Spinning out of control

SADLY, the recent clip of a BBC’s main news item allegedly peddling an Indian street celebration as an anti-Gaddafi demo in Tripoli’s main square is for many – myself included – par for the course these dark days.

One would have thought that modern technology, and the internet, would have ended such knavish behaviour by mainstream media.

I recall the apartheid period when ‘auntie’s’ journalists superimposed pictures of tanks on Johannesburg parks and claimed Europeans needed military protection.

They tossed coins into waste bins to give the impression that street kids searching for them were scrounging for discarded food scraps.

It is said the camera never lies. It is in fact the biggest liar in history. Jack Glenn was director of the popular news series March of Time, still shown on the History Channel.

In his obituary it was conceded that he often created world events with actors and movie sets. The news feature film, Inside Nazi Germany (1939) includes footage of a Nazi prison camp, which was filmed on New York’s Staten Island using actors.

The use of film and photography to distort history has created its own culture of aficionados who delight in finding the whoppers. Such behaviour really makes us no better than the Soviets and the Nazis.

When journalists censor or spin news to shape peoples thinking then society loses its moral compass. It feeds cynicism until no one knows who or what to believe anymore. What we have is the nightmare world of George Orwell’s 1984 novel.

In his narrative, the gifted journalist, George Orwell (not all are bad) wrote: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed; all this is indispensably necessary.”

Think about it. Could any statement better describe main stream media manipulation today? It is social engineering; I defy anyone to label it as different from the models used by past dictatorships; to do so can only be described as denial.

It is social engineering but we are neither Soviet Russia’s nor 1930s Germany’s proletariat. We deserve better. It is our weakness if our children grow up into a world in which all thought processes are orchestrated by mainstream media.

When the mind is manipulated before the polls open then democracy becomes a sham; a fig leaf behind which lurks another of Orwell’s predictions: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever.”

The fact that you are reading this in a newspaper appears to be a contradiction. Having spent much of my life as a media insider; I agree with many contemporaries; the small independent newspapers, whilst not political, do tend to be balanced and fair. Their ally today is the internet where free thought flourishes.

The internet threatens the monopoly of the giant broadcasters and news magnates. This is their concern but the internet could be our salvation.

Many columnists and journalists have seen the light. The great Daily Mail columnist Simon Heffer, with whom I had a few squabbles, wrote: “This is, in theory still a free country, but our politically correct, censorious times are such that many of us tremble to give vent to perfectly acceptable views for fear of condemnation.

Freedom of speech is thereby imperilled, big questions go undebated, and great lies become accepted, unequivocally as great truths.” I second that.

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