Bring On the Clowns

George Monbiot on how the media has become a circus.

By selecting obnoxious twerps as its contributors, the media is changing the character of the nation.

If our politics is becoming less rational, crueller and more divisive, this rule of public life is partly to blame: the more disgracefully you behave, the bigger the platform the media will give you. If you are caught lying, cheating, boasting or behaving like an idiot, you’ll be flooded with invitations to appear on current affairs programmes. If you play straight, don’t expect the phone to ring.

In an age of 24-hour news, declining ratings and intense competition, the commodity in greatest demand is noise. Never mind the content, never mind the facts: all that now counts is impact. A loud-mouthed buffoon, already the object of public outrage, is a far more bankable asset than someone who knows what they’re talking about. So the biggest platforms are populated by blusterers and braggarts. The media is the mirror in which we see ourselves. With every glance, our self-image subtly changes.

When the BBC launched its new Scotland channel recently, someone had the bright idea of asking Mark Meechan – who calls himself Count Dankula – to appear on two of its discussion programmes. His sole claim to fame is being fined for circulating a video showing how he had trained his girlfriend’s dog to raise its paw in a Nazi salute when he shouted “Sieg Heil” and “Gas the Jews”. 

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17 comments:

  1. Monbiot contributed to the 'media circus' when he cheer led NATO terrorism propaganda in Syria. P.s he's went very quiet on Syria just as NATO has. Coincidence?

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    1. No he condemned the murderous attacks by the Assad regime and its Russian allies as he did the ISIS genocide against the Yazidis and supported the Kurdish YPG Nin their brave and successful campaign against ISIS. The black propagandists and troll armies from the Internet Research Agency have also also gone quiet.

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    2. He championed NATO fed propaganda allthewhile ignoring previous NATO lies concerning other imperialist campaigns I.e I know NATO are bad but the really need to do the right thing and remove a 'dictator'. Lest we forget. Pathetic pontificating always gets my goat.

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    3. What NATO lies about other imperialist campaigns? Has Putin not acted as an imperialist in Crimea, Ukraine, Georgia, Chechyna? Pathetic defending of murderous tyrants because they tick anti-Western boxes gets my goat.

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    4. Barry,

      What NATO lies about other imperialist campaigns?,

      Let's start with Libya....

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    5. Those of whom that obtain their information from to the news rather than from history can't help but fall for and indeed promote NATO terrorism and its propaganda no matter how much schooling they were given.

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    6. The Libyan mission was to prevent the massacre of civiians in Benghazi and was mandated by UN and Arab League resolutions.

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    7. Lessons from history: appeasement in the 1930s, Rwanda, Darfur, Srebinica, Camnbodia.

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    8. "'Libyan mission was to prevent the massacre of civiians in Benghazi"

      Lmao!

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    9. Barry - I could better understand your position were appeasement of Israel not highlighted. There seems to be this blind spot in your commentary on this.

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    10. Anthony

      Much as I oppose the occupation of the West Bank and revile Netananyu the ongoing Israeli/Palestine conflict differs in context and nature from the examples I list. It is those (such as the far left in the Labour party) whose opposition to the very existence of Israel and see it as the epicentre of evil in the world that are blind (wilfully or not) to human rights abuses and crimes against humanity elsewhere in the world (not least in Syria).

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    11. Barry - I think this is one of those cases when context becomes alibi

      The Israeli state is no less evil than the others and no less appeased.

      What sort of society but a morbidly sick one that does not utterly reject politicians like Benny Gantz who used a destroyed Gaza as proof of his reliability?

      Gantz did to Gaza what J├╝rgen Stroop did to the Warsaw Ghetto. Israel might not be the epicentre of evil in the world but it is certainly close to it.

      Here is an example of the evil

      this

      this

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    12. Anthony

      I do not dispute that Israel in the words of the UN "may" have committed war crimes just as other democracies i.e US and UK did in Iraq and Afghanistan and that all combatants do in all conflicts.

      Yes the occupation has crerated a moral sickness in Israeli society.

      But comparisons with Nazi Germany are, to put it mildly, wide of the mark because of the sheer scale and exterminatory intent of the crimes committed by the Nazis. The Warsaw Getto was ultimately a holding pen for Auschwitz and the other death camps. The same does not hold for Northern Ireland as you eloquently put it in the Blanket and does not for Gaza.

      I may fail the cricket test in the opinion of some TPQ contributors in relation to Israel-Palestine but I do not accept the validity of any Nazi-Israeli comparisons for the reasons I give in the article I have just submitted to TPQ.

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    13. Barry - but it is not just Nazi Germany you balk at comparing them too, it is other repressive regimes. To suggest that there is no comparison between what Stroop did in Warsaw and what Gantz did in Gaza seems absurd. Can you see a difference when you look at the images? At least in German society huge swathes of people voted against the Nazis. In Israel the choice was between two war criminals. It seems stunning that German society contained within it a stronger ethical substance than Israeli society.

      Have not seen the piece yet but thanks for sending it and we will get to it asap.

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    14. Anthony

      There were no elections in Germany after Hitler came to power in 1933. Political opponents of the Nazis ended up in Dachau, Buchenwald or worse. Say what you like about Israel but since its inception it has held competitive elections whose outcomes we may not like. There were other electoral options in Israel apart from the two "war criminals"; sadly left-wing options are of declining viability for reasons articulated elsewhere in Rabbi Lermer's excellent recent article in TPQ. Unlike Nazi Germany and other repressive regimes, Israel has an indepedent and activist judiciary and a flourishing civil society including a sadly diminishing in influence peace movement. The photo images of Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto may look similar but the numbers killed and the fate of the survivors were vastly different. For what its worth I fear that Israel is on the road to becoming an illiberal democracy on the lines of Orban's Hungary, Duerte Harry's Phillipines and Putin's Russia.

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    15. Barry - that there were no elections in Germany after Hitler came to power and there are in Israel shows a greater moral bankruptcy in Israel. In German elections prior to 1933 look at the anti-Nazi vote. A much higher percentage than the anti war criminal vote in Israel. That there were other electoral options in Israel yet the society still opted for the war criminals, is instructive. It really has to tell you something. Competitive elections within a racist society are not democratic. The Soviets held elections but …

      Independent and activist judiciary - that supports torture, repression, expansionism, murder - a much better description is that of Gideon Levy: subjugated judiciary.

      During the Warsaw uprising an estimated 13000 Jews were killed. Between 2000-2018 over 9,500 Palestinians had been killed (a conservative estimate) and most in Gaza. If the two areas looked the same after the bombing what was the purpose of the bombing by both Israelis and Nazis other than mass murder? Israeli historian Ilan Pappe describes Israeli policy in the Gaza Strip as an "incremental genocide."

      There is no moral difference between Jurgen Stroop and Benny Gantz, just a propagandist one devised by genocide deniers.

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  2. Fundamental/traditional misunderstanding of the dynamics at play. Take Brexit for example . I’ve asked before : If multinational corporations truly are the engines of the most fundamental power structures in our societies, then what exactly are the politicians “negotiating” with such apparent difficulty? It’s a shadow play. They have no power, and belies the assumption our media are too political and prone to producing fake news etc.

    The media have been incorporated into the hollowed out body politic, and thus it’s actually the politics that fake.

    A few edgy commentators, that feel fooled over Trump or believing Brexit could ever of happened, are now understanding this, but I’ve been here a long time.

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