[Marxism] Galloway

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Tue May 10 15:59:42 MDT 2005

I won't bother writing to any of the idiots Medialens suggests I write 
to, nor would I have voted if I had lived in England, but this 
unanimous reactionary contempt for George Galloway MP is 

From: Medialens Media Alerts <noreply at medialens.org> To: Zak Cope 
<zakaryc at hotmail.com> Subject: Ambushing Dissent - The BBCs Jeremy 
Paxman Interviews George Galloway Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 14:11:45 UT

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

May 10, 2005


"The 'societal purpose' of the media is to inculcate and defend the 
economic, social and political agenda of privileged groups that 
dominate the domestic society and the state." (Edward Herman and Noam 
Chomsky - Manufacturing Consent)

Highly-paid presenters have privileged access to 'respectable' 
mainstream politicians which they are very keen to maintain. It is 
vital that such high-level sources not be seriously alienated or 
offended by pertinent, but potentially damaging, questions. 
Overlooking obvious truths about mass violence conducted by western 
governments, media professionals are expert at cultivating a veneer of 
dogged commitment to truth.

Even when being questioned sharply, leading politicians are treated 
respectfully with no insinuation that the interviewee is despicable or 
malevolent. No such considerations apply, however, when the media 
confront “rogues” or “mavericks” who represent a challenge to 
established power and the ideology underpinning its brutality. In 
these special cases, the doctrinal system requires that threatening 
figures be dealt with aggressively, typically with ridicule and 

Thus, in the early hours of the morning after Britain's May 5 general 
election, viewers were treated to a remarkable exchange between the 
BBC's principal 'rottweiler', Jeremy Paxman, and George Galloway, the 
former Labour MP now with the anti-war Respect party. Galloway had 
just deposed the Blairite Labour MP, Oona King, in the Bethnal Green 
and Bow constituency of East London.

Galloway's victory was remarkable, overcoming a 10,000 majority in the 
face of the full might of New Labour’s political machine. His success 
surely reflects the extraordinary level of anti-war feeling in the 
country, two years after two million people marched in February 2003 - 
the largest political protest in UK history.

The BBC exchange began thus:

Jeremy Paxman: “Mr Galloway, are you proud of having got rid of one of 
the very few black women in Parliament?”

George Galloway: “What a preposterous question. I know it's very late 
in the night, but wouldn't you be better starting by congratulating me 
for one of the most sensational election results in modern history?”

JP: “Are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black 
women in Parliament?”

GG: “I'm not [pause]. Jeremy, move on to your next question.”

JP: “You're not answering that one?”

GG: “No, because I don't believe that people get elected because of 
the colour of their skin. I believe people get elected because of 
their record and because of their policies. So move on to your next 
(Broadcast BBC Election Night Special, 6 May, 2005; video and 
transcript available at: 

Paxman's feigned concern for diversity actually rests on the racist 
and sexist assumption that candidates should be given special 
consideration on account of their colour or gender.

Moments later, Paxman said: "I put it to you Mr Galloway that [former 
local government minister] Nick Raynsford had you to a T when he said 
you were a 'demagogue'."

As far as we are aware, Paxman has never "put it" to any leading 
government minister that he or she is a "demagogue", despite an 
abundance of evidence that media-amplified propaganda and demagoguery 
enabled the war on Iraq, as well as earlier attacks on Afghanistan and 
Serbia. We look forward to Paxman suggesting to Tony Blair in a future 
interview: "I put it to you Mr Blair that George Galloway had you to a 
T when he said you were a 'war criminal'."

Perhaps other BBC presenters and journalists will also take up the 
cause of due impartiality. BBC political editor Andrew Marr will then 
confront Blair at his next press conference: "Are you proud to have 
won this election on the back of outrageous lies, and an 
invasion-occupation in violation of the UN Charter, as suggested even 
by your own advisors?"

BBC Radio 4 Today's John Humphrys will no doubt ask Foreign Secretary 
Jack Straw: "Are you proud to have won this election at the cost of 
100,000 dead people in Iraq and countless hundreds of thousands of 
injured, malnourished and diseased civilians?"

His colleague James Naughtie will repeatedly press Chancellor of the 
Exchequer Gordon Brown: "Are you proud to have won this election after 
funding a war that was belatedly declared illegal by Kofi Annan and 
that has led to a major increase in terrorism?"

Expensively Dressed Loudmouth - The Media Go To Work

Over on ITN, European correspondent Juliet Bremner described how 
Galloway had secured victory with the use of “virulent anti-war 
views” - an interesting concept. (ITN 22:30 News, May 6, 2005)

Prior to the election (12:30 News, May 3), ITN had ambushed Galloway 
in a
6-minute interview ostensibly intended to allow the public to pose 
questions on Respect party policies. News anchors Nick Owen and Katie 
Derham began by asking about the “I salute you” comment Galloway is 
alleged to have made to Saddam Hussein in 1994. Anticipating Galloway’s 
rejection - he claims he was saluting the Iraqi people, not Saddam - 
ITN had a pre-prepared videotape on hand to show the clip in question.

Whereas establishment politicians are to be afforded appropriate 
courtesy and respect, the press find it almost impossible to mention 
Galloway’s name without employing adjectives like “controversial” and 
“maverick”. The consistent focus on personal foibles and alleged 
faults also contrasts starkly with coverage afforded to more ‘serious’ 

Thus the Daily Mail noted “the expensively dressed political 
maverick's Respect Party snatched the seat which Labour has held since 
1945 with a
26.2 per cent swing”. (‘Electrifying moments that lit up the small 
hours,’ Daily Mail, May 7, 2005)

The Express reported how “the maverick left-winger clashed with 
(’Winner George loses it again,’ John Chapman and David Pilditch, 
Express, May 7, 2005)

The Sun noted in an article with the breath-takingly ironic title, 
‘Maverick “Stirred up racism“:

“Loudmouth George Galloway was accused of stirring up racial tensions 
to scrape back into Parliament.” (The Sun, May 7, 2005)

The Times observed: “The latest chapter in the turbulent parliamentary 
career of George Galloway, newly elected MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, 
began yesterday in the maverick style that is his trademark. He stayed 
in bed.”
(‘Galloway sleeps on his victory after an incendiary campaign,’ Sam 
Lister, Sean O'Neill and Giles Whittell, The Times, May 7, 2005)

The article concluded: “Asked what she thought of her new MP, one 
drinker in the Coborn Arms opposite Respect's headquarters said: ‘I 
want to move house.’"

The Guardian noted: “The most extraordinary result was secured by the 
maverick former Labour MP George Galloway…” (‘London delivers bloody 
nose as Galloway wins bitter fight, Hugh Muir, The Guardian, May 6, 

Elsewhere, the media reflexively describe Galloway as “flamboyant” and 
“controversial”, descriptions which express proper ridicule and 
contempt for the “Rogue MP”. (The Sun, ‘Not a shred of remorse,’ 
Trevor Kavanagh, July 2, 2004)

The smears are repeated around the world. The Jerusalem Post notes:

"'This defeat is for Iraq. All the people you have killed, all the 
lies you have told have come back to haunt you,' declared maverick 
lawmaker George Galloway following his tight election victory... But 
Galloway's electoral success has been met with alarm and disdain 
across Britain." ('Galloway win causes alarm,' Yaakov Lappin, 
Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2005)

In fact, right across the spectrum, “rogue” thinkers, politicians and 
parties are relentlessly smeared and mocked by the elite media. The 
effect is as inevitable as it is intended - to persuade the public to 
revile and turn away from radical voices threatening established 
privilege and power.


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Write to Jeremy Paxman, Newsnight presenter: Email: 
jeremy.paxman at bbc.co.uk

Write to James Stephenson, Election Night Special editor: Email: 
james.stephenson at bbc.co.uk

Write to Helen Boaden, BBC news director: Email: 
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