign in elections because of conspiracy theories on social media.” As most people realise, what he really meant was that it is getting harder for politicians to lie during election campaigns because the collective minds of the internet users, facilitated by social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, quickly expose those lies and broadcast them around the planet at lightning speed. Of course there wouldn’t be an issue if the politicians told the truth, but lets follow Dougal’s thread.

He continued that because of social media we are confronting “a politics where people’s social media feeds can be an echo chamber for, at best, their own opinions and, at worst, their own prejudices.” So there are NO FACTS on anyones’ Twitter or Facebook (unless they’re Labour facts of course). There are only rumours, opinions and prejudices.

Let’s look at some facts then. During the independence referendum we were subjected to a relentless stream of “news”, almost all of it against the concept of independence. This stream was delivered to our living rooms by the likes of the BBC, STV and almost all newspapers. It is remarkable that anyone voted for the idea at all and the main reason for that was the 5th estate: social media, independent websites and blogs. Now that the referendum is over the fifth estate has turned its attention to the general election.

It is an amazing thing this 5th estate. It is a collective, a hive mind, ever watchful. Always scrutinising all of the output from “traditional” media. Dissecting and analysing the words and meanings of every politicians’ speech and press release. Debating politics in real-time in cyberspace. Organising and protesting, even driving the political agenda.

This is the politics of the people in its rawest, purest form. It is a very powerful thing which is making the establishment scared. That is the real meaning of Dougal’s speech: Labour and the establishment is scared of the power of the 5th estate. So they will try to spread that fear and use it to their advantage and they will use the “traditional” media to do it.

Barely a week goes by without some “vile cybernat” or “troll” headlines. The normal pattern is like this:

  1. Someone posts a derogatory, slanderous or ill-advised comment on a well-known person’s timeline
  2. This is picked up by all of the users of the site and spread far and wide, almost instantly
  3. The “traditional” media make political hay. Favourite adjectives are vile, disgusting and hateful

It is VERY easy to become a troll: a couple of sherberts, then typing what you think and pressing the post button without checking what you are saying first. Boom. Trollmageddon. We have been there with some ill-advised comments and the reaction is not nice. Apologies are not necessarily printed alongside the offending item.

But a far bigger problem is the damage that it does to our cause. The “traditional” media have a field day over it. They paint every independence supporter as some kind of sub-human Neanderthal and they always insinuate, rightly or wrongly, that the trolls are SNP members or supporters.

What we have to remember is that not everyone is connected to our 5th estate. There are whole generations of voters who only receive their politics from the “traditional” media. If all they receive about the independence movement are a load of “vile, disgusting cybernat” stories then that is what they will think about us.

“So what?” I hear some people say. We need these people if we are ever to achieve our dream, for in their midst there are soft unionists. People who we may be able to persuade that independence is indeed the natural state for our nation. We will never achieve that if we allow the “traditional” media to influence them with a few ill-considered comments. Let’s try not to give them any more ammunition.