It’s a matter of alarm and concern that there are so many people out there who still believe that the BBC is a balanced and fair-minded source of news and current affairs. That belief was, at best ill-founded and at worst, typical of the hypocrisy of a British self-image of decency and fair-mindedness which, through that peculiarly British imperialist institution, the public school, gave succeeding generations the ideological veneer and justification for an unabashed and rapacious colonialism.
So successful were Britain’s ruling classes in persuading themselves of their manifest destiny to rule –an ideology which gained serious promotion through Rudyard Kipling’s obnoxious caricature of the ruled as being the White Man’s burden– that both Britain’s rulers and their ruled came to believe in their own Victorian spin.
It was out of that national hypocrisy that the BBC was born in the twilight decades of Britain’s decayed raj when, despite the harsh face of colonialism, a Scottish Presbyterian, Lord Reith, was canny enough to disguise the BBC’s real purpose of control through the instilling of elitist values by giving it the motto, “Let Nation Speak Peace Unto Nation”!
Today, in the post-Blair vassal state of a United Kingdom itself in collapse, Reith’s motto has become nothing more than an embarrassment for a corporation that is increasingly recognized as being little more than an exclusive conduit for state propaganda. The greater majority of BBC personnel may, as reports suggest, like to consider themselves to be liberal-minded nice guys but the message that Aunty puts out to the world is one of totalitarianism and brazen warmongering.
Its present, wholly one-sided, coverage of the war crime that was the invasion of Iraq and the imperialist occupation of that country and Afghanistan is just a case in point. Another is its calculated avoidance of any mention of the stolen US elections of 2000 and 2004 where the people of the United States were, in effect, hijacked by a group of robber politicians and a corrupt judiciary. Another is its continued promotion of the official Bush-instigated conspiracy theory of 911 and its silence over the extremely suspicious events surrounding that other probable conspiracy, the London bombings of 7 July 2005.
One could keep on with a long list of the BBC’s embedded reportage of events emanating as straight spin from the state’s sources, both in London and Washington. Keeping out any real, critical political analysis and barring its airwaves to anyone other than the apologists of the British state and its Washington boss, it stubbornly insists on promoting Neocon ideologues such as the unhinged John Bolton who is constantly given BBC airtime long after having been discredited and fired from office.
All that is bad enough but the role that the BBC is playing is much worse and far more deceptive than that.
Using anodyne language, innuendo and subtle suggestion, the BBC inverts the reality of affairs by creating an alternative reality and reporting on that instead as the authentic world.
The British media are masters in the art of deceit, they don’t distort reality so much as manufacture another version, casually dismissing the truth as an unrepresentative oddity.
Outright deception, delivered in a regular voice and pleasing prose, even and chirpy of tone, triumphs, as honesty is crowded out by the brilliant ruse that presents telling the truth not as the presence of honesty, but the absence of etiquette ..
Kola, Medialens, 28 October 2007
BBC News 24 is the corporation’s flagship, satellite broadcaster of news and current affairs, hence given a razzle-dazzle imagery of up-to-date, global news reportage accompanied with the sound of an urgent, authoritative yet vibrant, drumming rhythm heard in every airport departure lounge and hometown settlement across the planet.
But, together with the rest of the corrupt BBC, News 24 is feeding you and me, twenty four seven three sixty-five, what is little more than a carefully packaged, unmitigated lie.
A case in point was News 24’s recently broadcast programme in its Our World series, “Do they know who we are?” ostensibly a piece on the rapid growth of electronic surveillance technology but hidden beneath the packaging actually its promotion as something desirable that the majority of people want.
The attention span of the average viewer is no more than a few, brief seconds so the message has got to be put across in the first moments. It is then reinforced over and over with a few variations included such as an opposing view or argument which is then immediately demolished.
So this piece of surveillance promotion starts with a cheerfully upbeat version of the Harry Lime Theme from the Third Man, zither and all. This sets the mood for a positive reaction from the audience. If a negative reaction were required, the music would be appropriately anxious, even disturbing.
Almost immediately a message flashes across the screen: “75% want more security.” After some impressive clips showing Silicon Valley scientists predicting the inevitability of increasingly hi-tech surveillance technology we are introduced to the ‘product’, in this case a Gameboy-like hand-held sensor which can detect the presence of terrorists hiding inside a building whose architecture is predictably Muslim. Even their breathing, we are told, can be sensed through walls by this wonder gadget.
Then, rather cleverly, the reporter takes us to a Muslim community in Forest Gate, London and we are reminded how the police had conducted a heavy-handed raid on “suspect terrorists” last year, leaving one man shot and wounded. If the police had been able to use these sensors, the reporter suggests, perhaps all that would have been avoidable. Makes you think doesn’t it?
We are shown a group of Muslims being introduced to this technology by the reporter who, in an apparent concession to his audience, point out that there had been some immediate complaints about the imagery in the promotional video showing Muslim architecture. “But as soon as the audience were shown the technology being used in Iraq they accepted it,” he claims.
He picks on a young member of the audience who says, “We don’t need to worry. Anyone can watch us.” And then another older man who agrees that this kind of sensor could be used for “legitimate intelligence.” Thus, using recorded soundbites in a highly selective way, we see how a Muslim audience is persuaded that these highly intrusive sensors can be used in situations of war or surveillance, either against the enemy or an innocent public who should have nothing to worry about from ‘legitimate intelligence’!
Strange, is it not, that a Muslim audience could be persuaded of its use in the Iraq war? You would have expected a massive, negative reaction. But no. Instead, capitalising on guilt feelings among Muslims, they are sold the product as justifiable under wartime conditions. Once this breakthrough is achieved, the audience has been softened-up enough to accept its use by police or ‘legitimate intelligence’ (whatever that may be!) against a public that should not worry if it has nothing to hide!
This last is regularly used by the promoters of increased surveillance technology and totalitarianization. If you’ve nothing to hide, why worry? Using an individual’s anxiety (ie that he might have something to hide from ‘the Law’) and the principle of the Big Lie we are bullied into accepting further encroachments on our right to privacy.
The Big Lie is based upon the idea that most everyone tells little lies from time to time. Little lies and dishonesties are, therefore, understandable and acceptable. It’s what we all do. But Big Lies, on the other hand, are neither comprehensible or acceptable. So, when subject to a Big Lie, part of us –the part which governs our ‘little me’, personal values– shuts down, unable to deal with the enormity of it. But another part keeps running and is forced to come to terms with the unacceptable, to accept that as the message comes to us from a source of authority then it must, has to be, true.
This process is sometimes described by the mind manupilaters in blatant fashion as ‘thinking the unthinkable’, ‘pushing the envelope’, or put in another way which remains unsaid, of being coerced into accepting the unacceptable.
This process is called Cognitive Dissonance, the process used here to extract the appropriate soundbites from an audience made to feel guilty about the ‘war on terrorism.’ Well, that’s ok then, we are led to think. If a Muslim audience can accept this new technology (for they do have a problem with terrorism, don’t they?) then it should be perfectly acceptable to us. Again, the projection of our guilt (but we do have things in our life we prefer to keep hidden!) onto Muslims (who we know are susceptible to becoming terrorists).
The key-phrase to sum up this event was obtained from a man in his (responsible) ‘thirties who agrees that such intrusive technology would be fine when used by “legitimate intelligence,” meaning government authorities. Again, the phrase begs so many questions as to what is and isn’t legitimate but we aren’t given time to dwell on that.
Instead, we are taken to the final, reinforcing summation: there are already 4 million CCTV cameras in Britain so is our private life safe? We are then told (sources not revealed) that 75% want more surveillance and this ‘fact’ is borne out by an ‘expert’ from the US National Security Agency, a body with a suitably authoritative name (how many people would know that the NSC is a US government spy agency?)
The promotion is ended with the same upbeat introductory theme.
Neat one, eh? Being of a mischievous, cynical nature I was left wondering if the BBC got a nice little hidden backhander from some Silicon Valley manufacturer for having given airtime to this promotional piece? With government cutbacks on BBC revenue it is increasingly having to privatize and commercialize its operations. So, while doing what the government tells it to do, in this case to promote the totalitarianization of Britain, why not make a few dollars on the side?
And, I couldn’t help keep thinking of those Muslims in Forest Gate, my febrile imagination hearing their repeated cries of indignation against the way so many of the audience had left that meeting, feeling that they had been utterly conned into unwittingly cooperating with a foxy Big Brother BBC.