Getting a Grip

I’ve lost track of who is accusing who in the media. Accusations of bias, controlled surveys and abuse of state channels are let loosealmost as frequently as barrages of lead pellets by renegade hunters. The mass media is now subject to mass hysteria. What is worrying is the news coming from Maltatoday’s Saviour Balzan who tells us that prominent Labour politicians tried to dissuade him from publishing the results of a survey. They really know no bounds. And by they I do not mean Labour. I mean all of them. Each party tries to elbow its space into the media coverage space of the moment. Loyal columnists, slave-driven letter writers, politicians cum opinionists and the faithful army of reporters of the biased all have their role in this Battle of Bias. What it does tell us is that the picture is and will remain distorted.

Mark and David both wrote about this phenomenon in The Malta Chronicle and I am sure that will not be the last time we hear of it. Harry and AD have had enough of sitting on the fence and have decided to venture into the world of TV. To allay any accusations of the contradictory nature of their latest move, AD have promised to move out of the TV business once the MLPN make the first step. Politically the move smacks a bit of MLP’s backtrack on contesting Local Council elections. You either believe that it should not be done or you don’t. There’s little excusing the fact that you join in the fray just not to be left out of your share in the pie. Or maybe there is…

There’s not much we can say for the state of the MSM (MainStreamMedia) now. Rather than providing us with independent analysis (ah the much prostituted word), the papers are besieged on all sides by the “contributors” from both parties. Remove Daphne, Bocca, Lino Spiteri, PrAlfred Sant and Ranier Fsadni from the equation (they do not just become more prolific come election time) and you are left with the upstarts of opinion column writing. As amateur as it may be, the blogging world remains an interesting alternative (and I say interesting which does not necessarily mean successful) for diverging views on the Maltese political landscape. We had started to attempt to analyse a possible foray into the blogging world by politicians – this has not yet happened on a large scale.

In the meantime we hope that more contributors (with different uncensOred views) choose to join The Malta Chronicle and give us an honest view on what this political world is really telling us.

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6 responses to “Getting a Grip

  1. Jacques, although i believe that it would have been better for the country if no political party owned any TV stations, and state TV was truly independent (whatever that may mean), the country can only gain if we see more of alternattiva. any form of imbalance is never good. sometimes political parties need to backtrack, those who do not are more dangerous than those who do.

  2. I’ve lost track of who is accusing who in the media. Accusations of bias, controlled surveys and abuse of state channels are let loosealmost as frequently as barrages of lead pellets by renegade hunters.

    If it helps you keep track: you accused me of bias.

  3. Yep, and will do so again if you give me the opportunity to do so. Somehow this martyr business does not quite fit your style.

  4. I agree 100% with Rupert – I believe in the UK all TV channels are controlled by Ofcom which tries to ensure there is no bias and that all TV’s offer unbalanced viewing (despite the fact that people still accuse the BBC of bias).

    Mind, at times the word “propaganda” is more appropriate than “bias”…

  5. Andre, I think there is a clear distinction between propaganda and bias. One TV and Net are opposite versions of the same thing; Bias is not enough to describe what they do. I see propaganda as being more direct and obvious while bias can be more subtle. To give an example, anyone remembers the “Bongu Malta Socjalista….” on TVM right after the 1981 General election; I classify that propaganda, which can definitely backfire. Whereas bias, is more subtle and difficult to detect. It’s the choice of words, what news is considered important, and what not. Anyone ever noticed that whatever any government official says it is treated as fact (or never doubted), whereas whatever the opposition says it’s always “alleged”. Example – inflation is down – PM says or Inflation is up – alleges Dr. Sant. There is never a piece of political news from some organisation being political or an NGO that criticises the government without an official reply right after. Environmentalists say X, right after – Pullicino says it’s not true. I find bias, especially on state TV, more dangerous than propaganda.

  6. Actually I never really noticed – but you’re right – the language they use is often misleading. It is indeed very subtle – so subtle that few would notice (unless someone points it out to you).

    Re Bongu Malta Socjalista… I was born in 1987, on the day of the famous election… but I heard about it through someone, who on seeing Eileen Montesin interviewing Fenech Adami shrieked; “eh insietu zmienha din tal-bongu malta socjalista u run rabbit run”.

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