Newspeak, Ilkley style

Occasionally a jobbing journalist will let the mask slip, and you'll notice the hidden agenda. They'll forget all about ethics and and just do something for the hell of it. Our local propaganda sheet has a touch of the Skibbereen Eagle about it, and allows its op-ed page to be dominated by an illiterate Tory councillor denouncing the government under the guise of a farming column, but usually it manages to keep hidden its function as the protector of the Ma Brown/'Machine Gun' Gibbons regime. In 1984, of course, the government of Big Brother keeps the public in line thanks to the latter's fear of 'the other', through propagating a state of permanent war. Some of our national papers do the same of course--if you read the Daily Mail religiously, you'd never leave the house (not least for fear the price might drop while you're out). The function of a newspaper is, after all, to reflect and re-inforce our own prejudices. So how does one do that in a place where a significant part of the population thinks that Mussolini was a damn fine chap? And how can that fit into the agenda of our incumbent regime? We've already shown (posts passim) how the regime is intent on fostering the crime wave around Ilkley and passing pointless by-laws to keep the Police occupied. We've also pointed out the obvious barrier like nature of the new traffic lights. Fear of crime is of benefit to any totalitarian ruler. Tight immigration control is useful as well. The third element required is the support of the populace through fear of outsiders, of the 'non-us'. So, every so often, the Gazette will publish an article that re-inforces that fear. Last summer we had an appalling piece of journalism on our regular travellers, which followed close on the heels of a piece raising the (entirely mythical) possibility that a centre for disruptive youth might be sited on the playing fields of Ashlands School. Neither of these stories would have passed the simplest analysis of journalism students, being rants rather than fair and balanced. And now the Gazette is at it again, with a piece that has an underlying resonance of racism, and is based entirely on smear and innuendo. This story purports to be about over-charging by taxi drivers. But let's look at it more closely. First of all, the basic requirement for any story is that you have two sources confirming any piece of information, or allegation. That's what we were taught at cub school. So how many does this article have? One. A Mrs Goodwin of Addingham (which, I believe, is where the writer responsible lives). Oh, and her 'neighbours and friends'. That's it. One person, who claims to have been over-charged on New Year's Eve. Yes, that's New Year's Eve when everybody in the country knows that taxis charge more. Headline news? I think not... But the main thrust of the story isn't about the NYE over-charging, it's about over-charging generally, and how many people make allegations of this nature? Uhhr, well there's Mrs Goodwin again, who says her and her friends have experienced this, but makes no precise accusation, and isn't pressed on it by the hack in question (first question you learn in journalism school, 'can you be a bit more precise about when this happened?'). So that's no allegations on the main story then. It's built on wind and water, but fits nicely into the standard Ickley prejudice about those nasty coloured gentlemen ripping off good white people. It's smear and innuendo, in order to reinforce the needs of the regime. It's as if I wrote a story that went 'The Ilkley Gazette is a racist rag claims Mrs. Blogs of Ilkley. She says her and her friends have noticed on many occasions that the Gazette is really not very nice about people descended from immigrants. She can't remember precisely when, but we're making this front page news.'