Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The wild side


I read a piece about Facebook in last week’s Sunday Times(£) titled:  “Behind our happy snaps is a sea of Facebook filth” by Sarah Baxter.
The article was about Facebook's cavalier attitude to dodgy content, namely "hosting pornographic images of children", something that was exposed by an undercover reporter from The Times.
 “Facebook actively encourages dissemination of vile material by herding users into friendship groups, where they can find more and more of the stuff they “like”
Facebook’s attitude seems to be “Don’t worry about the filth - if you’re not in a group that likes ‘filth’ you don’t have to see it”. It’s the algorithms, stupid. The Times reporter’s complaint elicited the boilerplate response:
'it doesn't go against any of our specific community standards"
What caught my eye was another complaint about “An objectionable TV clip of a 2013 interview with Kenneth O’Keefe, a former US marine turned self-styled peace campaigner” but this time the complaint was from one of Ms. Baxter’s family members. It too had drawn Facebook’s pro forma response. Sarah Baxter says:
“O’Keefe is a 9/11 “truther” who blames Israeli intelligence for the attacks on the twin towers and publicly burnt his US passport in 2004, but you wouldn’t know that from the Facebook clips, nor that the interview had first appeared on the Iranian propaganda channel PressTV. No, he is presented as a truth-telling, honest-to-goodness ex-marine.

In the interview, carried out at the time of the previous chemical attacks in Syria - when Bashar al-Assad crossed Barack Obama's "red line" - the ranting O'Keefe laid into the US for its "war of deception" over Syria. That, you might say, is just his opinion.
But as soon as he slipped into sly anti-semitism by claiming the Syrian civil war was part of the "greater Israel project" to destabilise the region with "rich and powerful backers" as the puppet-masters. 
Alarmed to see this nonsense proliferating again, my family member reported the clip for "racism" to Facebook last week. It didn't just reject his complaint, however; it politely offered to "help you see less of things like it in the future". That's missing the point. You don't like anti-semitism? You don't have to see it. "

Of course, this irresponsible approach is bad enough coming from Facebook, but I well remember O’Keefe being plastered all over our television screens after the Mavi Marmara affair. 
The BBC devoted two episodes of HardTalk to this person.  We can’t be sure if Sarah Montague is aware of what the ‘blockade’ actually is or why it exists, but her opening line of questioning was framed in accord with the BBC’s ideological bias against Israel.
“Do you think your achievement was worth those nine lives?” is a question that seems to come from the premise that nine martyrs’ lives were squandered -  as it merely resulted in the ‘easing of the blockade’ rather than having the blockade lifted altogether.
Later, although Sarah Montague made good use of the “Israel says’ formula, she did put Israel’s case forcibly enough to rile O’Keefe, and leave his repeated claims that ‘Israel lies” as his best argument.

The hate-filled comments to this video accuse Sarah Montague of being a Zionist. If the BBC uses comments that are so obviously written by hard-line antisemites as evidence of that well-worn “complaints from both sides” meme it exposes the weakness of the BBC’s flawed conclusion that “we must be getting it about right.”
The BBC didn’t give us the full picture of O’Keefe. I don’t know who wrote this, but it’s on the HARDtalk website:
“This is the second interview of Ken O'Keefe by BBC's flagship HardTALK program. His first interview was in February 2003 regarding his TJP Human Shield Action to Iraq. In this 2010 interview O'Keefe discusses the plight of the Palestinian people and the mass-murder of humanitarian aid workers who sailed to Gaza on the Turkish lead ship the Mavi Marmara. 9 people were murdered, all Turkish nationals, one with American citizenship as well. Some of these were provably executed, in international waters no less. This is a classic interview, a true rarity of straight talk on the planets most influential propaganda institution in the BBC.”
I don't know what the final sentence is supposed to mean. Someone enlighten me, please. But the BBC’s rose-tinted description of "Ken" contains nothing remotely like Sarah Baxter’s realistic summary of O’Keefe’s background. Substitute “BBC” for “Facebook” for a clearer understanding of this man’s history. Let me remind you:
“O’Keefe is a 9/11 “truther” who blames Israeli intelligence for the attacks on the twin towers and publicly burnt his US passport in 2004, but you wouldn’t know that from the Facebook clips, nor that the interview had first appeared on the Iranian propaganda channel PressTV. No, he is presented as a truth-telling, honest-to-goodness ex-marine.
Nothing whatsoever from the BBC detailing O’Keefe’s overt antisemitism for viewers not well enough informed to  see it for themselves.
Here's what Sarah Baxter has to say, again, about Facebook, but it applies equally to the BBC, if not more so. 

You don't have to see it [...] but that doesn't mean it isn't out there, corrupting what can often be very young minds. O'Keefe's clip is popular with anti-war teenagers.
Facebook wants you to think the world is full of people who are as sensible and well informed as you. My social media helpfully direct me to all sorts of terrific articles from traditional media. But if you prefer to walk on the wild side, you will encounter bucketloads of hate speech. Such types naturally think they are every bit as sensible and well informed as me and - here's the really scary thing - their posts are the most likely to be shared. Facebook feeds off viral videos by the likes of O'Keefe and other haters and conspiracists. You're just not seeing them.

"You're just not seeing them?" The BBC doesn’t even have that excuse.

5 comments:

  1. One of those complaining about Zionist influence over the BBC's coverage of that Gaza flotilla incident was none other than Paul Mason.

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    1. The same Paul Mason welcomed back to the Newsnight comfy chair to represent Labour to a grateful nation?

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    2. The very same. And to make cryptic hints about voting tactically, and maybe that Kate Hoey is going to be de-selected.

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    3. Lucky he is no longer employed by the BBC. His Twitter feed is a treat, and even 'views my own' disclaimers may cause unease in the most forgiving of BBC bunkers.

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  2. Sarah Baxter is suddenly concerned about Facebook? After all these years...do you think anti-semitism on Facebook is new?

    No, this is all about populism. The BBC, MSM and Baxters of the world are laying into Facebook, Google and the rest because they think they hve facilitated the rise of populist resistance to PC globalism.

    If we are really going to ban anti-semitism we are going to have to gut a lot of Wagner, TS Eliot, Graham Greene and Dickens to name a few. The free speech principle is important even if it involves people banging the drum for unpleasant and repugnant ideas.

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