Unbalanced reporting is feeding our ignorance

I overheard one of my colleagues at work the other day. He was listening to a news report about the prospect of British jets bombing Isis targets in Syria. “Let’s bomb them,” he said. I often hear him saying such things. He’s not a right wing bigot or a racist, although he might be Islamophobic. Many people are Islamophobic these days. I said, “that’s exactly what they are saying about you right now.” He turned from his frame and looked at me sceptically. “So what would you do?” Unfortunately my answer was a lot less succinct than the three words … Continue reading Unbalanced reporting is feeding our ignorance

Who do we trust?

A friend of mine asked me a question a while back, which has been niggling me ever since. I put up a post on Facebook, which I got from fair.org. “F.A.I.R.” stands for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. It was about the reporting of Russian airstrikes in Syria by the mainstream media. What it showed was that there was a certain amount of false reporting going on. The news appeared to be different before and after the Russian intervention. On the 30th September the New York Times had reported airstrikes in Homs, but then added that it was a region of Syria not under the control of … Continue reading Who do we trust?

Airstrikes for Dummies

Last week David Cameron presented the case for airstrikes in Syria. He said: “Throughout Britain’s history we have been called on time and again to make the hardest of decisions in defence of our citizens and our country. Today one of the greatest threats we face to our security is the threat from Isil [Isis].” I took the report from the Guardian website. You will notice that they felt the need to explain who Isil are by adding an alternative name in brackets. This is just in case there might be some confusion. The group are also known as Daesh … Continue reading Airstrikes for Dummies

“Fury” over plans to house refugees

Front page of the Whitstable Gazette last week: “Fury over plans to house refugees”. Pardon? Did I hear that right? There’s an unused building in Whitstable; there’s  some homeless, traumatised children – that’s the meaning of the term “unaccompanied minor” – and somebody is “furious” about it; someone objects? What has become of us, that we treat young people seeking refuge this way? The victims of wars that our political and economic elites started in order to fill their own pockets. Orphans, driven from their homes by conditions which we helped to create. We don’t even know who these children … Continue reading “Fury” over plans to house refugees

The Killing Fields then and now

  The Killing Fields was on TV recently. Maybe you remember it. It’s about a journalist and his translator during the time of the Khmer Rouge take over in Cambodia in the 1970s. It came out in 1984, won eight BAFTAs and three Oscars and starred Sam Waterson and Haing S. Ngor. The movie hasn’t aged a bit. It worth watching both for its depiction of the extremes of war, and of the deep personal relationship between the two men. It also shows you the violence of the Khmer State in the years after the war. What struck me while … Continue reading The Killing Fields then and now

Nice to know we’re on the side of progress

So we’re at war again. Because all the previous wars have worked out really well haven’t they? We bombed Afghanistan and the Taliban grew stronger. We bombed Libya and the terrorist armies spread throughout the Middle East. We bombed Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. So – remind me –  which of these countries is now safe from terrorism? This is the fourth time we’ve bombed Iraq. The Iraqis must have got used to it by now. We’ve been bombing them, on and off, since 1990. Islamic State (IS) used to be known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. When we first bombed … Continue reading Nice to know we’re on the side of progress