Category Archives: Journalism

Fake environmental protection, continued

Environmental problems is an important field for fake news, as noted in my previous post. For journalists and reporters in most media, environment is on top of the agenda, for good and for bad, as it turns out. The subject as such has the advantage of being a benevolent cause, at the same time a legitimate means to aggravate the audience, something media actors seem to value highly.

And many times media is on the right track, to their credit. The climate hazard is something they mostly get right, for instance. Now and then they also target air pollution around the world, a disaster that claims millions of premature deaths. But all too many times media take mythical, populist and science denying positions. And it’s striking how unidirectional mainstream media around the world are on these issues. A serious problem is that dissident media usually are even more on the mystical path regarding the environment.

If one asks a Swede what he or she does to protect the environment, the first thing a large majority will mention is “sopsortering”, which is to sort different fractions of domestic waste into separate trash cans and deliver to a special container park (which in rural districts may be located quite remote). Those fractions can be newspapers, other kinds of paper, plastic, metal cans, colored glass and colorless glass. (More special waste, like paint, solvents, electronic waste etcetera, must even in large cities be delivered by car to a central waste facility, which in those cases is motivated.)

The ideological superstition behind this giant quasi operation is that recirculation must result in new material of the same kind. Dirty and mixed plastic waste must thus be recycled into smelly, bad quality plastic bags, while premium petroleum very well may be burned in ovens, vehicles or anywhere. Same with short and worn cellulose fibers in recycled paper that must be used for production of very low grade paper, while premium, virginal fibers very well may be burned in stoves and even in large power stations.

Real experts on waste deem this recirculation as having no value for environmental protection whatsoever. Still it is considered by the population as their main effort to save the environment. It’s heartbreaking, and media is playing along, naturally, making no effort to enlighten people. Experts mention as a small example that it is twice as costly to make glass from recycled material than from virginal raw material (not including the considerable costs in time and transportation for recycling, that is paid by citizens). These costs can be directly translated into damage to the environment.

The most environmental-friendly way to handle waste consisting of paper, plastic, wood and other combustible materials is to burn it in a specially designed incineration plants with premium flue gas cleaning. Then the waste can be transformed to useful electricity and heat. (Glass is by the way perfect to improve slag formation during incineration.)

When passing a border between two municipalities in Sweden one usually reads a sign saying “Engine idling max. 2 min.”. It’s a local prescription, and there are 290 municipalities in the country, all of them obviously having decided the same thing. Of all possible prescriptions to put on thousands of signs one can think of innumerable ones significantly more relevant for environmental protection (“Driving max. 20 min.” would have been one.) But this is the kind of sham operations so common when it comes to environment. And no one reacts, least of all media.

Air quality in cities has become a main issue lately. When media reports on that here, car traffic is always mentioned as a main cause. It’s more seldom revealed that small scale wood burning (in our cozy stoves) often is equally guilty of this problem. But that kind of burning has by the ignorant been designated as environmentally friendly and is gently saved from exposure. This is the way media works with its ideologically motivated deception.

The real large scale deception by media is of course on political issues, on which western corporate media mostly is patronizing, self-sufficient and bullying, and yet unable to understand why people have less and less trust in them. To undress media is an educational process that has gained momentum, and which will be an important part of a progressive enlightenment.

Western disinformation about disinformation

MSB – the Swedish mini-equivalent of Homeland Security – today came up with an additional reason for its existence: the importance to counter the “large increase of disinformation from Russia and ISIS”. Someone in that bureaucracy has discovered social media and found a lot of trolls out there. Surely they have also read about the Russian “troll-factory” in St. Petersburg. (One day they may perhaps find out that there are numerous trolls, fanatics and lunatics from millions of sources on the web, not just from Russia.)

One particularly dear example of disinformation is an allegedly fake letter from the Swedish Defense Minister regarding a weapons deal by which a Swedish company were to sell an artillery system to Ukraine. The letter circulated on Twitter and elsewhere and was said to emanate from Russia (no specific evidence attached).

If this was a deliberate disinformation operation the subject seems a little odd. To sell weapons to Ukraine is not a violation of any international law, it just doesn’t comply with a domestic Swedish policy principle not to sell weapons to countries in war (a principle not followed very meticulously in the past). One could certainly think of much more harmful subjects for anyone taking the trouble of faking a letter with the Ministry’s original letterhead and a copied signature…

Anyway, blaming Russia for offensive web activities seems to be a universal key for many who need to escape embarrassing situations, the DNC emails being the most recent case. Instead of apologizing to Bernie Sanders for its indecent and unethical actions against his campaign, DNC rushed to blame the incriminating leaks on Russia. The same procedure was of course practiced for the awkward Clinton emails.

Our most important newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, has extended their disinformation charges against Russia to also include, among others, RT (formerly Russia Today), the most viewed TV news channel on YouTube. The tactics used for this purpose is for instance to list some of the craziest stuff found on the web, and then mention RT, Sputnik News or other Russian sources in the same context, insinuating that these news outlets have something to do with the worst lunatics. That’s the kind of disinformation that self-righteous western media can indulge in without even scenting the self-contradiction.

As millions of viewers have decided by “voting”, RT is an interesting news channel, notably for presenting news and videos that never appear in the remarkably unidirectional western media outlets, which sometimes looks as if they are printed in the same machine or produced in the same studio.

It appears as if the western business run societies feel some kind of need to bid up the conflict level against Russia. Is war the aim? In that case the well-dressed western decision-makers are worse than the worst lunatic trolls on the web.

Cultural mathematics – and other inadequate thinking

A couple of days ago the head of the editorial office for culture and arts in our prestigious paper Dagens Nyheter, Bjorn Wiman, drew attention to Russian journalists who suffer violence and murder. The column focused on the atrocities directed towards women, but the author made one small miscalculation. He claimed as a fact that “female journalists are particularly vulnerable to repression against independent media in Russia”.

As proof of this statement he pointed to a survey showing that female journalists have to endure threats and hatred on the Internet three times more often than their male colleagues. But in the next sentence he wrote that women constitute 80 percent of the journalists in Russia. In other words: if the attacks were distributed regardless of gender, one would expect women to be four times more affected than men, not just three times. Bottom line: male journalists are particularly vulnerable to repression in Russia.

Apart from this mishap in the text, it’s an important topic. There are way too many journalists murdered in Russia, and way too few attempts by western media to investigate and understand these deplorable events. One can’t avoid the suspicion that this obscurantism is intentional, opening for readers to intuitively believe that Putin lies behind it, after all.

When the almost daily mass shootings occur in the US, media is not just interested in the misdeed itself but also in the perpetrator’s background and motives. But when Russian criminals are brought to trial for murdering journalists, the western interest for them is low. The court proceedings are usually open to journalists, but anything substantial is seldom reported. It’s as if we want people to think that every such event is a show trial serving to send some scapegoats to prison to protect the real culprits higher up (accusations never accompanied by any evidence).

Anna Politkovskaya was murdered ten years ago. She had been very critical towards Putin over the war in Chechnya, and – ergo – Putin gave the orders for her assassination! That seems to be a widespread opinion in western circles. And yes, if Putin wanted to hurt himself to the maximum, that would be plausible. It suffices to see the damage done to Russia by this murder as it is. The Russian justice system, on the other hand, seems to have evidence that a Russian oligarch – Boris Berezovsky – hostile to Putin and living abroad, instigated the murder of Politkovskaya, which at least appeals to elementary common sense.

The most recent high-profile murder was that of Boris Nemtsov. Here the distinguished Dagens Nyheter openly speculated that Putin was responsible, and if that by any chance couldn’t be proved, still “his name will forever be tied to this murder”. This is our elevated defamation activities in action! The premise for that view – that Putin is stupid beyond the comprehensible – is something our propagandist perhaps are too stupid themselves to grasp (or more sinister: they expect their readers to be).

Looking for motives to murder Russian journalists one can’t avoid thinking about false flag operations. But there are evidently terrorists and loose cannons, with or without Chechnyan connection, enough to cause all kinds of problems. We don’t know very much about these subjects here, and it would call for some investigative journalism, had our media not been so definitely restricted to dumb propaganda whenever it comes to Russia.