Some days I have, ‘irony issues’. It probably comes from having a memory, which allows me to place past events alongside the moment I’m in, and thus appreciate the duplicitous nature of the modern political and media environment.
A week or so ago I choked on my coffee when hearing of George W. Bush’s condemnation of the ‘illegal’ invasion of Ukraine. This morning, it was some very self-satisfied Radio 4 broadcasters on the ‘Today’ programme, relating the story of Marina Ovsyannikova, and her stand against the failings of Russia’s première news broadcaster.
Fair do’s: Marina seized the moment and the opportunity and made a truly brilliant spectacle of it – the penalties for which she has yet to fully learn. The issue is not her bravery, it is the BBC’s timorousness when it comes to equally unwelcome stories that relate to ‘Western interests’.
For example, take Peter Oborne’s excellent piece for Double-Down News, in which he exposes the basic racism of the media establishment in the way they cover the war in Yemen in contrast to the war in Ukraine. Or the recent “Trojan Horse Affair”, which exposed the basic failings of investigative journalism in Britain on contentious issues, and even then was still condemned by both right-wing and (alleged) liberal media for exposing the story.
Oborne, along with others such as John Sweeney or Carole Cadwalladr, is but one of the many excellent journalists now pushed into the wilderness of websites and Patreon-funding in order to pursue their investigations; as the mainstream media are afraid to touch their excellently researched, but highly critical output.
More than anything, though, what annoys me is that Britain has exempted the US military and intelligence agencies from all international humanitarian and human rights law while they operate on British soil. Sparingly few have covered that issue at all.
While the BBC have – quite rightly – criticised Russian forces for their breaches of international humanitarian law, at the same time they have demonstrated a complete lack of balance in their own journalism, by their failure to give equal criticism to those very same breaches by US and British operations in Africa and the Middle East, and Western foreign policy which perpetuates such conflicts across the globe.
Let’s also be clear here: Just like their Russian counterparts, the BBC routinely ignores stories that might create political difficulties because – at a very visceral level within their daily operation – they are beholding to those political and corporate interests. And for the BBC to uphold the actions of Marina Ovsyannikova, while routinely ignoring both foreign and domestic stories which might create political problems with the ideological extremists who now occupy our own government, is an absolute example of their own complicity in that ‘establishment exceptionalism’.
Sitting in front of my computer I feel pressed to act. Five minutes later, after playing with two screen-grabbed images in GIMP, I have a response. Of course, in just the same way as the British and US governments do not respond to external criticism, I doubt whether anyone in the British painstream media will either.