Professor John Robertson and the Talking Up Scotland Collective (TUSC) do a fine job of tracking and exposing the amateurish errors and grotesque distortions and blatant misrepresentations and downright lies that make up the British media’s ‘reporting’ of the coronavirus crisis in Scotland – the BBC and The Herald in particular. What they reveal is media intent not on informing audiences but on manipulating their perceptions in the service of a political agenda that long since ceased to be hidden. This isn’t even well-crafted propaganda any more. It is crude, clumsy and often inept. It is obscene. The perpetrators style themselves professional journalists and thus bring ever further into disrepute that once honourable profession.
We are accustomed to this. Although I am daily shocked by the dumb credulousness of all too many commenting on social media platforms such as Twitter, I know that more and more people are developing the capacity to filter the output of the British establishment’s propaganda machine. I’m confident that we are approaching a time when general awareness will neutralise all but the most subtle.
Of more concern to me are the new media outlets which purport to be ‘different’ and which claim to be committed to Scotland’s cause, progressive politics and principled journalism. When organs such as these parrot the British media’s lies and distortions while garbed as honest brokers and flaunting a Yes badge, then the propaganda has its insidiousness restored. Its perniciousness refreshed.
I suggest you read some of the TUSC analysis of British media reporting on how care homes are being affected by the current public health crisis. Then take a look at this article by Ben Wray on Common Weal’s horribly refurbished ‘news’ website – effectively Ben Wray’s blog but promising “The latest insight and analysis from across Scotland”. I challenge you to point to any significant difference between this article and the ‘analysis’ presented by the British media. Or to explain the similarities.
Look, for example at Ben Wray’s references to Rashielee Care Home without ever mentioning that it is privately owned and part of Littleinch Ltd. Observe the lengthy quotes from the company’s management railing against the Scottish Government but not a word about the incontestable fact that this being a private commercial enterprise responsibility for sourcing and stocking PPE rests wholly on those same managers.
My advice is to be as wary of Source as you would be of the BBC and as dubious about Ben Wray as you would be about Tom Gordon. Propaganda comes in many guises.
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10 thoughts on “WARNING: Grass may not be entirely free of snakes!”
I don’t know much about Mr Wray’s political views and leanings (other than his Common Weal background) but maybe he’s just trying to drum up interest in his blog. He may be adopting a pseudo-balanced approach to assessing the honesty of the Scottish government versus the UK version in order to differentiate himself from other pro-Indy blogs. So just a careerist blogger without a cause.
Either way thanks for the tip-off.
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I think it’s fair to say that Social media has plenty of blogs and sites and tweeters spouting the establishment line. I like to think by regular reading and analysis, they are exposed (to me) for what they are. The great thing is there are so many presenting an accurate, factual, fair and well measured view of our world. And they don’t expect the taxpayer to fund them if they fail.
being a private commercial enterprise responsibility for sourcing and stocking PPE rests wholly on those same managers.
I would replace managers with owners or beneficiaries.
TUSC is already well above 300 000 views this month so Common Weal can eat our dust!
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I am delighted to hear that, John. It would please me greatly to know that my sharing of your articles has contributed in some small way to this success. Which it most certainly has. Because all sharing does. It is one of the simplest things people can do for Scotland’s cause and also one of the most effective. The more our media are shared the better they may compete with traditional media for people’s attention.
I urge people to share as much as they can. If you see an item which you consider significant in respect of Scotland’s cause then your first thought should be to share it and thus make it even more significant. Don’t believe what your big sister’s pal told you when you were sixteen – size does matter. If you want to win, you have to be big. The more visible and ubiquitous you are, the bigger you appear.
Find it! Read it! Share it! And if you need help with any of these things, just ask.
Next milestone half a million, John!
In a similar vein, I note that Bella Caledonia is regurgitating the establishment narrative about the AS trial and Craig Murray’s impending appearance before the beak. Irrespective of the grubby details of it all, I had expected BC to be a little more critical than again to repeat the accusations against AS in a generalised form and to describe CM as a tinfoil hat wearing nutjob who has what’s coming to him.
On Facebook too the trollfarms are busy busy busy flooding pages and groups with posts from empty/private profiles, against which innocents are expected to and willingly react in endless spirals of increasingly divisive discussion (I use the word very broadly).
Any mention that the enemy is venal, perfidious, entitled and downright evil is either rejected out of hand or hardly escapes the realms of the abstract. In practice the perfidy of Albion means actual lying, deception and the blunt exercise of power. People do not like to think through the consequences of this, even the most radically minded, for the actuals events within which they are caught up. Too much of what an old professor of mine once described as single-headed metaphysics, too much taking shit personally without looking at the big picture.
The most truculent delusion of them all is that the state is benevolent, or at least that it can be made to be so, if only the right people were elected to occupy its crucial functions and exercise its authority and for the benefit of all in society. The subdelusion of this is that democracy will bring about actual political change.
We have nevertheless to play the game, defer to the democrats lest we appear to be advocating anything “undemocratic” and thereby open up the gates to anarchy.
If I were a younger man ………
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As the SNP has been infiltrated by the gay, woke, trans nutters, Bella seems to be the goto blog. for them.
Beards and dresses are the preferred mode of dress.
I agree that the idea of a benevolent state is a bit fantastical. Apart from anything false, one man’s benevolence is another man’s malevolence. The state can never be benevolent to all. The best that we can hope for – and what we must strive for – is a state that is benign. A state that is just and fair. More importantly, a state which can be seen to be just and fair.
It is not deprivation which offends so much as inequity. An individual will have no complaint about their inferior condition so long as they are persuaded that those who enjoy a superior condition do so on merit. They will accept a degree of difference so long as the process by which the differences arise is transparently fair. All within limits, of course. It should go without saying that there must be a level of deprivation below which no-one can fall. This is relative deprivation only. Not the kind of deprivation that jeopardises wellbeing and life.
People need to feel secure. Unfairness is incompatible with feeling secure because if the state is unfair then anything can happen. Outcomes cannot be predicted because they are not founded on a set of rules common to all. Insecurity is the great sickness of our society. Even greater than deprivation – relative or absolute. The socio-economic system imposed on us is unsustainable because it relies all but entirely on energy derived from the tensions generated by imbalances – inequity, injustice and insecurity. And the greatest of these is insecurity. The system is fueled by the very thing that must ultimately destroy it.
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As you outlined in your piece this refusal by these orgs to accept responsibility for THEIR shortfalls is indicative of the tory capitalist belief that we are content and happy to REAP the rewards of profit but it is always someone else’s problem when the shit hits the fan
I truly want all care home staff and residents to be as safe and secure in their establishments as possible including with the help and resources of LA’S and the SG , but this DELIBERATE attempt by care home owners with the assistance of the corrupt MSM to abdicate their responsibilities and shame the SG is reprehensible and should be called out
The greed driven tories as usual grabbed the opportunity presented by thatcher ( SPIT ) when she forced the care in the community mantra by closing LA establishments
Tory policy , PROFIT before anything else
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I subscribe to Source and have found Ben Wray to call out BritNat unionist hypocrisy, sometimes, to be vexatious, sometimes, to criticise the SG without evidence, sometimes – and so on. He is preferable to the Herald, Mail, Sun etc. But like all bloggers, he is a curate’s egg. (I sometimes find Peter A Bell tedious too, and no doubt the feeling is reciprocated) We have to keep our brain engaged when reading, whether it is a blog or an academic study and especially if we read the Unionist press.
I only read the Guardian and FT on a Saturday, mainly for the reviews, though I now have to read them online. Again, they are far from perfect, and are usually highly critical of Scotland and the SG. But they are died in the wool BritNat Unionists – and the FT has been a neoliberal cheerleader, although there are signs of change afoot. So again, read with an critical eye. Well, usually I don’t read the anti-SNP/SG garbage.
I stopped reading Bella about a year ago because I thought the editor had an inflated ego and sense of his own importance and infallibility and there were too many poorly argued attacks on Scottish nationalism.
Naturally, I don’t listen to Radio Scotland and I don’t have a tv.
Craig Murray I find writes convincingly, he obviously has many contacts in security, diplomacy and so on which give his arguments authenticity. His reporting on the AS case I thought exemplary and generally very fair and gave a perspective that was missing from the UK press & BBC. Some of the headlines in the press were disgraceful but seemed not to have attracted the attention of the courts. Can’t think why. His prosecution I consider to be vexatious and I have contributed to his fundraiser. But I don’t accept everything he says to be gospel.
I had a quick scan of the Allyson Pollock article mentioned and although it rehearses all the known arguments and failures it never seems to occur to the authors to clearly distinguish Scotland from England on each and every issue nor to say that Scotland’s budget is is finite and that the SG doesn’t have its own Bank like WM has and cannot turn on the monetary taps when necessary. And like Ben Wray (and all Scottish Unionists) they fail to say what services they would cut in order to provide more funding for the NHS or Councils.
And of course they don’t point out that Private Care Homes are responsible for their own provision of PPE or whatever else they need.
And where have all these (new) critics of Care Homes been these last few decades. I had a mother with dementia in a care home until she died a few years ago and saw at first hand how dedicated and hard working and caring in the face of multiple difficulties and challenges the staff (usually young women) are, and learned how under-paid they are. This is not a new issue.
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