web analytics

Hatchets and Knives.

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, January 9th, 2018 - 20 comments
Categories: International, Jeremy Corbyn, journalism, making shit up, Media, newspapers, Politics, Propaganda, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics - Tags: , ,

A couple of days ago I wrote a post on what Emily Thornberry (UK Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary) had said about Iran. In not so many words, I wrote that it was “not permitted” to posit a view or analysis that ran counter to official narratives.

Well yesterday, both The Guardian and the Independent provided nice examples of what I was on about.

After her Radio 4 interview, Emily Thornberry submitted a facebook post that expanded on her basic points. (Here it is here.)  The Guardian decided to report on that as her seeking to clarify herself – suggesting she was muddled, or that her position was untenable and she had done somewhat of an “about face” on the whole issue. The Guardian doesn’t link to her facebook post in the piece although that’s what the piece is built around. It (as usual these days) does not allow for comments, applies questionable interpretation to some of her post and, not surprisingly, avails itself of the opportunity to smear Jeremy Corbyn.

The Independent goes further with an editorial running a sub-header accusing Emily Thornberry and anyone with similar views of “appalling moral cowardice”.

The Deputy Political Editor of The Independent wades in with a piece that’s essentially dishonest insofar as it suggests a thoughtful and nuanced approach to another county’s internal affairs is somehow condoning the killing of protesters. Funnily enough, it’s accompanied by a photo of a sizable protest in Tehran – presumably a pro-government rally then. Though, of course, no mention is made of that likely fact. And of course, it also seizes the opportunity to have a go at Jeremy Corbyn – this time, not for speaking at an event marking 30 years since the overthrow of the Shah (as reported in The Guardian), but for appearing on PressTV in the past. 

Nothing about the situation in Iran then. Nothing about pre-existing grievances within Iran’s diverse ethnic communities, nor any exploration of any likely historical context of those grievances. No acknowledgement, let alone exploration of the complexities that exist in Iran. Nothing even about sanctions and their likely impact on the country’s economy.  Nothing much beyond a reiteration of simple and simplistic official “truths” alongside condemnation and smearing of those who aren’t “toeing the line” because , y’know, it’s black and it’s white.

“Iran Bad.” –  and you’re either with us or you’re against us.

And between this current bullshit and other stuff of recent years, I’m concluding that “the powers that be” within western liberalism must be wanting me as an enemy. Which is fine. If I’m to be their enemy, then they can be my enemy too. I’m not alone in having that take.

20 comments on “Hatchets and Knives. ”

  1. Ad 1

    Thornberry looks like she is having to cover for the approach of her leader Corbyn. It’s his style not to commit to specific interventions in Middle Eastern affairs and let a good volume of dust settle before proposing action.

    That approach never works well with the mainstream media, who need emotion to propel the story.

    Her Facebook post talks about reading volumes of analysis on Iran. Great. Her task as a politician is, using that analysis, to form the phrasing that is compelling and frames the popular discourse, and at least a part of that is framing emotion so that the networks can use it.

    Luckily I don’t have the job of her comms director and help her boil her messaging down better.

    I don’t view this kerfuffule as fatal to her – just a good training-ground scorch before she gets Foreign Secretary at the next election and faces the cameras while holding the decisionmaking pen.

    • Bill 1.1

      I don’t think it’s injurious, let alone fatal. I’m just running with how liberal media pushes official narratives and kills debate. Unlike others, this one can be tracked/mapped from when it began.

      I don’t think she’s “having to cover” for Corbyn’s approach. I think it’s her own view, and yes, it aligns with Corbyns. In the BBC Radio 4 interview, she was clearly speaking her mind.

      Some of the comments below The independent article are fairly intelligent btw.

  2. SPC 2

    Sounds like the piece in the Dom Post then by Liam Lehir, which does not mention the economy either. The reason is obvious, they are mounting a campaign for EU/NATO sanctions (not going to be passed by the UNSC), to exacerbate political unrest over economic difficulties. Not that they mention sanctions, because if they did it would be obvious why they were doing it, to support the USA against Israel’s enemy (and undermine the nuclear agreement). Shy supporters of the “Zionists”?.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/100401301/the-united-states-has-many-problems-but-its-not-in-the-same-league-as-iran

    Economic analysis of Iran.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42553516

    A long term drought played a part in the early political protests in Syria.

    To those citing suppression of dissent in Iran, as per Damascus years ago, why no similar concern over the suppression of Palestinian protest by the IDF with continued theft of occupied land by settlers, why no push for sanctions …

  3. Marcus Morris 3

    I have just read that article in the Guardian and struggle to understand what you are talking about. It seemed balanced and fair to me and I could find nothing that “smeared” Jeremy Corban. Where does it suggest that her thinking is “muddled”. I had better go and have another look.

    • SPC 3.1

      The reason for the “sensitivity” is historic, it is the pressure placed on Labour in the media over any independence in their foreign policy (from the Tory if that party is in government, or from those in the media pro the special relationship with the USA if Labour is in government).

      And a lot of people are and have been invested in the left having a “better” foreign policy position – and the US Democrat Party and UK Labour Party, given the special relationship, are important to that.

    • Bill 3.2

      I thought I’d explained clearly enough, but…

      As I wrote, Emily Thornberry expanded on what she’s said on BBC Radio 4. The Guardian, headlines with what it claims are attempts to clarify, and in doing so, suggests there was something unclear about what she said on BBC Radio 4. There wasn’t. I quoted that segment of her interview in full in the previous post.

      I could have also dropped on The Guardian headline claim that she’s been criticised, and pointed out that the Guardian makes no mention that criticism has come from none other than the Guardian itself, and that it makes only a fleeting reference to Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat.

      In other words, the impression is given that she has roundly or generally criticised, and that’s not the case, or if it is the case, it’s not backed up by way of examples in an article that gives headline space to the suggestion.

      A more honest headline would have reported that Tory MP Tom Tugendhat had criticised her. But then, why waste an opportunity to peddle an official narrative and (remembering here that The Guardian touts itself as being a voice of the left) put the boot in to a popular left leaning political party your publication abhors?

      The Corbyn angle comes in portraying him as somehow sympathetic to the government of Iran (celebrating 35 years since the Iranian revolution) and leaving the reader to form their own conclusions about that was about. And remember how it was alleged he was an IRA sympathiser too? And a big “thumbs up” guy for Hezbollah?

      It all adds up. It’s piling bullshit on top of bullshit – repeating a meme (of him siding with the bad guys) so that he eventually becomes tarred by that brush in the eye of the public. (In the same news cycle, The Independent “goes him” for having appeared on PressTV – same shit)

  4. SPC 4

    There is another factor in play here, and that is Tory attacks on Labour if they are not in lock-step on foreign policy.

    To the end of a bi-partisanship around sustaining the “special relationship” with the USA. Which of course led Blair down his path.

    Which would explain the pressure on Labour not to be seen as anti-Semitic (discriminatory for questioning Israeli policy), that is depart from the UK standing with the (pro Zionist) USA.

    It is a certain self-importance or pride in the UK that binds it to the USA coat-tail, as if they are partners (albeit ones who are merely first followers, a bit like a nation subservient to Riyadh in the Gulf). There is also an Iranian chauvinism and western nations attempting to exert pressure on their domestic politics through intervention (1950’s) have reaped the whirlwind since 1979. Doubling down on that is particularly inept, does no one learn?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      The UK often “departs” from US policy towards Israel and Palestine, as recent UN resolutions make clear.

      • SPC 4.1.1

        Not that often, with the UNSC Resolution in Dec 2016 they were working with Obama.

        The recent time, sure. But then no one stood with the USA (albeit Canada and Oz abstained – NAFTA and the deal with Trump over refugee intake explains why).

        And a real departure with the USA over Israel would have involved EU sanctions for the illegal settlements …

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          Obama was far less ‘pro-Israel’ than previous administrations. There’s common ground, but the notion that the two countries are in lockstep doesn’t really stack up.

          • SPC 4.1.1.1.1

            I disagree, lock-step. Thatcher and Reagan, Major Bush and Clinton, Blair with Clinton and Bush, Cameron and Obama. But while Trump is POTUS, one would hope and expect to see a greater independence/divergence
            – such as the UK/EU not resuming sanctions on Iran.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Iran/UK relations have their own set of circumstances and public opinions.

              I’m not dying in a ditch over this: I think UK foreign policy in general is pretty shitty: selling arms to both sides of the Iran/Iraq war, for example, or arming the House of Saud.

              I just don’t think you can see them as US sock-puppets where Israel is concerned.

  5. francesca 5

    It’s extraordinary how slavishly in step with govt foreign policy supposedly proud and independent UK news outlets are.
    Here Glenn Greenwald has a go at Ofcom the UK media regulator that sets out to keep an eye on and punish those media sites guilty of “bias”
    The effect is a standardisation of views in line with govt policies
    Somewhere along the line we’ve become the Soviet Union without the benefits

    https://theintercept.com/2015/03/02/uk-media-regulator-threatens-rt-bias-airing-anti-western-views/

    Anyone that steps out of line gets hammered

    • Bill 5.1

      Oh, Pravda was a singular publication controlled by the Kremlin. Western liberal media is a clutch of publications controlled by corporate interests who also happen to have an unhealthy influence on government policies.

      In other words, in both examples, media serve power. (Granted, the case of western liberal media is that bit more opaque than was the case with Pravda – which makes it much more effective as a tool of propaganda)

      • francesca 5.1.1

        Yes, thats an interesting point.
        Media now serves the interests of corporate behemoths, the same oligarchy our governments enable
        The difference is that our so called democracies are now oligarchies

    • D'Esterre 5.2

      Francesca: “The effect is a standardisation of views in line with govt policies
      Somewhere along the line we’ve become the Soviet Union without the benefits”

      It’s very sad. The UK is a part of my heritage; from my childhood, we were taught by our parents to believe that UK news outlets were commentators of record.

      It’s only as I’ve grown older and been exposed to dissenting views, courtesy of academia and the internet, that I’ve come to realise that the UK msm are as shabbily biased as the Soviet outlets they loved to criticise, back in the day.

      I no longer go to the BBC for any news; and the Guardian is left-wing in the same way as I’m the Pope. That is, not at all.

  6. Incognito 6

    And between this current bullshit and other stuff of recent years, I’m concluding that “the powers that be” within western liberalism must be wanting me as an enemy.

    I don’t think this is entirely accurate and that those “powers” want clear battle lines and then people to choose sides. Fence sitters and people with nuanced views are haunted and hunted down till they take sides. Anybody who attempts a neutral, sceptical or objective take on things is immediately accused of bias, hypocrisy, ignorance, stupidity, denial, at least one type of ‘ism’, and most ironically of taking sides as in: if you’re not with me then you’re against me.

    Taking sides is fairly easy and staying in one cult camp is made even easier but following your own path that meanders somewhere in the middle ist verboten! I think such a PoV might encourage others to bridge the gap, swap sides, or become conciliatory and compromising, which all pose a grave danger to status quo.

    • Bill 6.1

      When liberal capitalism is acknowledged as being a cult, then the next move doesn’t have to be so much about taking sides, as simply leaving the cult and acting or speaking against it.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago