BELL POTTINGER & GUPTA: yet again, the media élite misses the point


Blinkered old nag fails to spot Vet’s gun

This morning (Wednesday) The Guardian continues its “coverage” of the Bell-Pottinger/Gupta affair. The Sun headline (that’s all you’re going to get from the proprietory media) is that the unpleasant South African Indian Gupta family hired the equally amoral BP (formerly owned by Lord Bell) in 2016, allegedly to distract attention away from the family’s image problems by “stoking up racial hatred in South Africa.

It’s the sort of task that Bell Pottinger relishes. Ten months ago, I posted this think-piece pinpointing the company as the ultimately despicable “news management consultancy”: a euphemism for ethical cripples who erase, censor and change Truth. So it should be clear to those minds uncluttered by knee-jerk ideology that for me this company is something of a cultural anti-Christ – almost, in fact, George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth…. but the privatised version.

On Monday evening, the BBC’s Newsnight had BP founder Lord Bell (since I wrote the linked post above, he has left the company) on the programme….and he didn’t seem to come out of it terribly well.

But almost nothing these days is what it seems.

Anchor Kirsty Wark is now being lionised by the British media for demolishing Bell’s slippery attempts at evading responsibility for the controversial campaign. But in focusing largely on his personal role, Wark revealed yet again that she signs up fully to the Momentum agenda that goes “Let’s nail Thatcher’s former spin doctor as a racist”.

That’s to say, she’d rather score Libleft UK political points that make the Tories look bad than look into the bigger story at large: the appalling behaviour of an Indian family dynasty, and its collusion with the ghastly Jacob Zuma.

It’s not hard to kick an old shit when he’s floored. Only four months past a stroke, Lord Bell nevertheless managed – with remarkable ease – to avoid being asked to answer a far tougher question than “Did you or did you not take part in securing the account?”. Towards the end, Wark asked him about other clients he’s represented over the years (all of them 24-carat bastards) but he just smiled and waved it away. She didn’t ask him how anyone in his “profession” could justify what they do.

Kirsty was interested in one and only one angle: nasty white man Tory uses advertising lies to dupe (poor little) Africans and stoke up racial hatred in the country.

It was rank-bad, parochially ideologue journalism, period. The real issue – looked at elsewhere by other BBC programmes, but still from a refracted narrative – is how one powerful family and a corrupt African President are cheating South African citizens out of the inheritance promised to them by Nelson Mandela.

The “story” here is about the takeover of a huge sovereign nation by corporate fascists – in the context of a continent where the Rule of Law has been, since post-colonial independence arrived some sixty-five years ago, consistently flouted (and the wealth robbed) by oligarchies beside which the Conservative gargoyles running Britain seem benign to the paint of sainthood.

But Wark didn’t go anywhere near it, because it is completely off-message to suggest that black African leaders with zero capacity for remorse or compassion are far more dangerous for the world than some old roué whose time has long since past. And no, this story has nothing whatever to do with “racism”: it is about the seam of sociopathic behaviour that runs through the world’s élites regardless of ethnicity. It is about the hijack, by a few ‘human’ examples of cultural anti-matter, of the capacity for fulfilment among mass populations everywhere.

Journalists who are blinkered by ideology are often so busy nailing the enemy opportunistically, they miss the bigger story-opportunity completely. A creeping, global process is unfolding before our eyes – if only we would open them: the systematic obfuscation, alteration and erasure of Truth in the media.

As long ago as 2011, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales warned a deaf world that Bell Pottinger (and other similar firms) were a threat to the long-term survival of news reality. Here now – for anyone with an open mind – is a list of key factors almost completely ignored during the coverage of the last three days:

  1. Why is it impossible to view the ad campaign concerned, so that seekers after Truth can judge for themselves what its intentions might or might not have been? I’ve spent the last 24 hours trying to locate it via Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – without success on Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. One or more organisations, like Bell Pottinger and the ANC, have been working overtime to vapourise its existence.
  2. Why is nobody looking (as I have) at prominent Black African media to reveal what is very obviously anti-Whitey self-exculpation writ large….when the two biggest devils in this Huxleyan Hell are Zuma and Gupta? Isn’t this institutional media racism?
  3. Where is the business analysis to show one simple motive here, viz, that Tim Bell has broken away from BP over this row, and is now building a new PR rival to Bell Pottinger? His televised admission that BP “will now almost certainly collapse” is thoroughly self-interested, in that he stands to gain more from its failure than anyone.
  4. Why is nobody hanging the PR Association out to dry for its blatantly hypocritical censure of Bell Pottinger, when it knows perfectly well that many others among its membership are busy wiping excrement off the faces of the guilty in the same manner?
  5. Where is the investigation of the Gupta family’s intention to quit South Africa now they have mined a corrupt government élite for their own gain….do they think this lowlife is going to simply retire? There is a still bigger story there if the horses on Animal Farm will only look for it.
  6. Where is the condemnation of Zuma to match the visceral scale of non-stop attacks on Trump’s White House, the British side of Brexit negotiators, and Vladimir Putin? Why does this nasty, violent man’s harrassment of the South African opposition go entirely unreported in Western media?

The answers to these questions are, on the whole, threefold: ideological censorship, the business interests of the media proprietors themselves, and the ever-smaller number of talented, principled, imaginative journalists out there.

The illiberal Left and neoliberal Right wish only to distract via blame. It’s capitalism’s fault, it’s the lazy poor’s fault, it’s the other Party’s fault, it’s Honkey’s fault, it’s racism’s fault, it’s sexism’s fault, it’s Russia’s fault, it’s Assad’s fault, it’s Jihadism’s fault, it’s Corbyn’s fault.

Few if any broadcasters out there seek to highlight the real responsibility, rather than distract with kneejerk blamestorming.

It’s the species, stupid. The species that produces the energy geopolitics, the debt mountain, the religious rigidity, the ideological fascism, the thirst for power, and the educational apathy, stupid.

But the species members who produce all this misery are outnumbered 32 times by those who are at worst passive and at best thoroughly decent.

Don’t just read and parrot, think. Chiefly, think of others and think for yourself.

Dump ideology and give philosophy a chance