Pannell Beaters…$_1.JPGI wasn’t intending to return to this blog’s ‘media criticism’ sideline for at least another week or two; but it’s a fact of blogging life that events sometimes call for a revision of such plans — all the more so when it seems that one is able to diagnose and describe things that pretty well no-one else is going to. By the time we finish, we’ll have returned to the British Broadcasting Corporation and the criminal damage it does to UK democracy; to begin with, I want to move to a sick and corrupted pseudo-democracy further from home…

Various friends of mine — smart folks, every one of them! — are telling me that they expect Donald Trump to be ‘Grassy Knolled’ by elements of the US ‘deep state’ before he even graduates from ‘President-Elect’ to ‘President’ on 20 January. I myself don’t think that such an event is especially likely … as, to me, it appears far more probable that he and the people around him will be ‘disciplined’ by various powerful forces — not least those that act through state-corporate media — to the extent that his entire project simply mutates into another ‘cookie-cutter’ US administration dedicated to neo-imperial violence and corporate empowerment.

The media-based ‘disciplining’ to which I refer actually has two aspects to it — and both of them can already be discerned without the slightest difficulty: first, there is the smacking; secondly, there is the silence. The ‘smacking’ is what you get when something you have done, or are merely said to have done, is used as something for which you can be hammered in so many contexts that your own planned agenda is simply submerged; the ‘silence’ is what you encounter when something you do that is of possible value finds itself effectively unreported, in spite of all your efforts to communicate it. What I want to do at this point is concentrate upon the latter — by highlighting the fact that the man who, for a year and more, has been castigated by media organisations and outraged liberals everywhere for saying things that aren’t true (What’s that? A man seeking election telling lies?!?) has now said a few things that are actually truths of genuine importance — and has not been given the slightest credit for them. Let’s have a quick look at some…

It was last Wednesday that Trump gave a press conference that I was soon seeing described in the most negative terms. According to the UK Guardian it was ‘Trump’s trainwreck press conference’; in the words of the Canadian Globe and Mail it was ‘his train-wreck press conference’; while in a Twitter message from American horror author Stephen King, it was ‘a trainwreck’. Me being me, I ignored the lot of them and simply listened to the entire thing for myself (video and transcript here).

Here’s the first thing that made my ears prick up:

Appalled as I am by the US corporatecare healthcare system — coming soon to a UK hospital and GP practice near you! — I have waited decades to hear a ranking US political figure venture anywhere near the topic of ‘big pharma’ and the corruption-driven stranglehold it has over medicine-related decision-making in the stinking sewer of US politics. Yet here was President-Elect Trump — in what was his very first press conference after winning the election! — not merely alluding to the problem but also proposing what, to a right-wing brain (of which there must be more than two hundred million in the US), is the most obvious ‘market-based’ solution.

And was that truth-and-solution bombshell a topic of admiring discussion in our proudly independent media? Was it celebrated as a potentially positive development by previously hostile liberals appalled by a healthcare racket that leaves 35 million Americans unable to pay for their prescriptions? From where I sit, it certainly doesn’t appear to have been…

(And just to reinforce the extent to which Trump’s bit of truth-telling placed him at odds not only with the corporate carpetbagger elite but also with the bought-and-paid-for parasites on both sides of the US’s notional political divide, literally two days later I saw that this had happened.)

All right, let’s move on. Here’s the bit where PEOTUS Trump refused to take a question from the CNN staffer at the event — for reasons connected with the monumental absurdity of what future generations (should there be any) will refer to as the ‘Golden Shower’ dossier:

My point here is that, once again, what Trump said is absolutely true: any media-savvy critic who has, over time, examined the content and conduct of ‘Cable News Network’ — the cable and satellite television channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner — knows that CNN is terrible, and CNN is ‘fake news’. Of course, CNN is far from alone in being either of those things; but that doesn’t invalidate what Trump is saying — and doing! — on this specific occasion. Once again: truth telling — and of no little significance, at least potentially.

And, in any case, more and — for me! — better was still to come on this very topic. Here’s my transcript of a little exchange that took place a few moments later…

TRUMP: […] Go ahead. Go ahead. You’ve been waiting. Go ahead.

QUESTION: As far as we understand, the intelligence community are…

TRUMP: Stand up, please.

QUESTION: Ian Pannell from BBC news. Ian Pannell from BBC news.

TRUMP: BBC news. That’s another beauty…


Here’s the exchange in full:

Now, I have been following the actions of the BBC’s news services for long enough to know that, yet again, Trump was speaking unvarnished and ungainsayable truth, however sarcastic and indirect the phraseology.  What makes the exchange richly amusing in addition is the involvement of Ian Pannell. For it was Pannell — as you may or may not remember — who on 29 August 2013 produced a BBC News report whose aim was to convince audiences that a Syrian fighter jet had dropped an incendiary bomb on a school playground in Aleppo. Not only was it very suspiciously the case that the report and its three-day-old footage aired while the UK House of Commons was voting on a possible UK military assault against Syria — meaning that, had the vote been in favour, the item would have acted as a perfect focus for the transformation of public concern into bloody warfare — but the footage itself went on to form the basis of a Panorama programme (‘Saving Syria’s Children’, 30 September 2013) whose manifest fraudulence has seen the BBC fighting ever since to have copies and extracts deleted from YouTube…

(For Robert Stuart’s sterling work in unmasking a quantity of sheer fakery that — in a sane society — would have turned this BBC broadcast into a career-ending scandal, see here.)

From all of which I think it is pretty clear that Donald Trump is not going to get the credit for anything he says that is true, nor for anything he seeks to do that is good: the simple fact is that he was not the establishment’s intended victor, and he can look forward to nothing except full-spectrum opposition from the media guardians of established power that will not cease until he has given in to the latter on every important issue (and possibly not even then).

And if that doesn’t remind you of the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, it really ought to. For the full-spectrum media assault on Jeremy Corbyn has not let up even a little since I first drew attention to it in these electronic pages not long after he won the leadership election he was not supposed to win.

Let’s have a look at what happens over here. On January 10 — just one day before Trump’s alleged ‘train-wreck’ press conference — Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech in Peterborough that, likewise, was presented by the media as a debacle. And, as in the case of Trump’s appearance, the truthful and valuable content was either misrepresented or ignored.

Here are three things that — in that single day! — the BBC did to distract attention from Corbyn’s message and to toxify him as a individual. I present them in the order in which I happened to see them as the day wore on…

First, a BBC TV News animation in which one of the 12 stars of the European Union flag detaches itself — in a reference to so-called ‘Brexit’…


This star then turns red…


And heads for the centre of Corbyn’s cap…


(All three images saved by Anthony, to whom I send sincere thanks.)

See what they did there? Corbyn — by any rational standard a mild social democrat who has never even proposed so basic a socialist policy as ‘workers’ control of the means of production’ — is suddenly made to look like Mao Zedong (‘Chairman Mao’): he gets a Chinese People’s Liberation Army cap — and a quick bit of toxification in terms of those decades of far-away tyranny and destruction, the millions killed, the dogmatic political inflexibility, etc.

Isn’t that a remarkable thing for the BBC to have done? Why would they do something like that, d’you think…?

A little time passes, and what do I see next? Ah! I see something online that features Laura Kuenssberg — the ‘Political Editor’ of BBC News, and very obviously the head of the Corporation’s Anti-Corbyn Unit. Let’s look closely…


There are in fact three fascinating elements there. First, there’s the choice of headline: without there being a quotation mark in sight, and whatever his half-hour speech was really about, Corbyn is credited IN BIG PRINT with saying the one thing that is guaranteed to constitute a red rag to many millions of working class voters whom the Labour Party is currently seeking to win back. (And this, let me remind you, comes from the BBC which has allowed Nigel Farage of the anti-immigration party UKIP no fewer than 31 appearances on Question Time since November 2000: ever wondered what a broadcaster’s attempt to split the working class anti-Tory vote would look like…?)

bbckuenssbergperspective2Secondly, there is what follows it — in the form of a reference to a denial of an alleged embarrassing, undermining U-turn. See that? That’s how you write when you want to place an idea in people’s minds while still being able to claim that you weren’t really trying to place the idea in people’s minds. (So, for example: ‘Corbyn denies that he kills tiny and helpless kittens using a big hammer’. See? He denies it; and it’s not true anyway — but you still felt a feeling and saw an image that I created for you.)

bbckuenssbergperspective3Thirdly, there’s the framing and cropping of the photo. See how Kuenssberg appears as a huge and dominating visual element, filling almost a third of the space? And how Corbyn, by contrast, is presented as a tiny and distant figure — and, on top of that, shown as literally ‘in a corner’…?

Isn’t that a remarkable thing for the BBC to have done? Why would they do something like that, d’you think…?

And then there’s Newsnight. Less than eight hours after the BBC had made Corbyn stink like a long-dead Chinese communist, viewers saw their national broadcaster change tack — and make Corbyn stink like every liberal’s latest hate-figure, Donald Trump…

See how they did it? They did it by producing and broadcasting — for an extended period — a photograph of something that has never, ever happened: Corbyn wearing a Donald Trump-type hat…



Consider what had to take place for that image to have come into existence. Someone in charge of a budget and able to give instructions to a skilled photoshop operator will actually have sent out an order: ‘Look, stop what you’re doing: we need something for 10.30pm. Get a photo of Donald Trump in his red hat. Take him out of the picture so you’ve only got the hat. Manipulate the letters on it so that they say ‘Make Britain Great Again’. Yes, ‘Britain’. Then find a high-resolution photo of Jeremy Corbyn seen — and lit! — from the same sort of angle, and put the hat on it so it looks like he’s wearing it. Oh, and don’t forget to darken the area under the peak: this has to look realistic. Yes, you can email it. ‘Newsnight’ office. That’s right: serious analysis of current affairs…’

Isn’t that a remarkable thing for the BBC to have done? Why would they do something like that, d’you think…?

Nor was this the end of that day’s BBC onslaught. Before long, they had gone to Twitter and were advertising one of Newsnight‘s interviews in the following terms…


If you can’t tell what attracted my attention to that, simply take a look through the programme’s various Twitter timelines — and see if you can see a pattern in who has, and who has not, been described as ‘getting grilled’…


‘Getting grilled’, was she…? Seems not.

I spoke earlier of the twin media mechanisms of ‘smacking’ and ‘silence’, and of their role in shaping political events rather than merely ‘reporting’ them. In connection with Corbyn, I want to underline my point by presenting the entire text of his Peterborough speech — which you can see here. When UK readers have read it (or watched the video below), I hope they will be so kind as to consider this question:

On January 10, Corbyn featured in the BBC’s news and current affairs output over and over again: he and his speech — and the associated ‘debacle’ — were referred to, and discussed, during the day, in the evening, and late into the night. As you’ll see from the video, the BBC — as it was obliged to! — actually broadcast the whole speech live (albeit on a news channel most people don’t watch, and at a time when most people are busy working anyhow). Yet how much of what he said in that long speech did you yourself actually encounter in all of that studio-based ‘coverage’…? Or, for that matter, in our proudly ‘free’ billionaire-owned press…? In other words, when you came to read the text linked to above — or to watch the speech as recorded — how much of it still came as a complete surprise to you…?


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15 thoughts on “Pannell Beaters…

  1. Lest it be forgotten, Trump’s public criticism of CNN has a precedent (which the mainstream media have ignored): a couple of months ago, a US State Department official refused to answer a question from a RT journalist (about evidence for allegations regarding a recent bombardment in Syria), ostensibly on the grounds that the latter worked for a “state-owned outlet”, unlike the others in the room, who supposedly represented “independent media outlets”. By that logic, the US State Department should refuse to engage with the BBC, which is just as “state-owned”, if not more so, than RT. The double standards are remarkable, especially regarding so-called “fake news” — where is the condemnation of the Washington Post, which has been making a habit of publishing unproven allegations (regarding the so-called “hacking” of the “election”, which really refers to a *leak* from the DNC, one which demonstrated severe electoral malpractice in the Democrat primaries at the expense of Bernie Sanders — again, the mainstream media have ignored the actual substance of the leak, and completely changed the subject) as facts on spurious, misinterpreted, or discredited evidence? At the risk of being oxymoronic, it is organisations such as the Washington Post and the BBC which are peddling what I term ‘real fake news’.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s amazing how the ‘denial’ trick has filtered from the gutter tabloid press up into the BBC and other ‘serious’ news outlets like The Guardian. It used to be employed in tabloid headlines like ‘Hollywood star denies porno party’, at a time when the name of the star was often withheld, while leaving little doubt about their identity. It says everything. I can’t understand how they sleep at night. I suppose its one of the benefits of being psychopathic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said. Thankfully we are not alone. People are stopping watching MSM and transferring to RT whose viewer figures are soaring. Why are they soaring? Because their audience can get nearer to the truth about what’s going on in the world by watching RT, instead of having to watch potential child actors pretending to be injured in a chemical attack. But the BBC bias does not end with its News broadcasts. Yesterday I blogged about the ‘musical’ film La La Land. It would appear the BBC reviewer saw a different film.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When Thatcher won her second term, BBC’s evening news quoted The USSR as saying it was a disaster, the presenter then said that the Labour Party echoed Moscow’s words and quoted Labour with a similar statement. I was just entering my teens and noticed then what they were doing and it has always stuck in my mind. They’ve been doing this for years, I believe nothing from the BBC and probably never have.


  5. During “news” broadcasts the BBC frequently interview the “general public” for a vox pop. Invariably they broadcast three views. The first view will be negative, followed by a positive, then a negative. Psychologists call this the primacy and recency effect. The way information is ordered influences how you remember. This allows the BBC to claim it is being objective, while it subtly influences the information you are most likely to remember.

    I no longer watch or listen to any BBC news and begrudge paying for the elites propaganda channel.


  6. Seems I am not alone in thinking there is probably some sort of co-ordinated establishment proppaganda campaign being undertaken with the help of key BBC journalists. I’t can’t simply just be their own personal bias,can it ? An interesting article, that needs to be taken seriously and hopefully read by the election commission and the 20 or so police forces investigating election expenses/fraud and “micro targeting” of voters amongst other things. One thing I would point out to the author Mark, is that: Trump – like his counterpart in UKIP – is unlikely ever to be the first to challange Big Pharma. Rather they follow the popular causes from the Left of politics and tag on their own “immigration is to blame” bits. One only has to read Bernie Sanders Twitter timeline, to see that Big Pharma power has been one of his main targetsfor a few years. Trump is only really muddying the waters, aka Theresa May’s “Shared Society” bollocks.

    Liked by 1 person

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