THE job of newspapers is to keep us informed. Tradition has it that they also provide space for readers’ letters and comment by columnists. Both are free spirits whose views don’t necessarily reflect editorial opinion. The system works.
A trend has been for journalists, supposedly working to a code of ethics, to air their prejudices or nudge-nudge wink-wink connections to spin news stories. For this reason mainstream news often finds that they are the news.
An example was when the Daily Mail carried a dramatic feature of a Russian naval exercise. Their image depicted seaborne assault forces landing on the beaches of Mordovia. This was claimed to be practice for an invasion of the Baltic States. Slight problem?
Mordovia is landlocked and situated 1,800 km from the nearest sea. Associated Press carried a four column feature on the Chinese threat to Western interests. The headline reads: ‘China may be using the sea to hide its submarines.’ One reader, Sean Seamus says, “I bet the sneaky buggers are hiding their mines underground too.” Sebastian Ronin writes: “and hiding their jets in the skies I bet.’
British mainstream went ballistic, if you will excuse the expression. A Russian submarine, perfectly legitimately, recently bunkered at Ceuta, the Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast. One national newspaper placed Ceuta near Mexico; sigh.
The visit by the electric-diesel powered Kilo Class Russian submarine was one of many such visits by Russian and other such ships. But, why allow facts to get in the way of a good story.
There appears to be a shocking lack of mainstream media control and accountability: US Vice-President Joe Biden told a CBS TV audience: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed, he said, ‘look, here’s what happened.’ I have a problem with this: there were no TVs in 1929 and Herbert Hoover was the U.S. President.
Joe Biden could soon be running America. You don’t have a problem with that? You will, my friends, you will.