How the news is weaponised by its corrupting influences

A fundamental element of a functioning democracy is a free press. However, due to the increasingly intimate relationship of the mainstream media with financial markets, banks, and politicians, the free-press is not so much the guardian of democracy, but rather the guardian of wealth and the establishment. The insidious betrayal of our free press is then compounded by the monopolistic ownership of our national broadcasters and the conflicts of interest that arise from various shareholders influencing coverage of certain topics to line their own pockets (i.e ITV and Sky). Moreover, to make things even more biased, the BBC, which is supposed to circumvent these shady influences, is habitually omitting news that would reflect poorly on the Conservative government (e.g. BMJ linking 120,000 deaths to austerity), and has a nasty habit of framing news, events, and people in ways that do not adhere to their mission of informing the public in an unbiased way. For these reasons, it is essential that Labour voters are aware of these vested interests and how the powerful manipulate the public by manufacturing outrage, setting the boundaries of debate, and sowing discord in the left leaning electorate.

Before outlining a propaganda model, it is necessary to evidence the claims made in my opening paragraph. The accusation that these broadcasters operate at the behest of the establishment interests is common and widely understood to be generally true. But, this assertion takes on a more concrete platform when addressing the major shareholders of each broadcaster. Below I will list each of the networks largest shareholders and then correlate the share price of a couple shareholders with political events to illustrate the impact of political decision making and why they care who gets elected.

I will begin with ITV;

ITV PLC Large Shareholders Nature of business Total number of shares or interests in shares
The Goldman Sachs Group Investment bank 843,943,939
Liberty Group Incorporated Limited Telecommunications 398,515,510
BlackRock Inc. Investment management 306,303,502
Amerprise Financial, Inc and its group Financial services 206,179,898
The Capital Group Companies Inc. Financial services 404,675,342

Obtained from ITV PLC accounts

The Goldman Sachs Group is the largest individual shareholder for ITV. Since the UK election and the US elections have resulted in Conservative victories (i.e. Republicans and Tories), the share price has steadily been climbing because they anticipate deregulation and corporate friendly policies which are the norm for conservative governments. However, Trump did something the financial sector was not anticipating on March 13th; he issued an executive order blocking the impending takeover of Qualcomm by its Singapore-based rival Broadcom. As a direct result of this action, Goldman Sachs share price dropped 88.21% from 266.70 to 19.47. The reason for this momentary depreciation is not known, but it seems unlikely not to have been in some way linked to the executive order.

Additionally, The Capital Group Companies Inc. having a significant number of shares in one of our national broadcasters is problematic for a couple reasons. The first is because Theresa May’s husband works for the group as a ‘relationship manager’ and is at the very least disconcerting. The second, and perhaps most alarming, is that Capital Group Companies is the second largest shareholder in BEA Systems and Lockheed Martin. Both of which are weapons manufacturers that saw their share prices rally as UK-US-France attacked the alleged chemical weapons site in Syria.

And now Sky;

SKY PLC Large Shareholders Nature of business Total number of shares or interests in shares
Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.* Media 672,783,139
UBS AG Investment management 118,214,436
The Baupost Group LLC Hedge fund 81,650,880
Société Générale Gestion SA Fund management 54,090,720
HSBC Global Asset Management (UK) Ltd. Asset management 51,398,615
BNP Paribas Asset Management France SAS Asset management 49,850,900
BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Ltd. Asset management 41,335,605
The Vanguard Group, Inc. Investment management 32,682,094
Legal & General Investment Management Ltd. Investment management 25,011,357
Norges Bank Investment Management Investment management 23,411,457

Obtained from Market screener

BlackRock is not the largest shareholder of Sky PLC, but due to its UK base, it is most relevant to this article. As well as being a significant shareholder in Sky, they are also one of the largest shareholders in BEA Systems (3rd to Capital Group Companies).

Therefore, as significant shareholders in our only main national broadcasters and shareholders in our weapons manufacturers, both Capital Group Companies and BlackRock can influence coverage of the recent Syrian airstrikes and drum up public support for them, while also profiting from their significant shares in BEA Systems after eight ‘Storm-Shadow’ missiles hit an alleged chemical weapons facility, each of which costing the tax payer £790,000 – totalling £6.32 million.

The appearance of a conflict of interest is enough to warrant serious suspicion regarding the motives of these investment companies, but this suspicion of influencing coverage for war profiteering is not without correlational evidence. Two instances immediately spring to mind. First, for example, when Sky News cut short Major-General Jonathan Shaw, formerly a senior officer of the British Army, in mid-sentence while he was casting doubt on the government’s narrative on the alleged Syrian government gas attack in Douma.

For context, the news reporter asked if the Russian denials about the government’s responsibility for the alleged Novichok poisoning would warrant parliamentary approval for UK intervention in Syria. This is setting the boundaries for acceptable discussion (i.e. ‘yes’ or ‘no’), but the former officer defies the attempt and instead responds by saying ‘Quite apart from all that, the debate that seems to be missing from this is… What possible motive could have triggered Syria to launch this chemical attack at this time in this place?’ He goes on to state that even Joseph Votel, Commander of United States Central Command, conceded that Bashar Assad ‘has won the war’, and that Trump had recently announced the US’ intentions to pull its troops out of the conflict. He was then cut off by the presenter saying ‘I am very sorry, you have been very patient for us, but we do need to leave it there,’ before going to adverts.

The second example concerns Kay Burley’s interaction with Craig Murray, Britain’s ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan. In an interview for Sky News, Burley was extremely combative and needlessly impolite to Murray while he was voicing reasonable concerns regarding the Skripals. Moreover, Murray pointed out that the video aired on Sky News was heavily edited and they intentionally cut it down because the effort to discredit him was not going well. Craig Murray posted the original video on his blog.

All this correlational evidence suggests that there could be some sort of higher up influences pulling the strings, but it also highlights the possibility that the same influences could influence coverage of Corbyn. A Labour government under Corbyn will govern in the interests of those who voted for Labour and regulate these companies that have and continue to profiteer from manipulating the public into endless taxpayer funded wars. Additionally, it is worth contemplating how when we attack other countries, no one ever asks where the money comes from. This question appears to be reserved for spending that benefits ordinary citizens, not millionaries.

Unlike privately owned companies like ITV and SKY,the BBC is publicly owned but the accusation of being an establishment propagandist can be maintained. However, unlike the overt hyperbolic propaganda in the establishment press, the BBC is a more nuanced and subtle proponent of establishment interests and operates on two levels.

The first, for instance, is that despite having the resources (tax payer funded) to fund independent investigations and not being beholden to advertisers’ or shareholders’ interests, they rely on the profit driven free-press to set the agenda, despite the previously discussed shadowy interests and the well documented corruption and criminality of corporate media (e.g., phone hacking, Iraq, etc.). This is not living up to their mission of being fair and impartial. If they were to truly be impartial, they would cover the very popular left-wing independent news sites such as Skwawkbox, The Canary, Evolve Politics, The People’s News, and The Prole Star. Many will scoff at this suggestion and dismiss these sites as left wing trash, but we in independent media are driven by informing the public and not profit. I, for instance, have written a fair few articles and received about £40 in total, alongside working part-time at a supermarket – perhaps I am more representative of the people’s interests than millionaire investment bankers.

The second level is lying through omission. The example that displays this is the explicit choice not to report on the very popular song ‘Liar Liar’ leading up to the General Election. The song topped Amazon’s listing for songs downloaded in Britain and it reached No.2 in Apple’s iTunes UK chart despite receiving no airplay from radio stations. The BBC said, ‘We do not ban songs or artists, however our editorial guidelines require us to remain impartial and the UK is currently in an election period so we will not play the song.’ The song is an innovative, and factually accurate, expression of journalism that I can only envy and hope one day the written word can carry so much weight – not to mention the fact that all proceeds were donated to food banks and other charities. However, the BBC had no issue plastering the airwaves with Corbyn sat on the floor of a train in the build up to the GE, or the anti-Semitism rhetoric of the right-wing press during the local elections. If they were truly impartial, they would have aired the song and discussed it giving both sides the opportunity to present their case.

Since the snap election, Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn has awoken a wave of youth participation in politics. While Corbyn is not the only progressive socialist within Labour, he certainly is the driving force behind much of Labour’s new found support, which brings us to the propaganda model used by the establishment and why they are determined to discredit and humiliate Corbyn:

Note, this article will focus on anti-Semitism but accusations of Russian or communist leanings are also potent weapons of political destruction, but these can only be exploited if the current news cycle is dominated by Russia coverage (e.g., during the Skripals poisoning).

The propaganda model in 4 steps

1) Manufacture some sort of outrage regarding an otherwise innocuous event in a national paper. Events or topics related to Judaism have proved effective.

This accusation is an excellent political device because it elicits a visceral response by tapping into current or historical events that are forever present in the collective human psyche. In other words, the accusation anchors the debate as far to the right of the political continuum and exploits genuine tragedy for corrupt political intent. The vehicle for such a story is likely going to be in a Murdoch paper such as The Sun, but it can appear in any of the Establishment press. The effectiveness of this is due to the national reach of these papers and the de facto assumption by the Establishment that these profit-driven enterprises deserve national attention.

2) Wait for national broadcasters to address the story so as to reach a larger and more interactive audience.

*Enter the BBC, ITV, and Sky News*

Because of the de facto supposition that the voice of publications like The Sun is credible and worthy of discussion, Sky News, ITV, and the BBC present the story to the nation and discuss the story with one person from Labour and one from Conservative’s to debate the veracity of the story. However, notice the blatant echo chamber that is being created and largely ignored. For instance, Sky News is owned by Murdoch, who also has a significant stake in ITV, and the BBC acts as a subtle propagandist for the establishment – which Murdoch has in his pocket. Therefore, the story that was planted and inflated by the establishment press is being validated by the same corporate interests, but in more formal and respectable institutions.

3) Divide and conquer.

Due to social media, the issue forces those who don’t read the establishment press (i.e., the left) to respond to the initial story. However, because the story is now in the mouth of respectable ‘journalists’, it takes on a more concrete and authoritative tone.
The left is notoriously self-destructive and will likely fall into these traps:

  • Take the bait and devote all political energy towards refuting the accusation (i.e., get distracted from current events)
    ‘look at the shiny object’
  • Admit fault just to avoid any potential ‘flak’
    ‘we are sorry for any harm caused by our actions and while we deny them, we are sorry’
  • Turn on each other
    It’s not anti-Semitic’
    ‘let’s just put it to bed and avoid any bad coverage’
    ‘NO! This will embolden those with false accusations to continue’

4) Keep the chosen topic in the cycle non-stop for at least 2 weeks so as to cognitively link Corbyn to the accusation. Reintroduce the story into the establishment press in run-up to elections and repeat the cycle; also viable when politically toxic legislation or events are getting a lot of coverage.

Due to the nature of the initial ‘scandal’ there is very little to actually report on. Therefore, instead of discussing the actual event at the origin of the story, the news cycle is then dominated by the voices of those professing moral outrage (i.e., Jewish people) and hyperbolic vitriol (e.g., Alan Sugar photo-shopping Corbyn next to Hitler). However, only the voices of certain Jewish people are taken seriously and elevated in the public forum. These are often members of the establishment with a lot of political (e.g., Lord Sacks – see appendix) and financial influence (e.g., Lord Sugar – see appendix). Note, political and financial influence is the criteria set out at the beginning of this analysis to mark those of the establishment, and usually the fact that they are Jewish is not relevant. However, their heritage is made relevant by the press and used to push a narrative of antisemitism and making out like they are spokespeople for the entire Jewish community, despite the large number of credible Jewish people who disagree. This is made evident by the voices of non-political or financially influential Jewish people not being elevated in a similar manner (e.g., Jewdas, Noam Chomsky).

 

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative – Goebbels.

 

Things could be about to get worse – The Cairncross Review

It is no secret that print media is a declining industry which is accelerated by the rise of digital media. This decline is emblematic of the capitalist mantra that the Conservative’s live and die by. However, rather than leaving this to free-market forces and letting online digital media takeover, the Cairncross Review – commissioned by the government – is thought likely to recommend that the tax payer foot the bill to ensure billionaires such as Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere can keep infecting the country with divisive propaganda. Quite tellingly, mention of the review in the establishment press has been rather moot. To be clear, while the government cuts social spending to the NHS and these papers demonise those seeking benefits, it seems that they are suggesting handing out millions in corporate welfare. Additionally, the brazen hubris of a suggestion of a taxpayer funded bailout to these media barons who largely do not pay any tax is unconscionable.

This is all under the guise of protecting ‘quality journalism’ in the era of fake news. The review did not take into consideration very popular independent media sites previously mentioned, which can only equate to the government, and the reviewer, deeming these sites to be lacking professionalism, quality, and likely to be mediums for the propagation of fake news – and recently referring to such independent platforms as ‘the disrupting influence of online platforms on the press industry’. ‘Disrupting’ in the sense that they offer a counter-narrative to the establishment business elites. However, one would think that if the government was truly concerned about fake news and the societally corrosive impact it had, they would have intervened after the Iraq war which was based on faked ‘evidence’ of WMDs and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of UK and US armed forces (and billions in profits to weapons manufacturers and those investing in these companies). The problem isn’t fake news, but rather that they are losing control of their money-making machine and with it their ability to control the narrative of current events.

It is also important to point out that the legacy (read establishment) press are perhaps the last supporters of the establishment classes, and that by subsidising these ‘failing’ industries, they are in effect ensuring a steady stream of free propaganda that they needn’t report as campaign contributions – since they, the Conservatives, have been implicated in election fraud recently. Moreover, a quick look at the composition of the national newspaper alliances and daily circulation illustrates the motives behind why the Conservative government is assessing options on how to save print media.

National paper Publisher Political alliance Daily Circulation (2018)
The Sun News UK Conservative 1,545,594
Metro Daily Mail and General Trust ‘Neutral’ 1,475,372
Daily Mail Daily Mail and General Trust Conservative 1,343,142
London Evening Standard –          Evgeny Lebedev (63%)

–          Daily Mail and General Trust (24.9%)

–          Justin Byam Shaw (7%)

–          Geordie Greig (5%) DMOE

Conservative 888,017
Daily Mirror Reach plc Labour 583,192
The Times News UK Conservative 440,558
Daily Star Northern & Shell Conservative 391,998
The Daily Telegraph Telegraph Media Group Conservative 385,346
Daily Express Reach plc Conservative 364,721
i Johnston Press Centrist 257,223
Financial Times Nikkei Inc. Conservative 189,579
The Guardian Guardian Media Group Labour 137,839
Daily Record Reach plc Labour, unionist 134,087
City A.M. Come back to Conservative 90,569
The New European Archant Europeanist 22,731
Labour Conservative
855,118 5,639,524

 

Of the 15 main national newspapers, the bias is starkly in favour of the Conservatives, and even those that are traditionally Labour are still owned and operated by those expressing establishment interests (i.e., Investment and financial services). In other words, likely to oppose Labour under Corbyn. Additionally, considering the bulk of the national press has the interests of the establishment at heart, then our national broadcasters (which, as outlined earlier, are also owned by investment and financial services) are selecting stories that are largely establishment/Conservative talking points and downplay coverage of things like the culpability of the 2008 financial crash (i.e., the same people who are major shareholders in print news and broadcast networks).

Once again, the proverbial ‘money tree’ has escaped its immaterial non-existence just in time to save the skin of the establishment – heaven forbid it to be used to help those suffering from this all out class warfare.

As detailed, the mainstream media operate as a guardian of wealth and this is because they are owned and operated by wealthy interests. They have been gunning for Corbyn ever since he gained the leadership of the party and pushing the anti-Semitism narrative is not so much an example of their morality, but rather the strongest chance they have of subduing our socialist anti-Establishment agenda.

Clarification on the topic of antisemitism

Preferably, I would end this article here. However, because of the topic of anti-Semitism, I would risk being labelled an anti-Semite and it would be foolish of me to not elaborate on the broader context of the accusations and how the media are intentionally ignoring the nuances of the issue.

Difference between newsworthy Jews and non-newsworthy Jews

Often, but not always – their stance on Israel.

A Zionist is a person who adopts a particular political ideology that believes in the development and protection of a Jewish nation state (Israel), whereas being Jewish is a religious affiliation – though non-religious Jews are still classed as Jewish via their heritage.

Due to the idiocy of racists in the far right, however, it is true that they often use Anti-Zionist rhetoric as a cloaked way of being Anti-Semitic. But, it is also true that Israel has been pushing to conflate criticising Israel with anti-Semitism. For example, in 1973, Abba Eban, an Israeli politician, advised the American Jewish community that criticisms of the policy of the state of Israel were Anti-Semitic, Jews who criticise Israel are suffering from a neurotic self-hatred, and non-Jews needed to be condemned for anti-Semitism if they’re critical of the state of Israel.

People do not have the right to hate someone because of their heritage, but they do have the moral obligation to critique policy and actions that violate international law. However, under the new ‘non-legally binding’ working definition of anti-Semitism put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), some criticism of Israel, especially to do with its founding, would fall under the definition of anti-Semitism. In other words, silencing genuine policy concerns by hiding behind the very real evil of anti-Semitism.

This new definition has caused a lot of pseudo-controversy in the media and political spheres and Corbyn’s rejection of the Israel clauses are being portrayed as a rejection of the UN bill of human rights. However, the media has largely ignored the fact that it has been widely criticised by groups such as the ACLU and Jewish Voice for Peace. Moreover, it was also criticised by an all-party Select Committee for the UK Parliament earlier this year. The definition is too vague and allows it to be used to silence those supporting the rights of Palestinians.

 

The history of the Israel-Palestine conflict is long and beyond the scope of this article. However, the current situation we are in is one in which one group of people are oppressing another. The international community is overwhelmingly in agreement that there should be a two-state solution (i.e., a Palestinian state and an Israeli state). However, for geopolitical interests the US refuses to join the world in their condemnation of Israel and subsequently allows the far right government to continue oppressing and murdering occupied Palestinian’s– along with donating around $60,000,000,000 in military aid over 20 years to one of the most developed nations in the world, while ignoring much poorer Muslim nations genuinely in need of life-saving aid. Additionally, the US has pulled funding from the UN for Palestinian aid which further disenfranchises those suffering under Israeli authoritarian rule.

In a recent ray of light, however, a recent UN report concluded that ‘Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.’ U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said the report was the ‘first of its type’ from the U.N. and that it ‘clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people.’

The report was authored by Richard Falk, a former U.N. human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories. Before leaving his post as U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories in 2014, Falk said Israeli policies were comparable to colonialism, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.

Rima Khalaf has now resigned after the UN had pressured her to withdraw a report accusing Israel of apartheid over its treatment of Palestinians – further demonstrating the concerted effort to silence criticism of Israel.

As well as the oppression occurring within the state of Israel, Israeli lobbyists have influence in foreign affairs aim to promote views friendly to Israel.

In a stunning documentary, Al Jazeera exposed the activities of Israeli embassy officer Shai Masot, and how he plotted to ‘take down’ democratically elected officials, and worked with pro—Israel lawmakers in the Labour Party who exaggerated and faked anti-Semitism in the party, amid plots and coup attempts against leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The exaggerated and faked anti-Semitism was levelled at Jean Fitzpatrick – a Labour party member – by Joan Ryan who is an MP and Chairperson of the Labour Friends of Israel group. At the Labour party conference, Jean Fitzpatrick approached the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) stall which was headed by Joan Ryan when the alleged episode occurred. Fitzpatrick was interested to know how the group intended to promote a two state solution when the Israeli government continues to expand the settlements into the occupied territories. Joan Ryan avoided answering the question and instead just parroted meaningless slogans.

Before continuing, allow me to explain what a two state solution is advocating for. Supporters of this believe that a peace deal that is based on the 1967 national boundaries is the most viable way to establish peaceful co-existence. However, continued violation of international law by expanding occupation has made an independent Palestinian state virtually impossible to achieve.

After Ryan avoided and ignored the genuine concerns of Jean Fitzpatrick, she chose to abruptly end the conversation and go on to blow her nose and disregard a Party members concerns. After Ryan’s rude and dismissive demeanour, Fitzpatrick went on to say ‘You’ve got a lot of money, you’ve got a lot of prestige in the world’ and that being a member of LFI can open a lot of doors for people and went on to say ‘A friend of mine’s son’s got a really good job at Oxford University on the basis of having worked for Labour Friends of Israel’, to which Ryan shut her down and called it an anti-Semitic trope. After leaving the stall, Ryan reported Fitzpatrick to the Party because of ‘anti-Semitic harassment’ because Fitzpatrick said ‘join you lot and you get into Oxford or you get into working in a bank’ – which is categorically false, but it didn’t stop the press from capitalising on it and reporting it as fact. Moreover, Ryan ‘convinced’ her parliamentary assistant, Alex Richardson, to report the incident. Undercover video recording finds that he didn’t actually think anything anti-Semitic was said, but he said he was ‘sure there were undertones’ of anti-Semitism.

In response to the documentary, Israeli officials accused it of being biased and anti-Semitic. However, Ofcom ruled that the documentary was ‘factually accurate, correctly observed rules on fairness, impartiality and privacy, and was not anti-Semitic. The documentary comes in 4 parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

So when Corbyn and the left complain about Israel, it is not like we are just fabricating nonsense in some sort of veiled anti-Semitic attack. We have good reason to oppose Israeli policy due to its actions to oppress and kill Palestinians.

Israel has the right to exist. However, the way it is governed needs to change, and the Palestinian people, just as much as their Israeli counterparts, deserve the right to self-determination and Statehood.

‘Never again’

It is understandable that people are vigilant over even the slightest hint of anti-Semitism, but never forgetting is about what can happen when the most vulnerable in society are marginalised based on stereotypes and racism. However, in recent times, Jewish people are no longer vilified in the same way they were throughout pretty much all of documented history – this is not to say that anti-Semitism is extinct or that there aren’t still Jews being persecuted to this very day. But, thankfully, we no longer have the Daily Mail stating things like ‘The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage.’ It is also worth pointing out that Lord Rothermere was a friend of Mussolini and Hitler, and even went as far to praise the Nazi regime’s accomplishments in an editorial, which was subsequently used as Nazi propaganda. In the editorial, Rothermere predicted that ‘The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing upon Germany’ minor misdeeds being violence against Jews.

However, as time has progressed, the far right tabloids have focused on a new sect of vulnerable people to vilify – Muslims.

It is an absolute travesty that the Daily Mail and others lionised fascist leaders and vilified the desperate people fleeing Nazi persecution, but it is perhaps even more egregious that we vilify the millions of Muslims fleeing their home countries largely because of illegal Western intervention that has devastated their countries (while lining the pockets of investment banks, weapons manufacturers, and media moguls) and taken upwards of 4 million civilian lives.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are against all forms of racism, especially those of the powerful elite – whether they are Jewish or not.

Although this article may seem to have gone off on a tangent, due to the nature of the topic at hand I felt it was necessary. The goal of this article was to inform Labour voters of the shadowy interests of the mass establishment media that have for too long dictated the lives of normal working-class people, and anti-Semitism is just the latest weapon the Establishment are using because they are terrified of the socialist movement that is taking British politics by storm.

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