Sunday 27 January 2019

Paul Mason on Journalism and Fake News

As readers should know by now, Politics Theory Other is essential listening. To mark the beginning of Red Hacks, a new PTO series hosted by Joana Ramiro, I'm reposting her interview with Paul Mason. In this Paul elaborates on his theory of the collapse of establishment journalism and locates fake news in a battery of elite strategies aimed at securing certain sectional bourgeois interests. An excellent and thought-provoking contribution.


Anonymous said...

If all you ever listened to was the BBC and Sky news you couldn’t help but be a brainwashed and ignorant idiot. Which I think is the point of Fake news, to keep you a brainwashed and ignorant idiot.

It isn’t what they tell you that matters, it is how they tell it and what they don’t tell you that is the real issue.

Fake news is an attempt to ensure we, the masses, continue to hear what they want us to hear and deny us alternative viewpoints. It is censorship pure and simple. This is why the guardians of what is and isn’t fake news are drawn from the security services of the imperialist core.

For example my tablet informs me that RT is funded by the Russian government whereas the BBC is

Pardon me if I think the BBC is garbage and insults my intelligence and let me thank RT for confirming this view beyond any reasonable doubt. Incidentally short of the Labour movement having its own TV channel I would recommend RT over the BBC any day of the week.

But for the love of Christ why don’t we have Marxism TV!

Ken said...

Because “anonymous” you’d have to get everybody who claims to be a Marxist agreeing with each other. What, do you think, are the chances of that? Marxist TV 1 “and now, why we have to remain in the EU, although it’s necessary to reform it.” Marxist TV 2 “workers must recognise that their class interests demand a break with the neo-liberal clique who run the EU, and their fellow-travellers in the petit-bourgeois formations which claim to represent them, but objectively....etc. etc.”

Boffy said...

At least it would mean that the people who appeared on it would be real people, and not internet trolls, like Anonymous, whose personas change so as to be able to present whatever set of claptrap they think will best provoke a flame war for their entertainment at that moment.

They don't just present fake news, and fake ideas. They are also simply fake people!

Dialectician1 said...

Thanks. Really enjoyed this. I do not necessarily agree with all that Paul Mason says but he gives an 'insiders' view of how the MSM worked until 2011. For him, this all changed when the internet became flooded with unverifiable 'facts' from a variety of international troll factories. It does not matter whether we call this 'fake news' or not, what it does is destabilise all the normal ways of calling 'bullshit' to account. The chaos that ensues is the objective. Normal democratic institutions are at a loss as how to deal with being overwhelmed with the relentless flow of unverifiable information. People become bewildered & quickly lose faith with these institutions. What we end with anarchic capitalism, which is the next logical stage of neoliberalism.

All this has some credence but what Paul Mason doesn't do is point the finger of blame at the liberal institutions and the mainstream media channels that have over the past thirty to forty years uncritically supported neoliberalism. Journalists were never the bastions of truth. Paul can only give us three examples of journalists who brought truth to power. Moreover, all this was supported by a liberal academe who at the same time offered us multiple varieties of postmodernist theory, whose real aim was to undermine socialism. Truth, however, was the real casualty. Now we have the perfect storm.

Jim Denham said...

Re: 'Anonymous''s bizarre enthusiasm for RT:

The serious left needs to be absolutely clear about what RT actually is. This is a state organ of the Putin regime and though it occasionally uses the language of the left (when attacking Russia’s rivals) the one thing consistent about its coverage is its uncritical support of Russian imperialism. I'm no great fan of the BBC but it's clear that its relationship to the May regime is in no way equivalent to that of RT and Putin.

Honest leftists should refuse to have anything to do with RT, shouldn’t watch it, should refuse to be interviewed by it, and certainly should not host shows on it.

Anonymous said...

I am aware that RT is funded by the Russian state just as the BBC is funded by the British state.

What strikes me about RT is how more analytical it is in relation to the garbage produced by the Mayite BBC or the Murdochite Sky.

The output of the BBC is unadulterated propaganda. I would agree that you can't compare the BBC to RT, because RT is so much better.

Also what RT does is provide irrefutable proof that what matters isn't fake news but what they choose not to tell you. Fake news is simply a tool to repress the views that stand outside the mainstream. A topic you might think would concern the left!

I am struck that the critical and important stories covered by RT were not even mentioned by Sky or BBC news. For example in a poll 50% of people in the UK did not even know there was a war in the Yemen. And next to no one knew a thing about the UK's role in that war.

A damning indictment of establishment media that our pro imperialist and pro war leftists are so keen to defend.

Adrian Kent said...

Just come across your blog - v. good.

I've got a lot of issues with Paul Mason, most of which are summed up nicely by the pieece I link to below. His criticism of the corporate media always seems to stop when it comes to our 'official enemies' and his accusations of troll-farms and psyops are right out of the Integrity Initiative playbook.

As for RT & fake news you may not have heard recently that they have been censured by Offcom for lack of impartiality in their coverage of the Skripal case. Apparently they failed to include sufficient voices supportive of the Government's position. This has to be the most patentily ludicrous decision imaginable - there were simply NO contrary voices on the MSM - not when the timeline changed, not when the door-handle dose somehow contaminated the roof, not when May misled the house, not when the kids who fed the ducks from break from Sergei's hands weren't killed, not when the OPCW reported pure samples from weeks after the event (and on and on and on).

Of course we have to be skeptical of RT due to it's funding, but it's only the same skepticism we should employ for the rest of the MSM.