Mark Humphrys (politics)


Laws - The media


Problems with the western media

Words You Can Never Say in the Media

SPJ guidelines

Studies of media bias

The media ignores stories of war heroism

The media bias against Israel

The media bias for Obama


The Guardian

The Irish media

Arab media

The western media

One of the reasons for a site like this is frustration with the media almost as much as (or more than) with politicians.

There are systematic problems with the media that surround me (especially the less diverse media: radio, TV and cinema), that distort both history and the reporting of current events.

How left-wing journalists think.
Many of them want to change the world, not report it.
This leads to comically biased reporting of stories, and simple omission of inconvenient or unpopular stories.

This incredible interview of Jordan Peterson by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 in Jan 2018 sums up why people distrust the modern media.

One picture sums up the reasons why people go online for the news

This is not a Photoshop. Seriously. This is a real newspaper page. Could anything sum up the failure of the western media - and the reasons why people go online for the news - better than this page from the Toronto Star after the 2006 Canadian Islamic terror arrests?

What could these people have in common? How could they have become somehow "radicalized"? Who knows. Maybe they're a hiking group? Agnostic stamp collectors? Buddhist fanatics? Anti-Canadian Jews? Anglican school teachers? Extremist librarians?

Whatever it is, this newspaper doesn't want to say it for some reason. If you want the news, you've got to go online.

Classic sketch by The 1/2 Hour News Hour in 2007 on the media scratching its head about what links various terrorists.

Problems with the western media

One basic problem is described at length in Paradox No.1: The most criticised societies in the world will be the least criminal societies.

Another basic problem is described at length in The left is racist - It does not treat all races equally.

More generally, the western media suffers from some basic problems that distort the news:

  1. Respect for third-world tyrants: For some reason, presumably because they are racists, modern journalists are obsequious and respectful to third-world tyrants and killers, and never ask them hard questions. They only ask tough questions to harmless democrats.

    • Dan Rather's softball interview of Saddam Hussein in Feb 2003.
    • Tony Benn's disgusting softball interview of Saddam Hussein in Feb 2003.
    • Diane Sawyer laughs with unelected Syrian fascist dictator Assad: and asks him what's on his iPod, Feb 2007.

    • Rusty Shackleford on people who are impressed that tyrants will give you a nice cup of tea and be charming: "It's the same tripe that we get from the ignorant who think that the way people act in their personal lives somehow informs us of the political and social systems which they support. Individual behavior is not linked to political systems. The most evil people in the world act in normal ways 99% of the time. They eat, drink, have families, love people, are nice to friends and neighbors, etc. It's the 1% of the time you have to worry about. When they're busy beating their wives, sodomizing young boys, or stoning adulteresses. If anyone still finds it surprising that evil people act normally most of the time: Get. A. Fucking. Clue."

    • Compare and contrast: AP's negative obituary for Margaret Thatcher v. AP's positive obituary for Hugo Chavez, J.P. Freire, 8 Apr 2013.
      • Thatcher ran a free democracy and helped liberate dozens of countries. Chavez ran an authoritarian state and achieved nothing. Who gets the more positive obituary from the AP writers? The foreign authoritarian.
      • J.P. Freire on the AP world view: "You can challenge the status quo if you're a socialist, and then you'll get treated as a hero by the Associated Press, even if your oil-rich country is still an economic basketcase and a morass for the rule of law. But if you're a free market evangelist who succeeded in rescuing a nation from the hazards of an overweening state through privatizing, you're controversial. Gotcha."

  2. Respect for third-world beliefs: Similarly, because they are racists, modern journalists tolerate hatred and bigotry from the third world that they would never tolerate from first world people.

    • Morally neutral reporting is dishonest reporting - Dennis Prager describes what is wrong with so many journalistic conventions. Why can the papers not say "Islamic mobs slaughter hundreds in Nigeria". Wouldn't that be more true than the pious whitewashes about "ethnic tensions" and "cycles of violence"?
    • Mealy mouth media, by Thomas Sowell, on journalistic conventions. - "One of the pious phrases of the mealy mouth media is that "the truth lies somewhere in between"."

  3. General lack of scepticism about non-western sources: The media has an admirable level of scepticism about, say, IDF statements, or the Bush administration. If only it would maintain that level of scepticism about, say, its own Arab stringers, or, say, the Lebanese government, or, say, what Arab villagers say to its reporters on the ground after an Israeli airstrike. Good journalists should distrust and double-check everybody.

    • Reutergate - Issues about the western media using images from local Arab stringers.
    • Reuters' Image Problem: L.A. blog unmasks Hezbollah propaganda by Brendan Bernhard. "Johnson has raised the lid on a potential Pandora's box. Namely, how our leading news agencies and newspapers increasingly rely on stringers from hostile nations to tell us how we, or our allies, behave in wartime. Since you'd be hard-pressed to find Muslims in the U.S., let alone Europe, who aren't strongly anti-Israel and opposed to any American presence in the Middle East whatsoever, why on earth would you expect to find neutral Arab reporters in Baghdad or Beirut? This is the kind of question newspaper editors should be asking themselves (and their stringers)."

  4. Refusal to ever praise the west: For the media, a story does not exist unless it can cast some sceptical look over western policy. The idea of them saying: "Government and military doing well, given that they are humans. Not much to criticise." seems absurd. A story must criticise the authorities. It must be negative, and slyly sceptical. It must compare the government and military to an imaginary utopia where everything runs perfectly (actually this is very much the left-wing mindset).

    This is all good and healthy, and essential to democracy. But the point is, it can distort the news. Governments do achieve good things. Over the past 200 years, we have got richer. We have got freer. Tyrants have been destroyed and threats have been ended forever. But the media can never celebrate these things. It must find things to be negative about. And it will highlight these, even if they are trivial, while ignoring the real story of success.

    As I say, this is good and healthy. Non-stop criticism is what makes democracy strong, just as it does science. My point is just that it distorts the news. When government has a massive success, the media simply do not cover it. Within days all their focus is on trivial problems that people can feel bad about. The Iraq War was the most amazing example. The minute Iraq fell, in perhaps the most amazing and powerful western military victory since World War Two, the minute it happened, the media changed the subject.

    • The West wins again - and (yet again) the media misses the real story.

    • The mind of the left

    • The Dissenters Club by Jean Bethke Elshtain, on how intellectuals and the media cannot support the government. They must complain. - "Somewhere along the line, the idea took hold that, to be an intellectual, you have to be against it, whatever it is. The intellectual is a negator. Affirmation is not in his or her vocabulary. ... The widely repeated notion that no space exists within American society to make contrarian arguments is risible. Less frequently heard, in fact, is intellectual assent from academic and intellectual circles to something the government is doing or that America is undertaking."

"Don't run, we are your friends" in the movie Mars Attacks!
Western journalists often find it hard to believe that enemies of the West are simply lying.

Western journalists are far more interested in western scandal than they are in western heroism.
Cartoon from Cox and Forkum (see here).
See Cartoon Use Policy.

Words You Can Never Say in the Media

SPJ guidelines

One document above all others explains why the western media is so crap. Here it is.

Studies of media bias

A fascinating study, 1 Nov 2012, correlating "likes" on Facebook.
Confirms that MSNBC, PBS and CNN are not centrist but rather are far left partisan.
From here.

Poll of Americans and which media they trust, Oct 2014.
Finds that the right trusts the mainstream media far less than the left.

The above survey tries to place the media on a left-right axis. Fascinating.
Note that the BBC and The Economist and NPR are well left of centre.

The media bias for Obama

The media ignores stories of war heroism

Coverage of top 20 U.S. military medal recipients on U.S. network television, in the five years from 2001-2006.
From the study: Touting Military Misdeeds, Hiding Heroes.

Trailer for the documentary The Tillman Story (2010).
Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire (during actual combat with the enemy) in Afghanistan in 2004. But he is still a hero. Friendly fire happens in all war.
But because it was initially said that he died from enemy fire, there is of course a major leftie film sneering at the story and the idea that he was some sort of "hero".

Bad news after Iraq, 2003

The media's obsession with bad news distorts the news. It distorts our picture of what is going on in the world, instead of enlightening us. This was nowhere more obvious than in the media's distorted coverage of Iraq in 2003.

Bad news after the liberation of Europe, 1945

"Crisis on Omaha".
How the modern media would have covered the D-Day landings on Omaha beach.
From The Combat Report.

The Burton graffiti

This story about Islamic supremacist graffiti on a war memorial in England is an example of why people go online for the real, uncensored news.

This Islamic supremacist graffiti on the war memorial, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, Dec 2009, provides another illustration of why people can't trust the media.

An identical slogan is daubed by some savage in Dec 2011 on the ancient Sandal Castle, Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
At least the Wakefield Express, unlike the Burton Mail, has the guts to print the story.

New York Times double standards

This is classic.

The New York Times (rightly) ran this ad from the Freedom From Religion Foundation on 9 Mar 2012.

The New York Times then refused to run this ad from Pamela Geller.
Their mickey mouse excuse was that running the ad "could put U.S. troops and/or civilians in the [Afghan] region in danger."
Yeah, whatever. This is why we love the Internet. We don't have to obey you any more.


Classic spin from the New York Times:
"Nigerian Group Escalates Violence With Church Attacks", New York Times, December 25, 2011, on the Boko Haram slaughter.
The spin starts with not including "Islamic" or "Islamist" in the title.
It then goes on to claim that killing for Islam is somehow new for this group: "Boko Haram until now mostly targeted the police, government and military in its insurgency effort, but the bombings on Sunday represented a new, religion-tinged front".
Two minutes Googling would have taught them that Boko Haram are about nothing but religion, and have been slaughtering for religion since the start.
Why does the New York Times feel the need to hide this?

The result of journalists wanting to "change the world" rather than "report the news".
Before they looked like the top, questioning everyone and everything.
Now they lecture the little people, on behalf of the powerful, who agree with them.
Posted here.

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I will debate almost anyone. Stick to ideas and I will debate you. But I do have rules. See Who I block on Twitter.

Twitter is broken, 2016 to 2022: I am on Twitter at markhumphrys. Twitter was a great place for debate before 2016. You could meet everyone in the world, and argue about ideas. Starting in 2016, Twitter became increasingly broken. It became full of reporting and bans and censorship. In 2019, Twitter even started shadowbanning me for no reason that was ever explained, or could be appealed. By 2022, everyone was looking for a better place to debate.

Twitter is saved, 2022: In 2022 Elon Musk bought Twitter and started to end the censorship. It looks great so far. Twitter seems to be saved.