Wednesday, 28 March 2012


The prequel to a series of posts on the dangers of media manipulation by government and a public failure to question

It is interesting to recall that when Great Britain’s legendary World War Two Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was asked how he thought ‘history would treat him’ he replied that he felt it would be ‘kindly -  because I intend to write it myself!’.

I say interesting because when one considers politics even now in the second decade of the 21st Century – both internationally and even in a small, ‘democratic’ backwater like Jersey – never was a truer word spoken. History, of course, is indeed written by the victor not the vanquished – or equally as likely today – by the politically dominant and this is true even when the said recorded ‘history’ is little more than a complete pack of lies. The only remedy is to question and work to raise public awareness.

You really don’t need to read Orwell’s ‘1984’ to understand this: there are countless real examples the world over. Indeed, my decision to write these forthcoming posts actually came about as a direct result of the grateful and highly positive response from a number of people to whom I had leant *DVDs on the true political situation (as opposed to US ‘Washington Consensus’ media propaganda) in countries such as Venezuela and Latin America generally. *I list a few of these well worth anyone seeking out at the end of this piece.

But if that is too ‘in depth’, far a field or philosophical for you at first glance then just think about Jersey for a brief moment and examples also  start to come to mind thick and fast…

The shameful rubbishing of the Historic Abuse Investigation and the trashing of the reputation of those trying to bring justice for people who have been betrayed. Half-million pound ‘Golden Handshakes’ to civil servants who should have been sacked whilst even nurses are being told they must take a pay freeze. The shambles of the Waterfront development.

The con of the ‘good value for money’ energy from waste plant. The hijacking of the independent Electoral Commission. Alleged ‘High Net Value’ multi-millionaires actually contributing next to nothing to the economy and community whilst paying less tax than many ordinary workers who are increasingly struggling.

Or even this very week, the Jersey Evening Post itself which has been the rabid cheerleader of the failed politics of the powerful ‘elite’ at the expense of ordinary people for decades - now incredibly trying to reinvent itself as some kind of champion of political moderation! Almost too laughable for words of course.

And I haven’t even yet mentioned the countless examples of Island media working hand-in-glove with the Establishment Party to try and discredit wherever possible any individual who would dare raise his or her head above the political parapet to challenge them as to the anti-democratic and unsustainable folly of their ways…

All people need to do is to begin asking questions

When I think back to my secondary  school days (though I obviously did not then have the words to fully articulate it then) it was my growing awareness/suspicion of this fact that on a number of occasions would get me into trouble with teachers who should have known better. My transgression?

Daring to challenge teachers as to the ‘lessons’ and ‘facts’ taught, such as to use one classic example, whether the Allies really ‘won’ the Second World War given the subsequent necessary huge injection of resources to rebuild the country and economy of the German aggressors; all whilst the British people who had given so much in standing up against tyranny simultaneously faced hardships and rationing for many long years.

All too often those few like me who would dare to question would be shouted down; sometimes even ridiculed. Giving the stock or necessary ‘right’ answers to pass tests etc back then was a trait – for those who may not know - of what is sometimes referred to as the ‘banking system’ of education. This thesis was formulised by Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire who I was later to study whilst at University.

Indeed, making sense of conclusions I had struggled toward myself years earlier Freire was to become something of a hero of mine. For at its worst you could say this ‘banking system’ of education is promoting children and young people to ‘learn’ parrot fashion - almost like laboratory rats that giving a certain answer will get you the desired positive response or pass mark. No better is the interrelated consequence that with children and young people ‘learning’ that this is what gets success it stifles both intuitive questioning and lateral thinking. Hugely negative things both! It also says a lot about why so few adults today are politically aware.

But I am probably digressing too much at this early stage. For this first in – hopefully - a series of posts over the coming weeks it is specifically this problem of the victor or dominant political majority spinning their ‘truth’ through abuse of the media and even education that I want to focus on peoples’ awareness needing to be raised to.

For left unchallenged this will not only be more and more abused with the massive expense governments the world over now commit to employing ‘spin doctors’ wholly lacking in scruples or any sense of morality; it is a problem that can only further undermine democracy.

Believe me Jersey is no exception: indeed, our small size and lack of diverse, competing media as a ‘check and balance’ means the potential for this is even greater. After all, with the sociological reality that so many people form their wider opinions because of what they are ‘fed’ by the media the potential for opinion manipulation is truly frightening. Let us be honest it is largely what has kept the Establishment Party in power for years.

Today our word must be our ‘weapon’…

But there is some ‘good news’. Fortunately, the growing sophistication and saturation of such spin by any ruling ‘elite’ has also brought with it its own Achilles Heel or, to perhaps use a better description potential ‘antidote’. This is the growth of so-called ‘Citizens Media’.

Not the pathetic kind of puerile hate mongers even visible in Jersey via bullying, inadequate internet trolls and right-wing/pro-concealment of child abuse websites not even worthy of naming – but genuine ‘Citizens Media’ the close relative of the truly ‘independent’ documentary makers and ‘investigative’ journalists.

Indeed, with the revolution of the gun hopefully being increasingly supplanted by the revolutionaries of the ‘word’ or of ‘education’ it is not an exaggeration to say that across the world, wherever oppression and inequality is seen as a legitimate tool of government, such individuals and groups who ensure that the real truth does leak out – however slowly - should be seen as modern day Freedom Fighters.

For the easily apparent truth in this statement one only needs to consider the groundbreaking use of the international internet over the past twenty years by the likes of the EZLN (or Zapatistas); struggling under the iconic Subcomandante Marcos against successive corrupt, US-dictated to governments for the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Chiapas region of Mexico to stop their mineral-rich lands being stolen from them. More about this (and, yes, another political hero of mine!) in a later post. But if you are already curious just Google the above names or NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to see what this is all about..

Relevant to Jersey - you bet!

Like many things simply because Jersey is such a small geographic jurisdiction the impact of media manipulation and blatant collusion can be viewed far more easily – if only the populace are made savvy enough to know where to look. As I outline above it is with regard to these issues that I intend to write in the coming weeks. A growing number of people are already beginning to remark how they are increasingly sick of government ‘spin’. These posts will simply be about drilling down a little further.

Let us also consider this. The last election was, in my view, a significant disappointment for the so-called ‘progressives’ or ‘centre-left-leaning’ in Jersey politics. Although to be fair the election of quality newcomers such as John Young, Richard Rondel, Steve Pellett and Michel Le Troquer for example; not to mention the miserable failure of the desperate Establishment Party campaigns to oust people like myself, Shona and a few others are positives that also should not be overlooked.

But much of the missed opportunities it should be accepted were also largely down to our own failures to work to our common ground rather than be divided by our regularly unimportant differences. It is something that must be learnt and taken on board or beneficial change for ordinary working people will never be brought about.

As such for those who really understand deep down that there is a far better way than the greed-driven, virulent ‘free-market’ strain of capitalism pursued over the past decades here in the Island by an ‘elite’ interested only in maintaining their position becoming ‘wiser’ to this aspect of manipulating power through the media is something really well worth doing. In fact it is absolutely essential – for without such an increased public awareness the iceberg of economic, social and democratic disaster will loom ever closer to the Jersey ‘Titanic’.

This is what the posts will be about.

Keep the Faith


*As indicated above, for those who are already interested in looking beyond the propaganda of government and media three acclaimed international documentaries well worth watching for starters are:

1 - ‘The War on Democracy’ by John Pilger

2 - ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ by Kim Bartley & Donnacha O’Brian (there is also a version of this DVD available with an excellent supporting book by Rod Stoneman, ‘Chavez: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - A Case Study of Politics and the Media’

3 - ‘South of the Border’ by Oliver Stone

And should you be (foolishly) wondering… No. They never reached Jersey’s cinemas though two have made it on to TV to my knowledge.



  1. the war on democracy..what an eye opener

  2. Good and thought provoking post Trevor. I am interested in this educator Mr Freire that you talk about. Can you provide any information on him or anything he has written about his ideas?

  3. How nice to see a politician praising some of the newcomers. I think that you are right Deputy about the four people you name.

    I must also admit that maybe like you your self I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of two of them in particular. Perhaps there is hope of wrenching power away from the self-proclaimed great and the good after all?

  4. Another excellent read. A political blog that is politically thought provoking as another poster says? Whatever next in Jersey? Democracy?

  5. Hi anonymous

    The key work of Paulo Freire to read is 'The pedagogy of the oppressed' which off the top of my head I think first came out about 1972. Easy to get hold of even now as a classic work.


  6. John Pilger is just a lefty trouble maker. Why should anyone believe him?

  7. "John Pilger is just a lefty trouble maker. Why should anyone believe him?"

    Never heard of him myself, maybe you could make an effort and give some examples of his trouble making so that idiots like me can make some sense of your post.

    I look forward to you giving some more info if of course you can manage to back up your one liner.

    Of course in the meantime I shall look it up and will await with baited breath your arguments for or against if you actually have any that is.

  8. Even though I disagree with John Pilger in several significant ways, the commenter calling him a lefty trouble maker is simply trolling your blog. Trolling comments do not express thoughtful opinions to contribute to any side of any discussion because they do not provide any logical or persuasive reasoning. They do not even provide levity or witty entertainment value. They are nothing but lazy name calling comments of no substance and contain no persuasive merit. I hope you will prevent them from distracting from your timely topics.

  9. To the last two 'anonymous' posters reference John Pilger.

    I really couldn't agree more with what you both say. I let the comment through because I ultimately concluded - wrongly or rightly - that I shouldn't block such a comment just because it really made no attempt at qualifying the statement as you both rightly point out.

    Maybe I was wrong. To be quite honest I very nearly went down the route of replying that the comment was so lacking in substance that it probably didn't merit a reply at all. But there you are. Perhaps the poster, whoever he or she is, will rise to the challenge and come back with reasons why he/she thinks this way about Pilger.

    One thing I do have to say to the poster is that whether one likes Pilger's style and/or political perspective or not this journalist does have huge respect and standing in his field. Would someone really build up that kind of reputation if your journalism went no further than 'lefty trouble-making'? I think not.

    It should also be noted that John Pilger's work over many years has hardly been dedicated or confined to supporting 'lefty' political causes. This is plain, hard fact. So how would you explain that in the context of your very dismissive comment?

    You are, of course, very welcome to reply whether I will agrre with your comments or not- just as you are entitled to your opinions.


  10. Well, well - whoever would have expected it?

    I have just had a contact that I would be very happy to use if the poster had not for some reason felt the need to tag on the end that 'Pilger is a d***head. Probably why you like what he says.'

    How very profound! How very deep!

    Nevertheless, whilst this poster really should have sussed it out by now that I would be unlikely to use it I am going to copy below what was the first part of the post. I do this because had he left it at that I would have used it and I am pretty sure other posters might have wished to rise to the challenge of responding to it.

    The beginning of the comment said this and I quote:

    "Pilger spends his time attacking America, a country that has done more to police the world and fight for democracy than any other power for the past half century. How could anyone who does this be taken seriously?"

    If anyone wishes to respond - and I will do so myself in time - please feel free. My first thoughts, however, is to simply ask the poster whether he has actually even watched 'The war on democracy' as the content would surely make the foolishness of what he is saying crystal clear...


  11. Does this reference to what you call a "banking system" of education mean it is anti-finance in some way or am I being silly and getting the wrong end of the stick?

  12. Hi anonymous

    I am not going to say that you are being 'silly' by your question.

    Ok, so yes, you have got the wrong end of the stick. But then educators like IT people, economists and many others just love to use jargon that could make subjects far more accessible to more people if it was only replaced with plain English.

    Your best path is to just go and read the book 'The pedagogy of the oppressed' for yourself. However, if you don't want to do that then maybe I can use my own words to try and make some of it a bit clearer for you.

    Firstly, nothing to do with our finance industry at all!

    One of the key ideas in what Freire argues is that in this 'system' children/young people are just seen as empty containers.

    They are taught or learn as a result of 'teachers' pouring or depositing into them 'knowledge' or 'facts'. Look at this whichever way you find easier.

    My disquiet about this and how I relate it to the problem of people being taken in by 'history' written by the victors, or by stories put out in collusion with a powerful media can be explained at its most simple as being this:

    If people, as with children being 'taught' at school just accept this political information as 'fact' being poured or deposited into them as 'truth' by teachers/government/media etc and are discouraged to question/work things out for themselves then the likelyhood of the accuracy of this 'fact' being challenged and alternative solutions put forward becomes less and less likely.

    Without really wanting to risk confusing the issue again by using a finance related example just briefly consider the issue of our multi-millionaire 1 (1) K residents.

    Untill I got the real statistics released to the public a couple of years ago we were spun, and most people accepted, the consistent government line that every one of them each paid - or contributed to the community - at least £100,000 in tax per year.

    The reality, of course, is quite different. The vast majority pay nothing like £100,000.

    Yet if this government spin had been put to children at school as 'fact' and children were put off from asking questions about the truth of this information put in or deposited by teachers this ;learning' would subsequently just be repeated as truth and fact.

    The bottom line I suppose as I'm sure you would agree is everyone needs to question what government tells us and we need to start at the earliest possible age.

  13. I begin to understand why you wanted to be education minister!

  14. A message for the internet bully troll:

    Ha, ha, ha! Thanks for the opportunity - I haven't laughed so much in ages!


  15. Come on trev, share the trolls message and give us all a laugh

  16. Sorry Jon, I'm saving that for later!

    I can say, however, that the troll was - in part - congratulating me on running such an excellent and Data Protection compliant blog.


  17. To the anonymous poster who sent in a piece about Freire and 'The Pedagogy of the Oppressed'

    I would be very happy to publish this if you would care to take the childish abuse out and just discus the issues. The fact that you don't actually appear to undrstand what Freire was saying is not important. Please re-post if you so wish.

    Freire classed himself as a 'Christian socialist' as I recall - but if you can stretch this in your own imagination to him being a supporter of the Russian system of Communism I would love to let you put forth the evidence.

    Of course, you could also possibly just read Wikipedia and actually know nothing about Freire at all. The way I look at his work is how accuarte and useful some of his conclusions are. The fact that he is held in such high regard by so many - including probably a majority who are not Marxists or Communists etc would tend to suggest that my appraoch is the right one.

    But I repeat, as for the personal abuse you seem unable to resist tagging on at the end I really don't think I can add much - other than that the fact you fel the need to try and conceal your identity says a great deal indeed...

    Look forward to hearing from you...


    * By the way, there is a book by Peter McLaren (might have got the spelling of the gentleman's name wrong) which examines Freire together with the writings/perspective of Che Guevara - so could be right up your street, Comrade!

  18. Whoops! Just to say sorry for the typos above - trying to type and read a report at the same time!

  19. Hello Trevor

    As you are answering questions right now can you tell me where I can get the last two dvds that you list at the bottom of your post please? I couldn't find them in HMV. I am also not the infamous Jon should you be wondering. My interest is genuine.

  20. Hi Jon

    I think your best bet is to go on to the net. Probably quickest route anyway.

    As for 'The revolution will not be televised' documentary with the book discussing media and politics, I did manage to pick this version up a couple of years back in our own Waterstones.

    So unless getting these quickly is your main concern then why not get the book and the film together. The book certainly explains and expands a lot - not least being how it dispells something like 15 or so of the 17, 18 criticisms that the opponents of Chavez had tried to hang on the documentary.


  21. Hi Trevor.

    Just put up the Audio from today's Press Conference.
    You & your reader's can Listen HERE


  22. "Pilger spends his time attacking America, a country that has done more to police the world and fight for democracy than any other power for the past half century. How could anyone who does this be taken seriously?"

    Some will claim America is a benign power and everything they do is to spread liberal democracy. How could anyone who does this be taken seriously?

    Perhaps the voices of Guatemalan peasants slaughtered in the USA backed coup against a democratically elected government don't count? Perhaps we should examine the USA backed ousting of Allende in Chile, the support for Pol Pot and for Suharto's massacres in East Timor, the coup to reinstall the Shah in Iran, the vicious USA backed Contras in Nicaragua or the oil wars in Iraq (twice).

    I could go on, but for the full picture see William Blum's list here.

    Now, why is it you never see the true story about these events in the media? Could it be that they are owned by the very same corporations that make vast profits from war, destruction and exploitation of natural and human resources? Surely not?

  23. How the hell can anyone attack a world famous educator like Freire let alone a politician for seeing the value in his work?

    The mind really boggles at the stupidity or plain malicious nature of some of this troll flaming. I understand why you let it through because it proves a point.

    Personally I would just let this creature remain alone and unmissed in the swamp of his own hatred. Think on it.