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MEDIA LENS: AN INSTRUCTIVE EXCHANGE?
While revamping this site, we naturally looked for others to link to, even get help from, who share some of our concerns. Media Lens was (is?) one such site (www.medialens.org). Their 'mission statement' speaks of "our conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a profoundly distorted picture of our world. We are convinced that the increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other establishment interests. The costs incurred as a result of this propaganda, in terms of human suffering and environmental degradation, are incalculable. We started up Media Lens to raise public awareness of this reality, as we see it". Amen to that! Below follows correspondence between NFB editor Larry O'Hara & Media Lens (although 'correspondence' is too strong a word). Subsequently, after comments & a suggestion, we reproduce a Media Lens 'Alert' dated 20/1/10. Worth it for Richard Keeble's article alone, though that is not the reason for inclusion.... 6/10/10
Thursday, 26 November, 2009,
From: Larry O'Hara <
first, on my part, an apology for not having contacted you earlier. I have long been aware of you in general, but your focus on Chomsky & the fact you concentrate on the Guardian etc made me (mistakenly) assume you see yourself as a satellite in their orbit. Prompted by a friend, I have taken the time to review in detail your statement of aims, and see far more in common between the magazine I edit (Notes From the Borderland) and yourselves than I had assumed. Our site (poor as it is!) is www.borderland.co.uk and we also have a sister site www.911cultwatch.org.uk
second, [this was a request for possible help concerning our web-site redesign, which we offered to pay for]
third, I would be grateful for review copies of your two books so far published, to be sent to me at Notes From the Borderland, BM Box 4769 London WC1N 3XX. I will review them in the next issue. I will happily send copies of our magazine so you can see where we are coming from.,
fourth, although there are tantalising differences of emphasis between NFB and Media Lens (post-modern revolutionary green socialist as opposed to Buddhist, concentrating on the role of spooks in influencing stories vs the role of corporate interests), there is important common ground in deconstructing the mainstream media. We ourselves have largely given up on such, except in terms of detailed critiques--eg BBC Secret Agent in 2005, Peter Taylor's True Spies in 2003, instead we see ourselves as going out and investigating stories the MSM will not touch, or not in our unique way. Nonetheless, that is an overlap with Media Lens rather than any direct conflict. Ways we can work together to our mutual advantage I would be most interested in hearing about. For example, we are profoundly disturbed at the corrosive effect the internet is having on political discourse and participation--and in our next issue intend to look at this in some detail. Does that bother you as much as us?
And so on.
This is just an exploratory email, but I would be most interested in your response to my requests/suggestions
Dr Larry O'Hara (Editor, Notes From the Borderland)
There then followed two further emails, each re-sending the email above, with the following additions:
Friday, 4th December 2009
Having had no response, thought I would send again!
Friday, 11th December 2009
I checked your web-site to see if you are still functioning, and on 4th December there was a post where you complain about...nobody at the BBC properly responding to your communications.
No need for me to say more, is there?
>>> Quite frankly, we would have left it there, were it not for the following 'Media Alert'. The contrast between the Media Lens attitude to us, and complaints about the media's attitude to them is interesting. The symmetry is exact: we contacted Media Lens three times, they contacted Blackhurst three times also. Surely whether Media Lens respond to emails isn't determined by 'celebrity status' ranking, or whether you work in the reviled 'corporate media' or not, is it? Hardly Buddhist, or showing "respect for others". A simple and polite refusal from Media Lens would have ended the matter: just as Blackhurst's ignorance elicited further action by them, discourtesy has ensured continuance from us. What you might call 'Karma'. NFB respectfully suggests those who agree we have a point take a leaf out of Media Lens' book and email
are differences between us & Media Lens, so let's have that debate. We will review the two Media Lens books, though as we don't work for the BBC or anything else 'corporate', without using review copies. Richard Keeble's article below is important, even though we disagree in places (over Chomsky, the internet etc.). That, however, is what genuine dialogue is about. Media Lens take note.
From: Media Lens Media Alerts <
To navigate this site click on a box above:
The top line shows key research themes.
The second line shows how to contact us, additional research themes & links to the NFB shop. We particularly draw your attention to the Cult-watching section, which has all the content formerly on the 911 Cultwatch site, plus new items.
Alternatively, put a name/organisation etc in the search box on top of this page. Please send suggestions/point out glitches--those who saw our old site will appreciate what a massive upgrade this is!