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Pro-Establishment Bias in the Media

Wocambs
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11/30/2014 11:44:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Apparently, we expect the BBC to be analyse what they report so that they provide the public with the information they need to make decisions. So let's analyse an article of theirs concerning another piece of legislation which diminishes our rights and expands state power.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

What is both amusing and frightening is how stunningly clear it is that the article heavily defends the proposals. Mr. Casciani explains that "For a decade, British security and intelligence agencies have tried to counter threats from individuals inspired by al-Qaeda's ideology". He restates the government's claim that the bill "is aimed at disrupting extremist activity". He emotionally primes us to support the bill by referring to how "Twice before - in the wake of 9/11 and 7/7 - they asked ministers for more powers". He asserts that it is a "brutal fact that the police don't believe they can do this job alone".

In order to balance out their own analyst's vindication of the proposal, the BBC presents us with this:
"Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg praised the identification of IP address users as "sensible" but said that the home secretary "wants to go a lot further" by reviving what he called the "disproportionate" measures of "the snoopers' charter".

Human rights group Liberty condemned Mrs May's programme as a "chilling recipe for injustice and resentment, closing down the open society she seeks to promote"

Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, mildly questions the extent to which the police need new powers. Liberty is the only voice in the entire article which actually condemns the measures, and the BBC only deigns to quote a generic line from them, without going into any detail whatsoever about why Liberty opposes the bill. No substantiated argument is provided, and no facts are brought in support of their claim.

Not to worry, that uninformative one-liner is countered by heaps of experts and facts.
"Britain's counter-terrorism chief warned that police officers alone "cannot combat" the threat of extremism". "Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley - the Association of Chief Police Officers' national policing lead for counter-terrorism" (notice how the BBC supports this expert, explaining why he is an expert and why we should take his opinion seriously), is allowed to assert, without challenge, that "we have disrupted several attack plots and made 271 arrests but the eyes and ears of law enforcement and other agencies alone cannot combat the threat", and that the threat has "evolved", and is now "home grown". To round up the article: "On Sunday, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police told the BBC that four or five terror plots had been stopped this year.

Police have previously prevented on average one plot a year, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said"

Even the damned headline is basically an assertion of how the government is doing what is right. It isn't 'Theresa May wants to expand the government's power over its citizens', which is the literal truth, but instead frightens us with 'terrorism' before we even know what's going on, and claims that these are 'new police powers' instead of the far more informative 'greater police powers', which is quite obvious from the fact that when these 'new powers' are described, they turn out to be just more of what they already had.

This is the BBC, allegedly a reputable news source, and it falls over itself to defend the government, not 'inform the people'.
fazz
Posts: 1,617
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11/30/2014 4:35:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/30/2014 11:44:56 AM, Wocambs wrote:
Apparently, we expect the BBC to be analyse what they report so that they provide the public with the information they need to make decisions. So let's analyse an article of theirs concerning another piece of legislation which diminishes our rights and expands state power.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

This is the BBC, allegedly a reputable news source, and it falls over itself to defend the government, not 'inform the people'.

First things first, assuming you are from the UK what is the situation there:

1) For "threat level" the BBC says there has been 40 planned attacks since 2005. So I don't like blanket surveillance but it does seem like UK has a quote-unquote, Muslim problem. What is the realistic threat level on the ground?

2) Isis. Theresa May seems to be pushing her agenda on the back of media obsession with Isis/Isil. I know young people are going to Syria but I also know the numbers aren't that high. Is this a legitimate cause for concern from citizens in the absence of a direct national security threat from Isis?

3) Speaking on the topic of May's support for "snoopers charter", and blanket surveillance, the Liberal Democrats said: "There is absolutely no chance of that illiberal bill coming back under the coalition government - it's dead and buried." -- If there is 'opposition' in the House then what chances are there of the law passing in your opinion? Also, does the Home Secretary have the kind of push to get the law passed?

*to their credit BBC did mention that Communications Bill was 'disproportionate' according to Lib-Dems.
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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11/30/2014 6:22:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/30/2014 4:35:32 PM, fazz wrote:
At 11/30/2014 11:44:56 AM, Wocambs wrote:
Apparently, we expect the BBC to be analyse what they report so that they provide the public with the information they need to make decisions. So let's analyse an article of theirs concerning another piece of legislation which diminishes our rights and expands state power.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

This is the BBC, allegedly a reputable news source, and it falls over itself to defend the government, not 'inform the people'.

First things first, assuming you are from the UK what is the situation there:

1) For "threat level" the BBC says there has been 40 planned attacks since 2005. So I don't like blanket surveillance but it does seem like UK has a quote-unquote, Muslim problem. What is the realistic threat level on the ground?

I think you need to exercise a little more skepticism. Didn't your government claim that surveillance had stopped a number like forty terrorist attacks, and subsequent enquiries found that the only example that could be found of surveillance stopping something was some money being sent to Somalia or something like that? If these attacks were both 1) real 2) serious and 3) organised by Muslims, I absolutely guarantee that we would not be hearing of 'forty planned terrorist attacks', but we would be bombarded with details. If the facts favoured their point of view, they would use them, but they do not, so instead we are left with a number that tells us nothing. Were those attacks planned by Muslims? We have no idea. Could these powers have stopped them? We have no idea. A couple of days ago a far-right racist white guy was arrested for stockpiling knives, a couple of handguns and a functioning bomb in this country. If there was anything like a 'Muslim problem' we'd have hard facts to prove it, and they'd be shoved in our faces. We wouldn't have faceless, nameless 'home grown radicals', we'd have real villains, and we wouldn't have to keep referring to 9/11 and 7/7. The planned attacks are clearly either half-baked, or not in any way related to Al-Qaeda or ISIS.

2) Isis. Theresa May seems to be pushing her agenda on the back of media obsession with Isis/Isil. I know young people are going to Syria but I also know the numbers aren't that high. Is this a legitimate cause for concern from citizens in the absence of a direct national security threat from Isis?

The government is indeed pushing this agenda on the back of ISIS-hysteria that it helped create. The travelling Jihadis are clearly another example of fear-mongering. When it is in the interests of the government to make people as afraid as possible of Islamic terrorists, you can be sure that the every fact will be as overstated as possible. Therefore, since even with that in mind they have so little to frighten us with, the reality appears to be that there is no significant problem.

3) Speaking on the topic of May's support for "snoopers charter", and blanket surveillance, the Liberal Democrats said: "There is absolutely no chance of that illiberal bill coming back under the coalition government - it's dead and buried." -- If there is 'opposition' in the House then what chances are there of the law passing in your opinion? Also, does the Home Secretary have the kind of push to get the law passed?

*to their credit BBC did mention that Communications Bill was 'disproportionate' according to Lib-Dems.

There is no opposition. Labour will definitely cooperate. Clegg will cooperate so long as there's a name change, or some slight alteration, any minute difference and he'll give it the Lib Dem seal of approval. It's as good as passed when all three parties agree and the BBC starts publicising apologetics for it.
fazz
Posts: 1,617
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12/3/2014 4:58:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/30/2014 6:22:38 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 11/30/2014 4:35:32 PM, fazz wrote:
At 11/30/2014 11:44:56 AM, Wocambs wrote:
Apparently, we expect the BBC to be analyse what they report so that they provide the public with the information they need to make decisions. So let's analyse an article of theirs concerning another piece of legislation which diminishes our rights and expands state power.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

This is the BBC, allegedly a reputable news source, and it falls over itself to defend the government, not 'inform the people'.

Speaking on the topic of May's support for "snoopers charter", and blanket surveillance, the Liberal Democrats said: "There is absolutely no chance of that illiberal bill coming back under the coalition government - it's dead and buried." -- If there is 'opposition' in the House then what chances are there of the law passing in your opinion? Also, does the Home Secretary have the kind of push to get the law passed?

*to their credit BBC did mention that Communications Bill was 'disproportionate' according to Lib-Dems.

There is no opposition. Labour will definitely cooperate. Clegg will cooperate so long as there's a name change, or some slight alteration, any minute difference and he'll give it the Lib Dem seal of approval. It's as good as passed when all three parties agree and the BBC starts publicising apologetics for it.

I think you should not be disheartened. The UK is pushing this law on the back of the Patriot Act in the US. It is part of the big-little brother complex we share. But ironically, post-Snowden the internet is getting more and more fragmented. Even if the UK-US use their surveillance powers in an unwarranted fashion then Germany, Brazil, Russia are breaking away from the internet, thereby making spying illegally on allies, a technical glitch of the past (see:http://www.theguardian.com...).

This article gives us a recap of the Snowden saga in the US using an apt analogy of an unfenced private pool with kids invading: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...

Among the points highlighted in the New York Time op-ed is:
1) NSA employes have in the past spied on 'domestic' not foreign targets as the law decrees.
2) NSA employees have used their free time to use company hardware to 'spy' on their own families, etc.
3) The secret Court (FISA) that has oversight over the govt. surveillance has said the National Security Agency (NSA) has not complied with their requests. The Court also alleges the NSA has misrepresented its record of compliance in front of the Senate. The FISA court is being ignored by the very agency it is alleged to oversee and monitor.
4) The NSA has instead of spying on national security and terrorism threats used its 'invisible hand' to keep tabs on Oil Companies. Corporate interests demean the legitimacy of Public institutions.

I think the points brought up in the article gives us philosohical-food for thought. However, my main takeaway from the article is that power corrupts. Most American's when polled about surveillance say the tired cliche, "If you have nothing to hide then what are you scared off". Basically, Security before liberty ad nauseum. Sadly, I agree in a post 9/11 world with this conservative outlook above.

But I think even more so than liberty the most important thing is Privacy. I highligthed public sector being abused by corporate interests. Let me provide another analogy of the Grandfather Paradox: http://tvtropes.org.... In Back to the Future, the youngish Michael Fox as "Marty" messes up the Past and prevents his parents from marrying. Fox seeing his dad about to be hit by a car, pushes him out of the way and inadvertently takes his dad's place in the story and his future mom becomes infatuated with Marty instead. If Marty did not fix this time-space glitch It is clear that he would be in imminent danger of being "erased from existence."

Not let's bring this paradox to "current day". Say you are the youngish CEO of a billion dollar franchise like facebook. Now emails, pictures, holiday locations, are all being tracked. They not only know what advertising you click on and what you buy but they know who you talk to, who you have a crush on. Suppose facebook was more like Linkedln, a business-type social network, what if you were sending a PM to a close associate in confidence. No, scratch that - what if by the fuzzy-logic of grandfathering machines you were Mark Zuckerberg in your office watching another you in say the eve of October 28, 2003 when freshman zuckerberg was putting together a prehistoric version of the software called Facemash.

Let that sink in.. https://www.youtube.com...

You're watching Mark emailing the Winklevosses brothers and stealing their idea. Now Mark circa. 2014 watches past Mark's emails (which literally facebook owns since email is the property of the website and not the "actual" owner, lol). All he has to do, is plagiarise your idea in midst transmission rename Facemash and call it something random like Facebook(?) and presto! he is now the owner of your idea before your idea even materializes or hits the market.

Lets push this paradox furhter, what if Edward Snowden, before the Snowdenista parade began and made him a hero, was watching the late late Steve Jobs in 2001 when he made the single greatest discovery of the Ipod making him lauded as the Greatest inventor of the 21st century. Whats to stop Snowden evil "mini-me" twin of making the wrong decision - instead of saving the world from Big Brother - and just stealing the intellectual property to become the head of his new company, the Orange, and try.. *insert mini-me pinky into crooked smile* to take over the world !!

The vast swimming pool of data as the NYT article calls it is not just information it is power. A company like facebook or google has policies to stop abuse. But the government is in the public sector it does not have to follow outmoded Terms of Agreements of Apples consumer policy. The NSA is thus a unique private-public nexus. In the land of digital communication the future is intelletual property. This makes the 'pool of data' even more corruptible, since it is not just worth say a million or billion dollar market (in Google and Facebook terms) but potentially a Trillion dollar industry. Absolute power corrupts. Period.
fazz
Posts: 1,617
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12/8/2014 4:27:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Oh fuckk.. I was right.

Read this.

Some emails reveal that Stratfor had been partnering with Shea Morenz, a former Goldman Sachs director, along with other informants, in order to profit from what could be considered insider trading. Stratfor planned to use the intelligence it gathered in order to profit from trading in several worldwide markets. They created an offshore "share structure" known as "StratCap" during 2011, in order to avoid insider trading allegations. The offshore entity, set to launch operations in 2012, is outwardly independent of Stratfor, but CEO George Friedman told his employees that StratCap is secretly integrated with Stratfor.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com...