Colloquially, a proper gander means have a good look, but I’m interested in the phonetic similarity to Propaganda. So, I’d like you to have a proper look at where our news comes from. Is it news or is it propaganda?
Who controls it?
Where does it come from?
Just how balanced is it?
So, who owns all this stuff? ‘ave a proper gander!
I saw this blog posting recently about control of our news media and found it really shocking!
I think the thing that shocked me most, is that as a reasonably well-informed, radical-minded individual, I had never bothered to follow up on my disquiet about my views on how biased and controlled our media might be.
Serves me right, I guess.
If this blog is true, just think about the implications.
It claims that 80% of the material being presented to us as news is being controlled by 5 billionaires and their companies. These companies are registered abroad, they pay no UK tax and they have their own agendas.
Now, I will freely admit that my own due diligence has been a bit sparse, but these claims have been out on the web for quite a while and I haven’t seen any concerted rebuttal from these players.
Long standing lefty
Being a Lefty of long standing, I’d always casually dismissed the rantings of The Daily Express or the blatant gutter crawling of The Sun as not being worth worrying about. Similarly, I’d just considered the Daily Mail as an odious piece of tub-thumping populism, lacking in any regard for balance and aimed at the lower end of the Tory market. However, with the rise of populism, and driven by what seems like a concerted message from a powerful and highly influential clique, these organs seem to have drawn together to consistently drip feed a constant stream of low-level denigration of any set of ideas that do not sit well with their very tightly drawn world view. Their language and tactics are remarkably consistent and seem to emanate from those who stand to benefit from the views they promulgate.
Looking for examples?
Think about the terminology around Brexit: Traitors, for anyone who disagrees with the party line; Surrender bill, for any device requiring more scrutiny; Remoaner, for anyone who disagrees with the party line; The will of the people, the result voted for by 37% of the population over three years ago; We want our country back, implying that somehow we have lost it; or Take back control of our borders, when we have never in fact lost control of them, and so on. The rhetoric is wonderful, the substance is vacant.
Look on a wider scale and consider how often and from what sources you have heard that Jeremy Corbyn is “not fit to lead the country“. Who says so? On what grounds? Does the critic apply the same reasoning to other players? The “Radical Marxist” policies being put forward by “The Corbynistas” are rapidly becoming mainstream, in fact, ironically, the Tory Party are finding themselves having to pretend to adopt variants of many of them, just to seem electable. I’ve even heard a Transport Minister recently talking about the state taking over the failing Northern Rail franchise, like they had to on the East Coast Line.
Corbyn is often called a traitor, or a an anti-Semite: Who says so? on what grounds? These are convenient smear labels to discredit anyone who abhors the policies practiced by the present Government of Israel against the Palestinians.
Compare Corbyn’s measured speeches dispassionately with the demeanour and antics of the Prime Minister and his rantings, and then tell me who is unfit to govern. When do these stories pop up? Are they at accidentally convenient times for those opposed to him? Yeah, that must be it.
Some of it is much more insidious: I recently saw the Aberfan disaster described as a disastrous “Mistake”. It wasn’t a bloody mistake, neither did it drop suddenly from above by some magical force of darkness. It was the predictable outcome of a set of policies that created a situation where human life was placed firmly behind economic values and financial targets. Let’s describe Hillsborough as a tragic mistake shall we? Or maybe Grenfell Towers? Give it time and they will.
I keep hearing from government spokesmen (and it is usually men) that the Labour Party was responsible for the financial crash. This seems to overlook the root cause of the international financial collapse was, initially at least, transatlantic greed in the finance sector, a bandwagon eagerly jumped-on by our own privately-owned bloated banking sector in a dash for profits and bonuses.
Let’s face it, we are all being manipulated, from all sides, and it is down to us to spot it, call it out and ridicule it!
So, I decided to have a quick peek at the guys mentioned in the blog posting to see who they are:
Richard Desmond: Dear old Dicky is certainly a bit of a character and his life and times read a bit like a Harold Robbins book (Maybe “The Carpetbaggers”, or “Dreams Die First”). He has denied reports of having Mafia threats against his life, but he certainly has bought and sold his way through outlets such as The Daily Express, The Sunday Express, The Daily Star, The Daily Star Sunday, Channel 5, OK! Magazine, and the odd “adult” magazine and various adult TV channels, having a bit of a run-in with OFCOM about that last lot.
His Company Northern and Shell, featured in The Paradise Papers, and launched the Health Lottery which made a massive contribution of 20% of its turnover to charity in 2011.
(I was in truth a bit shocked by how small that percentage was, but I think that is worth a piece in its own right).
In 2019 Richard’s worth was rated at £2.6 billion by The Times Rich List
Jonathan Harmsworth: Now good old Harmsway, as I like to call him, is a real piece of work. AKA 4th Viscount Rothermere, he inherited The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and all that jazz from his dear old dad and turned it into the bile-laden piece of journalistic crap that it is today.
He has non-domicile tax status and owns his media businesses through a complex structure of offshore holdings and trusts.
Rothermere is worth around £1 billion, give or take. Take, mainly, I imagine.
David & Fred Barclay: This charming little twinset have owned or do own loads of stuff from shipping, Yodel, various online retail outlets, right through to The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator, The Scotsman, and an island just off the coast of Sark. They were estimated to be worth £8 billion in the 2019 Times Rich List. Needless to say, they are based in a tax haven.
Rupert Murdoch: This cute little Kuala, Rupert, thinks the Sky’s the limit. Well not really, he’s bought, sold, and generally wheeled and dealed, all over the media space through News Corp. From Sky to Fox, The Sun to The Times and The Sunday Times to The Wall Street Journal, he has pushed his own particular political agenda. He used to operate the disgraced News of The World until he had to close it down. Currently he must be vying for number one fan slot for Trump and Johnson. He has run riot over the Australian media market and dearly wanted to do the same here. Worth maybe £20 billion. Not a big contributor to HMRC.
So, there we have it. A motley crew, very rich by any standards, all with highly focussed business aims, namely the growth of power and wealth. These are the sort of folk who control what we get to hear.
In looking at this stuff I stumbled across Reach PLC.
Have you ever heard of Reach Plc? No? well, as of today, The Reach Group portfolio “includes influential and iconic brands such as the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday, Daily Record, Sunday Mail, market leading brands in key metropolitan markets across the country and paid-for celebrity brands: OK! and New!”
Depressing ain’t it?
This doesn’t leave much outside the control of a very small set of players. Worrying isn’t it? Put more strongly, it can’t be right. These arseholes are taking the rest of us for fools. They know exactly what they are doing, and they are doing it to us.
We are so dim that we either don’t realise that we are being taken for a ride, or we simply don’t care.
Most of these people/companies operate in the shadows. If you read a newspaper or watch a TV news channel, how much do you know about who controls it?
Ask yourself who funds it? Why does it take the line it does on any issue? Why does it not cover significant things that you know have happened? Why does it make assertions that it doesn’t back up with facts? Why does it bring up this trivial headline at this particular time? What are they trying to get you to overlook?
We should all be doing this and shouting about it.
Remember the propagandists’ creed:
“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
If we really want to Take Back Control then the price is eternal vigilance, from all of us.