Saturday, 20 July 2013

Starting the Fire

Well good morning folks.  It's clear I've been away for some time, even going as far as to temporarily delete the blog.  There were reasons for that and equally there are reasons for coming back, which I may go on to explain at some point.  So if you're an old friend / previous visitor - thank you for taking the time to come back.  I hope I write something worth reading, every now and again. Although we're called Restoring Britain, today's post is going to take a jump across to different countries.

As well as being away from my blog I've largely stayed away from political blogs and videos in general, although recently I had a quick whizz around some of my old haunts and stopped by to watch Pat Condell have a couple of pops at a world where reasoning and truth is turned on its head.  In one recent  video he refers to an incident involving a Danish political activist, Lars Heddergard, recently at the wrong end of an assassination attempt at his own home- Lars Heddergard.  It seemed Mr Heddergard (who was attempting a house move - presumably as a safety precaution) was attemptedly followed by a journalist and photographer in what appears to have been an attempt to report his new location.  Stupid in the extreme is the most conservative assessment I can give this effort by these supposed journalists.

I mention that because I see that in the US the trial of George Zimmerman has resulted in a not guilty verdict for Zimmerman.  What I wanted to say in this post has eluded me for days and I've twisted myself in knots on how I wished to word it.  The principle reason was that I wasn't so much wanting to concentrate on the what happened, but on the press coverage.  I think at the end of the day there are probably only two people who know what really happened and they are the two people involved.  So I struggled.  Bill Whittle probably summed it up best and in fact I learned something new about the case about the cocktail known as "Lean", despite it being a speculative aspect of Bill's video.  I'll let Bill say most of it for me:

I wanted to avoid going over the evidence but in fact it's required to understand the wider point that Bill touches upon and that I really wanted my post to be about.

Martin's death and Zimmerman's acquittal have sparked a controversy and a backlash.  I think that backlash has in part been sparked by the actions  and reporting of the press, including those of the BBC here in Britain.  By and large, we have seen this story told of a young black man out buying skittles and a drink, shot and killed simply because white man Zimmerman presumed he was up to no good in a gated community.  Within that have been lots of commentary about America tearing itself up over a resurgence of its racist history.

The problem is we have learned much of what we have from the press.  That narrative I've just described above has come about because of the way the story has been told in the press.  Of course it doesn't take much digging around (as Bill Whittle did) to find there are lots of holes in that story.  In fact most of that knowledge was available from the outset, hence the police feeling that they had nothing to charge Zimmerman with and initial advice from prosecutors.

So the evidence was there which has to call into question why it failed to make it into the press.  Now it was one of two things.  It was either sloppy journalism or it was deliberate design.  I can partly believe in sloppy journalism as with all manner of stories, it seems to thrive mostly on a diet of low hanging fruit.  Except in this instance, there were clearly pieces of low hanging fruit that they chose to ignore - pieces that effectively left the established narrative on shaky ground.

So if it's not sloppy journalism, that pretty much leaves us with deliberate design.  We've already seen pieces that didn't make it in to the early stories. As well as that though there is the recording of the 911 call made by Zimmerman.  This is the call that news outlets originally presented as including the following phrase:

  Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

When in actual fact the actual recording went like this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about. 

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

So he didn't offer it up, he was responding to a question

Eventually, when this editing was exposed the news station who manipulated the recording was forced to apologise and is being sued by Zimmerman for depicting him as  racist.  But that still hasn't stopped news organisations repeating this, including the BBC.  Although they had previously reported Zimmerman's legal action against NBC, they still ran this article in June in which they appear to do a similar thing to NBC.

So what's my point?

Well my point is this - the media are playing a naive, malign and dangerous game.  The angle we have consistently seen from the press around this case has from the outset been based on the omission of salient and readily available facts. Their omission points to someone wanting the story told this way and this way only.  In other words someone wants you to have viewpoint that they approve of. They only want a viewpoint that fits their narrative because if you have that viewpoint, you are more likely to repeat it as though it were fact.

What makes it naive, malign and dangerous is that there are (and have already been) consequences for this manipulation.  It doesn't just exist in a bubble.  They can't just say these things and it not provoke a reaction.  People have relied on the press to give them the facts and most probably presume what they have seen to be the facts.  People cite such "facts" to justify their reaction.  There have been protests, there has been violence.  There has been talk of retribution.  I could understand all of this had the narrative been true.  Heck if I were part of the African American community and this had been true, I'd be filled with anger too.   So that's why it's dangerous.  Lives have been ruined and lives will be changed and ruined in the future.

But that's not some insight available only to me.  It would have been available to the press to.  I can only draw the conclusion they wanted to start the fire with their reporting and watch it burn.   They've treated it like its entertainment, which for me makes its disgraceful. A young man is dead and another man has become marked for death by people who seek revenge.  Anything that happens from here on in, the media which manipulated the story have a hand in it.  If there is blood, some of it will be on their hands.  It's almost like they wanted their version of events to be true so they can cause a riot and violence.  They've also given the race hustlers who pretend to speak to for America's black community ammunition to spout their own self serving bile.

The trouble is they're not only malign but they're naive about the consequences as they are genuinely incapable of seeing their hand in the subsequent reaction.  They're like someone who goes into a packed theatre, yelling "fire" for a joke and then when people get killed in the stampede, refuse to believe that it had anything to do with them. This section of the media, like to pretend they're advancing the civil rights cause.

They're doing nothing of the sort.  They're setting such a cause back.  They're manipulating a section of America for their own ends, treating them like their own plaything.

They're just starting a fire and watching it burn.  A young man is dead - it is not a time for games.

End Note

An addition for any trolls who are thinking about commenting on this.  Simply don't bother wasting your time, I won't respond or debate with you on this.  Why?  A few reasons really.  Firstly, because no amount of clunky efforts to paint me as racist will actually make it true.  You are of course entitled to your opinion but if you knew me, you could not actually honestly draw such a conclusion so you're left with name calling.  Secondly it's not a debate you're looking for.  You're not interested in it.  What you will really have come here for is to shout down any debate.  I've read and am familiar with Saul Alinsky and his playbook and I know about trolling.  So save your energy and take it elsewhere.  Thank you.