Thailand: Picking the Mind of a BBC Propagandist
Jonathan Head of the BBC is well informed, knows right from wrong, but either is told to, or willfully chooses to deceive his audience.
Tony Cartalucci (ATN) , – During an impromptu debate today with the BBC’s Jonathan Head regarding a recent exposé on his deplorable coverage of Thailand’s ongoing political crisis, much was learned about what he really knows and what his reporting willfully omits. It is not that he disagrees with the truth – in fact – he seems to have a very good grasp on it. It is instead, that he chooses to weave a narrative that leads unsuspecting readers away from that truth.
The following transcript has been modified to replace shorthand necessary when using Twitter, with more readable English (see editor’s note at bottom):
ATNN: [the posting on twitter of the exposé involving Jonathan Head of the BBC] BBC Drops Propaganda Hammer on Thailand - Exposing the BBC’s lies – point by point.
Head: [in reply to a follower of Head's who condemned the article] Thanks. I simply retweeted the ‘expose’. I think the quality of its arguments speak for themselves.
ATNN: A not so clever way of weaseling out of defending your hack piece.
Head: Twitter is hardly the place. You have had your say. Fine. Let other people judge.
ATTN: I think people have judged BBC’s serial deception, i.e. Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iran.
Head: Would those be ‘The People’ who are constantly invoked as the justification for overthrowing an elected government?
ATTN: Thaksin runs Thailand. He wasn’t on the ballot or even in the country which equals dictatorship, not democracy.
Head: I don’t think you understand what dictatorship is. People voting PT [Thaksin's Peua Thai Party] are very often voting for Thaksin Shinawatra. Agreed it is not good to have a government partly run by an overseas-based billionaire, but it is not a dictatorship.
ATNN: Sorry, that sounds like the result of a deranged cult, not a qualified electorate – surely not to be tolerated by the 65% who didn’t vote for [Thaksin's] PTP.
Head: Deranged cult? Interesting choice of words.
ATNN: Regime supporters who vote for a man not on the ballot is irrational, cult-like, and unacceptable under the rule of law.
Head: No. Their view – not mine – is that he was unfairly convicted and should be leading the Peua Thai Party. They are quite clear about that.
ATNN: After all, he mass murdered 3,000 people in just 90 days. By all measures he belongs in prison for life, not running Thailand by proxy. Did he not mass murder 3,000 people in 2003 and another 85 in 2004? The land deal [court case] was the only charge that stuck – Thaksin is a monster. And their view is clearly actually Thaksin’s view, regurgitated verbatim from centralized UDD [red shirt] talking points. So then, what do we do when a cult clearly advocates overt criminality in the face of basic human rights and common sense? The answer is the Thai Uprising [the ongoing anti-regime protests].
Head: 2,800 in the first 3 months [were killed]. We in the foreign press were among the few to make a big deal about it. Many Thais were pleased with the campaign. But many other mass killings in Thailand remain unpunished, the perpetrators still respected members of society.
ATNN: Which [mass killing] was on the scale of Thaksin Shinawatra’s mass slaughter in 2003? The answer: None. Many Germans [were pleased] about the Blitzkrieg but popularity doesn’t make something right – a coup by the minority would’ve been justified.
Head: Do you see me approving? Look back at my past coverage of Thaksin Shinawatra. But spare me the humbug. The army that overthrew Thaksin never mentioned human rights. And after Tak Bai and many other incidents you can understand why.
ATNN: The army had every right to overthrow Thaksin. It was an “Operation Valkyrie” that wasn’t too late. I can think of nothing more dangerous than an electorate that excuses, even praises, mass murder with cult-like devotion. It comes down to this: Thaksin is the worst human rights offender in Thai history. The electorate that still backs him have resigned their legitimacy and their say. Clearly democracy has its flaws and weaknesses. Standing up to those exploiting them, like Thaksin, is NOT “undemocratic.”
Finally, you don’t think Thaksin’s unprecedented human rights abuses warrant mention in each [of your] reports to explain why he’s seen as unfit for rule?
Head: Get real.
ATNN: So mass murderers like Thaksin are fit to rule so long as they’re popular? Democracy without rule of law is just another form of despotism. A grown up, saying nothing of a professional journalist, might qualify that schoolyard comment ["get real"]. You’ve come this far…
Unfortunately Jonathan Head, of the “world renowned” BBC, never did qualify just what he meant by “get real.” One would dread to believe he found the idea of informing his audience of the very serious and thus far unpunished crimes against humanity Thaksin Shinawatra committed, unrealistic or unnecessary. It would be equally troubling, however, to believe he thought Thaksin’s dictatorship-by-proxy was acceptable simply because it, along with his many egregious crimes, were “popular.”
Head clearly understands what Thaksin did was wrong and that the people who support him either do not grasp or do not care about concepts like human rights, trials in a court of law, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. He must surely understand the danger and future possibilities of allowing such a regime to continue to perpetuate itself, or worse yet, expand its power and reach.
He failed to cite a crime against humanity in Thailand on the same scale or larger than those committed by Thaksin, which indicates he does understand that Thaksin is the worst human rights offender in Thai history. Yet one should not expect Head to change his (and other Western media outlet’s) “class divide” narrative claiming the “elite” are simply trying to “steal the voice away from the rural poor.”
Just like was done in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and against Iran – the BBC’s job is to deceive the public and promote a narrative not based on truth, but a narrative that serves the interests of the corporate-financiers that dictate the BBC’s agenda. This quasi-interview with the BBC’s Jonathan Head reveals that these “journalists” are indeed propagandists, intentionally omitting relevant facts to manipulate their audience’s perception. They do this knowingly, and intentionally – and when the conflict escalates and people begin dying, simple despicable deceit becomes propaganda and a chargeable crime against peace.
For Jonathan Head, it should be noted that it is not unheard of to have corporate media propagandists find their conscience and move on to more reputable and respectable opportunities. We can only hope for Jonathan Head and others like him, that such a day comes sooner rather than later for them.
AltThaiNews Network Editor’s Note: Jonathan Head has re-tweeted the above article, indicating the closest thing to approval of the transcript’s accuracy we may get. The offer for him to have changes made still stands. Screenshots of the Twitter exchange have been saved for future reference.
Tony Cartalucci, AltThaiNaews Network
nsnbc international’s coverage of Thailand with news, opinion and analysis HERE
Additional, selected examples pertaining BBC, accuracy in reporting, media ethics and related issues:
State Funded Media Monopoly.
Media Ethics and Accuracy in Reporting.