2007 - 2021

The Comic Book Simplicity of Propaganda

This article was first published by MediaLens, reproduced with thanks.
The referendum campaign on Scottish independence heightened many people’s awareness of the pro-elite bias of the ‘mainstream’ news media. The grassroots power of social media in exposing and countering this bias was heartening to see. But the issue of independence for Scotland is just one of many where the traditional media consistently favour establishment power.
The essential feature of corporate media performance is that elite interests are routinely favoured and protected, while serious public dissent is minimised and marginalised. The BBC, the biggest and arguably the most globally respected news organisation, is far from being an exception. Indeed, on any issue that matters, its consistently biased news coverage – propped up, by a horrible irony, with the financial support of the public whose interests it so often crushes – means that BBC News is surely the most insidious propaganda outlet today.
Consider, for example, the way BBC editors and journalists constantly portray Nato as an organisation that maintains peace and security. During the recent Nato summit in Wales, newsreader Sophie Raworth dutifully told viewers of BBC News at Ten:
‘Nato leaders will have to try to tackle the growing threat of the Islamist extremists in Iraq and Syria, and decide what steps to take next. (September 4, 2014)
As we have since seen, the ‘steps’ that were taken ‘next’ meant a third war waged by the West in Iraq in just 24 years.
The same edition of BBC News at Ten relayed, uncontested, this ideological assertion from Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen:
‘Surrounded by an arc of crisis, our alliance, our transatlantic community, represents an island of security, stability and prosperity.’
In fact, the truth is almost precisely the reverse of Rasmussen’s assertion. Nato is a source of insecurity, instability, war and violence afflicting much of the world. True to form, BBC News kept well clear of that documented truth. Nor did it even remind its audience of the awkward fact that Rasmussen, when he was Danish prime minister, had once said:
‘Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think, it is something we know.’
That was embarrassing enough. But also off the agenda was any critical awareness that the Nato summit’s opening ceremony was replete with military grandeur and pomposity of the sort that would have elicited ridicule from journalists if it had taken place in North Korea, Iran or some other state-designated ‘enemy’. Media Lens challenges you to watch this charade without dissolving into laughter or switching it off before reaching the end.

Manic Waving Of The ‘Islamic Threat’ Flag

For months now, BBC News has been diligently broadcasting pronouncements from Washington and London about the hyped ‘threat’ of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Newsreader Huw Edwards stuck to this official script when he gravely told the nation on BBC News at Ten:

‘We’ll be looking at the options to contain the threat of Islamic State.’ (September 3, 2014)

The assumption of senior BBC news managers, to be swallowed wholesale by the public, is that there is a ‘threat’ that ‘we’ in the civilised West must ‘contain’. BBC News is following the ideological path laid down by US-UK state power, while robotically claiming its reporting is ‘balanced’ and ‘impartial’.
This propaganda campaign, enabled by BBC News and other corporate news media, prepared the way for the US-led bombing on ‘Isis group targets’ in Syria that began overnight on 22-23 September. In line with other power-friendly reporting, the Independent described the illegal intervention as ‘air strikes’ forming ‘part of the expanded military campaign authorised by President Obama, who has vowed to “degrade and destroy” Isis militants.’
The Guardian reported that ‘US and allies have deployed jets and missiles against militants’. The emphasis on ‘militants’ and ‘Isis targets’ overlooked the fact that, as usual, innocent civilians would suffer; as indeed they have, with seven civilians, including five children, killed in a bombing raid on a village in northern Syria. The Guardian’s report was based heavily on rhetoric deployed by high-ranking Pentagon figures, an anonymous ‘US official’ and President Obama. Tucked away at the end of the lengthy Guardian article was a tentative foray into the illegality of this latest US act of aggression:

‘The escalation of the war into Syria comes without explicit congressional authorisation. […] Obama has asserted that the 2001 Authorisation to Use Military Force against al-Qaida provides him with sufficient legal authority, something few legal scholars have embraced…’

This was a token, handwaving gesture that obscured the brute reality of yet more US violence in the superpower’s self-appointed role as the world’s policeman. More to the point, the US attack happened without the approval of the Syrian government, making it a war crime. But it would be beyond the pale for journalists in ‘the mainstream’ to report it as such.
Jon Sopel, embedded in Washington as BBC North America editor, reported on BBC News at Ten (September 23, 2014) that ‘the US has the vital support that it needs – that of the moderate Sunni states’: Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. These countries are all closely allied to, and supported by, US power. Moreover, particularly in the case of the oppressivetorture-ridden regime in Saudi Arabia, Sopel stretched the term ‘moderate’ beyond the limits of credibility.
Meanwhile, in a BBC news article purporting to explain the propaganda aspects of ‘the US-led campaign to confront IS in the Middle East’, BBC ‘security’ correspondent Frank Gardner wrote:
‘For Islamic State, the prospective benefits of Western troops engaging them on the ground are obvious.
‘They would at last have a chance to fight soldiers at close quarters, with all the propaganda impact that would have on people in the West.’
What was missing from Gardner’s analysis, as usual, were the ‘prospective benefits’ of yet another Western-led attack in the Middle East: he made no attempt to address the longstanding US need for strategic control of the region’s natural resources. Nor did Gardner broach the ‘propaganda impact’ of White House, Pentagon and Downing Street manipulation of the public in its channelling of disinformation via compliant Western news media. Again, this is the norm. If any young aspiring BBC journalist were to demonstrate a dangerous tendency for questioning this norm, never mind defying it, then he or she would never get within visible range of the ‘security’ correspondent’s exalted position.
On September 27, when the House of Commons voted to approve RAF strikes against ‘IS targets’ in Iraq, all three major political parties were in agreement. Serious opposition was virtually non-existent: a perennial feature of ‘our’ supposedly vibrant and stable Western politics. An overwhelming majority of MPs were in favour of bombing Iraq: 524 (81% of all MPs) and just 43 against (7%).
Among the general population, a massive propaganda campaign had succeeded in boosting support for bombing in just six weeks from 37% to 57%. That support amongst MPs (81%) was much higher than amongst voters (57%) gives the lie, yet again, to the notion that parliamentary ‘democracy’ is a real reflection of public interests and opinion.
Just as the Observer did when it infamously supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the paper showed its pro-war colours, couched in hand-wringing rhetoric about ‘doing the right thing’. Raining British bombs down on Iraq once again ‘was the right and moral thing to do.’ The refrain was echoed throughout Britain’s national newspapers, a remarkable indictment of ‘our free press’. A tweet from the Independent even opined:

‘Bringing democracy to the Middle East will not happen overnight, but could take generations’

It is beyond tragicomedy for a ‘left-leaning’ newspaper to claim that bombing countries is a precursor to ‘democracy’. Likewise, it defies rationality to proclaim that the West is motivated by concern for genuine self-determination in Middle East countries rather than, as history clearly shows, to crush the threat of any such indigenous development and thus maintain the West’s grip on the region’s rich resources.

Our Caring, Truthful And Fearless Leaders

Propaganda can be, and is, ramped up whenever necessary; particularly in times of war, as we saw above. But propaganda also operates by diverting attention away from uncomfortable truths. For example, reporting from within an establishment framework ensures that serious and sustained news reporting of Israel’s criminal role in brutally oppressing the Palestinian people is suppressed.
When the pro-Palestinian Respect MP George Galloway was recently subjected to a brutal street attack by a supporter of Israel, political and media elites closed ranks and refused to condemn what had happened. Imagine the uproar if an enraged Muslim had attacked a pro-Israel MP in the street. There would have been an outpouring of revulsion from the political and media establishment. Neil Clark noted the craven ‘mainstream’ silence to the attack on Galloway which:

‘speaks volumes about the type of country Britain has become and how our democracy and the freedom to speak our minds on foreign policy issues has been eroded.’

Galloway later told his followers on Twitter:

‘Labour leader [Ed] Miliband just passed me, struggling on the stairs with my walking stick, looked straight at me and walked on without a word…’

Of course, it is ironic that leading politicians constantly strive to foster a media image of themselves as caring, truthful and fearless. In reality, they are all beholden to powerful business and financial interests, and even afraid to step out of line; notably so when it comes to criticism of Israel. Political ‘leaders’ are virtual puppets with little, if any, autonomy; condemned to perform an elite-friendly role that keeps the general population as passive and powerless as possible. The corporate media plays an essential role here, as the British historian and foreign policy analyst Mark Curtis observes:

‘The evidence is overwhelming that BBC and commercial television news report on Britain’s foreign policy in ways that resemble straightforward state propaganda organs. Although by no means directed by the state, their output might as well be; it is not even subtle. BBC, ITV and Channel 5 news simply report nothing seriously critical on British foreign policy; the exception is the odd report on Channel 4 news. Television news – the source of most people’s information – provides the most extreme media distortion of [foreign policy news coverage], playing an even greater ideological function than the press.’ (Mark Curtis, ‘Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World’, Vintage, London, 2003).

Andrew MacGregor Marshall, the former Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad, recently related that:

‘there is tendency for the Western media to claim that it is neutral and unbiased, when in fact it’s clearly propagating a one-sided, quite nationalistic and selfish view of its own interventions in these countries.’

He continued:

‘If you want to accuse the US military of an atrocity, you have to make sure that every last element of your story is absolutely accurate, because if you make one mistake, you will be vilified and your career will be over. And we have seen that happen to some people in recent years. But if you want to say that some group of militants in Yemen or Afghanistan or Iraq have committed an atrocity, your story might be completely wrong, but nobody will vilify you and nobody will ever really check it out.’

The Dutch journalist Karel Van Wolferen recently wrote an insightful piece exposing the state-corporate propaganda that is so crucial to keeping the public in a state of general ignorance and passivity. There ‘could hardly be a better time than now’, he said, to study the effects of this ‘insidious propaganda’ in the so-called ‘free world’. He continued:

‘What makes propaganda effective is the manner in which, through its between-the-lines existence, it inserts itself into the brain as tacit knowledge. Our tacit understanding of things is by definition not focused, it helps us understand other things. The assumptions it entails are settled, no longer subject to discussion.’

Much of this propaganda originates in centres of power, notably Washington and London, and ‘continues to be faithfully followed by institutions like the BBC and the vast majority of the European mainstream media’. Thus, BBC News endlessly trumpets Western ‘values’ and takes as assumed that parliamentary ‘democracy’ represents the range of acceptable public opinion and sensible discourse. Underpinning this elite-supporting news framework is a faith-based ideology which Van Wolferen calls ‘Atlanticism’. This doctrine holds that:

‘the world will not run properly if the United States is not accepted as its primary political conductor, and Europe should not get in America’s way.’

The result?

‘Propaganda reduces everything to comic book simplicity’ of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’.

As we have frequently noted in our media alerts, a major feature of this ‘comic book simplicity’ is that ‘our’ governments have benign motives and that their overriding concern is to keep the general population safe and secure. Sadly, the truth behind this ‘web of deceit’ is not so comforting.

Comments (45)

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  1. Dan Huil says:

    This article hits several nails on the head.
    The vast majority of british newspapers are, as said, comics and must be studiously avoided.
    The biggest culprit is the BBC, especially since we are expected to pay its licence tax.
    Standing in line at my local shop I read [didn’t buy] the front page of today’s Daily Mail which said the BBC tax was on its way out to be replaced by subscription, but not for a few years yet. Now, more than ever, is the time for people in Scotland to take a stand and refuse to pay this unionist/imperialist tax.

  2. yerkitbreeks says:

    The ultimate example was the New York Times reporting of events during the East Timor massacres ( and really anything at all to do with Israel over the years ).

  3. David Agnew says:

    Seems our media are keen to recreate the 5 o’clock follies from Vietnam. Soon it will be a rehash of what went before, with talks about “what is our strategy” – “is this time to surge?” – “Is the clock against us?” – “Now is the time to win hearts and minds” – such a wretched and disgusting waste.

  4. Stuart Murray says:

    MediaLens & Bella, this is a wonderful article, thank you. This is why the Yes movement has always been about much more than Scotland. We share this new consciousness, this awareness of the mass media’s lies, with millions of other people around the world. The fact that this spirit is embodied in the Yes movement is one of the major things that has won us support across the world. The Guardian is a paper I used to read and enjoy – but their bias against Russia regarding Ukraine and their bias in the referendum campaign really turned my stomach. I now wouldn’t use it as an alternative to toilet roll. The Independent was another paper I used to enjoy, but since being taken over by (the buffoon) Lebedev, it really has nosedived; it reads more like the Daily Mail every day. The one topic I wish MediaLens had mentioned was MH17. That, for me, was the worst example of British and American media propaganda I have ever seen – even worse than the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War, and that’s saying something. The treatment of Russia by the media is disgraceful in the extreme. Even Channel 4, which normally has some excellent reporting, was spouting the same Fox News-esque nonsense (Alex Thomson aside). I wish the Yes movement could reach out to the Russian diaspora in Scotland, because we know all-too-well what they are experiencing at the hands of the BBC, CNN et al.
    p.s. am I the only person who is cynical about the Sunday Herald? I hear the paper receiving effusive praise from Yessers, but (unless I’m mistaken) the Sunday Herald is owned by the Herald; isn’t it rather obvious that it was a business decision, rather than any ideological one? Of course there are many great Yes people in the Sunday Herald, but I’m sure there are in the offices of other newspapers too. These individuals should be praised, but to praise the Sunday Herald as an institution? Not for me.

  5. jaffamcneill says:

    You know it’s a constant source of surprise to me that those who shout loudest against Israel have a blind spot the size of Fife when it comes to Hamas oppression and attacks on ordinary Palestians, really it does. As does their acute lack of interest in the oppression of Chinese, Korean, Tamil, Iranian and African people. What could possibly explain it I wonder?

    1. mic1973 says:

      there’s plenty of msm propaganda too, maybe that explains something ..

      1. yerkitbreeks says:

        ” What could possibly explain it I wonder?

        ” It’s the utter fascination, Jaffa. it’s the fact Hamas fires its “kitchen” rockets in exasperation at the indefinite blockade of Gaza while aware American F35As or drones circle.

        It’s social media directing us to films such as ” Five broken Cameras ” while the New York Times bigs up the care the IDF takes.

        It’s the victimhood starting point of all Israeli aggression – a perfect ploy to avoid outsiders asking what is ” Semitism ” , now seen emanating in all its Middle East glory.

        I could go on !

    2. Tommy B says:

      It’s a constant source of surprise to me that you haven’t been outed as this site’s resident assigned Zionist troll, even you nickname Jaffa is a taken from a Palestinian town allocated to the state of Palestine by the UN in their 1948 partition of Palestine to create the religious supremacist Zionist state on stolen land. The Arab population of Jaffa being killed outright or driven out to face starvation and disease and eventual death as refugees.

      I’m afraid you’ve got form for this type of post, and I hope others and those new to this site do not fall for your bile, and instead ignore your fantical and divisive ravings.

    3. Bill Jones says:

      Because the west was responsible for the massive crime of vomiting the State of Israel on the people of Palestine.

    4. Tell me about Hamas oppression. You mean how they killed 1700 civilians in a fifty day war recently while Israel only killed 5 civilians? I know, that’s terrible.

      Oh wait, sorry!

      It’s the other way round.

      Israel killed 1700 civilians, injured 11,000, and internally displaced hundreds more in GAZA, for the crimes of the Qawasameh tribe (a small tribal faction out of the control of Hamas), who killed three Israeli teens in the WEST BANK. While Hamas killed 67 soldiers and five civilians-two of which were killed by friendly fire.

      You know, I deplore Hamas but that only means the government of Israel, and I don’t talk about the Israeli population, I know a few Israelis against this occupation, ranks even lower.

      How dare those 1.8 million Gazans (population of Northern Ireland) be unhappy with living in a strip 7 miles wide and 23 miles long, which they cannot leave and the imports and exports of which are controlled by the Israeli state down to the last calorie (so to put it in the worlds of Israeli politicians, putting Gaza on a ‘diet’), as well as the airspace, borders and territorial waters . Ah, it must be anti-Semitism.Those stupid Palestinians, such low IQs, clearly, as was said in someone else’s words, deserve to die.

      You want oppression of African people? Israel seems to be doing that quite well too.



      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlotK1zBtbk – racist israel rally , cries of ‘Tel Aviv for the Jews”, attended by Knesset member (minister) Dr Michael Ben-Ari: “the Jewish nation lives! He’s doing a good job there with the african infiltrators, he doesn’t allow them to attend school and restricts their movements. We need that for Tel Aviv!”

      “Their place is in sudan, not here. this is a Jewish state!”

      And to those few Israelis who protest this:

      “Disgusting, why should my son go to school with Sudanese? Take them to your neighbourhood and see the property values dropping.”

      “You are disgusting, you leftist fascist. This is a Jewish state, you are a cancer to this country.”

      “Who are you married to? You are married to a n****!”

      “May you be raped!”

      As you can see, some young Israeli women seem to think it a source of pride to be racist towards these ‘psychopathic murdering n****’ to ‘preserve their sanity and their life’ in fact, and although there are racists in every country in the world, *I don’t remember any higher Minister and politican even in Westminster egging on and encouraging such bigotry*, to the point of calling African immigrants ‘infiltrators’ who should be ’rounded up’ and ‘sent back home’ because they threaten the ‘ethnic balance’ of Israel.

      You know, ever. This is about Scotland, and media bias in general, and not your own ideological agenda, but since you brought it up, I thought I would answer.

      Jog on.

  6. Stuart Murray says:

    I read that the airhead Jeremy Clarkson got properly stoned in Argentina. Wonder if he enjoyed the trip? I loved reading about it. Peace and love to all the Argentines.

    1. gonzalo1 says:

      Viva el pueblo de Argentina. Malvinas son Argentinas.

      1. Stuart Murray says:

        Couldn’t agree more.

      2. Inspector Sands says:

        Not really, they belong to the people who live there. But if you like a stone throwing mob, go right ahead. Hate Clarkson by the way, but despise bullies even more.

    2. Dean Richardson says:

      Use of the words ‘stoned’ and ‘trip’ in such close proximity can be a bit ambiguous, especially as he does Top Gear.

  7. Stuart Murray says:

    “The BBC…denied the offending car was chosen for its number plate.” (BBC News today)
    Another lie. Let’s get out of this embarassing British state before it’s too late.

  8. War is they way of capitalism,without creating wars the capitalist society would crumble.The citizens of “the West” are kept in ignorance,ignorance that their wealth and style of living is based on killing those not agreeing with the multi-international companies.Wars are about money for some it is only being waged so that some families have larger pots of money than others.Another reason to have these big countries broken down to their composite states.

  9. Stuart Murray says:

    Comic book simplicity is the perfect way to describe the tabloid papers. Bold fonts, bright and brash colours, all designed to attract the little children, the people of the UK. Taking newspapers’ shallow content aside, their kitschy visuals have seeped into almost every area of daily life, whether it’s food packaging, tv programmes, signage or architecture. The spaceships that have landed on the banks of the Clyde are testiment to this infantilism. ‘Fun’ over substance. It’s more important that the Clyde looks ‘cool, wow, inspiring!’ than that it has any substance – i.e. any use whatsoever for the people of areas like Govan. When you see a bright-purple-coloured train riding through the countryside, it’s just another minor indicator that we’ve lost all connection with the nature that surrounds us. When plastic adorns the interior furnishings of our buildings, and glass and metal panelling is all that adorns the exterior of new buildings, we see where our connection with history has gone. Razor-thin metal sheeting (best price!) over natural materials like stone and wood. We are living in a tabloid world.

  10. Patrick Hogg says:

    Good piece. Our wonderfully obedient British propaganda narrative (without much analyses) pushed the Cameron Tory agenda from day one with Syria to aid abet and help fund and arm the Opposition in Syria, which boosted and strengthened ISIL/IS, Hell-bent on opposition to Assad, Britain fed ISIS with support and also as a by-product with the anti-Assad propaganda encouraged Terror-Tourism from the UK, with young men and women going to assist the ‘rebels’ fighting against Assad. The newspapers were full of Assad hatred. So, the obvious conclusion is as plain as day – The British government helped to create and grow IS by their foreign policy and war-mongering assistance for Assad’s opposition forces even knowing the graphic reality that one of IS leading blood-cult maniacs ripped a dead man’s heart out eating it in front of others. What sort of a government would support such people? Mr Cameron and co sowed Dragon’s teeth with their policy in Syria. Hence the British government and its compliant media carry considerable responsibility for emboldening IS, even if they did not see the unintended consequences of what they did..

  11. oldbattle says:

    Sorry for double posting BUT look behind the comic to see the work of dirty and dangerous power. They kill journalists in Colombia.
    Many years ago I was working in the ‘communications business’ when the company I worked with were are asked to run an election campaign for an out of power centrist social -democratic party on a Caribbean island. The appointed political director ‘de bass” was a Caribbean journalist and former news-editor recruited by the CIA to run an ‘independent’ news stream to counter the left wing surge across the region (late 70s). He wrote stories for several media houses and had the power of dollars to have them run. He was a cold war media Washington mercenary.
    But after the defeat of the anti-imp movement with the invasion of Grenada 1983 he lost the work and had to ‘freelance’ in the dirty world of party politics. But he had been well trained and knew the black-arts of election ‘communications’ with its intoxicating mix of absurd lies, grey lies, and manipulation of working journos.
    But he knew above all the power of the dollar (as per the Langley manual) and bought front pages, editorial and op ed pieces and news stories sent across the region with invented leaks and fictional quotes.
    I recognised much of the same in the MSM during our recent repression of the truth managed and manipulated by agencies of the British state and I would suggest agencies of the USA who did not want a weak UK.
    So Bella et al you must know the battalions of media manipulators who are ( and have been ) engaged to obey the British state and its friends in big capital.
    Don’t ever underestimate the level and ubiquity of corruption, deceit and evil in the relationship twixt Parliamentary power, elite power and the press.
    Media fascism is not a fiction. So watch your back Bella. They’ll come for you!

    1. Aspen says:

      Anti war march in London today. No report of it on BBC or ITV picked it up on RT

  12. Stuart Murray says:

    The BBC are today reporting that Tesco have taken delivery of a 30m GBP private jet, their fifth in a fleet. The BBC reporter states that, “There is a theory that when big companies splash out on new headquarters or other lavish items, their demise is waiting around the corner. ”
    I think it’s wrong that any company should blow 150 m GBP on 5 private jets, but it’s interesting that the BBC is suddenly taking a very dim view of this lavishness. That’s the second bad news story to come out about Tesco in just over a week. It’s almost as if Tesco has done something to annoy the British establishment…

  13. Scottie says:

    Good article. I was always point people to john pilger’s film, but it’s not conducive to our sensitive ‘british’ palate…

    1. Stuart Murray says:

      Thanks, Scottie. One of the most interesting docs I’ve seen recently was Four Horsemen by the Renegade Economist. The video this week on independence (‘Stealing Independence’) looks good too.

  14. Monty says:

    Much of this is true but seems to me to underestimate the ability of people to evaluate what they are reading and viewing and also that the view from Scotland, England, United States, israel or Palestine etc. is bound to be different and subject to a cultural prism of some sort or other. All news sources msm or otherwise take a point of view. At least in the case of the BBC, Telegraph, guardian and so on we have a good idea of what the influences and bias is. This might not be so possible in the case of an apparently independent sources. Does anybody nowadays take news from only one or a couple of sources and even if they do accept what they are reading as truth?
    I do worry about people rejecting completely the msm and restricting themselves to alternative sources which while a useful balance are no more truthful. As for the msm having a pro elite bias what else would you expect

    1. Heather says:

      The msm are to be viewed with the utmost suspicion that they are lying, manipulating and twisting facts to dance to the tune of their masters, usually political and corporate organisations who abuse power and abhor democracy.
      You just have to read the book, ‘Techniques of persuasion, from propaganda to brainwashing’ by J A C Brown to see how far back this manipulation goes in history, its nothing new.
      Many people do actually believe what they read, see and hear as gospel, from the msm, I know many like that, even very intelligent folk! They do not really question anything, complain about things but also ignore reality for a quiet life. Job done, easy peasy for those in power.

  15. Scottish Exile says:

    I have lived overseas for many decades and get BBC World TV and well as other international channels.
    Prior to the referendum the BBC was unashamedly biased and even when trying to be balanced the knife was still there.
    As soon as the No vote was clear the bias turned to gloating starting with stills of jubilant No campaigners and unflattering shots of the defeated Yes folks then came the reports about Scotland having to fall into line plus little throwaway lines from studio anchors.
    The Beeb’s reputation went to rock bottom as far as I’m concerned but I doubt they’ll be in the least bit worried.

    1. Stuart Murray says:

      Hi Mr Exile, I think you’re absolutely right. You know, I just had an idea…but I always get the greatest ideas at night, which turn out to be bad in the morning. I also live abroad, and was thinking wouldn’t it be interesting if ex-pat Yes people set up blogs which reported on good intitiatives that are going on in their host countries e.g. community initiatives, eco work, interesting building projects, whatever. They could be individual blogs for each country, or a specific expat blog that people could submit to. Maybe sites like Bella and Wings would highlight some of the stories. There’s a huge Scottish diaspora, of course, and some people like yourself have lived abroad most of their lives; so there’s a wealth of worldly information out there that could produce useful ideas for change in Scotland (based on whatever peoples host countries have already tried and succeeded in doing), or it could put forward ‘out of the box’ ideas for a post-independent Scotland. At the least, it would be interesting to hear about what other countries are doing through the prism of Scottish/Yessers eyes. Even if I wake up tomorrow and thinks it’s a rubbish idea, we might as well be putting ideas forward.

      1. Stuart Murray says:

        Update: I’m now just scanning the long grass with my metal detector. Hoping to come across my lead balloon soon.

  16. Clootie says:

    We all know what is going on. What I don’t understand is why the majority of the public don’t?

    1. James Coleman says:

      Easy. People like you and I who read I’net blogs and discussions are well informed, And we have just come through a 3 year maelstrom of anti-Scottish Independence propaganda from the media so we KNOW now about how proaganda is and has been used against us. But I am now also well aware as to how similar techniques are being and have been used to inculcate the western establishment’s views into ordinary people in these islands and the wide west.

      Israel is the most shocking example of the media using propaganda to deprive the people of the truth. Simple facts are: Gaza around 2000 civilian deaths, mainly women and children, Israel: about 30 mainly army deaths, yet Gaza is condemned as the aggressors. WHY?

      Unfortunately the ordinary people everywhere DO NOT think they are being brainwashed because they, wrongly, think that the BBC and other media outlets are “telling the truth”. I wish.

  17. I just got in and put on the BBC website to see what they were reporting, you know with the war and beheadings – the most watched video on the news home page is that someone’s shoe fell off on Strictly! Fuck me!

  18. Fay Kennedy. says:

    Great article as usual. But as far as reaching out to the Scottish diaspora in Australia goes it would be a hard task to find anything that is resisting this toxic manipulation that is mainstream journalism The political reps and the general population have fallen for the right wing agenda full blast. I despair every day as to any kind of democratic future. Every day there is another rule or regulation to keep people anxious and stressed without any restraint or euphemism used in the discourse of those in power.

  19. gh says:

    “This is the letter the Daily Express doesn’t want you to see. So please share it as widely as possible.”


  20. Philipi says:

    We all have defenses against lies of the media, but what few have defenses against are the implications of the lies, which slip into our consciousness through the back door. Take the beheadings, for example, which granted are horrible events. However, the implications are that 1. we would never do anything like that, 2. That they are in fact done by those the media tells us did them, 3. Their motivation was sheer evil, etc. In fact, the US and allies have murdered millions of innocent civilians in far worse ways than beheadings. Our close ally Saudi Arabia beheads people every day of the week for far lesser reasons. It appears that ISIS is actually the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. We assue that the lack of apparent motive shows what lunatics they are. The question we need to ask ourselves is who benefits? The beneficiary is those who want to make westerners so angry they will demand war with the perpetrators, whoever they may be, as defined by those who are behind the wars to begin with.

  21. fr says:

    “former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers.”


  22. Clydebuilt says:

    quote Stuart Murray
    “am I the only person who is cynical about the Sunday Herald? I hear the paper receiving effusive praise from Yessers, but (unless I’m mistaken) the Sunday Herald is owned by the Herald; isn’t it rather obvious that it was a business decision, rather than any ideological one?

    Whatever lies behind the Heralds decision If it’s on our side it should be supported.

    If the Sunday Hetrald’s stance is a business decision then why is the daily edition not pro Indy .

    another possibility is the Herald was allowed / instructed to go Pro Indy to act as a presure relief valve. It’s circulation was small and wouldn’t have major influence on election.

    At the end of the day all we can do is speculate on the motives of the Sunday Herald. So I go back to …… If it’s on our side it should be supported.

    1. Heather says:

      It seemed a ruse to keep the yes side happy…and keep the people buying it and having faith in the msm, I still stand by that view.

  23. Excellent that Bella published an article from MediaLens; I remember first stumbling across the two David’s work a couple of years ago. Always absolutely brilliant and sheds light in the media’s murkiest hour. This needs to be shared as many times as possible on social media.

  24. Neil Anderson says:

    quote Stuart Murray
    “am I the only person who is cynical about the Sunday Herald? I hear the paper receiving effusive praise from Yessers, but (unless I’m mistaken) the Sunday Herald is owned by the Herald; isn’t it rather obvious that it was a business decision, rather than any ideological one?

    I have had similar thoughts to Stuart and am inclined to agree. Herald, Sunday Herald and the Evening Times all out of the same stable yet only one of the 3 backed independence. Seems questionable to me. A hedging of bets is going on and I don’t trust it. Sooner the Common Weal and others start producing a new and trustworthy media, the better.

  25. I put this as a comment on Derek Bateman’s blog. I wonder if you may wish to share it with your readers?

  26. oldbattle says:

    In The Guardian comments page in article by readers’ editor(sic) newswatch published a submission stating that the Guardian published 30 pro NO stories; 3 pro YES and 12 non-partisan?????

  27. Tanitoc says:

    Great article, with a fine analysis of these issues and with… a completely inept title ! I thought the days of contempt for Comic strips were over -judging by the quality of debates and papers at the Glasgow and Dundee Comics Conference 2013, for instance, and by the number of international students currently writiing PhDs on the subject : http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/ibds/?page_id=91- (not to mention articles by experts such as British critic Paul Gravett). It is therefore surprising -to say the least- that you should be ignoring that Scotland is a forth-thinking place for the study and appreciation of this 19th century artform : the days of legitimation are long over, one would expect a bright and articulate mind such as yours to aknowledge this evolution. Finally, do I need to mention the contribution of artists such as Joe Sacco or Art Spiegelman (to limit myself to prominent English-speaking creators) to the understanding of complex political issues – including the propaganda dimension you cleverly expose ?… With best regards, Tanitoc (Comic strips artist and lecturer, member of the International Bande Dessinée Society and of -now defunct- Cartoonists & Comic Artists Members -SCCAM- Club)

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