Medialens have responded
to the critique
I posted yesterday. Here are my comments (their responses are
Attack or praise?
'We haven’t attacked Nick Davies or his book.
[...] We repeatedly praised the book and in fact described it
as “well worth reading”.' [Medialens]
Medialens's "repeated praise" is, in fact, only a token
line or two. They write that the "occasional nuggets
should be set apart from Davies’s analysis of the media
system as a whole". The latter is what they (at great
length) attack - as "flawed", "naïve",
"old", "very superficial", etc - along
with Davies's role as a "company man".
It's a stock-in-trade of Medialens to "praise" their
targets very briefly, while the bulk of their "analysis"
consists of rhetorical attacks. Thus, even while they were promoting
the view that Iraq Body Count were "actively aiding and
abetting in war crimes", they managed to write a line
about how they respected the integrity of IBC.
The response of Medialens, to the criticisms of their equivocations,
is to say: "you've failed to understand what we wrote",
at which point they explain their original equivocations with
further ones. For example:
We didn’t argue that Davies presents profit-making
as innocent, but as “relatively innocent“ - a different
point. So ‘relative’ to what? In essence, Davies
argues that the media are just focused on making money; they’re
not interested in propaganda and ideological manipulation.
After making the redundant distinction between "innocent"
and "relatively innocent" (nobody was talking about
absolute innocence - a meaningless concept; "relative"
was a given), Medialens once again misrepresent Nick Davies, who
in fact said the media is involved in: "the mass production
of falsehood, distortion and propaganda".
On the equivocation over money-making and propaganda, Medialens
Yes, the primary purpose is to make money. But Davies
argues that media corporations are focused on profit-making
and +not+ on propagandising.
Not quite. Davies argues that the "primary purpose"
is money-making, not propaganda. The keyword being "purpose".
There's a distinction between ends and means. Davies doesn't argue
that "propaganda" doesn't play a large part, just that
it's not the end (but we may assume propaganda is an important
part of the means, since Davies says it's "mass-produced"
by the media).
Having already conflated "neutrality" with "truth",
Medialens now conflate neutrality with "independence":
Davies +does+ repeatedly assume the neutrality of professional
journalists, for example when he writes:
“it is possible that as much as 20% of Fleet
Street’s work is still being produced entirely by independent
It should be clear that "independence" does not mean
(or imply) "neutrality". But apparently it's not clear
to Medialens. Result: another fundamental misrepresentation of
There's much more I could write on Medialens's equivocations
- particularly over advertising and so-called "conspiracy",
but they seem so hypnotised by their own rhetoric on this, that
it would be a major exercise just to unravel their semantic tangle.
And I have better things to do...
This brings us to Medialens's claim that the quoting of their
derogatory phrases was...
'...a distortion and in fact a complete reversal of
what we wrote'
To assert that what you've written is a "complete reversal"
of what you've written is, at best, comical. The following terms
were used by Medialens against Davies, and were quoted accurately:
"company man", "nothing serious to offer",
"flawed", "naïve", "old", "very
Medialens's beef, that their comment, "nothing serious
to offer", referred "specifically to Davies’s
material on proposed solutions, not to the book as a whole",
is disingenuous, as they write in their conclusion that Flat
Earth News ("the book as a whole") may be
"seen as part of the corporate media’s
response to the growing clamour from internet-based “meddlesome
outsiders”" - a remarkably damning verdict, given
their views on the corporate media. This is in addition to their
comments about Davies's theses being "so flawed", "very