Tag Archives: Media

I negazionisti usano la pandemia per costruire un mondo più disuguale

Il sociologo Keith Kahn-Harris ha scritto uno dei testi più affascinanti sul negazionismo. In Denial: the unspeakable truth (uscito nel Regno Unito nel 2018) distingue tra negazione e negazionismo. La negazione è un processo individuale che rimanda al rifiuto psicologico di accettare come vero un fatto assodato. È una specie di processo di rimozione che ricorda il tentativo di ignorare una verità scomoda il più a lungo possibile. Il negazionismo, invece, non si limita a rimuovere la realtà ma ne costruisce una alternativa. In questo senso è un processo più complicato, che chiama in causa le diseguaglianze e le strutture di potere della nostra società.

Esistono molti esempi di negazionismo: da quello che minimizza, o respinge, i rischi del riscaldamento globale, a quello che mette in discussione l’olocausto, fino al negazionismo dell’hiv, che ha portato un’ex presidente del Sudafrica come Thabo Mbeki a bloccare la fornitura di farmaci antiretrovirali causando la morte di circa 330mila persone, secondo uno studio di Harvard. Il negazionismo rivela la volontà di confutare fatti empiricamente accertati per costruire una società alternativa, a partire spesso da un desiderio inconfessabile.

Negli ultimi mesi il concetto di negazionismo è stato evocato in tutti i paesi colpiti dall’epidemia di covid-19. Per riprendere le categorie di Keith Kahn-Harris, anche in questo caso possiamo distinguere tra negazione e negazionismo. Raccontando l’aumento dei contagi in Africa, per esempio, la Bbc ha parlato di negazione per descrivere la reazione della popolazione di alcuni paesi. In Nigeria, dove il lockdown è stato introdotto ancora prima che il virus si diffondesse per evitare il collasso del sistema sanitario, queste misure sono state accolte con diffidenza dall’opinione pubblica. Molti hanno una sorta di rifiuto psicologico nell’accettare la pandemia come un problema reale.

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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in Uncategorized


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TV Pundits Praising Suleimani Assassination Neglect to Disclose Ties to Arms Industry

Since Friday, a loud chorus of voices has appeared in the media to celebrate President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a move that has sparked renewed tension in the Middle East, a new deployment of U.S. forces, and predictions of increased military spending.

Many of the pundits who appeared on national television or were quoted in major publications to praise the president’s actions have undisclosed ties to the defense industry — the only domestic industry that stands to gain from increased violence.
Jack Keane, a retired Army general, appeared on Fox News and NPR over the last three days to praise Trump for the strike on Suleimani. “The president acted responsibly,” Keane said during an appearance with Fox News host Lou Dobbs. “It should have happened a long time ago.” Keane has worked for military companies, including General Dynamics and Blackwater, and currently serves as a partner at SCP Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in defense contractors.

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Posted by on January 8, 2020 in Middle East


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Yes, Anti-Semitism Is Alive and Well-But Where?

A strange thing happened to me over these past few days. On Friday, December 20 the website of Spectator USA published my comment on the thin line between Zionism and anti-Semitism. A couple of hours after the comment appeared on the web, it mysteriously disappeared. (It was still announced on the main page, but when one clicked on my text there, it was unavailable). I was told that this was just a matter of a technical glitch and that the text would re-appear very soon, which it did in late afternoon of December 21. However, it was now available in a shortened form, with two central passages missing, and I was told that the editor just decided to “tidy up” my text.

All this happened shortly after the furious reactions to my comment published on the website of Independent, to which I was not allowed to reply. (Russia Today reported on this incident). Since my text for Spectator deals with a similar topic, I cannot but suspect that I am again a victim of censorship. Let the readers decide! Here is my full text as it first appeared on Spectator’s website, and the main two passages that disappeared in its reappearance are between ((( and ))). I wasn’t consulted about this change, and readers should note, especially, the disappearance of the last paragraph which brings in Palestinians. This is where we stand today in our “permissive” liberal societies: it looks like I am now considered problematic in the last two digital (not printed, I was excluded from print media years ago) news outlets in the English-speaking part of the world that have been still open to me.

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Posted by on December 27, 2019 in Europe, Middle East


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Dear Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Is an Engine of Anti-Muslim Hate the World Over. Don’t You Care?

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

What happened to you?

Back in December 2015, you spoke out loudly and proudly against anti-Muslim hatred. “I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world,” you wrote in a post on Facebook, two days after then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced his plan for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. “After the Paris attacks and hate this week,” you added, “I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.”

The headline in the New York Times? “Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Reassures Muslim Users.”

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Posted by on December 13, 2019 in Uncategorized


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How the media contributed to the migrant crisis

When did you notice the word “migrant” start to take precedence over the many other terms applied to people on the move? For me it was in 2015, as the refugee crisis in Europe reached its peak. While debate raged over whether people crossing the Mediterranean via unofficial routes should be regarded as deserving candidates for European sympathy and protection, it seemed as if that word came to crowd out all others. Unlike the other terms, well-meaning or malicious, that might be applied to people in similar situations, this one word appears shorn of context; without even an im- or an em- attached to it to indicate that the people it describes have histories or futures. Instead, it implies an endless present: they are migrants, they move, it’s what they do. It’s a form of description that, until 2015, I might have expected to see more often in nature documentaries, applied to animals rather than human beings.

But only certain kinds of human beings. The professional who moves to a neighbouring city for work is not usually described as a migrant, and neither is the wealthy businessman who acquires new passports as easily as he moves his money around the world. It is most often applied to those people who fall foul of border control at the frontiers of the rich world, whether that’s in Europe, the US, Australia, South Africa or elsewhere. That’s because the terms that surround migration are inextricably bound up with power, as is the way in which our media organisations choose to disseminate them.

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Posted by on August 28, 2019 in Uncategorized


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On YouTube’s Digital Playground, an Open Gate for Pedophiles

Christiane C. didn’t think anything of it when her 10-year-old daughter and a friend
uploaded a video of themselves playing in a backyard pool.

“The video is innocent, it’s not a big deal,” said Christiane, who lives in a Rio de Janeiro suburb.

few days later, her daughter shared exciting news: The video had
thousands of views. Before long, it had ticked up to 400,000 — a
staggering number for a video of a child in a two-piece bathing suit
with her friend.

“I saw the video again and I got scared by the number of views,” Christiane said.

She had reason to be.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Reportages


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Something is wrong on the internet

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Posted by on August 6, 2019 in Reportages


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The media and the Mueller report

US Attorney General William Barr published his four-page summary of the conclusions of the Mueller report on 24 March 2019. Will this be a day that lives in infamy for mainstream media? Special Counsel Robert Mueller had spent more than two years investigating, with considerable resources, alleged collusion between President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to influence the 2016 US presidential election in Trump’s favour. Barr’s summary of the 400-page report said that ‘the Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election’ (see The end of Russiagate, in this issue).

Mueller was so far beyond suspicion of Trumpian bias that he had become a subject of devotion for Democrats (there were even ‘St Robert Mueller’ prayer candles for sale online). But his report did not sustain the popular fake news that Trump was being blackmailed, or had become ‘Putin’s puppet’, based on Steele report-derived stories that the Kremlin had compromising video footage of his sexual escapades in a hotel in Moscow in 2013; dignified newspapers used the Russian spy term kompromat with relish. ‘Russiagate’ had become a recurring tag and story in prestigious publications from early 2017 (1).

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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in North America


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Inside China’s audacious global propaganda campaign

As they sifted through resumes, the team recruiting for the new London hub of China’s state-run broadcaster had an enviable problem: far, far too many candidates. Almost 6,000 people were applying for just 90 jobs “reporting the news from a Chinese perspective”. Even the simple task of reading through the heap of applications would take almost two months.

For western journalists, demoralised by endless budget cuts, China Global Television Network presents an enticing prospect, offering competitive salaries to work in state-of-the-art purpose-built studios in Chiswick, west London. CGTN – as the international arm of China Central Television (CCTV) was rebranded in 2016 – is the most high-profile component of China’s rapid media expansion across the world, whose goal, in the words of President Xi Jinping, is to “tell China’s story well”. In practice, telling China’s story well looks a lot like serving the ideological aims of the state.

For decades, Beijing’s approach to shaping its image has been defensive, reactive and largely aimed at a domestic audience. The most visible manifestation of these efforts was the literal disappearance of content inside China: foreign magazines with pages ripped out, or the BBC news flickering to black when it aired stories on sensitive issues such as Tibet, Taiwan or the Tiananmen killings of 1989. Beijing’s crude tools were domestic censorship, official complaints to news organisations’ headquarters and expelling correspondents from China.

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Posted by on March 27, 2019 in Asia, Reportages


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Watch: a Contentious, Constructive Debate on the Media and Political Humiliation from the Mueller Report

I obviously intended to write about the fallout from Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report: specifically his definitive finding that “the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government” and that “the report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.” Those two sentences alone permanently destroyed the prevailing Trump/Russia narratives – from blackmail fantasies to collusion tales – that consumed most of U.S. politics and media discourse for much of the last three years.

Just three weeks ago – three weeks ago – former CIA Director and now NBC News analyst John Brennan confidently predicted that Mueller was just weeks if not days away from arresting members “of the Trump family” on charges of conspiring with the Russians as his final act. Just watch the deceitful, propagandistic trash that MSNBC in particular fed to their viewers for two straight years, all while essentially banning any dissenters or skeptics of the narrative they peddled to the great profit of the network and its stars:

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Posted by on March 26, 2019 in North America


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