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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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness