Category: propaganda

Why are “centrists” so immune to the concept of counter-productive behaviour?


One of the trickiest things to understand about self-declared “centrists” is how they’re so insulated from reality that they’re incapable of even understanding the damage they keep doing to their own cause.

The primary fixation of the “centrists” at present is demanding another EU referendum that they’ve patronisingly called a “people’s vote” as if the 33.5 million who voted in the 2016 referendum were somehow un-people.

Giving your campaign an absurdly patronising name is bad enough, but anyone with a grain of sense should be able to spot the massive glaring risk with this “another referendum now” strategy, which is that if Remainers conspire to lose it (like they did the last one), then they’ll have created a cast-iron irreversible double-mandate for Brexit.

With this risk of creating an irreversible double Brexit mandate in mind, you’d think that “centrists” and other Remainers would be focusing all their efforts on trying to create as much public appeal as possible for the idea of stopping Brexit … But no! A lot of the bone-headed, shockingly out-of-touch, unbelievably divisive, and downright dishonest behaviour of “centrists” looks like it’s actually designed to make the general public hate Remainers.

“Taking the piste”

Andrew Adonis’ Tweet about a 2nd referendum on his mates winter skiing options may have some kind of niche appeal amongst the most militant of Remainers, who knows? But if the replies are anything to go by, he’s spectacularly misjudged the mood of the nation.


Brexit happened in the first place because Tory austerity dogma and wage repression policies caused an unprecedented collapse in living standards.

“Centrists”
compounded the problem through their failure to pin the blame for this collapse in living standards on Tory government policy for fear of implicating themselves too (the Lib-Dems actively enabled Tory austerity dogma, and Labour “centrists” somehow decided that imitating Tory austerity dogma rather than opposing it would win them the 2015 General Election!).

This “centrist” failure left the door wide open for ukippers, hard-right Tories, and assorted extreme-right hate groups to falsely pin the blame for the consequences of Tory austerity and wage repression on immigrants and the EU.

Since the Brexit vote things have got even worse. More people in dire poverty, more people in exploitative low-paid jobs, more people feeling the effects of Tory wage repression, more people struggling to get by, more people relying on food bank handouts just to survive …

Yet here’s one of the most high profile Remainers (an unelected lord) actively fulfilling the caricature of an out-of-touch Remainer elitist living the high life while the ignored millions continue to struggle to survive!

How could anyone ever think that these appalling optics could help the Remainer cause?

Manufacturing the news

Brexiteers won the 2016 referendum with an absolute mass of deceptions, distortions, and outright lies. Even the Vote Leave campaign chief openly admitted that they wouldn’t have won without the ‘£350 million for the NHS’ lie.

It seems that rather than oppose this kind of outrageous propaganda, “centrists” have decided to imitate the same tactics to manufacture outrage and distort public opinion to their will, with the Guardian leading the charge.

An outrageously deceptive headline misrepresenting Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy in order to trigger a tsunami of rage shares on the Friday, an then following it up with an article on the Sunday openly gloating about the bitter internal Labour conflicts triggered by the mass rage sharing of Friday’s deceptive headline and even outright lying about Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance!

Anyone who has paid attention over the last three years can’t have failed to notice the bitter “anti- Corbyn” agenda of “centrist” hacks at the Guardian. But the terrifying thing is that this anti-Corbyn groupthink mentality is so deeply embedded at Guardian towers that they’re wilfully spreading deceptions and outright lies in order to manufacture divisions amongst opponents of Tory Brexit.

Any Guardian hack with a shred of journalistic integrity should be outraged that the organisation they work for is conducting such an obvious propaganda war to use deceptions and lies to attack Corbyn and drive a wedge between the Labour left and the Remain campaign, when any sensible strategy to minimise the Brexit damage should be aimed at unifying all opponents of Tory Brexit, rather than deliberately infuriating the Labour-left with anti-Corbyn propaganda and lies.

Preaching to the converted
 

 I vehemently opposed Brexit in 2016, and I’ve continually opposed the Tories’ shambolic and incompetent handling of Brexit ever since, but JK Rowling’s astoundingly patronising, hate-fuelled, faux biblical Twitter rant is so obviously appalling and that ordinary people must be wondering how she ended up so consumed by such bitterness and hatred, despite living a life of wealth, luxury, and almost constant acclaim.

Another puzzle is how thousands of “centrist” types apparently enjoyed this utterly cringeworthy display of preaching to the converted so much that they actively liked it and shared it!

If you wanted to actually reinforce the views of Brexiters, showing them this horrific display of patronising and elitist “centrist” bile would surely work infinitely better than composing some new lie to plaster on the side of a bus.

Counter-productive behaviour

If “centrists” were even remotely capable of learning from their own mistakes they would have clocked that their barrages of smears and abuse aimed at discrediting Jeremy Corbyn during the 2015 Labour leadership election only ended up boosting his popularity.

If they had any sense whatever they’d have got to grips with the concept of counter-productive behaviour, and evolved their campaigning strategies accordingly.

Another lesson “centrists” should obviously have learned is that their lamentable campaign tactics during the 2016 referendum somehow managed to hand a bunch of hard-right pro-austerity Brextremist charlatans an astounding victory, despite the fact they demonstrably didn’t even have a plan for what to do next if they did somehow end up winning!

That “centrists” so clearly haven’t learned either of these lessons should leave anyone who opposes Tory Brexit sick with worry, because presuming these people get the second referendum they want so much, how is Tory Brextremism ever meant to be defeated with a bunch of out-of-touch, unbelievably divisive, bone-headed, elitist, downright dishonest, and unbelievably counter-productive people like this fronting the campaign against it?

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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What is … Rage Sharing?

It’s been known for a long time that headlines are the most important part of a news story.

Even in the time before social media it was obvious that far more people would see the newspaper headlines (on newsagent shelves, or on newspaper reviews on the TV, or on the canteen table, or on the next week’s chip wrappers) than would ever actually read the contents of the article.

But since the advent of social media, headlines have become even more important because there are loads of people out there who will share articles without even bothering to read them first (especially via Twitter retweets), and other people who are so fact-averse that they’ll form extreme political judgements based on the headline of the article that they’ve clearly not even bothered to read.

Some of the most mega-viral articles of 2018 have been astoundingly misleading anti-Corbyn headlines that are completely contradicted within the body of the article, but literally tens of thousands of people became so outraged by the deceptive headlines that they shared without even bothering to read the article and check that the headline is justified.

This behaviour is “rage sharing”, and mainstream media publications are cashing in on it big time with absolute torrents of shares and clicks (the currency of online journalism).

Apéritif: Aren’t biffers gullible?

I’ll come to the two desperately misleading anti-Corbyn headlines later, but just to illustrate that rage sharing articles without reading them is not a new phenomenon, just consider the fact that in 2014 the extreme-right hate group Britain First shared a spoof story about the Essex villages of High Easter and Good Easter being forced to change their names by pesky Muslims and lefties.

Hundreds of Biffers rage shared the article and spewed bigoted badly-spelled diatribes in the comments without even bothering to read the article and clocking that it was a ridiculously obvious spoof which included quotes from people like “Dr Touchi” from the prestigious “University of South Thurrock”!

Independent: Corbyn the immigrant-hater

June 2018 saw a truly egregious examples of rage sharing with over 31,000 people sharing a grotesquely misleading headline in the (supposedly left-liberal) Independent that brazenly cherry picked highly selective quotations from a Jeremy Corbyn speech about trade policy to portray him as some kind of bonkers hard-right anti-immigrant Brextremist.

This outrageously deceptive headline struck a chord with the self-declared “centrists” (orthodox neoliberals to give them a more accurate description) and the ever-reactionary #FBPE Twitter echo chamber.

It was absolutely clear that very few of the people rage sharing the article were actually reading it, otherwise they couldn’t have failed to spot the brazenly dishonest selective quotation tactics, or the fact that Corbyn’s trade policy speech was actually pretty good.

Guardian: Corbyn the militant Brextremist

In December 2018 The Guardian jumped onto the rage share bandwagon with a brazenly deceptive anti-Corbyn headline of their own that was so widely shared by “centrists” and the #FBPE echo chamber it almost broke Twitter with a mind-boggling 88,000+ shares (at the time of writing).

Literally thousands of people reacted in absolute “never voting Labour again” fury to the headline “Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election” without a single one of them picking up on the crucial facts that:

1. The words “Brexit would go ahead” were plucked out of thin air by Guardian hacks and placed next to Corbyn’s name in the headline (amazingly he’s not actually quoted saying this anywhere in the article).

2. What Corbyn actually said was common sense. If he won a snap election he’d go to the EU and establish basic stuff like whether they’d consider renegotiation, and whether they’d extend the Article 50 deadline. Anyone who thinks that upon becoming Prime Minister he shouldn’t attempt to establish the EU’s position on the drastically changed political circumstances as a matter of urgency is quite frankly out of their god-damned tree.

3. If you’ve got the patience to read all the way down to paragraph 18 of the article you even find Corbyn expressing his view that if there’s another EU referendum then Labour’s policy would be decided democratically by its members (meaning Labour would back Remain whatever Corbyn’s personal beliefs!). Surely an article saying “Corbyn keeps second referendum option on the table” would make a less misleading headline than a phrase Corbyn didn’t even use designed to make it seem like he’s arbitrarily ruling out a second referendum entirely?

Profit and propaganda

It’s absolutely clear that the corporate media are learning that there’s a significant market in anti-Corbyn rage share articles with headlines that bear little to no relation to what Corbyn actually said.

In fact the liberal mainstream media and the anti-Corbyn mob seem to be developing a kind of symbiosis.

Outlets like the Guardian and the Independent benefit from absolute torrents of shares and clicks when they use deceptive anti-Corbyn headlines, and the #FBPE echo chamber, Labour right-wingers, and other Corbyn detractors get the instantly shareable anti-Corbyn headlines they constantly crave.

Stuck in the middle

The big loser in the scenario (aside from Corbyn and the Labour Party of course) is the standard of political discourse that is now not only polluted by the lying Brextremists and the absurd unicornist fantasies they’ve fostered amongst their herd of followers, but also by equally extreme people on the Remain side who have no qualms whatever about sharing desperately misleading headlines, or even just outright lying, if they feel that doing so serves their political purposes.

They’re either such gullible dupes that they mindlessly rage share articles without even reading them to check that the headline is justifiable, or they know perfectly well that the headline is deceptive but they share it anyway because they consider their political agenda to be far more important than stuff like truth, honesty, and integrity.

Either way their attitudes are just as bad as the Brextremists who got us in this mess in the first place.

How is rage sharing a deceptively titled article without even bothering to read it first any better than believing a lie on the side of a bus? And if they do know that the headline is deceptive but they’re sharing it anyway, how is that any better than actually writing a lie on the side of a bus?

Who needs bots?

We’re all aware of social media bots by now. Whether it’s dodgy Russian bot farms spreading divisive propaganda, pro-Israeli astroturfing operations, or the bot nets that the Brexiteers ran during the 2016 EU referendum.

But who actually needs bots to spread their propaganda when it seems incredibly simple to just trick a vast army of unthinking, uncritical real life human drones into rage sharing your political propaganda for you?

There’s a massive propaganda war going on, and the footsoldiers are an enormous army of absolute dupes who are so intellectually lazy they don’t even bother to read the articles they share or think about things for themselves.

Rage sharing is here to stay

Had the Guardian chosen a reasonably fair interpretation of Jeremy Corbyn’s position as their headline rather than deliberately seeking to portray his stance as negatively as possible (as some kind of rigidly inflexible Brextremist absolutist) they know for a fact they wouldn’t have triggered such a tsunami of rage shares.

As far as they’re concerned, if blatantly deceptive headlines create enormous torrents of shares and clicks, then sod journalistic standards and sod what remains of the Guardian’s dwindling reputation, let’s cash in on the rage shares and grab as much advertising cash as possible as the torrent of hits floods in.

If tens of thousands of people are going to send your article mega-viral by rage sharing it simply because the misleading headline confirms their political biases, and nobody is ever going to hold you or them to account for spreading such a vast barrage of deceitful and deceptive propaganda, then why wouldn’t other unscrupulous mainstream media hacks make use of exactly the same tactics?

What is …? is an occasional Another Angry Voice series. See the other articles here.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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The new Guardian business model: Deceptive headlines to generate rage shares

Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election blares the Guardian headline.

Why is Corbyn saying this unhelpful absolutist nonsense? Surely Labour needs a more nuanced stance on resolving Theresa May’s Brexit mess? These were my first responses when I saw the headline, but then I noticed the distinct lack of quotation marks so I did what most of the thousands of people who rage shared the article didn’t, and actually read the full article.

Within the first few paragraphs it becomes clear that what Corbyn actually said is very different from Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election. (in fact he isn’t quoted saying this anywhere in the article at all).

Corbyn’s actual position is that if Labour won a snap election he would go back to Brussels to try to secure a better deal. Corbyn’s statement that “you’d have to go back and negotiate, and see what the timetable would be” is clearly completely different to I’m going to force Brexit through regardless.

In fact Corbyn’s position here is actually common sense. If he’s lobbing Theresa May’s shambles of a deal into the dustbin of history (where it belongs) the obvious next step is to speak to the EU negotiators to establish the basics of their position under the new circumstances. Are they prepared to renegotiate now that the government has changed? Are they prepared to renegotiate if Theresa May’s Customs Union red line is dropped? Are they prepared to extend the Article 50 deadline to allow time for further negotiations?

Yes, the EU have told Theresa May “no renegotiation” but you’d have to be crackers to think they’d absolutely refuse to renegotiate if the British people voted to reject Tory Brexit and the new Prime Minister came with a new Customs Union proposal (that would certainly help to deal with the tricky Irish border issue).

If they said “no” they’d essentially be telling Britain that we’re stuck with the unpopular shambles of a deal that both the British public and the British parliament have rejected, which would be an astoundingly anti-democratic stance.

If you’re incredibly generous to the Guardian you could try to argue that Corbyn saying that he’d take the logical step of going to Brussels to talk about the practicalities and timescales of renegotiation is not entirely contradicted by the absolutist position blared out in the article headline, it’s more of a distortion than an outright lie.

But then after trawling through 18 paragraphs of the article (including several on the absurd “stupid people” / “stupid woman” distraction) we get to the part that absolutely contradicts the bold absolutist assertion in the article headline.

When asked what Labour’s position would be in the case of a second referendum Corbyn answers that “it would be a matter for the party to decide what the policy would be”.

Admittedly Corbyn goes on to reiterate his position that his first step would be to see whether the EU would open the door to renegotiation, but how the hell is talking about what Labour’s position would be in a second referendum compatible with the absolutist stance from the article headline that “Brexit would go ahead”?

If Corbyn is leaving the door open for a second referendum, and saying that the party’s stance would be decided by the (largely pro-Remain) membership, why the hell is the Guardian unambiguously claiming that Corbyn’s position is the absolutist stance that Brexit will go ahead regardless?

Why is the content of the article so clearly at odds with the headline?

And why are the crucial details that expose the headline as a lie buried in paragraph 18?

Surely a fairer and more accurate headline might read “Corbyn leaves option of second referendum on the table” or “Corbyn: If EU won’t renegotiate, Labour members will decide referendum policy”.

But nope, the Guardian chose to run a deceptive headline in the hope of creating a storm of outrage shares like the (admittedly far more despicable and deceptive) mega-viral Independent article earlier in 2018 that grotesquely cherry-picked highly selective quotations out of a Corbyn speech about trade policy to misrepresent what was said as an attack in immigrants.

The Guardian know that the vast majority of people who read the headline won’t end up clicking through and reading all the details of what Corbyn actually said. And they also know that an accurate headline wouldn’t generate a fraction of the 48,000 (at the time of writing) rage shares on social media, so it’s perversely in their commercial interests to publish a deceptive headline in order to maximise the amount of exposure.

If they can ensure far more exposure, and a higher level of clicks through the use of a deceptive headline, why wouldn’t they?

The Guardian clearly don’t give a damn about further trashing their own reputation through the dissemination of dishonest rage-share click bait headlines.

They’re clearly more interested in fuelling the anti-Corbyn bonfire with deceptive headlines than helping the public to understand the reality of what Corbyn actually said.

When a news organisation is prepared to publish deceptive headlines like this it becomes ever clearer that they’re not actually trying to report the news, but to create it.

They’re not providing reasonably impartial coverage of what was said, they’re pushing political propaganda.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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It’s high time for media to enter the No Kelly…

It’s high time for media to enter the No Kellyanne Zone — and stay there:

seandotpolitics:

The news media continues — even now when it should know better — to be addicted to “both sides” journalism. In the name of fairness, objectivity and respect for the office of the presidency, it still seems to take Trump — along with his array of deceptive surrogates — at his word, while knowing full well that his word isn’t good.

When major news organizations publish tweets and news alerts that repeat falsehoods merely because the president uttered them, it’s the same kind of journalistic malpractice as offering a prime interview spot to Kellyanne Conway…

When news organizations hand a megaphone to lies — or liars — they do actual harm. What the president himself says must be reported, of course, but only within the context of what we know.

To state it without immediate, adjacent reference to factual reality is to enter the Kellyanne Zone.

In an era rife with disinformation — and American democracy teetering on a precipice — that’s the wrong place to be.

I hated Margaret Thatcher but she said one thing I agreed with, not what she said it about though! She made news organisations replace the voice of the ira with generic Northern Ireland actor voices.

Her excuse for this was to ‘remove the oxygen of publicity’

Ms Conway is a Trump apologist and speaks with an untruthful untrustworthy mouth.

Take away the oxygen from her and stop giving her a platform!

12 reasons you shouldn’t get distracted by the Tory “stupid woman” smears


The Tories and their chums in the mainstream media are brazenly lying that when Jeremy Corbyn said “stupid people” to the howling and braying mob behind Theresa May, he was saying “stupid woman” to her.


I can’t believe I’m wasting my time writing about this staggeringly dishonest piece of faux outrage Tory propaganda that’s clearly based on a flat-out lie, but here we go.

Here are 12 reasons you shouldn’t allow yourself to get distracted by this ridiculous scandal.

1. When Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond clearly and undeniably called Andrea Jenkyns a “stupid woman” in parliament how quickly was it completely forgotten about by Tory MPs? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

2. Did anyone see Tory MPs howling about sexism just last week when Theresa May welcomed an alleged rapist back into the Tory fold without the conclusion of a proper investigation into the allegations just because she was afraid of losing the internal Tory vote of no confidence in her leadership? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

3. Did anyone see Tory MPs banging on about sexism last week when Theresa May also readmitted a vile Tory sex pest who bombarded female constituents with disgusting sex texts and stands accused of bullying a junior female member of staff? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

4. Why do Tory MPs never complain when Theresa May grovels before misogynistic head-chopping tyrants from Saudi Arabia in order to flog them weapons to commit their war crimes in Yemen despite the fact they execute women’s rights protesters, even when she welcomes them to Britain on International Women’s Day? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

5. Tory MPs all actively vote in favour of sexist austerity dogma that deliberately loads 86% of the economic pain onto women and even after it’s pointed out to them they continue their “war on women” with another brazenly sexist budget designed to punish low-income women and single parents (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

6. Did anyone see any Tory MP express distaste at the outrageous sexist views of their Tory candidate for mayor of London Shaun Bailey or complaining when Theresa May backed their parliamentary candidate in Darlington last year despite a slew of sexist and homophobic posts on his personal blog? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism or other forms of bigotry)

7. Did anyone see Tories howling with outrage when the Tory MP Christopher Chope deliberately sabotaged the Upskirting Bill by talking for so long there was no time left to vote on it? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

8. How many Tory MPs complained so loud when Theresa May made a vile extreme-right misogynistic Twitter troll famous by quoting him in parliament to score cheap political points against Jeremy Corbyn? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

9. Where was the outpouring of Tory outrage when the misogynistic Tory MP Philip Davies tried to deliberately derail Domestic Violence legislation with an absurd 91 minute speech aimed at talking out the debate so the vote couldn’t happen? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)

10. Where was the outpouring of Tory outrage when the then-Home Secretary Theresa May introduced brazenly sexist arbitrary income requirements for British citizens applying to bring their non-EU spouses to Britain? (Tories don’t give a shit about sexism)  

11. Misrepresenting “stupid people” as “stupid woman” and howling faux outrage about it is such a blatant distraction tactic. It’s clearly a piece of fake outrage nonsense to deliberately deflect public attention away from the extraordinary game of reckless “no deal” Brexit brinkmanship Theresa May is playing with the nation’s future (the subject Corbyn was holding her to account over during the parliamentary session where he made the widely misrepresented “stupid people” comment).

12. The evidence is absolutely clear that Corbyn didn’t even say what the Tories and their propaganda agents in the mainstream media accused him of saying (watch the slow-mo video). It’s just yet another example of Tory/mainstream media smear tactics aimed at destroying anyone who doesn’t go along with the neoliberal economic fanaticism that has wreaked so much damage on the UK over the last four decades.

It’s absolutely shocking to see so many people allowing themselves to be so easily distracted by such a ridiculous display of faux outrage over a comment that wasn’t even made, while Theresa May recklessly gambles with the entire nation’s future right in front of our eyes.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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Carole Cadwalladr is trashing her own reputation

Let me start by saying that I think the Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr has done some fantastic work exposin the dodgy dealings and deceptiveness of interlinked Brextremists like Arron Banks, interfering foreign billionaires like Robert Mercer, Vote Leave, and the network of dodgy opaquely-funded hard-right pseudo-charity like the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the IEA.

The work she’s been involved in is a prime example of the kind of large scale investigative journalism that mainstream media organisations can do incredibly well when they focus on holding the powerful to account rather than attempting to shape public opinion through the dissemination of their groupthink-inspired political narratives, blatant smear campaigns, and/or recycling government press releases or the output of shady publicly-funded propaganda units.

The scale of the abuse she’s received from Brextremist mobs like the Arron Banks’ Leave.EU propaganda operation is a testament to what a good job she’s been doing.

If Brexiteers like the BBC’s Andre Neil really believed she was the ridiculous cat lady crank woman they routinely portray her as, they’d ignore her completely, rather than deliberately whipping up storms of online abuse to try to intimidate her into silence.

The problem of course is that if you set yourself up as a political integrity campaigner, then you need to make sure you’re absolutely clean yourself, and unfortunately Carole has dropped a total clanger, that doesn’t just undermine her integrity, but damages the fightback against the shady Brextremist liars by association.

When the Institute For Statecraft scandal broke people were rightly outraged that this UK government-funded pseudo-charity has been caught interfering in the domestic affairs of our European neighbours and smearing the government’s political opponents at home.

Sure people should be allowed to criticise Jeremy Corbyn if they like, but if the Tory government has just flooded £2 million+ into their covert propaganda operation, there’s absolutely no excuse for them repaying the favour by launching social media attacks on the Tories’ political opponents.

Just imagine if it was the other way around and Jeremy Corbyn had handed £2 million in public cash to a shady left-wing propaganda unit to attack and smear his political rivals, the media outrage would be white hot and relentless.

In the wake of the breaking scandal Carole Cadwalladr made what seemed like a very strange intervention with a Twitter thread that clearly and quite brazenly pivoted criticism away from the Institute For Statecraft and back onto Jeremy Corbyn and other senior Labour figures.

Who writes a thread about the scandalous smear tactics of a publicly-funded propaganda outfit that bounces criticism back onto the target of their smears by basically repeating all the hyperbolic accusations?

At the time I pointed out that what she’d done was a classic example of a propaganda pivot, but what I didn’t know then was that Carole had deliberately concealed her own personal involvement with the organisation in question while she was deflecting criticism away from them and back onto the target of their smears.

Deliberately pivoting criticism away from a very dodgy government-funded propaganda unit by echoing their attacks on a political rival of the party that pumped £2 million+ into their coffers is bad enough, but omitting the fact that she’d actually worked with them just a month previously, well that’s exactly the kind of deceptiveness and lack of integrity that Carole has so successfully exposed in others.

And given that she’s an award-winning investigative journalist, there’s absolutely no believing that she failed to spot the link between the Integrity Initiative organisation who invited her to speak at their lavish taxpayer-bankrolled seminar for journalists, and the Integrity Initiative Twitter account she worked so hard to pivot criticism away from in her Twitter thread just a month later.

She’s been caught red-handed playing the exact same deceptive propaganda games as the people she (rightly) criticises, but her reaction isn’t to stop, take stock of how damaging this mess is for her campaign for greater political integrity and accountability, or to apologise.

Nope, it’s to play the victim and create false equivalence between the right-wing Brexiteers who abuse her so disgustingly, and critics who point out that she’s been caught making a shocking lapse in judgement.

Of course Carole can involve herself with the shady government-funded Institute for Statecraft if she wants to, and nobody with any sense of proportion is going to say that she’s a “deep state operative” for giving a speech at one of their many lavishly-funded anti-Russia seminars.

However people can rightly point out that if the Putin government had been caught red-handed pumping £2 million into a shady psuedo-charity propaganda unit that works to create a ‘new cold war’ siege mentality in European politics and the media, deliberately interferes in the domestic politics and media organisations of European democracies, and spreads anti-opposition propaganda at home, Carole would obviously have been all over it rather than actively running social media distraction for them.

People can justifiably claim that she’s spectacularly undermined her own credibility by writing a prolonged Twitter thread pivoting criticism away from them and onto Jeremy Corbyn, without even bothering to mention her own connection to the organisation in question.

The sensible approach would obviously be for her to attempt to repair the damage with an apology for her appalling lapse in judgement, but we’ll see what happens.

Judging by her antics so far, it’ll be more spinning, more deflection, and more efforts to dismiss people’s legitimate concerns about her behaviour with straw-man ‘the Russian stooges are calling me a deep state operative ho! ho! ho!’ tactics.

In the hope that you’re reading this Carole, please just apologise for this terrible lapse in judgement, undertake to try and avoid such poor and deceptive choices, be open and honest about your associations with any organisation you write about in future, and get back to what you’re good at (investigating the shady behaviour of people like Arron Banks and dodgy opaquely-funded hard-right pseudo-charities like the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the IEA).

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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Theresa May’s Putinesque propaganda war


Interfering in other countries’ democracies, channelling public funds to shady operations that attack and smear opposition politicians and undermine the freedom of the press, maintaining secretive networks of loyalist journalists and civil servants at home and abroad, spreading social media disinformation, electoral cheating to maintain power, and all as the head of a political party bankrolled by dodgy Russian oligarchs.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a description of Vladimir Putin and his regime, but in fact it’s Theresa May and the Tories.

Anyone who has paid the remotest attention to how the Tory cabal funds itself will know that they’ve racked up more than £3 million in donations from dodgy Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies since 2010, including the sale of direct personal access to government ministers just weeks before the Tory government quashed Labour moves to clamp down on the tsunami of dodgy Russian cash flooding into the City of London.

Anyone who was paying attention during the 2017 general election will know that the Tory party is just as willing to use despicable social media propaganda to achieve their objectives as Vladimir Putin and the armies of Russia-based social media propaganda bots.

And who could forget the brazen electoral cheating the Tories got away with in 2015?

And now we’re learning about the incredibly shady activities of a government funded propaganda operation called the Institute for Statecraft after the leak of a cache of damning internal documents about the global propaganda operation they’re running (see here to browse the documents for yourself).

The Institute for Statecraft has been set up as a charity so as to avoid paying tax, and has benefited from around £2 million in public cash channelled through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

They’ve established what they refer to as “clusters” in democratic states across the developed world, including the UK, Spain, France, Greece, the US/Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltic region, and the Balkans. These shady cells act as anti-Russia propaganda outfits and also actively interfere in other countries’ democratic processes.

One of the operations they’re most proud of was their mobilisation against the appointment of Army reserve colonel Pedro Baños as Spain’s Director of National Security with a concerted smear campaign in the media within hours of the announcement.

They also openly brag about their interference in Spanish politics and the “silencing” of non-conformist voices on Serbian television in a document called “Top Three Deliverabilities for the FCO”.

So the UK government is funding this organisation to the tune of £millions, and they’re reporting back on their successes in interfering with the political systems and free press of other democratic states.

For an organisation that has been ostensibly created in order to counter Russian propaganda, this all seems more than a little Putinesque does it not?

The Institute for Statecraft operates a Twitter account called “Integrity Initiative” which, according to their Twitter bio, exists to “counter disinformation and malign influence” and “promote media literacy and media freedom“.

So now we have an organisation that brags about silencing unwelcome voices on Serbian television simultaneously posing as champions of “media freedom” on Twitter!

And it gets worse. This government funded Twitter account has published several highly partisan political attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, including one Tweet labelling him a “useful idiot” and others sharing the work of bitter anti-Corbyn propagandists in the mainstream media.

So we have a shady propaganda outfit that’s pretending to be a charity in order to avoid paying tax raking in £millions from the Tory government while they abuse the leader of the opposition on social media.

The channelling of public funds into a shady organisation that attacks and smears the leader of the political opposition is an absolutely appalling look for an organisation that ostensibly exists to counter Putinism.

The Tory government’s use of public cash to fund a shady organisation that interferes in other countries’ democracies, attacks press freedom, and bitterly attacks the leader of the opposition would be an absolute outrage under any other circumstances.

Just try to imagine it. Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister and then sets about channelling £2 million in public cash into a shady left-wing pseudo-charity propaganda outfit that actively interferes in other democratic states and bitterly smears his political opponents at home.

Do you honestly believe that there wouldn’t be absolute outrage about it across the BBC and the corporate mainstream media?

But you almost certainly won’t be hearing anything about this outrageous Tory scandal on the BBC or in the right-wing propaganda rags, and one of the principle reasons why is that this shady pseudo-charity has infiltrated them (especially the Times with three of their ‘journalists’ listed as Institute for Statecraft assets) as well as dozens of charities, think tanks, and government departments.

Another principle reason is that the mainstream media groupthink is to desperately defend the crumbling and incompetent Tory establishment out of fear that Jeremy Corbyn will actually follow through on his word and reform the political system to put the interests of ordinary people at the heart of government for the first time in decades, rather than continually pandering to the wealthy and coddled establishment cass to which most mainstream media hacks belong.

Hence this scandal will be brushed under the mainstream media carpet along with all the other outrageous Tory scandals they either forget about within days, deliberately obfuscate, or don’t even bother to cover at all.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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How gullible would you have to be to believe Theresa May’s latest Orwellian propaganda trope?

How cripplingly gullible would you have to be to believe Theresa May’s latest Orwellian reality reversal that her government are the only option for “moderate” voters?

Just look at how unpopular the Tory hard-right privatisation agenda is, and consider the fact that there’s virtually no public support for the 8 year Tory ideological agenda of privatising police services, prisons, state schools, the Royal Mail (at massively below its true market value) and swathes of the NHS.

Then consider the fact Labour’s policy of running vital national infrastructure and services as not-for-profit public services is actually incredibly popular with the public (see picture).

Look at how 8 years of ideologically driven Tory austerity dogma has led to the slowest post-crisis recovery in a Century, the longest sustained collapse in UK workers’ wages on record, failing public services, and the huge wave of public anger that drove the Brexit vote.

Labour are unquestionably the moderates when it comes to economic policy, but there’s more.

Think about Theresa May’s grotesque “hostile environment” strategy that led to British citizens being denied employment, housing, social security, bank accounts, and vital medical treatment, with unknown numbers of deportations, and even several victims of May’s extremist “deport now, hear appeals later” stance dying in exile from their homeland.

Consider the ongoing systematic Tory abuse of disabled people, and the fact that it actually costs far more to force sick and disabled people through the dehumanisation and humiliation of “fit for work” assessments than this systematic persecution will ever save in reduced disability benefit payments!

And look at the way Theresa May has continually attempted to run Brexit as a tyrant intent on sidelining and marginalising everyone else (opposition parties, the UK business sector, devolved parliaments, trade unions, judges who defend parliamentary sovereignty …) and recall how the Tories cynically voted down Labour’s move to prevent the Tories from using Brexit as a Trojan Horse in order to trash our workers’ rights, our food standards, our equal rights legislation, our environmental laws, and our consumer protections.

Labour have pledged to put an end to ruinous Tory austerity dogma, public opinion-defying privatisation mania, to reverse Theresa May’s “hostile environment” persecution of British citizens, and to completely scrap the grotesque (and economically unjustifiable) systematic abuse of sick and disabled people.

When it comes to Brexit it’s even more obvious that the Tories are radical extremists who have insisted on running the whole thing for their narrow party political benefit since the beginning, and deliberately unpicked every move to stop them from using it as an excuse to ideologically vandalise our rights, standards, and protections.

Yet somehow Theresa May believes that people are so cripplingly gullible that they’ll ignore all of this evidence and believe her shockingly dishonest Orwellian posturing that she’s some kind of “moderate” in the face of Labour extremism!

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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The European Parliament just voted to vandalise the open Internet

The European Parliament has just voted by 438-226 to vandalise the open Internet with a truly absurd set of proposals that will undermine independent media, further distort the political debate, and radically impact the way citizens use the Internet.

The two most controversial proposals in the proposed Copyright in the Digital Single Market legislation are article 11 and article 13 which have been dubbed the Link Tax and Upload Filters.

Link Tax

The Link Tax seeks to financially penalise any websites that use more than “individual words” of an article to describe what is being linked to. Thus the automatic previews of hyperlinked articles on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will fall foul of the Link Tax for including the full title of the article and a subheading or extract from the article.

Even linking to an article with a text link that quotes from the article would fall foul of this ridiculous new law.

The Link Tax proposal puts the onus on EU member states to ensure that the sites where the hyperlinks are posted pay financial compensation to the news organisations that are being linked to.

The absurdity of this should be obvious to all but the worst Internet illiterates. What the EU is proposing is that in return for hosting free adverts to mainstream media websites on their platforms, social media organisations should have to pay them compensation!

The obvious get-around for this absurd legislation would be for social media platforms to block automatically generated hyperlink previews when users post links to their platforms. 

So instead of getting a picture, the title of the article, and a subheading/short extract, the hyperlink would simply display as a plain link, essentially creating a lucky dip instead of the current situation in which social media users are given a foretaste of what they’re likely to find on the link they’re considering clicking.

Another option would be for social media sites to eradicate the link tax problem altogether by blocking links to mainstream news sites altogether.


Whatever the social media platforms decide to do to combat the threat of the Link Tax, it would undoubtedlycreate a massive incentive for them to favour highly partisan political dark ads (that they get paid to promote) over hyperlinks to independent media sites and mainstream media news organisations that they would face financial penalties for hosting on their sites if they include even the most rudimentary of previews!

It’s extraordinarily difficult to see how any mainstream media organisation could be in favour of wrecking hyperlink previews of their articles through such wild copyright extremism, especially since they actually design their hyperlink previews to attract as many people as possible from social media onto their own websites, but that’s where the all pressure for this ludicrous legislation is coming from, and if you Google search “Link Tax” you’ll hardly find any mainstream news outlet describing the policy, let alone critiquing it.

Upload Filters

The concept of upload filters is perhaps even more radical copyright extremism than the link tax. Upload Filters put the onus upon all but the smallest of websites to constantly scan their comments sections for copyrighted material. 

The logical step for most small websites would be to severely restrict their comments sections to block the upload of images and/or hyperlinks, or just shut their comments sections down altogether.

Another deeply concerning aspect of the Article 13 proposal is that it looks set to outlaw memes, because once an image has been added to the EU’s proposed database of copyrighted images, people will find themselves blocked from uploading copies for the purpose of parody, commentary and/or criticism.

An assault on the open Internet

By effectively outlawing hyperlink previews, banning memes, putting onerous burdens on small independent websites, and giving social media platforms a massive financial incentive to prioritise partisan political dark ads over legitimate political commentary, the EU are seeking to radically reform the way that citizens use the Internet.

The mainstream media organisations and the political elitists are clearly absolutely terrified of the way that the Internet and social media platforms have opened up political discourse to ordinary citizens, but this effort to use copyright extremism to stamp out the threat is the wild flailing of people who don’t even understand the phenomena they’re trying to crush.

They’re trying to attack citizen journalism and restore political discourse to the carefully curated pro-neoliberal echo chambers of the 1990s and early 2000s.

But now that people have got used to being their own news curators and commentators through social media, the sharing of hyperlinks, memes, blogs, and the comments sections on assorted websites, they’re going to see it as a massive invasion of their free speech when the EU attack the sharing of hyperlinks on social media, outlaw popular memes, and enforce the restriction/closure of comments sections on all manner of websites to avoid the onerous burden of continually scanning them for copyright infringements.

Opposition

The Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and the World Wide Web pioneer Tim Berners-Lee are two of the most famous opponents of this copyright extremism from the EU. Other opponents come from across the political spectrum, the academic community, a coalition of open science advocatesmultiple media companies who are the intended beneficiaries of this nonsense, and even the European Copyright Society!

Hypocrisy or idiocy?

If you look at the social media feeds of the MEPs who voted in favour of this copyright extremism, their feeds are full of hyperlink previews of articles on mainstream media sites, yet they’re pushing for these hyperlink previews to be outlawed.

These people are either disgraceful hypocrites who think there should be one copyright law for them and another much harsher copyright law for everyone else, or they’re idiots who don’t even understand the legislation they’re supporting, or anything about the Internet other than how to open their Facebook/Twitter account.

What the hell are Labour playing at?

Unfortunately the majority of Labour Party MEPs in the European Parliament actually voted in favour of this nonsense, proving that a. they don’t have a clue what they’re doing, and b. they’re intent on defying the will of Labour Party members who would surely mostly oppose what’s being proposed if the mainstream media actually bothered to explain what the EU are plotting.

No wonder people hate the EU

I’ve continually argued against Brexit because the concept of enabling an unprecedented hard-right anti-democratic Tory power grab to escape from the EU is a classic out of the frying pan into the fire situation.

The EU’s blatant bias in favour of copyright extremists who want to radically reform the Internet to restore their own power and influence is grotesque.

The shockingly incompetent way they’re going about imposing this copyright extremism agenda is infuriating.

And their tone-deaf response to critics of their Link Tax and Upload Filters proposals is all too reminiscent of their aloof and contemptuous dismissal of widespread concerns about the TTIP corporate power grab.

The fight isn’t over

The copyright extremists may have won this battle to radically restructure the Internet in their own favour and interfere with the way ordinary citizens behave online, but the fight isn’t over yet.

The European parliament must debate these rules with the European Commission before they bring it back for the final vote, and even if they win the final vote, there are clear grounds for fighting these proposals in the courts, given the radical impact they’ll have on free speech and free political expression.

Make sure you’re following Julia Reda on Twitter and check out the #SaveYourInternet and #SaveTheLink hashtags to keep up to date with these ridiculous new laws.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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How is Theresa May still in power after deporting UK citizens to their deaths?


In 2014 Theresa May introduced new “hostile environment” anti-immigrant legislation in order to win plaudits from the Daily Mail and the other hard-right propaganda rags. During the debate she explained her policy of scrapping the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in order to replace it with a “deport first, hear appeals later” strategy.

As a result of these policies dozens of UK citizens were deported from the UK, and at least three of the victims of Theresa May’s racist anti-immigrant policy have died overseas.

Just try to imagine what it must have felt like for these poor people to be lying on their deathbeds on the other side of the world to immediate family members, knowing that the injustice they suffered will never be reversed, that they’ll never see the country that they called home again.

So given that Theresa May is personally responsible for a policy that resulted in UK citizens being deported to their deaths, how on earth is she still in her job?

The answer is twofold, with both the Westminster political establishment and the mainstream media to blame.

The first thing to note is that aside from a few newspaper articles on the Windrush deaths, there was hardly any mainstream media coverage at all (a tiny drop in the ocean compared to the relentless barrage of anti-Corbyn smears).

Of the newspaper articles about these tragic deaths, some of the articles didn’t even bother to mention that Theresa May was the Home Secretary who introduced these horrific rules!

Just try to imagine what the mainstream media reaction would have been had Jeremy Corbyn been personally responsible for a policy that caused at least three UK citizens to be deported to their deaths. Do you honestly think they’d be using pictures of the boat rather than pictures of his face as the main image? Do you honestly think they’d omit to mention his name at all in the entire article?

So Theresa May’s Windrush deaths have been covered up underneath an avalanche of anti-Corbyn smears, and what mainstream media coverege has been produced has deliberately downplayed and minimalised Theresa May’s culpability.

The reason of course is that the majority of mainstream media hacks are busy fighting a last ditch defence of the hard-right neoliberal orthodoxy that’s served them so well (hefty salary, nice house, expensive car, generous pension pot, social status, establishment contacts …) at the expense of millions of the rest of us (austerity dogma, wage repression, in-work poverty, local service cuts, NHS crisis, social care meltdown, rising violent crime …).

These people see Jeremy Corbyn’s democratic socialist policies as a threat to their privileged positions in society, so they’re fighting tooth and nail to preserve the way things are, which means criticism of Theresa May over the fact she deported British citizens to their deaths would be absolutely counter-productive to this primary agenda.

Then there’s the fact that the mainstream media and the massive majority of the Westminster establishment class actually went along with Theresa May’s vile anti-immigrant legislation in 2014.

Despite hearing her explain her policy of scrapping the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and widespread behind the scenes concerns that her policy was ‘reminiscent of Nazism’, not a single Tory MP voted against it. Almost all of the Liberal-Democrat MPs voted in favour of it, and all of the so-called Labour ‘centrists’ abstained out of fear that they would be labelled ‘soft on immigration’ if they voted against it.

Just 18 MPs opposed it at the time. The one Green MP, all three of the Plaid Cymru MPs, five of the six SNP representatives at the time, a few Lib-Dem rebels (all gone from parliament now) and a handful of genuinely left-wing Labour rebels.

This Westminster establishment complicity with Theresa May’s xenophobic anti-immigrant legislation has created the situation where few politicians can actually stand up and condemn it, without risking the awkward question of why they wilfully enabled it at the time.

The same goes for mainstream media hacks. Hardly any of them spoke out against Theresa May at the time. Hardly any of them challenged their colleagues for publishing xenophobic hate-mongering articles at the time. And hardly any of them spoke out against the Labour so-called ‘centrists’ sitting on their hands rather than opposing Theresa May’s blatantly xenophobic extremism because they were so afraid of being labelled ‘soft on immigration’ by the right-wing propaganda rags.

So in order to attack Theresa May for introducing the xenophobic legislation that resulted in these appalling deaths, Westminster politicians and mainstream media hacks would have to come to terms with the fact they were utterly complicit in allowing it to happen, and acknowledge the fact that once again Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and a rag tag bunch of other parliamentary dissenters were the only people on the side of basic human decency back in 2014.

In order to hold Theresa May to account and demand her resignation over this unbelievably shocking scandal, Westminster politicans and mainstream media hacks would first have to admit that almost all of them were on the wrong side of the debate back in 2014, and that Jeremy Corbyn was on the right side of it, which is something that’s never going to happen in the current political climate.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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