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Email to Newsnight editor  
Posted by Brian D on January 4 2008, 12:40 » Uploaded 04/01/08 12:41  

[An email I've just sent to Peter Barron, the editor of BBC2 Newsnight, on their "Democracy in 2008" special report - broadcast on Wednesday 2/1/08]

Dear Peter,

I enjoyed the Newsnight report on "Democracy in 2008" (2/1/08), but I wondered if I was watching the same programme which broadcast Greg Palast's reports on the undermining of democracy in the 2000 and 2004 US elections, and of the "battle between neo-cons and Big Oil" over certain countries with oil fields (eg Newsnight, 26/10/04, 17/3/05).

I assume Newsnight stands by Palast's reports, and that the implications of his investigations are understood? In which case, I don't see how a special report on "Democracy in 2008" could fail to indicate the ways in which "democracy" as sold by the US government at home and in the middle east is, at best, criminally subverted and, at worst, a complete sham, a lie.

All credit to Newsnight for broadcasting Palast's reports in the first place, but what is the use if these are kept in a separate compartment, the implications not feeding into ongoing debates. I think this form of compartmentalisation is fundamentally different from simply giving separate slots to different political opinions. Palast has presented documentary evidence, strong cases to be answered, not mere opinions.


Brian Dean
Media Sceptic Group

COMMENTS Post comment


Comment 01 – Mark Warner January 04 2007, 13:15

Smart move. Palast (in the acknowledgments section of his book 'Armed Madhouse') mentions "visionary Peter Barron". How can Barron argue with his own program's reports, from a reporter who praises him.

Comment 02 – Brian D January 04 2007, 13:25

Just to let you know - Peter Barron replied a few minutes after I sent my email:

Dear Brian,

Thanks for your note. We certainly stand by Greg's earlier reports and I agree we could well have got into the question of irregularities in recent US elections, or indeed in British elections, which we have also reported on. Our problem in this programme was not a lack of will, I'm afraid it was a lack of time, as we were trying to deal with several topics - Kenya, Pakistan and how a new US president might change foreign policy.

We will certainly return to the questions raised in Greg's reports in the course of this year.

best wishes


Comment 03 – ALP January 04 2007, 13:45

I think compartmentalisation is key, as you rightly point out. The way these issues are framed in the bulk of coverage depends on it. Unforunately it seems to reflect the way the human brain itself works (I read a good research article on state-dependent memory recently, which throws light on this - I'll see if I can dig it out and post it).

Comment 04 – Chris January 07 2007, 09:31

If the Republicans pull off the same vote fraud in 2008, then the media should be held responsible. The subtitle of the chapter in Greg Palast's book is : "Kerry won. Now get over it ...because they're puting '08 in their pocket".

It's spelt out in black and white with all the documenting evidence a journalist would need. It really is criminal negligence from the media not to bring this story to the attention of the public.



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