Yet another example of why Twitter is a hugely useful source of information. @DrDavidPatrick turns up as a follower of my @PatrickChalmers account – so I take a look at his profile. Up pops his excellent short film cataloguing and analysing the media coverage – sorry bias – of a year’s worth of newspaper coverage in the run up to the Scottish independence vote.
I highly recommend you invest the 22:35 minutes it takes to watch – not only for some profound insight into the Scottish referendum debate, which is important enough, but far more importantly for an introduction to what is an endemic problem of pro-establishment media bias when it comes to covering any politically important issue you care to name.
This is not a left-right thing as far as ordinary people are concerned. Anyone who gives a damn about their political future, that of the people they love not to mention wider humanity and the planet, needs to wise up to this stuff. This is what Fraudcast News is about – as it says in the book’s strapline – How Bad Journalism Supports Our Bogus Democracies.
Unless we take personal responsibility for our political and media literacy – which includes understanding these well-worn but generally poorly-known and highly-effective techniques – we will continue to be kippered all ends up when it comes to having any influence over our lives. This is vital stuff for us all to understand, and to be able to spot, in the propaganda that bombards us daily. What’s more, you won’t, or didn’t, learn this stuff at school.
Dr David Patrick has done a great job for all of us with regard to the referendum – you can read about it all in more detail here – we should all be hugely greatly to him for that.
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
So Scotland voted No to independence – I’m disappointed.
I became engaged and excited at the prospect of an independent Scotland over the last few months, being a native, having done a reporting trip there, hosted a political debate and followed the campaigning with wonder and amusement at the creativity and verve on display.
The exercise threw up both of the core elements I address in Fraudcast News – how radical improvements to our governance systems might be possible and what sort of media coverage would help those come about.
I thought an independent Scotland might become an exemplar of more accountable, transparent government, a huge improvement on Westminster.
That was the main reason I was, and remain, an enthusiastic advocate for Yes.
My side lost – dang.
So I have to take the medicine I advocated a few months back for those on the losing side, as described in this blog post for the National Collective
This is the essence:
There is an end in sight to the referendum marathon – and a day-after that promises a large chunk of Scotland’s resident voters wake up on the wrong side of the result. The losers will include the angry, the anxious and deeply disappointed, with many seeking someone to blame. The winners’ challenge will be how to celebrate victory without rubbing neighbours’ noses in it. Whatever the outcome, “yes” and “no” voters will be picking up the pieces side by side.
You can read more here.
It is of course not the end of the world – which is why I’m now turning my attention back to climate change issues.
I was delighted to get a full review of Fraudcast News in a recent issue of The Friend magazine. Below is an excerpt while this a link through to the complete article.
How Bad Journalism Supports Our Bogus Democracies – A Review
An article by Elizabeth Redfern that appeared in the 4th July 2014 edition of the Friend.
Press corruption is sadly a subject we’re now familiar with, from the press’s own coverage of the Leveson Inquiry and more recently the trial of Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and others, who – in what might become the longest criminal trial in English history – are charged with phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid. It would be nice to think that this is an unfortunate blip in an otherwise sparkling British press history. Certainly I hadn’t taken much notice of the inquiry or court case until I’d started to read Patrick’s book, when some familiar words started to nag at me.
Friday August 1, 2014
6.30pm to 9.00pm
When Patrick Chalmers hit on becoming a foreign news correspondent, he dreamed of somehow helping advance the cause of social justice around the world. When he eventually landed that dream job, he soon realised it had little to do with improving people’s lives. So he quit to work out where he’d gone wrong, in the process transforming himself into an author, activist and campaigner for better media and governance structures.
Among the results was Fraudcast News – How Bad Journalism Supports Our Bogus Democracies published in paperback and as a free PDF download. Patrick will read from the book and discuss how it relates to current political events at all levels, ranging from climate change inaction, renewed conflict in Iraq, Scottish independence or the rise of UKIP.
Good comment piece in today’s Guardian newspaper. Couldn’t help wading into the comments section as per the following:
A more positive interpretation would be that the ineffectual attempts to destroy Ukip show the growing fragility of the carefully crafted management of what is sometimes called “the national conversation”. It suggests that in the future, there may be space for a more genuine plurality of ideas, views and politics than the carefully scripted, staged “rough and tumble” without content that masquerades as democracy in the rich world.
I certainly hope you’re right.
Farage is a funny and clever speaker on EU issues – this speech is a classic
I would never vote for him though, or UKIP, as on many issues he’s the same “free”-market champion as MPs in the Conservative, Labour and LibDem parties.
You could make the same analysis of treatment by the majority media, and the big three political parties, of the Scottish independence question.
This translates into a huge bias towards scare stories about the supposed consequences of voting yes versus a dearth of those that examine either the causes of an upsurge in independent thinking or the very positive possibilities of Scotland’s residents voting to govern themselves.
The model of Western “representative” democracy is dead – that’s what’s at stake in all of this. What we need is a radical reform of our existing systems – something that will need radically different media for us to do so.
Declaration of interest for moderators – I’ve written a book about the very same, as hotlinked in this post.
Geoffrey Ingham, a Life Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge has weighed into openDemocracy’s Just Money debate with a worthwhile article called: “Whose money is it?” He talks about how money is created and the way that relates to power.
The piece is part of a wider series run by OurKingdom to mark the publication of Ann Pettifor’s e-book, Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance. I’ll certainly check that out.
The series explores the nature of money and the politics of the financial system.
I tried to post a comment before getting tied up in knots with the site password system.
Rather than abandoning it, I’m putting it here instead.
Good piece – I totally agree that, like it or not, we have as individuals to wrestle with ideas of how money is created and this article helps in that process. It is essential for people to get to grips with this in order to give needed context to wider societal questions of both poverty and environmental despoilation. I would also recommend the work of Positive Money UK (http://www.positivemoney.org/)
The author did not touch on the aspect of our money-creation system that is even more problematic for all living beings – which is how it acts as a motor for wrecking the planet for all its inhabitants. Debt-based money demands interest repayments alongside the principal, which means we must all perpetually consume or face economic collapse.
Yet if the economic system doesn’t collapse, or we don’t manage to transform it – along with the existing money-creation system at its core – we will face a far more problematic collapse of the eco-system itself. Nature doesn’t do compound growth except as cancer, epidemic or plague. We need a money system with that reality embedded inside it.