Sunday, 17 November 2013

BBC Propaganda Technique #5: Answering Your Own Questions

Recently, the British government was pushing hard for war with Syria. In order to convince the British public before a major vote in parliament, news shows were busy making the case for intervention. This propaganda war ultimately failed. The people weren't convinced, and the politicians were forced to concede defeat.

Nevertheless, the campaign for war provided some glaring examples of BBC bias. In this BBC Newsnight video, you can see Victoria Derbyshire pushing for war at the government's behest. It's worth skipping forward 54 seconds because, at this point, she simply can't take it anymore. She starts answering her own questions in order to meet her propaganda quota.

From 0:54, the Turkish Foreign Minister is talking about how he hopes Syria will allow chemical weapons inspectors to investigate the recently publicized attack. Astoundingly, Victoria Derbyshire interjects with this opinionated gem: "President Assad is not going to let them anywhere near there." The Minister explains that it's a test to see if Assad will comply. Derbyshire responds: "He doesn't care if he fails your test. He doesn't need to listen to you." She then continues to answer her own question: "He may allow them in 6 months or 10 months, but he's not going to allow them this week when they need to get there."

How could Victoria Derbyshire know what Assad was going to do? Is she a diplomat? An ambassador? Or does she just have an agenda to fulfill? Her blatant effort to convince the British public that the only option was to intervene in Syria was, quite frankly, disgusting. Within weeks, her assumptions about Syria were proven wrong. Assad let the inspectors in, and he signed a deal to remove chemical weapons from his country. So why was this "journalist" trying to convince people that the opposite will happen?

Later in the video, she attempts to cast doubt on the effectiveness of diplomacy; incredulously saying, "Another statement condemning him?" as if military intervention was the only answer. Then, she asks him to elaborate on his remark about a "coalition of the willing" because that term was used in the Iraq War for a military alliance. Indeed, from 3:30, she is clearly goading him into presenting that as an alternative.

Her efforts were transparent and laughable, but this wasn't the first time that Victoria Derbyshire had presented a biased news show about Syria. Her regular pissing-post is as a radio presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live, and in one of her radio "debates", all of the speakers were in favor of Western intervention. In fact, I only found the above video after searching for that biased, one-sided debate. Anyway, the point is that her pro-government radio bias is presumably why she got her `big break' on television soon after.

The BBC toes the government line on every foreign policy issue from Russia to Argentina (see earlier post). Its purpose is to the convince the British public that what the government wants to do is right. There has never been a clearer definition of propaganda; or a clearer example than the exploits of Victoria Derbyshire.

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