1 May 2011

On the media

For better understanding I think it's better to just read all media sources while working out their characteristics as well as trying to read stuff like original documents and stuff to work out what's going on. The BBC I don't bother with most of the time though it's really deteriorated since the Hutton report, it's not just biased but even worse than that, it's boring. I think there's so much focus on neutering it because it has by far the widest audience of any British broadcaster (it has a lot of viewers in the US in particular) so plenty of interests don't want it getting in their way. Also remember the BBC is staffed mainly by the kind of people who become Saab officers at universities, note for example their dedication to Tony Blair and David Cameron.

Sky News is better because it doesn't have anywhere near as much constraints even if it does have corporate bias.

The Guardian is a good on civil liberties issues but I'd be wary of it it represents a kind of middle-class intelligentsia viewpoint who generally don't like the state getting in their way and want to feel good about it so they're very big on what's called 'humanitarian intervention' but it can be very propagandistic and intolerant when someone hits that nerve. Question dogmas about the Yugoslavia war for example and you're in big trouble. For example the Guardian has a pretty obsessive distaste for Noam Chomsky they once totally fabricated a quote in an interview with him when he supposedly said the Srebrenica massacre never happened. I find this kind of hysterical lying far more common in amongst Western "liberals" (i.e. who you find in the Guardian or New York Times) than "conservatives".

On Robert Fisk, although he can be good on some things I don't really like him either. 1. He's often a pretty irritating propagandist for the Hariri family and 2. He seems to get most of his information from his driver Abed. I don't trust a lot of his stories they seem made up.

Al-Jazeera goes through ups and downs and now it's probably in one of its worst ever phases. It was brilliant up until not long after Mubarak was overthrown around the time NATO/Saudi started deciding they were going to intervene in Libya. Then there were all these dodgy meetings between US officials and the rulers of Qatar and suddenly Al-Jazeera has been neutered it's like the Hutton Report x10 it's completely unrecognisable from just a couple of months ago. Their Beirut bureau chief resigned a few days ago because of the recent restrictions put on him which is pretty big he was one of the most famous people on the channel. I suspect Al-Jazeera may be dead for good now too much weight has been put upon it this time you know when John McCain is praising it that something very bad has happened. But the Egyptian media has become much more free lately for obvious reasons but more importantly you find anti-Israel/Saudi stuff in there all the time that you would never find before Mubarak was overthrown so I think the best hope in terms of Arab media might be Egypt reclaiming its position as the centre of the Arab world in terms of publishing like in the Nasser era and getting a decent TV channel going that doesn't have the issues Al-Jazeera has. Al-Jazeera's flaw has always been that it was really just created as a practical joke by the Qatari ruling family on the Saudis (who still hate each other I think) and whenever Qatari-Saudi relations improved Al-Jazeera got worse and whenever they deteriorated Al-Jazeera got better and with the situation in the Arab world the tyrants and especially the Gulf tyrants are really putting past differences aside and uniting around one banner (i.e. the Zionist-Wahhabi banner) to defeat the revolutionary forces.

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