February 28, 2024

We eat journalistic opinions on modern occasions nearly with out realizing it, or maybe we used to. We anticipate commentators to precise their view, which we then take in. We agree with it or differ after which transfer on, typically to the following so-called evaluation. In fact these views affect our ideas, however we’re critically conscious, and settle for that not everybody thinks as we do.

It’s fairly uncommon to search out collections of such items, nonetheless, rarer to assemble them lengthy after the occasions they describe and rarer nonetheless to provide, consequently, a ebook which is price studying from cowl to cowl. Hidden Agendas by John Pilger is such a ebook. And studying Hidden Agendas with at the moment’s label “pretend information” in thoughts is each and enlightening and rewarding.

First revealed in 1998, Hidden Agendas collects items by its writer on numerous subjects, their topics spanning a number of many years. There are items on the Chilly Conflict and, importantly, on the battle for independence of the East Timorese, going proper again to 1974 and the collapse of what was left of the Portuguese Empire. John Pilger additionally describes his personal nation’s, Australia’s, relations with its personal id and its indigenous peoples. He travels to Burma to explain each day life in addition to its poisoned politics and presents evaluation that from at the moment’s perspective is a minimum of fascinating. He describes the beginning of the UK’s Blair period, with New Labour’s chief declaring his intention to comprehend a Thatcherite dream. We revisit the miners’ strike within the mid-Eighties, already seen from a distance of 15 years. He additionally touches on the Hillsborough tragedy in a chunk on the Solar’s journalism and reminds us that on Merseyside the newspaper remains to be vilified at the moment due to its protection of those occasions. Ironic is not it that is a recent reader can now look again at this evaluation from 20 years in the past, realizing that for the victims of Hillsborough an inquiry has lastly delivered justice, whereas for these of vilified and imprisoned after Orgreave an inquiry remains to be denied. It appears perverse that justice appears to want deaths.

However by far essentially the most attention-grabbing elements of Hidden Agendas are these the cope with the writer’s autobiographical accounts of working as a journalist. He begins in Australia, the place the media had been owned by cartels whose pursuits they largely promoted. He moved to UK, the place one thing comparable was evolving. John Pilger’s description of life within the Day by day Mirror is completely partaking, and impresses as a result of there’s a real feeling that the newspaper was keen on reality first and posturing second. He presents a convincing defence of the Mirror’s campaigning type after which laments that by 1998 the newspaper had already grow to be simply one of many relaxation.

John Pilger’s typically biting criticisms of the print media are, if something, much more poignant in at the moment’s on-line jungle. At the least the media homeowners he describes had been largely self-declared of their allegiances, to such an extent that the posturing was typically predictable. In at the moment’s Web miasma, the place populism appears to rule and the place the origins of opinions are sometimes exhausting to establish, it’s helpful to be reminded by John Pilger that the opinion introduced as opinion can by no means be “pretend information”, no matter that could be. Opinion masquerading as “truth” is sort of merely a lie.

The political Proper has by no means been impressed with John Pilger’s work. However no matter one thinks concerning the content material of his opinion items, Hidden Agendas illustrates that he doesn’t surrender on causes. The lengthy, exhausting and largely unnoticed battle on East Timor testifies to his dedication to justice on behalf of these denied it. And, on subjects such because the Hillsborough tragedy, mainstream media, on the time, could even have branded Pilger’s place as excessive, and even as “pretend information”, because it contradicted the trumped-up story being peddled by the mainstream media. Studying these opinion items by John Pilger, one is introduced with the modern actuality that “pretend information” might be opinion that somebody does not like, opinion that’s extra simply dismissed with a label reasonably than by counter argument. Hidden Agendas additionally reminds it that the one necessary opinions of these which can be confirmed appropriate.