Voices

Like many men, I am a lazy, good-for-nothing, selfish, forgetful, patronising, sex-obsessed bastard who drinks too much. Or so my wife points out. It's strange that I have ended up like this. I tried not to. I really did.

Britain's World War II films were more than just propaganda

As a new television series explores the archives of British wartime films and documentaries, Gerard Gilbert discovers an intimacy and artistry that go far beyond public information

Solzhenitsyn's widow takes Putin to task

Vladimir Putin received a rare public rebuff from the widow of Alexander Solzhenitsyn for using the term "propaganda" in discussing the author's account of Soviet Gulag life, The Gulag Archipelago.

Hacktivists and militants exploit web recruits

Terrorist groups that have long used the internet to spread propaganda are increasingly tapping the web to teach Islamic extremists how to be hackers, recruit techies for cyberwarfare and raise money through online fraud, US officials say.

Pygmy, By Chuck Palahniuk

It all gets a tad convoluted when 13-year-old Agent 67 infiltrates the US on a terrorist mission

Churchill's Wizards, By Nicholas Rankin

Camouflage and propaganda, fakery and impersonation, phantom generals and mirage armies: "Monty's Double" was the actorly tip of an iceberg of subterfuge that stood the British in good stead through both world wars.

Myth of 'primitive' Jacobite army at Culloden laid to rest

Contrary to legend of claymore-wielding savages, Highland forces were well equipped and trained

Hanif Malik

In our article “7/7 bombers ‘used cash from Children in Need’” (20 August 2008) we said that money from the BBC Children In Need Appeal, given to the Leeds Community School charity, was improperly channelled to the neighbouring bookshop where two of the London bombers worked. We accept the assurance of the school’s founder, Hanif Malik, that no money from the Children In Need Appeal was passed to this bookshop nor to the bombers, nor was any used to pay for propaganda. We are happy to set the record straight and apologise to Mr Malik for any distress caused.

Home Office-funded programme 'broke rules'

A television programme about police community support officers (PCSOs) funded by the Home Office broke broadcasting rules, the communications watchdog said today.

Flat Earth News, By Nick Davies

Despite warnings of "Riots, terrorism and a health crisis" and "all trace of pension contributions could be wiped out", the much-feared millennium bug caused little more damage than the failure of a tide gauge in Portsmouth harbour. This journalistic feeding frenzy based on the specious notion of computer meltdown was, according to Davies, "a stunning example of a failure in truth telling by the global media". He has no shortage of material for his masterly dissection. Other "Flat Earth News" stories include the death toll from Chernobyl estimated at 2,000 to 90,000, though the only established figure is 56, the invention of "zero tolerance" policing in New York, and the fiction that heroin addiction is inevitably fatal. Dickens would sympathise with Davies's incredulity that our hopelessly ineffective criminal justice system goes unreported. Aside from the herd instinct of journalists, Davies points to other factors that assist a fake news agenda: reporting resources cut to the point of atrophy; editors desperate for cheap stories; PR fixers adept at the distorting slant. Propaganda is easier because, as a US general points out, global media "gravitate towards packaged information". If this wasn't enough, one UK paper runs stories "with peculiar aggression" that "mislead readers" and "distort the whole political process". According to Davies, the Daily Mail is "simply achieving from inside the news factory what other powerful voices are achieving with such ease from outside".

North Face (12A)

A mountaineering adventure more tense, more edge-of-the-seat suspenseful, than Touching the Void? Almost incredibly, this German drama, based on a true story, is that film.

The Word On... Survivors, BBC1

"I just watched the whole of this on BBCi. Thank God I no longer pay for a TV licence. This is leftist propaganda. The original Seventies series was much better, written by good writers like Terry Nation and Jack Ronder and Ian McCulloch. This show has gone the same way as 'Doctor Who'. If you're under 30, you won't know what the hell I'm on about." - airscrew1, youtube.com

World Focus: Sleep deprivation is small price to pay for a trade deal

"It is NOT his intention to exhaust ministers," explained the spokesman for Pascal Lamy, the director general of the World Trade Organisation.

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