We all know what advertising is don’t we? It’s the business of making people want things. There’s a science behind it. Subliminal or overt psychological manipulation, persuasion, all that lot.
If you’re alive you can’t be completely impartial. Every time we interact with others we (inadvertently) ‘advertise‘ but let’s not pursue that for now. What we will pursue in this sermon is the way the BBC and the other main news organs are acting as advertising agents.
Have you noticed, as I have, that the footage we’re currently seeing on the BBC from Gaza is getting increasingly mawkish? Today, for the first time I’ve seen something new. More than once the camera zoomed in very, very close, to bring us larger than life close-ups of the faces of injured people lying on trolleys.
This thought-provoking guest post by Sarka on Harry’s Place addresses Giles Fraser’s emotional response, which has mutated, no doubt from a starting position of sincerity into, well, the expression of emotion without judgment; sentimentality almost to the point of self-pity.
There’s a kind of tyranny creeping in. If you’re not moved enough by the unimaginable suffering of the people of Gaza - enough, that is to drive you to unequivocally denounce Israel, you’re a monster. A bigot, a heartless soulless Nazi.
Giles Fraser, though, is so overcome with his own righteousness and suffering, which is exacerbated, poor thing, by having to endure the agonies of seeing Mark Regev on TV.
(Is Giles Fraser one of those people who actually complains about this, thereby boosting the numbers of complainants who think the BBC is pro Israel?)
Well, I am moved and upset by images of injured children in Gaza, though perhaps less distraught, less encased in bitter despondency than Giles claims to be. But what amazes me is that Giles directs his ire at Netanyahu’s spokesperson and impliedly at Israel, rather than the real culprit, the real reason, the source - of all this unnecessary suffering. Hamas. Palestinian rejectionism. Incitement. Surely Giles is not too dumb to consider this?
Jon Donnison is master of the art of persuasion. He has done nothing but emote since he was parachuted in. Past performance says the BBC knew this was his speciality, and no doubt that is why they brought him up from down under. He’s the BBC’s Saatchi and Saatchi of psychological manipulation.
Has Donnison never seen a Hamas ‘militant? Is he even curious about their presence, like you’d expect a journalist to be? I don’t think we’ve seen many on our screens either. Are they all camera-shy? Has Donnison seen any tunnels, any rockets? Ever?
There is a problem with this. The public, that’s we the voters, will not like our government showing heartless, soulless support for Israel, even though awareness of the wider picture may be ringing subconscious alarm bells in their heads about the nature of Hamas. Philip Hammond has already succumbed.
Here’s what’s obvious. There are other brands!
Gaza is not the only one. There’s death and destruction where ever you look!
Civilian casualties are as numerous. The dead are just as dead. Children are just as child-like. The killed are just as killed - and injured and displaced.
Where is the agony? Where is the righteous indignation? Where is Jon Donnison?
Ian Pannell? Paul Adams? Where is Uncle bloody Tom Cobbley?