Guardians of Power - a review
Guardians of Power: The myth of the liberal media. Authors David Edwards and David Cromwell.
The foreword by John Pilger is impressive enough. Pilger calls it an ‘incisive and erudite guide through the media’s thicket of agendas and vested interests’. He claims that MediaLens [the authors of this book] have set the record straight. That is a big expectation for the book to live up to. Can any book really dissect the media interests in this way? How would you even begin to tackle the litany of misinformation issued by the media each day? The media is also very diverse ranging from the liberal papers to the BBC and also a plethora of right-wing papers and TV stations.
The authors choose to focus on the liberal media including the Guardian and the BBC, because they are apparently much more credible than tabloids that are typically full of half-naked women, advertisements, obvious crude propaganda and brickbats thrown at official enemies. The liberal media also constitute a ‘difficult’ target because they do actually carry dissident views including those of Pilger, Monbiot and others. I was pleasantly surprised by the powerful opening chapter that immediately set about ripping apart the reporting of the sanctions imposed on
The analysis of
While the analyses of the reporting of
Another disappointment is the way the authors develop the subject of the alternative media, when discussing alternative models of media control that bypass the corporate influence. The suggestion seems to amount to waiting for an alternative media to spring up over the internet. Citing the example of the South Korean ‘Ohmynews’ setup, they unconvincingly claim that such citizens news sources will revolutionise alternative media and bring it to the masses. They do helpfully provide a great many alternative sources of information at the back of the book but none of these is anywhere close to being more than a bubble in the ocean of corporate media reporting. A casual public survey is enough to reveal how ignorant the general public remains about these alternatives despite them all being a click away. Jo Wilding and Dahr Jamail are not familiar names to the general public. It is so much easier to switch on the TV and allow the BBC to dictate the framing of news and pay homage to the ‘great and the good’. Maybe it will take the merging of TV with the internet, to do away with this power over us, but remember that your ISP is also corporate owned. The e-brands of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft still dominate the internet. New dotcoms may spring up overnight but they conquer using the corporate business model. Computer hardware manufacturers, software producers and the ISPs continue to exert a stranglehold over the internet. If the minority sites such as FAIR and others were to become major media outlets, the threat they posed would surely have to be dealt with? If the theory is correct, would the authorities not find a way to shut them down? The power of non-corporate journalism may well have increased, but it remains a speck on the radar of corporate media. The alternatives are currently tolerated because they are only accessed by a tiny portion of the population and presumably the security services find it an easy and efficient way to keep tabs on the activities of dissidents.
Corporate links with the control of the internet cannot be wished away and as long as we continue to consume, we are responsible for keeping the corporate culture in power. Some may talk of ethical buying to transform consumer culture, but ethical buying is still a fad and a bandwagon that the major retailers are exploiting. Fair Trade products may benefit the local producers more, but the retailers also benefit by premium pricing. Ethical buying has an unethical dark side. Perhaps all this is beyond the scope of the book, but it is worth bearing in mind when you hope for the internet revolution to start supplying real media alternatives to the mass public.
The book does a good job of detailing western crimes and the MSM reporting in different places such as East Timor and
In summary this is a quality publication, well worth reading because if you are not familiar with the techniques of media deception, the book will shatter the matrix and wake you up to reality in a brutal way. It will explode once and for all, the cosy delusions fostered by years of MSM indoctrination that you were not aware of. If you already had concerns about media fairness and reporting, this book informs those concerns elegantly and also educates by providing the necessary background. I disagree with Pilger when he says this book should be required reading for all students of journalism; it should be required reading for all students and non-students alike.