How our corporate and state media condition the public

By comparison to the previous post-war consensus, and in a subsequent period when the UK Guardian newspaper was yet still marginally deemed worthy of progressive submissions, Noam Chomsky and colleagues made the following letters page observations about UK media’s “conditioning” of the public, with regard to normalising the new US-UK-Western imperialism and particularly, absenting its death toll. They wrote:

In May 2013 the reputable polling company ComRes asked a representative sample of the British public the following question: “How many Iraqis, both combatants and civilians, do you think have died as a consequence of the war that began in Iraq in 2003?” According to 59 percent of the respondents, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis died as a result of the war. The results are especially shocking because … The latest scientific estimate of the death toll from the war is almost 500,000. This was published in PLOS Medicine. Two previous studies, also published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, suggest the death toll may possibly have been closer to a million. Only 6 percent of the respondents in the ComRes poll estimated more than 500,000 Iraqi deaths. Only 0.3 percent said they didn’t know or declined to give an estimate. The ComRes poll is powerful evidence that the media misled the public about the consequences of the war.

The above extract from an article by Gavin Lewis, a friend, does not specifically address Scottish issues but offers several insights into the behaviour of state and corporate media which you may recognise and which we can all learn from:

The Scottish media coverage of hospital and care home deaths in the last year and more will surely have led to a similar but inverse, to reflect the power differentials here, ‘conditioning of the public’, to magnify the level of death, to direct the blame away from the corporate and private owners and toward the democratically elected, but status quo-challenging, SNP Government.

Footnote: The unintentional inclusion of the book ‘Big Farms Make Big Flu‘ in the crop above seems worth pursuing too in this time.

6 thoughts on “How our corporate and state media condition the public”

  1. There is little doubt that the narrative regarding the care homes is being ‘skewed’ towards blaming the SG and not the home owners. However, with a lot of this twisting of the truth on may subjects, I cant help asking myself how and who coordinates this on the ground. There many examples where the media in Scotland have homed in on a subject overnight and there angles and attack line are extraordinarily similar. How is this achieved? Is there another unidentified group/department coordinating the media?

    The issue with BBC Scotland is that it is full of senior staff who are SLAB supporters/married to/related to/friends of SLAB apparatchiks (angry at their loss of power and control and blame the SNP for their own failings) and parachuted in ultra unionists all of whom are trying to achieve a similar thing, but for vastly differing reasons.

    One could ask why there are no investigative journalists appear prepared to really investigate all of this and fully expose what is going on?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They take their instructions from organised operatives, from very high up. The Britnat government spend a ton on propaganda, it’s a full time job for some, they are well trained.


  2. A house built on the shifting sands of spin,lies and deception cannot survive intact in the long term.
    Scots are not daft and can see this for themselves.
    The Johnson regime is just the culmination of decades of bombastic bluster by the London establishment desperately trying to hang onto the trappings of empire gone.
    However,until covid19,middle Scotland was prepared to go along with their antics,so long as comfortable lives were maintained.
    This mindset has now changed because all can now see that the emperor has no clothes and no amount of spin by HM press is going to hide that fact.


  3. Imagine yourself back in the 1960’s or 70’s. The media was fairly even-handed toward independence………………. because……… was NEVER going to happen. The SNP were a small, poorly funded and organised political force, so could be patronised.
    Then ………….the SNP started to win seats, and threaten the status quo of Brit Nat “Buggins Turn”.

    The media, press and broadcast, decided to get their houses in order.

    No more softly, softly toward “separatists”, including their own staff who were ruthlessly expelled from the paper, TV or Radio studio.

    Lies were told about Scotland. Lies were told about independence.
    Thing about lies is—-once you start you cannot stop as it would reveal last weeks lie.

    But, the public aren’t daft. Once they see through one lie, then disbelieve becomes general, and even when the truth is told, it might not be believed.
    So the media has destroyed their own street-cred.


  4. More recent lies – from 2008 onwards.

    1. Maxed out our credit card.” We all caused this. “The economic assumptions that Gordon Brown made in the last decade now lie in ruins.” D Cameron.

    It wisnae the banks and the absence of regulation.

    2. Austerity was and is necessary.

    Iceland let the shareholders in the banks take the hit and safeguarded its welfare, education and health systems.

    3, “We’re all in it together.”

    Large, widening income gap. Welfare cuts meant 80% of cuts and 20% of increased taxes, which were largely VAT related, hurting the poorest twice. “Scroungers and shirkers” demonised and “othered” by the rags.


  5. The photo on the left reminds me of a dictatorship military parade.
    Designed to say ‘we are important, see how big we are, we know the truth, you don’t, so listen up and pay up’.


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