Monday, 24 March 2014

More Guardian ‘brainwashing’ on Putin?

24 MARCH 2014

I spend a lot of time on this blog criticising the propaganda role of liberal media, including my former newspaper the Guardian. Media critics like Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman have called it 'brainwashing under freedom'.  Because of a long filtering process before they reach positions of influence, journalists working for the corporate media in free societies replicate many of the failings of journalists working for media in repressive and closed societies.  There are differences.  The propaganda in free societies is more subtle and insidious; the journalists are more likely to believe what they write; and a degree of pluralism is allowed, even while plausible and important voices are ignored or ridiculed.  But propaganda it still is.
I highlight this long and prominent article in the Guardian on Putin’s handling of Crimea and Ukraine because it is a master-class in brainwashing under freedom.  The paper’s Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker, is presumably well-acquainted with Russian society. He has full access to Russian media propaganda, so he knows full well Russia’s side of the argument.  And he has acres of space in which to set out all the various viewpoints.  And yet, he never manages to give a proper hearing to Russia’s side of the argument.

1 comment:

bammy said...

Pro. Chomsky believes that a writer living under a totalitarian regime can be free inside, despite the repressive regime. He makes a lot of the 'subtle & insidious' nature of influencing critical comment in so-called free societies such as advertising practices as well as political propaganda. George Orwell doubted that a writer, whether a journalist dealing in reportage or a novelist working creatively and living in a totalitarian society, can can be honest or as Shakespeare put it: 'To thine own self be true'. Orwell wrote: 'The worst thing we can say about a work of art is that it is insincere [and] this is even truer of criticism than of creative literature...' The writer of this post says: '...the journalists (in 'free' countries) are more likely to believe what they write'. Is the writer seriously suggesting that they would be better off in some totalitarian regime knowingly telling lies? Surely it is better for a writer to be trying to tell the truth, even if it turns out to be mistaken or wrong-headed, than to be deliberately purveying lies, either because someone is paying you to do it or compelling you to do so?