Even before the magazine started, collective members had a long-standing interest in the dire standards of 'investigative journalism' in this country. In particular, the way some journalists recycle information (and disinformation) from 'official sources'. In the case of political journalists this is patently obvious--witness the way both Nick Robinson and Andrew Marr of the BBC act as flatulent mouthpieces for whoever is in power--NFB's prime focus is slightly different. We are particularly concerned at the way some stories in the print media, and many so-called 'investigative documentaries' on screen, are little more than the recycling of 'leads'/propaganda fed to journalists by the police and security services. There is nothing wrong with stories explicitly sourced to the state--eg Crimewatch--but everything wrong with such stories being passed off as 'independent' or even critical, when they patently aren't, on closer examination. Lies about Iraq's fictitious 'weapons of mass destruction' prior to the Second Gulf War are only the tip of the iceberg as far as we are concerned, and not so much deviation from routine journalistic practice as amplification.
The world is not so simple that we automatically dismiss everything from official sources (or even certain journalists like the much-reviled David Rose) as worthless, or 'untrue'. Truth is a complex mosaic, and the reality of inter-agency rivalry, both domestically and overseas, means a fuller picture of events can be found by cross-referencing a variety of sources
than relying on just one or two. Crucial is putting aside political prejudices that mean certain sources (such as Sky News) or newspapers (eg the Daily Mail
) should be ruled out on ideological grounds. That path
leads to a restricted and enervated world-view, epitomised by the 'Last Century Left' mantra that the Guardian
newspaper and the BBC represent good journalism. They don't--some outrageous disinformation is peddled in the Guardian
& on the BBC, but Guardianistas
usually cannot or will not see it!
In this section of the site, as well as relevant extracts from NFB magazine, we hope to publish pertinent critiques illustrating the relevance of our approach. As with elsewhere, we welcome articles for publication here or in the hard copy magazine that explore these concerns in a rigorous way. Contact us.