Media

Why the media is biased - understanding the propaganda model

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When the Watergate Scandal brought down the Nixon Government in the States in the mid-70s, it was heralded as one of the finest examples of media power in modern times. Nixon's fall from grace, along with the story of corruption in high places, was the stuff of drama. In no time, the journalists at the centre of the Watergate exposé - Bernstein and Woodward - became celebrities. They went on to win Pulitzer Prizes for their journalistic endeavours and even became the subject of a Hollywood touch-up in All The President's Men.

Ever since, Watergate has acted as a sort of beacon. No single news story did as much for the prestige of the media or the profession of journalism. No other single news-story seems to have offered such overwhelming evidence that under capitalism "the press is free". For a newspaper to be able to have the power and freedom to bring down a US President of Nixon's stature - well, what more can you say?

The anti-Roma racism of the child seizures - No further Action Required

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In this guest piece Damien Walshe, long term anti-racist activist, takes the opportunity to reflect on what happend in the last week when State authorities acted to take away blonde children from their Roma parents.

“Damned if they did something, damned if they did nothing”

A standard response (and the one trotted out by the Minister for Justice) is that it was best for the HSE/Gardai to err on the side of caution: “better be safe than sorry” has been the mantra. Okay, let’s have a look at that statement: What the danger was established in order to abduct the two Roma children from their families? Under the Child Care act children can be taken into care if a child has or is being assaulted, ill-treated, neglected or sexually abused, or whose health, development or welfare has been or is likely to be impaired or neglected. No one has remotely suggested this was the case for either child.

Beyond the "solidarity of the same” - Solidarity, class and empowerment

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Solidarity is a word that fills the songs, slogans and even names of movements in the anarchist, socialist and left tradition. Yet the meaning of the term is often assumed to be common knowledge that needs no further explanation or enquiry. In line with the theme of this issue of the Irish Anarchist Review this article aims to look a little deeper into the history and meaning of this term and how it should inform our activity today and the problems we face. Particularly in situations when equal empowerment between all the participants in the solidarity relation cannot be assumed as a starting point. Clearly solidarity, class and equality are all in some way intertwined, but the question is how, exactly?

 

Anarchists Playing the Media Game

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The Dublin Grassroots Network put a number of structures in place to avoid some of the pitfalls of dealing with the media. Perhaps the two biggest problems in dealing with the media are firstly that the media can, through the questions they ask and the pressures they bring, begin to set the political agenda of the group. Secondly servicing the media machine can take up all a group's time and energy (to the detriment of the other activity).

Media Mayhem - Anarchists and the Mass Media

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On one level the phrase "the media" simply refers to the various modern technologies for transmitting ideas to large populations, such as newspapers, television, magazines, radio and the new kid on the block, the Internet. These are extremely useful tools. They allow people to know what's happening in the world and hence share some common understanding with strangers. A fundamental precondition for achieving the type of revolutionary change that anarchists seek is that a large number of people actively desire it, or at the very least are open to it. Indeed, communicating "our beloved propaganda" to the masses has always played a major part in anarchist activity and hence we require the media. However, today, when we talk about the media, we also implicitly refer to the corporate machine that comes very close to operating monopoly control over mass communication.

Dundalk Stabbings Not Terrorism Despite Right-Wing Fear-Mongering

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The murder of one and stabbings of two other people in Dundalk recently was a horrible incident which was terrifying for those caught up in it and has left one family grieving for a loved one. Carried out by someone who was clearly disturbed - why or what caused that remains to be seen.

Some have reacted by letting anger or fear take over and jumping to unproven conclusions about Islamist terrorism, even after the gardaí have announced that they have investigated that possibility and found no link whatsoever. Fascist and far-right elements are drooling at the opportunity to smear all refugees, all Muslims, all people from the Middle East, and to a large extent all migrants. Social media, and Twitter in particular, has been buzzing with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim hysteria for the past 24 hours.

George Hook, Leo and the place of women in patriarchal-capitalist Ireland

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Over the last few days we’ve been given a couple of direct insights into the minds of our political elite, in particular in relation to how women are to be viewed in modern Ireland. On his daily talk show last Friday, rugby pundit, and right-wing mouth piece George Hook went on a three minute tirade, moralising about rape of a young woman in the UK. The outcome of his spiel: blaming a rape victim for being assaulted while unconscious.

RTE outrageously reports 10s of thousands at so called 'March for Life'

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Saturday saw the annual anti-choice parade and yet again RTE reported a grossly inflated figure of the number marching.  They headlined it as ‘tens of thousands’ and in the body of the article quoted the organisers claiming 70,000 without further comment, appearing to endorse it.  As we are going to show below at the very least that’s a tenfold exaggeration, in fact by our count about 5300 people took part.  And while that estimate might be out by 10 or even 20% its physically impossible for it to be out by up to 1500% as that would require ten people too fit into a one meter square space.

We use the same counting methodologies (see below) for almost every demonstration that takes place in Dublin, from huge anti water charges protests to smaller but still significant ones on a huge range of issues.  We do these sorts of counts more than a dozen times a year.  We don’t always publicise the numbers we reach - organisers always tend to overestimate somewhat, most often guessing a figure that is twice what actually attended.  Generally we agree with what the demands of a demonstration are so we don’t want to appear to undermine it by publicly providing real numbers.  But we do count, we do use those counts internally in the WSM and we often communicate them directly to organisers. 

Jobstown not Guilty points to a Garda conspiracy

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The outraged media reaction to a jury doing its job and finding the Jobstown defendants not guilty is quite extraordinary.  Rather than do the right thing and launch an investigation as to how 180 cops could produce evidence that was directly contradicted by video evidence, the media have gone on a rant against Twitter!  Rather than finding it suspicious that nearly 3 million in public funds was spent by the DPP on a case that any proper check of available evidence should have indicated was never likely to convince a jury, the media suggest instead that the problem lay in the exact charges brought.

As we look across our newspapers, TV channels and radio stations and see what appears to be coordinated messaging from politicos, journalists and other elite figures we should take this as a teaching moment.  This isn’t some exception, this is how it works.  It’s only visible in this instance because so many of us followed the trial in considerable detail, and that was only possible because of the large number of activists who provided court updates, mostly in a voluntary role. Those activists with access to social media allowed a collective challenging of the media framing. Hundreds of people not only read what they posted but shared and retweeted it.

Cop on comrades - over 250 women respond to left attack on 'Identity Politics'

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The following has been written by a collective of women activists in Ireland in part in response to an article that appeared in the Irish Times on Identity Politics and the way 'men on the left' engaged with that article.  The version here is the original form as published meaning  the signatures are those who were involved at some level in the drafting process.  Additional names were added after publication, see link at the end.  One of our members, Andrew,  produced a timeline of key documents and discussion around this piece which explains the context in a lot more details.

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