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Mayday 2002, Mayday Festival of Alternatives
Mayday 2002, Mayday Festival of Alternatives

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Journowatch - A Check List Of Media Dirty Tricks!
You can always guarantee that some elements of the media will do their best to put the most negative spin on any protest - check out their top 15 tricks!

(1) GUILT BY ASSOCIATION
To seek to establish links between one group, issue or individual already admitted to be bad, and another target group/issue/person. Usually, these are tenuous, similar to conspiracy law in court. Shortcut, avoids having to think about it.

(2) OUTSIDE AGITATORS
A common one this. The rioters/genetics protesters etc were all bussed in from outside. Partly this creates the impression of a false constirency between reader and reporter. A deception - as in the 'we' of 'we are now going to attack Iraq'. Why 'outside agitators' make a protest invalid is never explained. A variation of this technique dismisses protesters as 'Rentamob'. Newspapers in Sctoland took great delight in announcing arrested Skye Bridge protesters all came from south of the border. MPs and Hampshire Police all come from 'outside' too.

(3) MANIPULATION OF IMAGE
The use of music, light, camera angles, optical distortion, false colour, sound, fast cutting from one scene to another, in order to manipulate the attitude of the audience. The stereotyping of images. The cropping of pictures to exclude something important. 'The Commissar Vanishes'. The juxtaposition of images to create an association. The repetition/reiteration of an association. The tone of the voice over.

(4) SELECTIVE INFORMATION
By selecting different facts, emphasing one over another, the same issue can be made to look black or white. Is the glass half full or half empty? Missing out strategic information. Putting out bogus or irrelevant statistics. Figures which do not add up, or percentages adding up to 110%. Varying the reporting period. 'Bunching' or keeping back a number of news reports later putting them together to create an impression of a sudden burst of activity, eg the Belgian McDonalds arson attacks.

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(5) CENSORSHIP AND SUPPRESSION OF NEWS
A special category of selective reporting, where no information at all is given out on a particular subject, thereby completely distorting public perceptions. Examples, ALF actions, the work of Larry O'Hara. This is a conscious matter of policy decided between the state and newspaper editors, media owners.

(6) LIES
Fake TV documentaries, forgery of documents and sources, sheer invention - 'A man told me in a pub..' Docu techniques such as splicing, sequence reversals (Orgreave) commentator voice overs, altering the context.
'RIOT TERROR PLOT' (News of the World), Mayday 2001.
Samurai Swords and Machetes, Mayday 2001.

(7) EMOTIONAL TERMINOLOGY
Emotive terminology is a common trick. What we think is coloured by the words used to describe the topic. 'Fanatic', 'terrorist'. The emphasis of violence or any other negative aspect.

(8) PERSONALITIES NOT ISSUES
An individual, a figurehead comes to symbolize an entire issue. The problem then becomes the knocking down of that individual, the issue identified with some peronal defect - the Conservative Party policy on Europe reduces down to William Hague's baldness. A kind of journalistic shorthand parallel to guilt by association.

(9) TERROR OF THE UNFAMILIAR
If something is new or little known, it can easily be attacked. The audience has a natural resistance to the unfamiliar. One way to attack it might be the creation of a body of images, associations linked with a threat. Once established, pejorative stereotypes can be invoked, commonly accepted prejudices played to. 'The Internet Threat'.

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(10) ALIENATING TECHNIQUES
The use of commonly accepted prejudice, or ad hominem material, or such to create distance between audience and groups/individuals attacked. The 'ants' or 'termites' filmed from the helicopter using infra red at the Oxford November 1997 RTS protest. 'This is a problem the police need to squash.'

(11) URBAN MYTHS
A mysterious shadowy organization controls the protest movements. Protesters are paid 40 a day to protest. Sinister men in suits co-ordinated the J-18 city of London Protests. Back in the 1980's, CND was financed by Russian money. Another cheap way of dismissing something without having to think about it.

(12) DIVERSION PLOYS
The distraction of viewers'/readers' attention away from the most important issue to something else. Do the media report J18 or the Royal Wedding first? Humphrey the Downing Street cat or the protest at Brightlingsea? Guess which generally wins. Pilgerism is a special category of this, looking at human rights violations in the third world, while ignoring those close to home. Subliminal message - it is all right here, but look at these foreigners...

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(13) ALTERED TERMINOLOGY
A special category of lying, often used by the media, is to change the name of something, or alter the classification. eg Freedom fighter/terrorist. In normal times, if ever mentioned, the anarchist is renamed a 'radical', rather than admit to the existence of the 'a' word.

(14) LONG TERM NEGATIVE PROPAGANDA
Persistent use of negative stereotypes and images over years and decades. Anarchism, if mentioned, is always linked to violence and chaos. When faced with this persistent propaganda prejudice, we start from a much lower point if we want to put our ideas across. In the court of public opinion, the magistrate always believes the police.

(15) PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE AIMED INSIDE A GROUP
Some media reports aim at influencing members inside a group. One faction may be selectively reported favourably, hyped at the expense of others. Partly the Labour rise of Blair can be explained this way. The enormous publicity given to the insignificant Countryside Alliance another example of this. 'The Fluffy v Spikey Debate is Over!' another. The media take on a proactive role.

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