I Hate Media Whitewash


A recent article in The Guardian describes brutal put-down of protests in Kashmir; the Indian government is “using pellet guns” on civilians and has blinded several. (Trigger warning: guns, violence, political repression)

What bothers me (aside from seeing armed police shooting at civilians) is the way The Guardian completely adopts the Indian government’s language:

Most shocking of all has been the breaking up of demonstrations with “non-lethal” pellet ammunition, which has blinded hundreds of Kashmiri civilians.

Note to The Guardian: 900+ casualties is not “hundreds” it’s “nearly one thousand.”

Elsewhere: (as the caption under a photo)

An Indian policeman aims a pellet gun towards Kashmiri protesters in Srinagar in July.
This is the photo:
mossberg
That is not a “pellet gun” that is a Mossberg ‘Persuader’ pump-action shotgun; I know: I own one just like it. Those may be under-powered “non-lethal” powder-loads but from the x-ray picture at the top it looks a whole lot like they’re firing bird shot to me.
Why is The Guardian not telling the truth about what is going on: The Indian government is firing shotguns loaded with live ammo at protesters. The Guardian appropriately wrings its hands about over 900 protesters suffering eye damage. What do you fucking expect you silly british journalists? They’re shooting birdshot at civilians using pump-action shotguns; Of course people’s eyes are getting damaged!
We must not accept the sanitization of such actions, through the use of minimizing terminology. If we do that, the next thing you’ll hear from the media is that the DAPL mercenary cops were “dispensing condiment” and “distributing rubber toys” at the protesters.
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Do not trust governments when they say they are there to help. They may be, but you can’t tell who they’re there to help until they start, and by then it may be too late.
Do not trust media organizations (any of them) because all too often they consciously or unconsciously adopt an agenda; they play favorites and are very careful to hide that fact. But they still play favorites.

Comments

  1. AndrewD says

    I wouldn’t trust the Guardian if it told me tomorrow was Saturday. It’s reporting on the Corbyn elections and Labour party mess was tantamount to active interferance and not just bias

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I can trace the exact day I lost patience with the Guardian. It was almost exactly seven years ago, when they published an opinion piece that said a 39 year old paedophile Religious Education teacher did not deserve to go to prison for having sex with a 15 year old pupil, saying it seemed “more pathetic than predatory”. The victim had been mocked and bullied by peers, but the columnist in question spent most of their piece speculating, in the absence of any evidence, that it was likely the victim was not only willing, but actually probably wanted it, and that this in some way excused the teacher’s actions.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    Most people in the UK know jack about firearms. Most people I know have never fired or even held a shotgun or rifle. Most people I know have never even SEEN a handgun – and why would they? They’re illegal for civilians to own (twentieth anniversary of that next year) and our police don’t carry them.

    This means that to the average Guardian writer or sub-editor – privately educated, Oxbridge graduate, lived in central London near Daddy’s office while they did their journalism internship – the words “shotgun” and “rifle” are interchangeable. They’re “guns”, and all guns are the same. This is not to defend their ignorance, only to somewhat explain it as not merely pandering to India.

  4. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 sonofrojblake
    This is not to defend their ignorance, only to somewhat explain it as not merely pandering to India.

    My thought exactly. The damn things are pellets and while I live in Canada not the UK, a lot of my friends might not understand the difference between pellets from an air gun which I think is what Marcus thinks the Guardian was implying and pellets from a 12 gauge shotgun which are likely be being used.

    Indian English is not American or Canadian English and it may be completely clear in Delhi and totally confused in Pittsburgh or Winnipeg.

    As an aside, it only took me a couple of years to figure out what an Australian ute was. Oh and about ten years to find out what the US Fried Chicken Steak was. But that was before Google.

  5. says

    YOB@#2:
    And when they move up to Double Aught buckshot, are they still “pellet guns” and will the deaths be “accidental”?

    By then the cops will be saying “they scared us.”
    That seems to be the excuse du jour for using live ammo on unarmed citizens.

    Given some goober pointing a Mossberg at me, I think if anyone’s got a right to be scared in that situation… it’s me!

  6. says

    This means that to the average Guardian writer or sub-editor – privately educated, Oxbridge graduate, lived in central London near Daddy’s office while they did their journalism internship – the words “shotgun” and “rifle” are interchangeable. They’re “guns”, and all guns are the same.

    I expect anyone who calls themself a journalist to do the smallest plausible amount of research on their topics. Maybe it’s just how I roll. But it’s certainly NOT an excuse. Some of the nuttiest gun nuts I know are Japanese, who have tougher gun laws than the Brits – they’re just obssessive. As someone who has been a “go to guy” for journalists on a variety of topics (mostly counter-insurgency communications gear and surveillance gear…) I understand how it works if it’s done right: if that writer for the guardian wasn’t an utter hack, he’d have asked someone who does know something about guns “WTF are they using?” if only for the rather obvious reason that non-lethal riot-suppression gear doesn’t normally have that kind of effect. Even the Israelis and Bahrainis and Egyptians have put down riots with less damage to civilians.

    I know you’re not trying to defend them, you’re simply raising a point that there’s a natural level of ignorance on certain topics in the UK. For a non-journalist, that might be an excuse. Given that guns are being used to blind hundreds of people, I think a journalist should be expected to put their brain out of “Neutral” and give it just a bit of gas.

  7. says

    jrkrideau@#5:
    pellets from an air gun which I think is what Marcus thinks the Guardian was implying

    I’m actually baffled what the Guardian thinks it’s saying at all. “Pellet gun” does sort of sound like what we Americans might call a “B.B. Gun” (which will sure as hell put your eye out if you get one right in the eye) but those don’t fire blasts of pellets.

    I don’t expect journalists to be firearms experts, but I expect them to understand what they’re looking at when they are writing about “non-lethal” riot control causing massive damage to nearly a thousand civilians. “Pellet gun” is not a thing; it’s a “riot gun” which is actually a pump-action shotgun.

    Change the loads they’re firing out of those things and it’s carnage. Take a blast from one of those at close range and you’re destroyed.

    Maybe I’m being over-sensitive but my immeditate interpretation is that the Guardian is – for some reason – downplaying the fact that the Indian cops are firing live ammo from shotguns into crowds of people.

    OK, it wasn’t military ball; small favor.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    I’m actually baffled what the Guardian thinks it’s saying at all.

    It doesn’t know. That’s one of its defining features. It’s a mirror-reflection of the pernicious, proud cluelessness of the Daily Mail, only with a wispy-bearded left-liberal SJW bent instead of the Mail’s swivel-eyed spittle-flecked Nazi-sympathising.

    Guardian journalists wouldn’t be ashamed of knowing nothing about guns. They’d be proud.

  9. Dunc says

    I’m not sure I entirely agree with sonofrojblake’s contention that the average Guardian writer probably doesn’t know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. They come from the class for whom sport shooting (mainly of grouse) is still a socially-important activity. They will definitely know people who have the 12th of August (the opening of grouse season) marked on their calendars, even if they don’t themselves.

    The average Guardian *reader* is possibly a different matter…

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