Tag Archives: Bias

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You

The Media – A week in review

“But, given the scale of the budget ahead on December 7th, the most severe in the history of this State, everyone will be hit in order to cut back by this magnitude of money. It is to be hoped that those with the broadest shoulders will carry the greater burden. Fairness and equity across the public and private sectors are paramount.” [Editorial, The Irish Times, 5/11/10]

“Brendan Smith, the agriculture minister, announced a European Union-funded scheme today that will enable the country to tuck into the EU’s cheese mountain. 53 tonnes of fresh cheddar will be distributed from 15 November with collection centres in towns and cities around the country.

The minister said the scheme was “an important means of contributing towards the well-being of the most deprived citizens in the community”.

“I am very conscious that many people find themselves in difficult circumstances at present and I want to commend the work of the many charitable organisations who are working on the front line to bring what comfort and relief they can,” said Smith.” [The Guardian, 5/11/10]

‘We’ overload from the Examiner

“ANYONE who loves this country, anyone who takes pride in the idea of being Irish, has had their view of their country, and their place in it, challenged over the last few years.

The once-great, or at least that’s how they were imagined, cornerstones of society have squandered their moral authority as their self-serving instincts and corruption were revealed to a population no longer prepared to be deferential or patronised. We once respected a sovereign government and a powerful political class, we once respected an unchallengeable church, all-powerful banks and public sector unions but how things have changed.” [Public sector reform – Enough of this insane nonsense, Editorial, Irish Examiner, 30/10/10]
Read on if you can, it doesn’t get a better. The summary is, everything bad that has happened to the country over the last 50 years is down to some low paid public sector workers taking a half hour off to go to the bank every couple of weeks.
This is without doubt one of the most absurd editorials written in the last 2 years, in any paper.
A corrupt Taoiseach, leaving a incompetent government; a corrupt banking industry, leaving a legacy of debt; a morally bankrupt church, leaving a legacy of abuse. Yet the Examiner does not cry “Enough!”
Yet when the Civil Public and Services Union “oppose moves to end arrangements whereby their members were given half an hour a week to cash pay cheques” on the grounds that “secretary generals and assistant secretaries general had not volunteered to give up privilege days” the Examiner has a veritable awakening.
It’s about time I guess, only about 37 days until the budget.

Remember children…

Eamon Gilmore is not a serious man:

“EAMON Gilmore’s lack of a credible cabinet of policies is the modern day political equivalent of the vain emperor’s folly.” [Irish Independent, 18/10/10]

“On Saturday last, Mary Byrne brought ‘The X Factor’ house down with a stunning rendition of ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, Just Be Close at Hand’. Her performance was marked by clarity, honesty and dignity.  Eamon Gilmore might prefer that other old number, ‘You don’t have to give the details, just tell us we’ll be grand’.” [Irish Independent, 18/10/10]

“Gilmore has been sailing along, careful to avoid nailing his colours to any mast. Presumably he is doing so in the hope of gaining power, where he could implement whatever agenda it is that he is being very coy about.” [Irish Times, 18/10/10]

Israel says, Israel says, Israel says

Dear Mark,
Having just read your piece in today’s Irish Times, ‘Report says Israel violated international law’, I just wanted to ask why you led the first four paragraphs with statements from the Israeli government?
Were there no other reactions to the report? Have the families of those who were killed made any comments? Would it not have been reasonable to lead with the findings of the report and mention the government reactions (Palestine and Turkey too) in the closing paragraphs?
I can understand that you’re the correspondent in Jerusalem, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to act as a public relations officer.
Yours sincerely,

Previous MediaShots on the subject:

‘The false reality of news journalism’ – Reporting Palestine and the Mavi Marmara

‘Officials say’, ‘officials say’, ‘according to an official’

Ireland is at a crossroads

The Media – A week in review

[Click on the image to enlarge]

Text reads:

Left (to the pub) – Economic Hardship and a scarcity of jammy dodgers

Right (to bed) – Economic Prosperity and an abundance of jammy dodgers

This is just an example for illustration purposes, almost any mainstream news editor could equally fill the role.

I don’t fully understand the alleged jammy dodgers obsession [via @Madam_Editor], but it is funny.

Dave Spart meets Noam Chomsky

I was listening to Noam Chomsky delivering the 5th Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture: The Unipolar Moment and the Culture of Imperialism:

…which reminded me of this friendly defamation I ‘suffered’ at the hands of a senior correspondent at the Irish Times back in 2007, in a discussion on RTE’s Tonight with Vincent Browne show following the first in a series of lectures Chomsky gave at UCD. [starts at 37mins 40sec] Thankfully Harry Browne rode to this annoymous persons defense.

Tonight with Vincent Browne 17/01/07

[Interesting use of sound effects at 41mins 21sec]

The actual question that I asked was:

“To what extent is the corporate media; The Irish Times, The Guardian, The Irish Independent etc complicit in Iraq’s illegal war, as a result of their inaccurate portrayal of the case for war and the continuing conflict?”

And Chomsky’s response was:

“The US press, and I don’t think its different elsewhere. In fact the continent is often worse; German press, French press. The war in Iraq is described in the manner that some highschool newspaper would describe the local sports team. The framework of discussion is always ‘how well are we doing?’, ‘did the coach make a mistake?’, ‘should he have substituted another player?’, ‘can we do better next time?’

I have virtually never seen a departure from that framework in the Western press. It’s the way most totalitarian states describe their own atrocities. Within that framework you do get some criticism, but the framework itself is so totally distorted that you just can’t comment on it. And it’s true in case after case…The framework of discussion is so skewed, that even extremely good reporting, and it does exist, is within a framework that is imposing serious mis-impressions.” [MediaBite, A crime within a crime within a crime, 09/01/07]

The complete lecture “Democracy Promotion: Reflections on Intellectuals and the State” can be found here.

Audio – “Conflict in the Middle East: Irish Media Bias?”

A rough audio recording of the discussion hosted by Leviathan Political Cabaret at the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival, featuring Robert Fisk, Richard Boyd Barrett, John McGuirk and Vincent Lavery. The discussion was chaired by Harry Browne.

It’s here in 5 parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

For some context on John McGuirk’s rather one sided version of the attack on the Mavi Marama, we’d like to direct readers here:

‘The false reality of news journalism’ – Reporting Palestine and the Mavi Marmara

and for more on the Israel Palestine conflict:

‘Officials say’, ‘officials say’, ‘according to an official’

McGuirk also claimed that Hamas refused to accept the aid brought by the flotilla when it was delivered to the border by the IDF. However, this is only a half truth:

“Hamas has said it will not permit the supplies to enter the besieged territory until all detained activists are released and Israel agrees to deliver all aid consignments, including construction materials.” [The Guardian, 3/06/10]

In McGuirk’s defense I thought it was particularly unfair for Fisk to argue that one had to have been to Palestine and Israel to have an opinion on the conflict.

“Conflict in the Middle East: Irish Media Bias?”

A discussion hosted by Leviathan Political Cabaret at the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival, featuring Robert Fisk, Richard Boyd Barrett and Vincent Lavery. The discussion will be chaired by Harry Browne.

Thursday, September 9th 2010

Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire

Reuters – Bureau Chief, Iraq

There’s another article in today’s Irish Times about US plans to reduce troop numbers in Iraq. It makes the same ‘mistakes’ as previous reports mentioned here and here. But among the errors and distortions there is one howler that stands out…

Dear Michael,

Further to your report on the latest reduction in US troops numbers in Iraq [1], which I came across in the Irish Times [2], I wanted to point out the following. You write:

“up to 106,071 Iraqi civilians also died in fierce warfare unleashed between majority Shi’ites and minority Sunni Muslims who dominated the country under Saddam.”

This figure corresponds to that provided by Iraq Body Count [3], who count those civilian deaths reported in the media. Yet IBC freely admit their figures “can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war.” [4]

Further, the deaths recorded by IBC “includes deaths caused by US-led coalition forces and paramilitary or criminal attacks by others.” [5]

Kind regards,

David [Email, 19/8/10]

Reuters Bureau Chief, Iraq, Michael Christie responded as follows:

“thanks for outpointing” [Email, 19/8/10]

1. http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE67H62C20100819
2. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0819/breaking2.html
3. http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6045112.stm
5. http://www.iraqbodycount.org/about/

Response to “War – Defense – Security – ?”

Response to War – Defense – Security – ?:

“Thank you very much for your email.
I thought I was entering a note of caution when I made clear that the shift from the combat fighting role was largely a linguistic one – noting Obama’s acknowledgment that there would still be “American sacrifice”. And of course the reduction from 140,000 or so in early 2009 has been a longer term process.
Indeed, the August 2010 date was always something of a midway point between the dates the Bush administration agreed with the Iraqis, for withdrawing US troops from Iraqi cities in summer of 2009 and supposedly pulling out altogether at the end of 2011.
So I take your wider point that there was a certain amount of spin in the speech – which is why I described it as an attempt to boost his standing as a war president and contrasted his claims with the casualty figures, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

All best and thanks again” [Email, 4 August, 2010]

My bad. Sometimes you just need a bigger magnifying glass to find the criticial analysis.