SNEER & SMEAR: A CLOSE LOOK AT THE GENTLE CRAFT OF MEDIA MANIPULATION

As an arm of the corporate state – yes, it pretends not to be; but we know better, don’t we? – the BBC is naturally charged with certain vital propaganda tasks in the service of Western elite power.  For example, there is the need for that Western elite power to seem at all times legitimate, accountable and well-intentioned: the sanctifying, magical word used for this purpose is ‘democratic’; and once it is deployed, no fundamental disagreement is possible.  Then there is the need for that Western elite’s murderous military violence to seem necessary, just and proportionate – allowing the expropriation of foreign wealth and the progress of elite careers to continue apace without any kind of revolt from the mere taxpayer. To achieve the kind of make-over miracle by which aggression is painted as a combination of victimhood and altruism, a whole battery of beautifying propaganda terms is required, including ‘defence’, ‘response’, ‘intervention’, ‘human rights’, and ‘international law’.  Even with these rousing words conveniently to hand, however, our state broadcaster might still struggle to whip up majority support for yet another massively destructive foreign action so clearly motivated by a mixture of neoimperial greed and military Keynesianism; therefore our propagandists have developed a ‘slow burn’ approach which, acting over years and even decades, engineers an emphatically Manichean division of the world by way of the sustained, insidious use of manipulative vocabulary, tone and topic.  Which is what I want to discuss here – by way of a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of a recent BBC article that shows with outrageous clarity how it is that the BBC’s news-replacement services induce the public to think of the world in terms of ‘the international community’ on the one hand and ‘rogue states’ on the other; as a place where nations are controlled either by ‘governments’ (legitimate) or by ‘regimes’ (non-legitimate); and where leaders are either persons of talent, probity and gravitas who just want ‘what’s best for everyone’ … or murderous kleptocratic tyrants who are, by turns, terrifying and ludicrous.  How is it done? I’ll show you… 
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