Sunday, January 09, 2005

Why We're Losing The War

Here's the headline from the Times covering the Ulster bank job: 'Ulster peace under threat as IRA is blamed for £22m raid'. So that's it then. It wasn't the actual raid itself that caused the problems (and never mind asking whether a place where this sort of thing goes on can be considered peaceful anyway). Nope - it was the Police's fault for telling the truth. Ah huh.

The thing is that this kind of absurd chop logic holds such a death grip over much of the media that it's a genuine relief to find someone who prepared to acknowledge that the terrorists are, in fact, independent actors, after all. Terrorism 101 says that the terrorist aims to influence the political environment by the use of violence. That's a truism, of course, but it also means that the relationship works both ways. Terrorists use violence to shape the political environment, but the political environment shapes the violence used. Both elements feedback into each other. Which means the media can forget all this posturing about 'objectivity'.

It is less fashionable now for media panjandrums to refer to themselves as 'opinion formers', nevertheless, the media does still play a role in shaping the debate. More to the point, the astute terrorist must take into the role of the media in helping him achieve his objectives. Isn't it about time journalists returned the favour ?

Yes, I'm aware that journalists like to blather on about press freedom and the like. But consider the case of the BNP. Here, journalists preen themselves over their refusal to 'offer a platform' (or whatever) to these loons, while indulging in ostentatious agonising over whether their coverage strengthens those naughty ol' right wing extremists. Yet the media have no qualms about acting as virtual PR agents for other, more PC, terrorists.

Consider Iraq. Surely, simply by the law of averages, a small proportion of Coalition fire must hit baddies ? But try and find evidence for that in the media. Yes - plenty of Coalition casualties. Ditto - plenty of kitten hospitals hit by Coalition bombs, but dead Jihadis ? Nada. Could the terrorists have wished for anything more than a media that insists on presenting our troops as blundering incompetents, seemingly defenceless against these ninja -like Jihadis while constantly blowing away orphanages ? Talk all you want about objectivity, but when the media cover Coalition casualties and civilian casualties caused by the coalition, while barely mentioning dead terrorists or the civilians they have murdered, then there's an agenda at work.

Of course, some folks have gone all the way to the dark side. Which brings me onto the BBC. Natalie Solent is exactly right: the BBC can't shout 'Fire!' in a crowded theatre then claim status as a dispassionate observer of the subsequent stampede. Still - with the significant difference of the licence fee - the Beeb is just the worst, rather than the only offender.

What afflicts the media is just a more extreme case of what's affected much of modern society. They've brought into the whole PoMo garbage, whereby up may be down, black white and cannibalism is just an alternative form of diet. These people live in the richest, freest and most comfortable civilisation in history and can't decide if there's any difference between the people who defend it and those who want to destroy it. Just as long as we're prepared to believe that an inability to distinguish between someone trying to blow up a school bus, and someone trying to kill terrorists is a mark of sophistication, we're going to keep losing the war, and deservedly so.

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