Sunday, 15 September 2013

BBC Propaganda Technique #4: Misleading By Misquoting

The latest enemy of the British government for the BBC to mislead the public about is Cristina Fernandez, the President of Argentina. In their propaganda piece, entitled Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez criticises `elite' you might expect to find a quotation in which Ms. Fernandez actually uses the word elite. You would be mistaken.

The intent is to suggest that Argentina's president is a raging leftie who discriminates against the upper class and uses pejorative terms like elite to describe them.

UPDATE: A complaint was sent to the BBC. Three days later, and long after the article had fallen from the headlines, the quotation marks were removed. The following reply was issued: "Our reader has a point and I have now removed the quotation marks from the story. In her interview, Cristina Fernandez referred to "privileged sectors in Argentina," saying they have done well in history, kept the lion's share and wanted the country to go back to a time when workers were poorly paid. I used ELITE simply as shorthand to "privileged sectors". But our reader is right to point out that there should be no quotation marks around a word the president didn't actually use.

Note that the BBC retained their biased interpretation of what Cristina Fernandez said. Elite is typically a pejorative term for the rich, and its use would suggest prejudice. Her actual words "privileged sectors in Argentina" refer to companies that have received an advantage via slack legislation. This is a legitimate concern.

The misleading quotation marks and biased use of the word elite are no surprise when considering the tension between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. The BBC has a tendency to toe the government line on every foreign policy issue from Zimbabwe to Syria, and this is no exception.

The article ends with further slander. For example, the sentence "protesters have taken to the streets to denounce widespread corruption" could easily imply there is widespread corruption to protest about, rather than it being an unproven accusation by those particular protesters. The subtitle "Financial Meltdown" is a peculiar claim as well because the only evidence presented is a passing comment about high inflation. Will the BBC refer to one of the many under-performing areas of the British economy as evidence for a financial meltdown? I doubt it. In Argentina's case it is meant to paint the Argentinian leader as incompetent. The same tactic was used by the BBC against Robert Mugabe (see earlier post).

Undoubtedly, the BBC will continue to denigrate enemies of the British government with bias and propaganda. In response, this blog will continue to pose the question of how these `journalists' (pun intended) can sleep at night.

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