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Seumas Milne  
Posted by ALP on March 5 2008, 11:55 » Uploaded 05/03/08 12:19  

The former Guardian Comment editor, Seumas Milne, has written a lot of hard-hitting material, but since it's mostly appeared in the Guardian, it was by definition merely "risk-free" liberal posturing to the thought-police who run Medialens (and who once wrote: "You can't possibly compare Milne's occasional, superficial comments on the media with [John Pilger's] really excellent work challenging the system.")

Judge (again) for yourself:

To blame the victims for this killing spree defies both morality and sense

Washington's covert attempts to overturn an election result lie behind the crisis in Gaza, as leaked papers show

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Wednesday March 5 2008

The attempt by western politicians and media to present this week's carnage in the Gaza Strip as a legitimate act of Israeli self-defence - or at best the latest phase of a wearisome conflict between two somehow equivalent sides - has reached Alice-in-Wonderland proportions. Since Israel's deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, issued his chilling warning last week that Palestinians faced a "holocaust" if they continued to fire home-made rockets into Israel, the balance sheet of suffering has become ever clearer. More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces in the past week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. During the same period, three Israelis were killed, two of whom were soldiers taking part in the attacks.

So what was the response of the British foreign secretary, David Miliband, to this horrific killing spree? It was to blame the "numerous civilian casualties" on the week's "significant rise" in Palestinian rocket attacks "and the Israeli response", condemn the firing of rockets as "terrorist acts" and defend Israel's right to self-defence "in accordance with international law". But of course it has been nothing of the kind - any more than has been Israel's 40-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, its continued expansion of settlements or its refusal to allow the return of expelled refugees.

Continued here:[..]

COMMENTS Post comment


Comment 01 – ALP March 05 2008, 12:46

Here's another article by Seumas Milne:[...]

It's notable because it was the only piece in the "mainstream" UK media at the time which painted "Iraq's first democratic elections" as a complete sham. For that, it should be praised. However, in a fit of pique (or perhaps something else), a Medialens editor, David Edwards, wrote a letter to the Guardian complaining: "How convenient for Seumas Milne to take yet another pot-shot at everyone's favourite media punchbag, the BBC..."

Edwards later explained on his message board: "the point I was making was that Milne took a risk-free swipe at the BBC". I guess Edwards's chosen "mission" in life is highly risky by comparison. He went on to write a few remarkably lame, risk-free columns for the New Statesman.

Comment 02 – BBJE March 05 2008, 13:50

I've just read the Medialens article on Nick Davie's book, Flat Earth News. It's really laughable. They present straw men and misrepresentations which they say are Davies's, but which are, in fact, their own. And they seem to have changed their view on the role of advertising in the media, for the purpose of criticising Davies. They now apparently deny that "mass-media coverage is orchestrated or at least fundamentally restricted in order to win the favour of corporate advertisers" (which is how Davies characterises a popular theory which I thought ML subscribed to).

I doubt Medialens's supporters - even the most gullible - will buy the latest chunk of rhetoric from their mentors. It's devoid of coherent argument.

Comment 03 – ALP March 05 2008, 14:31

That really is Medialens's "finest work" to date. ;)

It deserves to be very widely read. Please circulate the link:

Comment 04 – Russ Bridger March 05 2008, 15:28

Will any of Medialens's disciples have the nerve to tell their beloved 'editors' that the latest "alert" is a pointless piece of unmitigated drivel?

The ML 'eds' are basically putting words in Nick Davies's mouth to score cheap (and pretty silly) points. I wonder what Cromwell's uncle, John Pilger, will make of this? After giving them the helping hand of his fatherly endorsement, they once again erect a big sign which says: "WE'RE UTTERLY INEPT, AND NOT EVEN FUNNY". (Freudian pun intended).

Well, one good thing: at least Nick Davies will be able to see from the outset that Medialens aren't worth wasting his time over.

Comment 05 – Rixey March 05 2008, 15:37

I don't think much of your sarcasm, ALP. At least Medialens is doing something positive and not just posting snarky comments to message boards.

Comment 06 – ALP March 05 2008, 16:05

Rixey wrote:
At least Medialens is doing something positive

Do you really believe that these feeble attacks on Nick Davies are "something positive"? Of all the targets available, why go after Nick Davies? What's the point of the ML "argument"? It boils down to the fact that Nick Davies doesn't hold the Propaganda Model in quite the high esteem that Edwards/Cromwell hold it.

Well, So what? If everybody wrote about the Propaganda Model, the whole world would be as terminally boring as a typical Medialens alert. What you are seeing here is Medialens as thought-police. And that's what Davies will see.

Comment 07 – ALP March 05 2008, 17:58

The moderator at another board which I post to (PoV - Persistence of Vision) has got defensive over this. But then he's a Medialens brown-noser, like Rixey. Someone posted the following spot-on criticism of Medialens. The moderator of PoV deleted it immediately, with the lie that it's "nothing more than a litany of insults and disparagements".

(I say "lie" because I'm comparing it to the real litany of insults that I've been on the receiving end of for months, and which the moderator of that board barely even expressed disapproval of, let alone deleted.)[...]

Comment 08 – Ged March 05 2008, 19:13

I recommend Nick Davies's book. He has a different approach than Chomsky, but so he should. One makes use of one's strengths, and Davies's strength (or one of them) is that he does have a lot of insider experience and contacts. I don't agree with the Medialens false dichotomy over insider/outsider. Insiders and outsiders can both give useful accounts.

Comment 09 – Raoul Djukanovic March 05 2008, 22:39

ALP wrote:

Of all the targets available, why go after Nick Davies?

Simple: he's gone this far and no further. Real radicals would big up the propaganda model, innit. Of course, asking what this concatenation of "elementary truisms" actually tells is beyond the boundaries of the expressible, as that gruesome two-step about advertising so ineloquently adumbrates. Or something equally leninist.

Beats me what they think they're on about. I remember a conversation with the news editor of The Ecologist (itself not the most "read me" publication out there), in which he explained his decision to spike the Davids' seminal [pun intended] column. "They just keep banging on about the Guardian," he said.

I'm with Rusbridger: "Umm."

QED. It's all a conspiracy. Except when it isn't. It's so subtle, you see, it just depends on where you're sitting.

And if you're into the buzzsaw you're squatting on the spike.

Which is why the only Grauniad gatekeeper to publish the Davids was that master of hamfisted haymaking, Seumas Milne.

Excuse me, I need to lie down.

Comment 10 – Mordecai March 06 2008, 10:28

I think Milne's writing is more radical and hard-hitting than Medialens's. And so is Nick Davies's in a way. It depends on what you consider to be hard-hitting. Medialens are reactionary in many ways, and being a Chomsky-lover doesn't make you radical. Remember, Chomsky's part of an establishment.

Comment 11 – Rixey March 06 2008, 12:45

Speaking of PoV, ALP, what did you mean by your comment about MI5 mind games?[...]

Comment 12 – ALP March 06 2008, 13:28

Naturally, I was joking. Sometimes I do wonder about the pair who run MediaLens, but, outside of speculating and joking, I think they're just two dull individuals who get a lot of mileage from channelling Chomsky. (I don't know why they get so defensive about the term sub-Chomskyite, as it accurately labels them).

In the moments when I do wonder, I'm left puzzled as to why these two men write and think in a way that makes it impossible to tell them apart - and as if it's rote, from a script. Totally predictable, endlessly repetitive, and thus largely redundant. And why do they sign off on virtually everything they write, individually as well as together, as "Eds", as if they have a permanent Vulcan mind-meld. I find it slightly creepy that they don't have individual voices.

Another thing I wonder about:- given their penchant for psycho-analysing and buddha-heading, you'd think they'd be relatively "self-aware". And yet their writing is among the least self-aware I've read (outside of the writings of "true believers" of all creeds). A really remarkable claim, I know.

And then there's the question of their targets. They want to save humanity with their compassion, so they target George Monbiot, Greg Palast, Iraq Body Count, Naomi Klein, Nick Davies, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, etc, etc (that's just a short list of the worthy people they interrogate, INQUISITION-STYLE).

And yet when people criticise them, they get hysterical and/or authoritarian. How dare people spend their time criticising good, moral people such as themselves - when they could be criticising George Monbiot instead?!

And then there is the lying and dissembling. The underhanded, nasty stuff - always rationalised, Blair-style. Perhaps the less said about that, the better. It raises my blood pressure to think about it - not very enlightened-Buddhist of me.





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