Thursday, August 18, 2016


     Until a series of hostile corporate takeovers in the early 1990s, the American and British news media were universally considered the premier sources of information. The US media was privately owned, and fiercely competitive but each company held to a strong Code of Ethics. In some cases, these ethics were backed by laws. The British media, although an extension of the government, built a reputation for independence and integrity. 

       In our Postmodern Era, however, where winning at all costs and profit at any price is the name of the game, journalistic ethics are something of an anachronism. Corporate Media outlets do pay some lip service to the idea, like a vague concept they're all supposed to believe in without actually understanding what it actually involves. 

        Sky News, a British subsidiary of Australian-owned and Wahhabi financed News Corp, is a case in point. Recently, to shore up anti-Russian sentiment in the UK, a Sky News team allegedly travelled to Syria to interview a secret Russian commando squad operating under the suspiciously neo-Nazi sounding code name Vagner. Sky News interviewed two of the soldier-whistleblowers, duly disguised to protect their identity, who informed the press that up to 600 Russians had died in their covert operations, whose deaths had been covered up by the Kremlin.

        The only problem with the Sky News story is that it never actually happened quite as presented. The Sky News team never went to Syria; they conducted the interview in Moscow employing two Russian actors for the purpose. Sky News allegedly hired the actors and presented them a script; telling them that the interview was intended to be part of a movie.

        One of the actors, Alexander Agapov, became suspicious and recorded part of the interview between himself and Sky News correspondent John Sparks. After Russian television network NTV began investigating the Sky News report, Agapov turned over the recording to NTV for analysis. A team of specialists identified with 85% certainty that the voices in the report matched Agapov's recording.

        Sky News vehemently denied any such shenanigans; but it certainly not the first time Murdoch's henchmen at News Corp have been implicated in such incidents. News Corp was at the bottom of a national scandal a few years ago in the UK for obstruction of justice involving a missing girl; and a subsequent investigation found that News Corp's 'inside sources' in high British places involved wiretapping and computer hacking.

        Most recently, Sky News was involved in a scandal in Romania, where correspondent Stuart Ramsay interviewed two masked men divulging the illicit arms-smuggling trade in Romania. As it happened, they too were paid actors, and the Romanian government is currently seeking legal action against Ramsay.

        Hopefully, since BREXIT, the UK will start putting some of these media outlets under some scrutiny themselves and start holding muckrakers like Murdoch accountable.


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