Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mosul: media bias is a national scandal

Cranmer rightly takes to task the senior presenter of Channel 4 News, Jon Snow,  for his blatant lack of balance:
"...It is quite shocking, though perhaps not at all surprising, that the aging abbot is abusing his position as lead presenter of Channel 4 News to focus on Israel's Gaza offensive, thereby "providing cover" for the murder, torture, rape and systematic eradication of Christians from Iraq and the whole Middle East. They have lived there for 2000 years. Their trauma is nothing short of a holocaust, but the Western media, when they mention it at all, relegate this "religious cleansing" to the level of an anecdote, and move swiftly on to the latest homophobic outrage or the manifest evils of Israel's Nazi Zionists.
Ten years ago, there were at least 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Now there are around 400,000, most of whom are fleeing to the Kurdistan region for safety and refuge. Under Saddam, 60,000 Christians lived in Mosul. Now there is none. Nuns are being kidnapped and raped, priests tortured and beheaded, and ordinary Christians imprisoned in ghettos and forced to convert or die. Ancient churches are torched and monasteries desecrated. It's the same story in Syria, Egypt and Libya.
What is this hell if it be not a holocaust?
The Islamic State is marking Christian homes with an Arabic 'N' for 'Nasarah' (denoting Christian), just like Hitler used the Star of David to categorise Jews destined for the concentration camps. "Never again", we cried. And yet we stand idly by, spluttering about Putin, transfixed by Tulisa or mesmerised by the Downing Street catwalk.
The mainstream media aren't much interested in Christians - other than the homophobic bigoted ones who won't bake a cake. And our political leaders are so obsessed by the minority vote, and the FCO so consumed with religious equanimity and moral relativity, that they'll all bend over backwards to help the Iraqi Kurds, save the Bosnian Muslims or intervene to "prevent a bloodbath" in Libya...."
The editorial bias of our broadcasters is rapidly becoming a national scandal. As we have commented before, only those stories which tend to fit the liberal social and political agenda are now given much prominence on the airwaves. 
We - very properly - criticise Vladimir Putin's Russia for its repressive control of the media, yet can we really say the general public in Britain are given a wide and unbiased picture (as far as humanly possible) of what is going on in the world?  Yes, our broadcasters are largely free and unfettered, but their output seems always to be filtered through the highly selective lens of what is socially and politically acceptable to the 'elite' opinion-formers of the contemporary West to the detriment of any real and sophisticated analysis and concern for the level of public understanding of the issues. 
It was always so, of course; yet those like Jon Snow and his successors would have been the first to deride the deference accorded to 'establishment' views in the past. Now the 'anti-establishment' has become the establishment, that objection seems to have been conveniently forgotten and deference to the prevailing culture re-instated as an unquestionable good. 
This is a complex world - to portray it in terms of 'good guys and bad guys' - as is happening more and more - seems not only childish, but irresponsible to say the least. Just give us 'the unvarnished facts' as they may best be ascertained, and leave commentators, politicians, and us, the public, to make the value judgements. The contemporary blurring of news and comment, added to the media's evident desire to shape events rather than 'merely' report them, is a disaster in terms of our freedom to make informed judgements on the issues of the day - a disaster for freedom itself, perhaps ... 
Editorial decisions, of course, have to be made, yet broadcast output tends to suggest those decisions are increasingly made as a result of the inherent and, perhaps, even partly unconscious political bias of journalists rather than what might be regarded as 'newsworthy' by the general population or the disinterested (that is. objective) observer. The public deserves better - so does our much vaunted concern for truth.

And ... over at the BBC ..... the flagship Newsnight programme has replaced the formidable Jeremy Paxman, perhaps the only prominent Corporation figure who could be regarded as (possibly) even  slightly to the right of centre, with Evan Davis, whose own hardly carefully hidden agenda has been on sniggering display on the Radio 4 Today programme for several years now. 

Oh, for the days when we simply didn't have a clue where our broadcasters' sympathies lay ... and for the days when they would have been simply too professional to allow any emotional involvement to show ... and too grown up to wear their hearts on their sleeves in order to win cheap and easy approbation.

1 comment:

  1. Unlike most media figures, Jeremy Paxman has some claims of knowledge out beyond the shallow and self-obsessed political bubble.

    See R. Harrisand J. Paxman, A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret Story of Chemical and Biological Warfare (Hill and Wang, New York, 1982).

    Simon Cotton


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