Tuesday, March 03, 2009

By their omissions …

There seems to be some interest in the news that a prime minister of a minor country today visited the president of the United States.

But the biggest news by far in Washington comprises two stories – firstly that Washington was to be the venue of "the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in US history" and the second, that "global warming" (pictured) dumped over six inches of snow on the city, paralysing movement and reducing the demonstration to a rump of about 200 cold and disheartened warmists.

The hilarity of the situation was captured by Fox News, having been flagged up, well in advance by Watts up with that. It was the butt of satire from one site, and sombrely noted by National Review.

In the UK, therefore, it is of more than passing interest to note that the warmist Daily Telegraph was quick to report, "Snow storm carpets US east coast," telling us that, "A snow storm has carpeted the eastern United States, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights."

But did it tells us that the event billed as "the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in US history" was effectively cancelled by an unseasonable snowfall in what has been the coldest winter for at least a decade? Of course not. Despite the obvious news value of the juxtaposition, the Telegraph judged that this is something that its readers should not know. And if anyone really thinks the omission is anything other than deliberate, then they are in the land of the fairies.

This brings me to the substantive point of this post, which is to remind readers – if they needed it – of quite how much the news agenda is skewed by the MSM. The Telegraph should not be singled out in this respect. The BBC also failed to mention the cancelled demo, although you can guarantee that, had the attendance been as billed, it would have been all over the news and the website.

This rather reinforces the point we made earlier - that the control of the agenda is exercised as much by what they don't tell you as what they do. The former is, of course, much more insidious as it is far more difficult to be aware of what you are not being told.

But there is another equally insidious form of indoctrination which we highlight in the current post on Defence of the Realm. This is where an apparently plausible case is presented but which is based on little more than ignorance and dogma, which completely misrepresents the issues.

This is a common occurrence in defence issues and, while I write frequently on defence, I am very bad at drawing the wider conclusions about how the poor quality of reporting is merely an illustration of the widespread malaise.

Another issue – not commonly rehearsed – is how the media insults our intelligence. We are not more stupid (or intelligent) than we were in the 1920s and 30s, or any less interested in issues that affect us. Yet it was in that period that The Telegraph and then The Times appointed Basil Lidell-Hart as their defence correspondent.

In that capacity, Lidell-Hart wrote long and detailed appraisals of military issues, to a general audience, which was not only able to absorb the points he was making but was highly appreciative of them. He attracted a huge and knowledgeable correspondence, much of which was also published.

The way we are treated with contempt by our media is, therefore, of some concern. There are serious issues to hand, across a wide range of subjects, which need public debate. But we are being treated as if we were children, spoon-fed that which editors and journalist consider we should be told, without any attempt at informing us or promoting intelligent debate.

One can only say this so often before the message gets tedious, even to those who agree with it, but the repetition does not make it any less true. The act of lying encompasses act, default or omission. By their omissions, and by their default – in misrepresenting complex issues – does our media lie to us all.