‘Founded in 2001 by [David] Cromwell and David Edwards, Media Lens is a media analysis website which monitors the broadcast and the print media in the UK, attempting to show evidence of bias, distortions and omissions on such issues as climate change, Iraq and the “war on terror”. The founders of Media Lens draw on the ‘Propaganda Model’ of media control advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky.’ (Wikipedia, David Cromwell).
As a ‘media analysis site’ Media Lens portrays itself as providing an alternative view to the increasingly mistrusted corporate media. They claim to focus on calling to account the ‘liberal media’, e.g. the Guardian and the Observer. (See FAQ, Why do you concentrate on the ‘liberal’ media?).
Scrutiny of Media Lens output, however, indicates that rather than being objective analysts of the media, they are promoting their own agenda, and strongly, and this agenda has much in common with that of the media they claim to be critiquing.
Media Lens rely heavily on social media for impact, especially twitter, rather than a high volume of articles (termed ‘Alerts’). The two editors, David Cromwell and David Edwards, have also authored some books, most recently Propaganda Blitz. They tweet, retweet and write about failings of the media on issues where the corporate media see their role as propaganda or suppression rather than fact. They are seen as progressive and anti-imperialist, as they largely make the right noises about Gaza, Yemen, Syria and the Skripal farce. E.g.
However, the Media Lens response to the wars on first Libya, then Syria, appears dutiful rather than enthusiastic, even compromised. They are seemingly unaware that the tradition of the brutality of Gaddafi and Bashar al Assad owes more to Western propaganda than to evidence.
Not being seen to defend ‘Assad’ is very important:
Media Lens aspires ‘to show evidence of bias, distortions and omissions on such issues as climate change, Iraq and the “war on terror”‘, drawing on ‘the model of media control advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’. As well as stressing their left-wing credentials (Iraq), this claim brings together two major issues that are arguably topmost on the Media Lens agenda: promotion of Noam Chomsky and climate change alarmism.
Media Lens and Noam Chomsky
‘Noam Chomsky is often hailed as America’s premier dissident intellectual, a fearless purveyor of truth fighting against media propaganda, murderous U.S. foreign policy, and the crimes of profit-hungry transnational corporations.
‘He enjoys a slavish cult-like following from millions leftist students, journalists, and activists worldwide who fawn over his dense books as if they were scripture. To them, Chomsky is the supreme deity, a priestly master whose logic cannot be questioned.’ (Daniel L. Abramson)
Chomsky has a reputation for being a ‘progressive’, a critic of government and the corporations, and an advocate of democracy. He has also been strongly criticised as a gatekeeper for the globalist narrative, suppressing discussion on any issue that threatens globalist interests, from the Kennedy assassinations, to 9/11, the activities of the CIA, the Federal Reserve and above all the plan for global government. The organisations mostly closely involved with global government, the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, the Committee of Foreign Relalations are ignored or dismissed as ‘nothing organisations’. Chomsky facilitated the invasion of Libya by whitewashing the rebels and demonising Gaddafi, and went on to support the United States with regard to the war on Syria. Chomsky pushes the NATO propaganda line of:
- the popular Syrian uprising,
- the brutal response first by ‘Assad’ and then ‘Assad’ in conjunction with the Russians, and
- the necessity for regime change, by negotiation if possible and if necessary by arming ‘rebels’.
See, for example, Is Chomsky Manufacturing Consent for Regime Change in Syria? and Noam Chomsky on Syria: A “Grim” Set of Alternatives. There is also the Corbett Report, Meet on Noam Chomsky, Academic Gatekeeper.
Media Lens, however, has steadfastly ignored the growing disillusionment with Noam Chomsky on part of anti-imperialists, and lose no opportunity to promote him as a cult figure.
Media Lens is anxious to defend Chomsky against the charge of being pro-Assad:
Fortunately the admiration for Chomsky is mutual:
Anthropogenic Global Warming
David Cromwell , we are told, has a PhD (1987) in solar physics from Glasgow University and then carried out post-doctoral research in Boulding Colorado, according to Wikipedia at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). (NCAR is a partner of the World Bank in the Climate Change Knowledge Portal, and also carries out research on geoengineering.) Cromwell subsequently worked for Shell in the Netherlands (four years) and then for 17 years in a research post at National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom, before leaving in 2010 to work full-time on Media Lens.
Cromwell’s impressive qualifications both explain an interest in global warming and give credibility to his position. However his manner of engagement on the issue is hardly consistent with a scientific interest. While Media Lens claims to be scrutinising the mainstream media, they are actually in lockstep with the corporate media who are pushing the same message. Media Lens promotes the globalist position by uncritically tweeting endless alarmist articles from the Guardian, e.g.
or the BBC:
There is no scientific debate on any point. A recent ‘Media Alert’ could well have come from the Guardian.
‘What will it take for society to make the deep-rooted changes required to prevent the terrifying and awesome threat of climate breakdown? This summer’s extreme weather events are simply a prelude to a rising tide of chaos that will be punctuated by cataclysmic individual events – floods, heatwaves, superstorms – of increasing severity and frequency. How long before people demand radical action from governments? Or, and this is what is really needed, how long until citizens remove corporate-captured governments from power and introduce genuine democracy?
‘Consider just some examples of this summer’s extreme weather. In Japan, ferocious heat killed more than 80 people and flooding killed more than 200. In Greece, 80 people died in terrible wildfires. In Canada, a heatwave killed more than 70. In many places around the world, including northern Europe, central America, Russia and parts of the US, extreme drought has put harvests at risk. Across the globe, 118 all-time records were broken or tied. In the United Arab Emirates, a record temperature in excess of 51C was recorded, Montreal broke 36C, the Baltic Sea reached 25C and the Swedish polar circle saw temperatures in excess of 32C. The Russian Arctic experienced ‘anomalously high temperatures’ more than 20C warmer than usual. And on and on.’
And so on and on …. The claim of 118 all-time records came from the Daily Mail (previously condemned as a ‘mainstream climate sceptic‘) apparently quoting the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but no details are given. The DM article claims that ‘normally chill Norway, Sweden and Finland all saw temperatures they have never seen before on any date, pushing past 90 degrees’ – oddly enough, July high temperature records for Sweden, for one, have remained unchallenged since 1901 (Götaland), 1933 (Svealand) and 1945 (Norrland). Climate alarmists have been warning of a an ice-free Arctic for decades, and continue to do so, but the ice is, if anything, increasing.
Media Lens’ cry, ‘In Greece, 80 people died in terrible wildfires’, completely overlooks the fact that in 2007 there were fires which killed 84 people, and that then as now, Greeks blamed arson, as do many in California.
The Media alert is sensationalist popular journalism of the worst kind, designed to uncritically push the corporate agenda. Their position is totally partisan – what happened to the objective ‘media analysis’ website?
The Virtue Signalling Left
The Guardian recently reported on the discovery of a 5000 year old burial site in Kenya. The grave was of a community of herders, and the co-director of the dig concluded that an egalitarian and communal spirit prevailed, commenting, ‘There are lessons here for us today’.
Media Lens took advantage of this thought to sneer about ‘Bleeding heart lefties and their crazy ideas about peaceful communities that shun social hierarchies and work together to overcome challenges!’. Only ‘lefties’, according to Media Lens, would aspire to peaceful and cooperative communities. Which is of course false, as the cooperative spirit of small conservative communities in Texas, Greece and throughout the world is surely greater than what will be enjoyed by ‘lefties’ in the lifestyle they are working to achieve at the behest of the globalists, living in their soulless (but sustainable) tower blocks next to the railway station.
The Media Lens spin on this story is similar to that of the Guardian on other ‘discoveries’, whereby new findings are supposed to bring out the worst prejudices in people, such as the declaration that 10,000 years ago the British were all black.
‘A great many widely held – but incorrect – assumptions about the expected pale-skinned, fair-featured nature of Britain’s founders were promptly overturned, to the rage of some commentators and the joy of many.’
The science is questionable, as is the assumption that people would be enraged, but in any case, the information is presented in such a way as to make the ordinary Brit feel defensive or threatened.
‘We also hope to encourage the creation of non-corporate media – good examples are Democracy Now!, The Real News Network and ZNet – that offer genuine alternatives to the corporate mainstream.’ This statement is currently on the ML website (accessed 22 August 2018). ZNet appears to have folded, but Democracy Now! and The Real News Network remain Media Lens’ outlets of choice, and have a number of shared interests with Media Lens.
Apart from some start-up support from foundations like the Lipman Milliband trust Media Lens claims to rely on donations from readers. Both Democracy Now! (DN!) and The Real News Network (TRNN), however, are funded by corporate money: DN! by the Carnegie Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society and Tides Foundations, and the Ford Foundation; TRNN by the the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.
Both DN! and TRRN claim to be independent and progressive, however the corporate hand has shown itself very clearly, for example on the issue of the Syrian war, where both outlets are firmly squarely on the side of imperialism and regime change.
Marwan Hisham, interviewed here on TRNN, collaborated with Molly Crabapple on a book Brothers of the Gun which romantises the insurgents and the insurgency.
Both DN! and TRNN promote heavily the anthropocentric global warming narrative, with DN! inevitably warning of melting icecaps (blithely ignoring all reports that both Antarctica and the Arctic are putting on ice). TRNN makes the ridiculous claim that the mainstream are ignoring climate change, one much favoured by Media Lens, see here and here.
TRNN and DN! are strong promoters of the Noam Chomsky cult, quoting or interviewing him on a regular basis:
In an interview with Media Lens published by BS News in 2016, the editors mooted:
‘Do you think people around the world wouldn’t support a media commune made up of Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Jonathan Cook, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Herman, Chris Hedges, Robert Fisk, Nafeez Ahmed?’
As a group, this does not inspire as one that will take on the globalists and Agenda 21, or even be first choice for revealing the truth about imperialist wars. Glenn Greenwald, like Amy Goodman, has been referred to as the ‘cruise-missile left’. , ie complicit in American escalation towards WW III. In Nafeez Ahmed, Media Lens is again promoting a fervent propagandist against the Syrian government and its allies.
Back in 2012, Ahmed wrote, admittedly while opposing direct intervention,
‘The brutality of Assad’s regime cannot be underestimated. The Syrian Army has not only routinely fired into crowds of peaceful protestors. It has followed up with heavy artillery bombardments of civilian districts – including the use of fighter jets.’
The priorities of Media Lens – the commitment to the Club of Rome’s climate project, the Chomsky cult, the divisive sneering at non-‘lefties’, the anti-Assad propaganda, and the strong support for anti-Assad propagandists – are consistent with a globalist agenda. It could be that that the editors of Media Lens are simply naive and rather past it. However the lip service to anti-imperialism in tandem with the rigorous promotion of supporters of the war on Syria, the scientific background of David Cromwell in contrast to the determinedly populist nature of climate change commentary, put their good intentions in doubt.