Monday, 21 November 2011

Only told what they want us to know

Broadcasters are supposed to be impartial, but night after night we are subjected to indoctrination on television news programmes.

The BBC is not the worst offender, but it does frequently take sides rather than simply reporting the facts of a news story.  Supporters of Scottish independence will be aware of countless occasions over the years where the BBC has failed to impartially present the facts on issues relating to Scotland’s constitutional future.

Almost every night, in our so-called ‘national news’ broadcast from London, we hear stories about law and order, the health service and education, none of which have any relevance to Scotland.  Those areas of government policy are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, yet the BBC broadcasts English news into Scottish homes.

‘National’ news bulletins on the British Broadcasting Corporation also frequently refer to something having happened in ‘the north’, but they don’t mean Ullapool or Inverness.  In fact, while we have Reporting Scotland, the ‘local’ BBC news programme for a region located over 100 miles south of Ayrshire is called ‘North-West Tonight’.

For the past few months we’ve had BBC, ITN and Sky reporting from Libya on how heroic freedom-fighters were attempting to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi and his murderous thugs.  We were also informed of how NATO forces, including from Britain, only became involved to prevent a bloody slaughter of civilians in Bengazi.

In reality, what recently occurred in Libya was a civil war, and while Gaddafi was without doubt a brutal dictator, his regime also retained significant levels of support amongst a large section of the Libyan population.

None of the UK-based news organisations told the true story of what was happening in Libya: instead, they reported the UK Government line.  One very serious question broadcasters should be forced to answer, is why they did not report on the bloody massacre and total devastation that happened in Sirte, as rebel fighters, supported by NATO air strikes, closed in on Gaddafi.  Why was it imperative to protect the ordinary people of Bengazi but not Sirte?

With the murder of Gaddafi, London-based broadcasters are now telling us that Libya is moving towards its first democratic elections in over forty-years, but what they aren’t telling us is how America and Britain are working to ensure the next government of the country – which will include former members of the Gaddafi regime – will be supportive of western interests, in particular with regard to accessing Libya’s abundant oil fields.

NATO’s involvement in Libya had nothing to do with democracy or saving human lives, it was all about securing access to oil reserves, as was the case with the illegal invasion of Iraq.  However, those who rely on Britain’s London-based broadcasters for their news will have heard little of the truth.

Perhaps, though, the biggest misrepresentation of the facts by British news organisations occurs when they report on the current economic situation.

Again, the BBC, ITN and Sky News are guilty of carrying stories that portray capitalism as the only viable economic system.  We are told how European governments must impose severe austerity measures in order that funding can be provided to save international banks and financial institutions.  Even when acknowledging it was the banks and financial institutions that caused the economic crisis, television news reports tell us there is no alternative to a programme of refinancing them.  How often have you heard news reports recently warning that ‘the markets’ will not be happy if some country or other does not impose savage cuts to public spending?  These markets with such power over entire nations are the very spivs and speculators that caused the collapse of global capitalism – and let’s get that fact absolutely right: it is the corrupt capitalist system that has collapsed not individual nations.

Just the other night a BBC news reporter warned how action by the Greek Government could plunge Europe into disaster.  So, what catastrophic move was planned by the administration in Athens?  They planned to ask the people of Greece whether or not they agreed with an economic plan that would mean further savage cuts to public spending – resulting in more job losses and increased poverty – in order to repay loans to mainly American-owned banks.

Contrary to the BBC reporter’s dire warning, Europe would not have been plunged into disaster if the people of Greece had been asked their opinion, and had decided to put the interests of their society before those of global capitalism.  The world should not be operating to make a small elite ever more wealthy, while the majority struggle to survive.  Capitalism is all about exploitation: the rich exploit the poor, ‘the markets’ exploit entire nations; the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation work to increase the profits of banks and multi-national corporations, while forcing relatively poor countries to impose strict austerity measures and to privatise their publicly-owned assets, including their water supplies.

Capitalism causes inequality, poverty and ecological devastation, yet our ‘impartial’ news organisations tell us it is the only game in town.  How often have you seen politicians on news bulletins given free rein to advance their argument that there is no alternative?  Contrast that with how often you been allowed to see opponents of capitalism given airtime to explain the viable alternative?

Currently an anti-capitalist protest in London has received headlines because it has caused problems for St Paul’s Cathedral – but the protestors have no axe to grind with St Paul’s.  They actually wanted to take their protest to the London Stock Exchange, the heart of capitalism in the City of London, but the forces of the establishment were deployed to prevent that happening.  Police threw a cordon around the Stock Exchange to protect the capitalist system from the general public.  How often has that been explained by our ‘impartial’ news organisations?

Meanwhile, don’t expect to hear anything about the socialist alternative to the corrupt capitalist system.  Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters also practice censorship...censorship by omission.

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