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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 January 2009

Readers' comment

When it comes to reporting on Gaza the conservative and liberal news media and the United Nations seemed to be lapping up the sour milk offered to the world by Egyptian president Mubarak and France's Nicolas Sarkozy, as if it were the only viable opinion on offer.

Richard Bell, Bristol ISR and Socialist Party

If views such as those of the Socialist Party were given equal levels of exposure and treated as seriously as those of the imperialists you wonder whether the world would be in as deep a quagmire as it is in now.

In the UK, even the more 'liberal' news outlets, such as The Independent and The Guardian sought to defuse the situation by calling for a truce in Gaza rather than a solution that could meet the actual needs of the ordinary people of Israel, Palestine and the rest of the Middle East.

What sickens me is the fact that 'celebrity' and 'entertainment' stories, in some news broadcasts, got a higher billing than the Gaza conflict.

Many of today's younger generation would find it difficult to even locate Israel-Palestine on a map of the world. This is not down to stupidity, but rather ignorance due to the failings of the Thatcherite-Blairite education system, a system which has been deliberately fostering apathy in politics as a means of preventing dissent.

Many young people have the desire to become active against capitalism's crimes but become worn down and understandably cynical towards politicians and the media, feeling nothing can be done.

I have consistently been demanding better coverage for serious world news stories and a reduction in the coverage given to trivial matters from the supposed champion of public service broadcasting, the BBC.

For instance, the Congo wars have cost the world millions of lives and continue to result in the loss of literally thousands a day. Yet you will find it hard to find many Britons who know that this continuous series of conflicts only lags behind the two world wars in terms of numbers of casualties or participating nations.

Only the other day the BBC reported the demise of Wedgwood, but attempted to comfort the viewer by stating that Wedgwood 'only' employed 600 of their workforce within the UK. For one thing the word 'only' must make those UK employees feel insignificant, and for another, why is the loss of work to the more than 1,000 Indonesian staff not a matter for serious concern?

The BBC's responses to my complaints on these occasions were dismissive, stating that at all times it concentrated its efforts on reporting stories that met with public interest. How do they judge what the public interest is? If the public are not given the information in the first instance by the media, then they will never have the opportunity to develop an interest and, in the case of the Wedgwood story, what was said of the interests of the 600 UK workers?

Role of the media

The news media is determined to pacify the British public. By concentrating the public imagination on celebrities and providing a false comfort blanket of untrue-to-life soap operas and talent competitions where the dream of fame and fortune is the prize.

One thing that ties the plight of the workers of the world together is the level of control that is placed upon their lives by the news and media corporations.

Whether it is Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Viscount Rothmere's Daily Mail & General Trust or the Barclay Brothers' (who even attempted to use their financial power to rig elections in their favour on their island home of Sark) Telegraph Group, they are all determined to crush dissenters under news print or drown them out with televised drivel in order to further their undemocratic hold over the supposedly democratic governments of the capitalist 'west'.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 21 January 2009:

No more bailouts for bosses!

Fast news: My Lords, Ladies and cash dispenser


War and occupation

Gaza war paves way for further conflict

Protesting against Gaza attacks

Egypt: Gaza conflict fuels anti-Mubarak opposition

Readers' comment: media reporting on Gaza


Socialist Party campaigns

Hands off Royal Mail

Wirral anti-cuts campaign

Save jobs - nationalise JCB

Fighting the cuts in Greenwich

Shop workers need a fighting trade union leadership

Campaigning in Exeter

Hoover workers march in protest at job losses

Amicus election

Glasgow Unison


Socialist Party feature

Obama takes power: What change will the Democrats bring?


International socialist news and analysis

Refugees and repression in war ravaged Sri Lanka

Exiled Zimbabweans demand Brown acts

Capitalism kills, concludes study of privatisation era

Lawyer assassinated


Environment and socialism

Opposing the expansion of Heathrow

Waltham Forest anti-incinerator campaign: Residents get results

Campaigners fight attacks on education and the environment


Socialist Students

Students fight academy status


Socialist Party review

What's going on? The meanderings of a comic mind in confusion, by Mark Steel


 

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