Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Pretensions in Paris: perfect day for real media speech

The aftermath of the appalling Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris has seen much media proclamation of the rights to free speech and critical expression. All seemingly noble. Except for the uncomfortable truth that our 'best' and most 'searching' liberal media have cravenly forfeited any such 'rights' in its routine prostration to power.

As over 40 of the world's most 'freedom-extolling' heads gathered in Paris to 'lead' a demonstration in support of those 'inviolable rights', here was the very opportunity to question such hypocritical pretensions, not only over those individual states' records on freedom of speech, but of their collective repression, violence and warmongering under the Western/Nato axis in denying others around the world the very freedom of life.

Thus, amid the 'refusal to be intimidated by violent terrorists', where was all the media outrage over the presence of Israel's key trio of terror gangsters Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett? Where, also, was the media's coverage of their visit as a PR disaster for Israel? 

Why was President Hollande's clampdown on civil liberties (for example, France is the only Western state to try and ban pro-Palestinian protests) and France's wider record of state terror, from Algeria to Syria, Libya to Mali, not up for scrutiny? If 'France' as a country is said to be mourning, why can't journalists speak so generically of France's state crimes?   

And what of the obsequious treatment reserved for UK Prime Minister David Cameron?

On January 11, Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy interviewed Cameron over his appearance in Paris.

In the piece, Guru-Murthy allows Cameron to pontificate about Voltairian values, responding only with an insipid line of questions on the prospects of him 'raising the threat level' in Britain, the need for armed policing, and whether it "stick[s] in the craw" to be seen marching with Egyptians or Russians on a freedom of speech march. The extent of Cameron's own part in subjugating the media, via the mendacious activities of UK intelligence, and the British state's own staggering record of terror-stamped war and interventionism is never mentioned. The limit of Guru-Murthy's 'satirical probing': 'Is this your first demonstration?'

A short twitter exchange ensued:
John Hilley‏@johnwhilley                                          
Here's how 'freely' our 'best free' media are willing to challenge our 'freedom marching' leader
Tony Shenton ‏@tony_shenton                                  
was more probing when he used to interview kids on Newsround. Could Cameron have bern given an easier ride?
Krishnan Guru-Murthy ‏@krishgm                                
I really don't think it was the day to rough him up. There will be another chance for that.
John Hilley ‏@johnwhilley                                  
. How very 'on-message'. The dark irony of 'free-speech' journalism afraid to expose posturing leader.
On January 13, Media Lens message board contributor Ed Murray wrote to Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow:
Mr Snow,
In tonight's Snowmail (1), you rather proudly announce:

"...while Inigo Gilmore has been challenging the Front National leader, Marine le Pen, about whether her party is exploiting the killings and their aftermath."

I must have missed your 11th January Snowmail, where you announce:

"...while Krishnan Guru-Murthy has not been challenging Tory leader David Cameron, about whether his party is exploiting the killings and their aftermath."

Guru-Murthy, replying to comments about his supremely supine interview with Cameron, opined that it was not the right day "to rough him up" over such allegations, when in fact, it was the perfect day to ask him about his hypocrisy.
It was, indeed, that most perfect opportunity for such a challenge. When else should it have happened? When the world wasn't watching so many of those leaders posturing on Parisian streets in their carefully-staged 'demo'?

In the supposed celebration of 'Je Suis Charlie freedoms' and the 'right' to iconoclastic mockery, why was this day considered so sacrosanct, this kind of interview deemed an inappropriate moment to challenge, expose and even mock the truly powerful?

Doesn't it say so much about our 'vanguard' media that it can so readily uphold the right to publish, and even offend, yet, in its own vacuous output, still fear to question such political exploitation or appear 'offensive' to select leaders?

And what serious charges and indictments do those like Guru-Murthy really have in mind, anyway, when they 'promise' to "rough-up" the political elite?

Guru-Murthy assures us that "there will be another chance for that." What serious prospect of this happening, do you think? Are we likely to see any illumination of the real context behind these events, that which takes us beyond the artificial liberal 'news' agenda of 'defending free speech' and politicians forever condemning terrorism, rather than exposing the powerful forces - state terrorism, corporate interests and their ideological agencies - that keep the whole process of violence, greed and hatred going?   

While we 'await' that coming 'inquisition of power', here's Russell Brand with a much more probing, enlightening and compassionate set of insights.

No comments: