Why The Media Can't Be Trusted To Provide The Truth

Vernon Coleman

Anyone who relies on mainstream newspapers, television or radio for news about the EU will have a very superficial and one sided view of what is going on. What masquerades as news is simply a mixture of lies, half truths, spin, counterspin and propaganda. The aim of the media today is to misinform, to manipulate and to make you afraid.

Quite rightly, distrust of the press is becoming widespread. A major recent survey in the USA showed that 45% of Americans believe little or nothing that they read in newspapers. Twenty years ago only 16% of readers expressed such profound scepticism.

Apart from newsletters and small publishers there is no free press in America.

And with the exception of newsletters and small publishers in England there is no free press in England either.

In most countries where there is no free press it is because the government has used brute force to censor the media. Tyrants from the dusty depths of history right up to the Nazis and the communists knew the importance of controlling the press.

But things are different now.

The difference with the 20th century despots is that they know how to manipulate the media and, instead of just dipping journalists in boiling tar they hire tame journalists to spread their message. Labour's spin doctors were, in a spiritual sense, fathered by Hitler and Goebels.

Today, politicians may not own the media and they may no longer need to chop off the arms and heads of troublesome scribes, but they can control the media with ever increasing subtlety. News used to be defined as things someone didn't want to see in print - these days it's the opposite; it's stuff someone in power wants you to read.

The result is that although we may seem to have a free press, we don't. And that's worse than having a despot who boils disobedient journalists in oil. What you read in your newspaper and what you see on television and what you hear on the radio are, by and large, the accepted messages. People believe what they see and what they hear and what they read.

But today's journalists are muzzled not by the threat of violence but by the promise of wealth and fame and success. The statist elite of the EU and Labour don't kill journalists - they buy them.

Today's journalists have given up their spirit in return for money, fame and honours. Journalists used to pride themselves on their freedom and independence. Today's journalists are servile, weak and greedy. They are also easily bribed.

The people who should be protecting our freedom are helping our tyrannical rules take it from us. The rulers tell the journalists that what they are doing is `inevitable' and `necessary' and they talk of threats from terrorism and the need for progress.

Today's journalists have no sense of history, no ability to think for themselves; they have become part of show business. They are not in the slightest bit interested in truth. They will blow whichever way the wind takes them.

Journalists and editors have chosen popularity with their bosses, gold and fame, above principle. They want to be `in' with the `in crowd', they want to be liked. They are sycophantic quislings not journalists. They grovel at the feet of third rate politicians and businessmen and they suppress the truth for an invitation to Chequers and a company car (preferably with chauffeur).

It is the role of journalists to harry, criticise and question politicians. Always. Whoever is in power. Journalists should never have friends among politicians and should never accept favours. It is as bad for a journalist to accept hospitality from a politician as it would be to accept a bribe from an industrialist.

Among the 300 guests officially entertained, at taxpayers' expense, by the Blairs during Labour's first term in power between 1997 and 2001 were (in addition to an Italian nobleman and his wife and two daughters, who had loaned the Blairs his Tuscan villa for a holiday) a clutch of well-known journalists.

Now, if any of those journalists had been writing a story, say, on the oil industry and had spent a weekend dining and wining at the expense of an oil company chief do you not think there might have been raised eyebrows?

When employees of the BBC accepts such an invitation, and the BBC seems unperturbed by their accepting it, serious questions should be asked about the independence of the whole organisation. Journalists should avoid the hospitality of the people they are supposed to be investigating as determinedly as they should (but don't) refuse honours or awards or prizes. Any journalist who accepts a peerage, a knighthood or even an MBA has betrayed his readers. Dammit, journalists shouldn't even be on first name terms with the people they write or broadcast about. They shouldn't eat with them or drink with them.

Niccolo machiavelli recommended that a Prince could make someone a puppet by `dignifying him, enriching him, binding him to himself by benefits, and sharing with him the honours...of the State.'

He was right.

What all this means is that those who rely upon the press and upon TV and radio for their news, and for an interpretation of the news, will be unable to see what is happening or form useful judgements.

You cannot possibly rely upon your daily newspaper or news programme for anything approaching the truth about the EU. Indeed, I would go further. Every time you read an article about the EU in a national newspaper you should assume that the writer is lying. And every time you listen to a programme about the EU on the BBC you should ask yourself not whether the broadcaster is telling the truth but why he might be lying.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2005

Taken from The Truth They Won't Tell You (And Don't Want You To Know) About The EU by Vernon Coleman, published by Blue Books at 9.99. Available from the webshop on this website, from all good webshops and from all good bookshops everywhere.