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Smearing Monbiot  
Posted by Peter on January 2 2008, 12:39 » Uploaded 02/01/08 14:15  

Read George Monbiot's latest Guardian article, How Britain became party to a crime that may have killed a million people, then consider this reaction from the Medialens website:

"Normally the air-brushing of Britain's shameful imperialist behaviour takes decades - GM [George Monbiot] has achieved it in one short article here."

It takes a lot of ingenuity to distort Monbiot's words so that he's presented as an "air-brusher" of imperialism. But if you're intent on smearing someone, such ingenuity comes easily. For whatever reason, the people who run Medialens, and their close supporters, do indeed seem keen to smear George Monbiot, as the following examples from the Medialens website demonstrate:

" appears to me that you [George Monbiot] are fighting a proxy war on behalf of the military/industrial/gangster caball..." [Email to Monbiot, posted to ML by Medialens editors]

"I don't have a platform in a major newspaper or other media outlets to express my beliefs and opinions. But if I did, I would not use it to promote mass murder like your brainwashed hero George Monbiot." [posted to ML by ML supporter Peter Fainton]

"That George and many other people in the media and public life use 'just war' theory to justify illegal war and mass murder is also a matter of fact." [posted to ML by ML supporter Peter Fainton]

"...your role as a mouthpiece for `mainstream` rhetoric and `official` views..." [Email to Monbiot, posted to ML by Medialens editors]

"Your silence speaks volumes, as an admission of charges levelled at you by Media Lens..." [Email to Monbiot, posted to ML by Medialens editors]

"It`s not just personal cowardice in admitting [sic] that you were wrong..." [Email to Monbiot, posted to ML by Medialens editors]

"In the case of Iraq, now with it`s millions of refugees, over a million killed violently, a genocide that dares not speak it`s name, and countless number of men, womwn and children maimed and deseased, the social fabric of that country destroyed, a disastrous situation that you bear part of the responsibility and guilt, Mr. Monbiot." [Email to Monbiot, posted to ML by Medialens editors]

"...never mind the facts.It seems that you have joiner [sic] that chorus, Mr. Monbiot. A cynical case of déjà vu of 2002/3" [Email to Monbiot, posted to ML by Medialens editors]

"By late 2002, establishment propaganda had made the need to take action to deal with Saddam Hussein’s regime seem real, urgent and important - Monbiot was swept along in the wake of that propaganda. Something similar appears to be happening again, now, over Iran." [Medialens "Alert", Dec 2007]

We've been here before. As Media Hell board readers will know, Medialens previously waged a similar smear campaign against Iraq Body Count (one that still continues, 2 years after it started).

Medialens use the rather pompous slogan "correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media" to describe their activities. In fairness to them, some of their work does attempt to correct media distortions. But they spend a great deal of time launching destructive, character-assassinating attacks on people they appear to have a grudge against. And their efforts in this regard are matched only by their (endlessly) repeated statements insisting that they have only "respect and admiration" for the very people they clearly seek to discredit. (And when they themselves are subjected to the same type of criticism that they dish out, they predictably overreact by screaming "smear" from the rooftops).

I don't think their rationalisations for attacking people such as Monbiot convince anyone but the small handful of their most devoted supporters, and I hope they will do as they ask others to do - ie look closely at their own motivations (and not delude themselves with all the grand "saint"-talk about Buddhist compassion). Because when they start to attack Monbiot, Naomi Klein (thankfully they seem to have aborted that one), Iraq Body Count, and all the others on the left (I don't mean the liberal establishment), it's very destructive and divisive for the antiwar movement. And I doubt that they really seek the results they seem to get (huge time-wasting, division, bitterness, recrimination, paranoia, personal pettiness).


COMMENTS Post comment


Comment 01 – Mordecai January 02 2007, 15:24

It's difficult to take these criticisms from the Medialens crowd seriously. One of their objections to Monbiot's piece is that he uses the word "mistakes" to refer to the British establishment's actions over Iraq. By itself that would be an inappropriate word, but Monbiot immediately precedes it with the phrase "supreme international crime", and immediately follows it with the sentence "What other former empire knows so little of its own atrocities?" It's pretty obvious that Monbiot isn't making light of the war crimes (which he refers to over and over as "crimes").

Comment 02 – ALP January 02 2007, 16:19

The Medialens editors could do something to discourage the worst of these smears (eg claims of Monbiot "promoting mass murder"). But then they'd be accused of double standards, since (as the examples posted show) they themselves are posting some of the worst ones.

I'm reminded of their smear campaign against Iraq Body Count. Once they'd promoted the slanderous claim that IBC "actively aided and abetted war crimes", they could hardly discourage others from posting such smears.

And they don't want to alienate their closest supporters (Peter Fainton, Gabriele Zamparini, Miriam Cotton, etc) who also tend to be the ones posting the more hysterical smears against people such as Monbiot.

Comment 03 – Russ Bridger January 02 2007, 17:00

I'm a great fan of the internet's ability to level out the playing field for expression of views. But a major downside as far as I'm concerned is that little twerps such as Medialens's Peter Fainton think they have a license to go around publicly accusing people of "promoting mass murder" based on nothing more than some stupid piece of semantic masturbation. I blame Medialens for this trend.

George Monbiot has done more for the causes supported by Fainton and his ilk than they will ever do, even assuming they give up their petty semantic twiddling (with added hysteria) - which they won't.

Comment 04 – ALP January 02 2008, 18:49

Not many people know it, but Medialens released a record back in their book-burning days:

Comment 05 – Russ Bridger January 02 2008, 19:37

Medialens released a record - ALP

LOL. Classic. Thank God for Dave Spart-Edwards and Dave Spart-Cromwell. Without their efforts nobody would suspect that the "MSM" is the Great Satan of our times.

Comment 06 – LizG January 02 2008, 20:59

tee hee. Is humour permitted whilst there's so much suffering in the world? Maybe it should be outlawed out of respect to the maimed and dying.

Comment 07 – KHagen January 03 2008, 05:56

I don't think Monbiot's word "mistake" is a crime. Look at it in context:

"The British establishment has a unique capacity to move on, and then to repeat its mistakes. What other former empire knows so little of its own atrocities?"

By that point in the article, he's already referred to "Britain's participation in the supreme international crime". It's redundant to keep repeating the same string of words. One can read into the "mistake" sentence that all "establishment" hierarchies have the element of incompetence as well as amorality. It's quite a valid point to make. People are deeply mistaken if they think that establishments as a rule carry out their plans smoothly and competently. In other words, intentional crimes, incompetence and major mistakes aren't mutually exclusive.

Perhaps I'm stretching a point in order to defend Monbiot. But doesn't he deserve being defended?




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