In 2010... well, actually January 2011, I read a report that said of the 52 back page headlines on the Mail on Sunday, 51 of them were completely made up and just the one 'exclusive' was stolen from the Sunday Express from the previous week. The reaction from people was essentially 'who believes newspapers anyway?'
In December 2015, I almost had a row with two of my favourite people in the world because they didn't believe me when I told them the world in 2015 is a safer place than 1985 with less famine and more stability.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like one of the more stupid allegations I've made. How can the world possibly be safer and less hungry than 1985? I dunno how - I can have a guess - but I do know that the UN along with lots of its little umbrella UNs like WHO and UNICEF have actual evidence that supports that outrageous statement.
As much as it might anger people, there is considerably less famine in the world now than there has been since records began and in terms of safety, despite ISIS, the Taliban, Donald Trump et al, you have less chance of being killed by conflict, insurgency or terrorism in the world in 2015 than at any other point during the last 130 years. A easy point of reference for Brits who really don't believe this is to ask them how often the IRA has bombed mainland Britain in the last 15 years.
The irony is the world is a safer place now than it has been for a long time and yet if you were a visitor from another planet or even another time you would think the world is going to hell in a customised hand basket.
I was sitting drinking my first cup of coffee of the day, watching the news and the overriding impression I got was the world hurtling towards war, death and destruction and I realised at that moment that the media runs the world for the corporations and governments are gradually going to become unimportant because they won't be seen as doing anything, they'll just be seen as furthering the interests of the real rulers of the world and the media mouthpiece assigned with telling us how bad it is.
I can't quite work out why. You know, usually you can work out the long game, or the big picture; a government does this so that ultimately that will happen; except nowadays its more about what a government doesn't do so that ultimately something else will happen that will end up costing it more than originally believed. When you examine some of the cuts made in recent years and the simple fact that the private sector hasn't stepped in to fill the vacuum, you can see that either these cuts were made with a long term vision or they were just cruel and heartless and aimed at people who wouldn't vote for the current incumbents.
There seems to be a growing belief that 'man will out' - he will survive because that is what man does best; so you can take everything away from him and he'll find some way to continue. Margaret Thatcher had a lot of respect for the so-called 'black economy' because she saw it as a stepping stone for people to get onto the real economy. Our 'black economy' now appears to be trying to come up with fair ways of redistributing waste food - 2 million people have used a food bank since 2011, but if you read the media or listened to some politicians you'd think of these 2 million people, 1.99 million of them are chancers, scoundrels and probably Muslims. The media is subliminally turning you against people less well off than you; because these people are not strivers, they're obviously just trying to screw the system. The reason many feel this way is because it's what they'd do if they were faced with the same problems.
So, this morning, this week, this year so far has been full of debt, war, immigrants, anti-Muslim rhetoric, threat after threat, cut after cut, doom and gloom and very little optimism, yet the papers are more concerned with anything Jeremy Corbyn related as long as its negative. The media would rather spend all of its energy on besmirching Corbyn than simply analysing the mess the country is in. It would rather focus on Corbyn's 50% women shadow cabinet as pandering and "jobs for the girls to appear 'right on'" while congratulating Cameron for having a cabinet that is only a third women and the reason they do this is because Mr Twat in Seven Oaks will completely believe anything anti-Corbyn - whether it is true or not - but will steadfastly ignore anything about the government, unless it serves him.
Selective belief is not new, but once upon a time you had some balance; nowadays the press will spend 99% of its time on how unelectable Labour are - so as to compound the message even more - yet ignore the plight of the people systematically targeted by Tories, even if it is totally unjust and unfair. The media and their owners want us to abandon our caring nature and start treating the disabled and disenfranchised like it's their fault.
During the election campaign, Cameron said during a QT that if people had to die to sort the system out then so be it and barely anyone even mentioned it. You can find the clip in various places, Dave just sincerely tells the audience that hard choices sometimes have to be made. Or, in other words, some people are worth more than others; we now measure human worth by how much contribution a person makes and if they can't make any then they can die and no one important will care. If Jeremy Corbyn was to suggest something similar...
Turn on the TV today and you get floods, Trump, Muslims, ISIS, Immigration, Corbyn, tensions throughout Europe, the Chinese economy, children dying, calls for police to be armed with tazers and people suggesting that our streets are becoming lawless and yet there are cuts to the police so severe we have G4S running law and order in parts of the country (that alone should make even the most Conservative of voter worry a lot) and we also had a (Muslim) kid targeted by police for having a speech/spelling impediment... Oh and painting asylum seekers' doors an odd shade of red so bigots know where they live.
Martyn Lewis, former newsreader, was pilloried once for suggesting there should be more good news and that was way back in the 1990s. The TV, radio and papers are full of sensationalism, none more so than a harmless yet inflammatory repetition last night on Radio 5Live. It was FA Cup 3rd round replay night and West Brom were playing Bristol City and the Baggies' volatile and controversial striker Saido Berahino had been 'sensationally left out of the West Brom side', thus fuelling rumours he was to be transferred, probably to Spurs. It was hyperbole from the moment Berahino was left out of the side.
Then, John Hartson, a pundit and obviously not in the thralls of the BBC, made a very pertinent comment. "I don't know why there's all this speculation about Berahino, he's cup-tied. The manager said he was unwell, I think we need to accept this as the reason he's not playing." Two minutes later, despite being the man who spoke with Hartson, presenter Mark Pougatch repeated the sensational Berahino 'news' several times throughout the evening, neglecting to mention that by being cup-tied it meant that he couldn't play for anyone else in said cup and in reality there wasn't even a 'news' story there. It was a non-story turned into the most sensational news of the night because it suited the 'impartial' BBC to run the story that way.
It's the same as spending 100 hours picking Corbyn's reshuffle to bits, while lining up people to resign on air and then spending less than 10 seconds on issues that actually, you know, affect us. The press and the media is run by the people who really run the world and it isn't in their interests for us - the people - to have a fair, unbiased and just look at the world. The truth is obviously far harder to swallow than the bullshit.
Let's briefly touch on global warming - whether you believe in it or not, it is clear that most of the 'civilised' countries couldn't give a fig about it. Take our own government, MPs with vested interests in fossil fuels and fracking, who have cut subsidies on renewable energy to put more money into the extraction of carbon-based fuels that could have serious consequences years down the road. Why worry about the future when there's money to be made NOW? But, we don't get the media - or even satire - showing us the errors of repeated governments ways, because it isn't in 'their' interests. People who want renewable energy are somehow painted as eccentrics and buffoons in the press - why is that? It's as stupid as Americans thinking free health care will guarantee they go to hell.
We repeatedly get accusations that the BBC is left wing. I see it on a daily basis and wonder if its because I have a brain that allows me to realise when I'm being hoodwinked and then wonder how supposedly intelligent people can go onto supposedly intelligent newspaper comments sections and help perpetuate the myth. The reality is the BBC is so scared for its survival it won't be seen doing anything the Tories can possibly abolish or frown on - hence why the news department is made up of former young Conservative members and right wing sympathisers. Point this out and invariably the debate switches from the BBC to how left wing you are.
Suggest to people about reading other, less biased, news sources and you finally discover the greater problem - when people believe something specific they don't want that cosy belief system destroyed or mucked about with. People will not read, or if they do won't accept, a belief that doesn't suit them. It's about culture as well; we cannot accept others cultures, so they must be wrong; but are they wrong because of the colour of the skin or the region the skin comes from? Seriously dangerous Christian fundamentalists are pretty much overlooked or labelled differently by the media, but if someone is remotely foreign and does something wrong then if they have been born within 20,000 miles of a Muslim country then it's obviously Jihad driven.
How many people reading this are aware that Israel has been tattooing numbers onto Palestinian prisoners' arms - for ease of identification? The reason you weren't aware was because the news story never made it to the British or US media, or rather it made it they just chose to ignore it. So other sources released the details and there was a mini barrage of subliminal 'can you trust a news source that isn't known' messages sent out to suggest only reputable news sources should be trusted. Check the story on various hoax/fake/bullshit detector websites and you find that not only is it true, but there is a distinct suggestion that the story is being purposefully repressed...
When Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the USA there was outrage, but there wasn't as much as you would have maybe hoped for. Because the sad thing is I think there are more and more middle class people becoming more and more detached from reality by their viewing and reading habits alone, who probably agree with Trump. The neo-Liberal agenda is principally to make the average person so frightened of the world they become insular and look after their own first - that is a Tory ethos Thatcher was able to exploit and the current government is attempting to ratchet up even further while promoting whatever version of The Big Society is floating around.
When people were asked to comment about the 52 back cover exclusives from the Mail on Sunday the majority of people suggested the stories were in a newspaper and its been a long time since newspapers carried the weight they once did. This has been a recurring theme throughout my life - can you believe it if the newspaper said it? I'm not imagining it; people have always taken sensationalist newspaper stories with a pinch of salt and that was pretty much down to the now defunct News of the World; people haven't changed their opinions of the media. Daily newspapers sell to about 6 million people - as compared to a 70million population - the BBC or ITV news is seen by less than 3million people daily, but all the people who read the papers and watch the TV news will formulate their own opinions and then bang on about it as work the next day. How do you think Farage became so popular? It wasn't based on his politics, it was based on his beliefs being echoed by Fred on the shop floor reluctantly (at first) agreeing that his life has not improved and how its much easier to blame those bloody foreigners than it is anyone else.
That's how the people in charge do it. They worked out long ago the most common of denominators - the base things that rile humans so much - and use these as 21st century propaganda. You write your own headlines; you wear your own prejudices for all too see and the more of you who do it the less like National Socialism it looks. I'd guess there are probably more racists in the UK at the moment than at any point since the 1940s; tolerance towards others is at an all time low and you get the impression that common sense is struggling against a growing tidal wave of media-led ignorance and stupidity.
The world is a safer place now than 1985. We had at least three things that were far worse then than now - Africa's famine is now in isolated pockets not widespread. The capitalism of China and the end of the Soviet Union, therefore the Cold War, therefore the fear of imminent threat of mutually assured self destruction has gone. Yes, Russia is now a threat again, or is it? Really? Can you believe the press when it tells you Russia is the enemy? I only ask because last year a Finnish national newspaper asked why the Western Press was blaming Russia for the mistakes the Euro alliance is making in bombing raids on Syria. This wasn't reported over here because, well, it doesn't suit the agenda. The reason I believe it is because the Finns have zero love for the Russians, but have a reputation for being extremely good at impartial news reporting. Why should they, of all people, be seen questioning the West's reporting? Because it's wrong and potentially far more serious than rich idiots seem to suspect? Plus - look at it this way; in 1985 we were scared of the USSR and China; in 2015 we're frightened by a group of terrorists who control about as much land/territory as the size of Scotland, and North Korea. Do I need to explain this to you? No, didn't think so.
The UK and the US have been responsible for so much mess across the globe for the last 100 years and the majority of the mess has been made by their desire to either westernise, modernise or bring democracy and not once did the people responsible for this consider the cultures of other people; the beliefs of others, even the feelings. The West struggle to understand fundamentalist Islam because Christians have always had a snobbish tendency to sneer at other religions, rather than accept the cultural differences, they're always for changing people and even when they don't want to change them, they want to segregate or marginalise them to ensure we know they're different. The irony is Christian Fundamentalists, often as barking mad, are brushed aside, swept under the rug and all mention of religion is expunged by the right wing media. Isn't it obvious that only a Christian God is worthy of any respect now? Look how civilised Christians are compared to those fanatical Muslims! You can also find out how many terrorist attacks were carried out on a yearly basis on a variety of websites; pretty much all of them agree that less than 5% of all terrorist deaths in 2014 were carried out by Muslim fundamentalists. That's less than 5 people per 100 killed by a nutty Muslim. Would you care to guess how many 'terrorist deaths' were committed by Christians - people who believe in a jolly white haired man in robes sitting on a throne like a weird combination of Santa Claus and Abraham Lincoln? If this were a Fox Sports channel, the Muslims are simply out of 'our' league.
Is it any wonder why we're in a situation now where we don't trust anyone any more; we've sat and watched it all publicly erode away and now believe any old shite we're fed. We believe the media because the media has learned to press the right buttons; it's not about lying or obfuscating, it's about positioning. We live in a subtle world of denial and manipulation; the media controls us incredibly well; we're not even aware of it half the time. We find ourselves raging against something because the press has put it to us in a way to ensure maximum outrage, while carefully neglecting to tell you other things that actually warrant your time and effort raging against.
If you don't believe me, ask yourself this: there was almost twice as many people prepared to sign a petition to have Jeremy Clarkson reinstated to his position as there were people opposed to the Draconian cutting of tax credits. This was despite the simple fact that had Clarkson punched a colleague in the face anywhere else he wouldn't have had the luxury of having a trial by TV, he would have been sacked and no one would have given a hoot, because that's what should happen to people who punch work colleagues. Can you see how screwed up that is? Or how selfish it is? There were no newspaper articles about the obvious inherent selfishness of the people wanting their Top Gear to stay the same. If you needed an example of the 'I'm all right Jack' mentality that the Tories propagate, it's right there: more people concerned about an hour long programme that runs for six weeks a year than kids starving.
That's us, that is. That's a snap shot of the UK and the world today. Happy?