Posts Tagged ‘Tiny Rowland’

Evening Standard Set to Sell Editorial Independence to Big Business

June 4, 2018

This is a very sobering video from Novara Media, which shows precisely how degraded the mainstream media is becoming, and implicitly, why independent news outlets like Novara and the other news sites and shows I repost here are so necessary.

Aaron Bastani reports and comments on an article put up by Open Democracy last Wednesday that the Evening Standard is due to sell its editorial independence to big business tomorrow, 5th July 2018. This move, led by editor George Osborne, who not at all coincidentally used to be Dave Cameron’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, will see the paper sell positive coverage to firms like Google and Uber for £3 million. Bastani states that this is important, as it breaks down the divide between journalism and paid-for advertising content. But, he continues, it’s nothing new.

He then talks about how the Evening Standard is owned by a collection of shady Russian oligarchs, and reflects their business interests. He goes on to describe how the media is increasingly dominated by Tory politicians. The first person to interview Donald Trump when he became president was Michael Gove in the Times. Danny Finkelstein is a Tory lord, and the Standard’s Associate Editor. Robbie Gibb, who is the brother of a Tory MP, and was Theresa May’s head of communications, edited the Beeb’s Daily and Sunday Politics. Boris Johnson has a column at the Torygraph, even though he’s Foreign Secretary.

Bastani concludes that the revolving door between politics, industry and the media has vanished, and those hitherto separate areas have become fused. He makes the point that while quality journalism is a public good, if it’s left to Osborne, Johnson, Gove and Lebedev we will have ‘a profoundly broken society’.

Bastani’s right, but this is just the latest development in a process that has been going on for a very long time. Editorial independence in many papers declined in the 1980s, when newspapers like the Observer were bought up by magnates with interests in multiple industries. Tiny Rowland, who owned the Observer, owned mining concerns in Zimbabwe, and so spiked stories that paper wanted to run exposing human rights abuses there. I also remember how, in the 1990s, Private Eye also ran articles every so often revealing how the Observer had published yet another glowing article about a country or corporation, without revealing that it was a puff piece paid for by the nation or company featured.

It’s also been the case that politicians very often have had their own columns in the papers, or written the odd article about a particular issue. Sometimes this happened after they left office. For example, David Blunkett was given a column in the Sun by Rupert Murdoch. As for Robbie Gibb at the Beeb, Mike’s put up a number of articles about the way the news department at the Beeb is dominated by members of the Tory party, including Nick Robinson and Laura Kuenssberg. And it seems every couple of months someone else leaves the Beeb to work for the Tories. But the Corporation still keeps on pompously denying that it’s biased, despite its vicious attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party.

But Bastani’s piece does show how far this process has gone, and is set to go, with the Evening Standard providing puff pieces for global corporations as news, while being packed, like the rest of the right-wing media, with Tory MPs. It’s almost a case of life imitating art. Or rather satire. Remember a few years ago, when people started satirising the corporate media with comments like ‘And now for our corporate approved content’, and slogans like ‘Remember: Corporate loves you.’ It now looks almost like Osborne saw the satire, but thought it was a good idea.

Until the mainstream media reforms itself, it has shown that it absolutely cannot be trusted. And people are far better off taking their news from the alternative media instead.

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Vox Political on the Lies about the Anti-Semitism Allegations in Jewish News

June 9, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has posted a piece attacking Jewish News for the falsehoods it has repeated about some of the leading Labour politicians and members, who have been unfairly accused of anti-Semitism. The newspaper has apparently told its readers that Ken Livingstone was suspended for saying that Hitler was a Zionist and Naz Shah for saying that Jewish Israelis should be relocated to the US. Neither of them made the comments that were attributed to them. Now it seems that a Black activist in Momentum, Marlene Ellis, has been suspended for saying that Hitler was involved with the Zionists.

Mike states that there is much in Ellis’ open letter which is highly questionable and open to criticism. That doesn’t no justify the disinformation coming out of Jewish News and other parts of the media. See his article:

Livingstone said that Hitler co-operated with Zionists, which was true. He did consider sending Jews to Israel instead of exterminating them for a short period of time. Just as the Stern Gang also considered collaborating with the Nazis to end what they saw as the British occupation of Israel during the Mandate. As for the remarks attributed to Naz Shah, she did not make them. Instead she retweeted a joke map, showing Israel being relocated to the US. It was posted by Norman Finkelstein, a fierce critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, who comes from a secular Jewish background. Finkelstein himself can in no way be described as an anti-Semite: he states very clearly that both his parents survived the Holocaust. It’s one of the reasons why he is so very bitter in his condemnation of the often cheap and gratuitous ways the Holocaust is invoked by the Zionist lobby. He is outraged at what he feels denigrates the real suffering of those who went through the horror, merely for a political or commercial advantage. The joke map he produced was a comment on an American joke about the two countries’ extremely close relationship: ‘Why doesn’t Israel become America’s 51st state?’ ‘Because then they’d only have two senators.’

Ellis in her open letter attacking Livingstone’s suspension, states that Corbyn has played into the hands of ‘Zionist criminals’. It’s strong words, but not unreasonable ones. Kyle Kulinski in the video I posted earlier attacking NY governor Andrew Cuomo’s criminalisation of state involvement with organisations connected to the BDS campaign, states that if any other country behaved like Israel does to the Palestinians, such as, say Iran, you’d never hear the end of the condemnations. He compares Israel’s treatment of them to South Africa’s treatment of Blacks during apartheid. South Africa was similarly criticised and subject to sanctions, and the apartheid regime collapsed.

This is what Cuomo and the other opponents of BDS fear. Kulinski in his video makes the case that the attacks on the campaign are bitter, because they’re having an effect: about 20 to 30 per cent of the companies dealing with the West Bank have closed and left, because of the sanctions campaign. And my guess – and it is only a guess, I don’t know – is that something similar is happening here. Several of the leading figures in the current right-wing Israeli government have their homes in the West Bank. We live in a world where newspapers are part of vast industrial conglomerates spanning the world. In the 1980s Tiny Rowland, the owner of the Absurder, was furious after the newspaper published a report on Mugabe’s massacre of the Ndebele people in Zimbabwe. Rowland’s company, Lonrho, had mining and other commercial interests in Zimbabwe, which he understandably did not wish to jeopardise by annoying its ruling thugs, and so wanted the report Mugabe’s butchery suppressed. It may well be that the proprietors of Jewish News have similar commercial interests in the Occupied Territories in Israel.

Ellis herself, and her organisation, Momentum Black ConneXions, a ‘Black power’ organisation, actually comes across as having views similar to Ken Livingstone and the GLC in the 1980s. She attacks the current Labour leadership as ‘White supremacists’. I don’t believe they are, but it’s the same point ‘Red’ Ken made in his book, Livingstone’s Labour. There’s an entire chapter devoted to Ken’s anti-racism views, entitled ‘Labour Should Have Listened to Black People’, in which he faults his party for its failure to support autonomous Black Labour organisations.

Mike himself also had someone turning up on Facebook, accusing him of anti-Semitism, and trying to lure him into making an anti-Semitic comment. Mike wasn’t fooled, and refused to be drawn in. It was a ridiculous allegation. I mentioned it to a friend of mine, who knows Mike in the pub the other week. He fell about laughing. Mike studied film and drama when he was at College, and performed in a piece about the Holocaust, in which he read out the names of some of those murdered by the Nazis. His Jewish friends were profoundly moved by the performance. So let’s have no more nonsense that criticising Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, or attacking the falsehoods of those, who seek to cover them up, or smear their critics, are anti-Semites.