Thursday, 2 December 2010

Spin, damn spin and propaganda

I visited my sister in London yesterday and had the privilege of being able to glance through a copy of the day before's Evening Standard. Here's the highlights of the first 15 pages:

  • The front page is an article on the main London student demonstration. The third paragraph starts
    "Flares were set off as scuffles broke out. Several schoolgirls were knocked to the ground"
    They seem to be implying that the people responsible for the latter weren't the police but, inexplicably, the demonstrators who set off the flares. The article goes on to say that Simon Hardy of the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts (NCAFC)
    "admitted he had lost control of the march".
    It doesn't quote him directly. I suspect this is because he actually said something about not assuming to have authority in the first place over thousands of people taking autonomous collective action... but of course, that wouldn't sound as good for the right-wing capitalist media. In the printed version of the article, the accompanying picture (the first one in the online version, with the pink smoke) appears to have been motion-blurred to make someone look like he's throwing a punch, who if you look closely is actually just scratching the back of his head.

  • Apparently, the protesters at Lewisham town hall the night before "had" to be attacked by the Territorial Support Group (TSG), the vicious section of the Metropolitan Police's riot squad best known for killing Ian Tomlinson at the G20 in 2009 and whose predecessors the Special Patrol Group killed anti-fascist activist Blair Peach in 1979, in tag team with horses and dogs. The article which alleges this goes on to repeat the notions that when the police attack demonstrators attempting to exert pressure on the people supposed to be representing them, it is the demonstrators that are responsible for the consequent "violent disorder"; and that people can "trespass" in their own town hall. Then, while pretending there were no injuries among the protesters (I so far haven't seen any reports to the contrary, but I personally find it hard to believe that the heavily tooled-up riot squad came off the worse), it gives details of police injuries including smoke inhalation (with no other mention in the entire article of any smoke, which in addition to apparently being otherwise non-existant also seems to have miraculously left all of the demonstrators uneffected). It then claims that
    "The trouble flared after the initial demonstration over student fees and cuts in council services was hijacked by a larger group of protesters."
    ...protesters against what, if they were a separate entity to the 'initial demonstration? Your guess is as good as mine.

  • On the page opposite, about 200 words are devoted to
    "Party's not over for BNP says Barking film-maker"
    The article continues more or less in that vein. It highlights the disenfranchisement of many people from which the BNP benefit, while pointedly ignoring the roots of the issue in unemployment, low wages and housing trouble and the scapegoating of migrants for those problems by propaganda-heavy tabloids such as the Evening Standard itself. - apparently the online version has a different title.

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