The gaping chasm between reality and unreality is exemplified by recent contrasting statements about journalism from two veteran reporters. On the one side we have Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, who enjoys a public image of principled honesty and a supposedly fierce commitment to news balance and impartiality. But, when he was challenged recently on Twitter about the blatant bias in BBC News reporting, he responded just as one would expect of a well-rewarded, high-profile employee of the national broadcaster:
We are the best source of decent, impartial reportage anywhere in the world.
As Noam Chomsky has observed of elite power and allied corporate journalists:
Heaven must be full to overflowing, if the masters of self-adulation are to be taken at their word.
By contrast, consider a recent interview with renowned journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger on ‘mainstream’ media coverage of Syria, Salisbury, Yemen and Korea. He said:
I’ve never known journalism to be so distorted in order to serve this propaganda […] What we’re seeing is the most intense campaign of propaganda at least since the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003.
Pilger often makes a specific point of including BBC News in his scathing criticism:
Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are…