Propaganda news

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    ‘I’m off…’

    The sudden announcement of his resignation by the First Minister of Wales (FMW) Mark Drakeford, emphasises how his government has been responsible for a constant stream of official ‘information’, when for our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry, looking behind the headlines of bland statements has always been central.

    Earlier Phil has described how he was helped to break into the South Wales Echo office car when he was a cub reporter, recalled his early career as a journalist, the importance of experience in the job, and making clear that the‘calls’ to emergency services as well as court cases are central to any media operation.

    He has also explored how poorly paid most journalism is when trainee reporters had to live in squalid flats, the vital role of expenses, and about one of his most important stories on the now-scrapped 53 year-old BBC Wales TV Current Affairs series, Week In Week Out (WIWO), which won an award even after it was axed, long after his career really took off

    He has disclosed as well why investigative journalism is needed now more than ever although others have different opinions, how the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown played havoc with media schedules, and the importance of the hugely lower average age of some political leaders compared with when he started reporting. 

    ‘COME OUT AND TELL ME WHAT THIS REALLY MEANS!’

    Phil has explained too how crucial it is actually to speak to people, the virtue of speed as well as accuracy, why knowledge of history and teaching the subject is vital, how certain material was removed from TV Current Affairs programmes when secret cameras had to be used, and some of those he has interviewed.

     

    During 40 years in journalism, a key question was always drummed into me: “WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?!”.

    For example – a press release from a company trumpeting their huge success with a new environmental scheme, may actually hide the fact that the firm has been responsible for terrible damage to the natural habitat of wildlife

    Look behind the headlines

    In a different case, journalistic research could show that a local authority proudly telling everyone about its magnificent re-development, has also torn down a number of homes for ordinary people.

    Or perhaps it might reveal how a government declaring that people should focus on a small venture which helps the unemployed, might as well be behind an enormous increase in jobless figures.

    ‘Don’t read anything into my suddenly saying I am resigning’

    It is, therefore, enormously important not to be taken in by apparently innocuous or undetailed declarations (as in today’s pronouncement about the resignation of the First Minister of Wales [FMW] Mark Drakeford).

    Mr Drakeford’s explanation for his sudden departure is that it’s five years to the day since he became leader of Welsh Labour.

    But he had been due to leave the stage anyway next year, and the abrupt nature of it all leads to questions.

    The BBC have said it was a ‘surprise’…

    As the BBC has put it: “He had planned to stand down in 2024 but the timing of his announcement was a surprise”.

    We are exposed to nonsense all the time today, and I would advise anybody to do some basic research and find out the FACTS!

    For example in one press release about community care when Mr Drakeford was in charge as FMW, we were told about the commitment of: £8 million for community care to support people to stay well at home and reduce pressure on hospitals”.

    Eluned Morgan said they were going further and faster, but left us to work out what it meant!

    It was proudly stated: “The Health Minister Eluned Morgan saw first-hand how the award-winning Home First team based in Carmarthenshire is delivering for people in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area”.

    Ms Morgan went on to say: “We are committed to driving change and transformation, and going further, faster to make sure more people can get the care and support they need at home or in their community. To enable this, learning about best practice needs to be shared across Wales”.

    Apart from being complete gobbledygook, Care In The Community CITC (if that is indeed what it is because it is difficult to interpret!) is a highly controversial issue.

    The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) suggested that many mental health patients had been “neglected”

    In 2011 one report warned that this approach towards treating the mentally ill was a £100 billion failure.

    The study by the respected Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) suggested that many mental health patients had been “neglected” for decades because the policy of closing down asylums was not accompanied by an increase in local care.

    Three years after this investigation, CITC was described as a “scandal” in the media, and that emphasis on it could undermine proper funding for another important area – HOSPITALS!

    Is Care In The Community all its cracked up to be?

    People have taken their own lives just days after professionals tried to admit them to hospital, only to be told that no beds were available.

    It seems that funding for CITC itself is also a bone of contention.

    On average, budgets for community teams and crisis resolution teams (the services designed to keep people out of hospital) have flatlined or been cut in real-terms, while referrals have risen.

    The jobless figures kept going up in the 1980s

    But putting this kind of gloss on what are in fact very problematic issues, is nothing new, and it has not just been confined to Labour.

    In the 1980s we were treated to ‘news’ about tiny measures by the Tory UK Government to help those out of work (some of which were announced in press releases several times), when actually this was a time of incredibly high unemployment, for which these people were responsible.

    Rudyard Kipling refused to allow anything which undermined British Imperialism

    Are we being given information which is true, but may obscure a certain reality?

    For instance Rudyard Kipling’s role as a propagandist for the empire is often forgotten, but British intelligence had recruited him during the first world war to write fiction that sought to undermine Indian nationalism.

    In 1916 James Dunlop Smith, a British official, sent Mr Kipling the private letters of Indian soldiers fighting in France, and he asked them to be re-written in order to erase any pro-Indian or revolutionary sentiment.

    Are we being shown the light of truth?!

    When Mr Kipling had packaged them together in a book called “The Eyes of Asia”, he told Mr Dunlop Smith that he had “somewhat amplified the spirit (he) thought (he) saw behind” them.

    So when you read literature like this, or announcements such as today’s, ask yourself: “WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?!”.

     

    ‘BUY MY BOOK!’

    The memories of Phil’s extraordinary decades long award-winning career in journalism (when looking behind the headlines of press releases was all-important) as he was gripped by the rare neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A Good Story’. Order it now.

    ‘Why wasn’t this one published?!’

    Another book, though, has not been published, because it was to have included names.

    Tomorrow – why Phil is heartened to see details emerge of the Queen praising journalists for exposing domestic abuse, but dispirited that she did not highlight the insults hurled at those very same journalists for doing that job.