To Orwell Today,

Hi Jackie,

There is something i want to bring to your attention which might be of some interest to you.

Here in the UK there has very recently, this time last week i think, a most terrible attack upon a mother and child by a, so far unidentified, lone male attacker. The attacker stabbed the mother in the neck, which has left her paralysed.

Young mother stabbed in neck (nobody actually saw incident that took place in lowest crime area in England and Wales). BBC, Apr 21, 2005

It hardly needs saying that this has shocked most of the nation, myself included, with its horrific nature and senseless randomness, but, and this is the reason i bring it up, the media here is absolutly obsessing about the incident. This is nothing new unfortunatly, as it is often the case that such happenings are made the fodder of mass consumption, but as it is very close to the general election date, the almost full time and repetitious coverage does seem to have added ramifications.

I have a very specific example: There is a political based radio phone-in on the BBC's Radio 2, run by a man named Jeremy Vine. Radio 2 is, i am sure i have read, the country's most listened to station and this phone-in one of its more popular and high profile shows. Starting at 12 noon today, this show which usually covers only poltical debates on current issues, had on as its first section, a live interview with two guests, one male one female, who had both, within the last year i think, had memebers of their family either killed or rendered vegetative by attacks similar in nature to the one that i mentioned initially. The host of the show deliberatly led the two guests into the most personal areas of their respective tradgedies and then left them on air, without intervention from the host, to cry, wail and shout out "why?".

This kind of exploitative emotional broadcasting is incredibly disrespectful to the people that are interviewed, even if they choose to be interviewed in the first place - why push them into crying and all the rest of it at all?

Are we not to be made to feel uneasy by the spectacle of people being goaded, and allowing themselves to be goaded, into crying, seemingly on demand, for a timed slot on a radio talk show? Add to that the fact that hundreds of thousands of people across the country have this show on in the background while they work, and will have heard crying and wailing, and we can see how the media is managing the entire perception of the attack as being almost a national mourning; an air of sadness and sorrow which the whole population (once all the TV air time and print media is considered) shares. Even if people did not actually listen to the broadcast, but, as i said above, had it on in the background of the office, car, truck or building site, they will have, on some level, registered the crying and deep sorrow of the people on the radio show.

I'm sure you can see the possible effects this could have on a general election, especially when it is the encumbant New Labour party that are making themselves out to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" by trying to, amongst many other outrages, make a national database of the population's fingerprints, all under the guise of fighting crime and terrorism.....

Sorry to go on so about this but what i heard, quite by accident, today on the radio shocked me in its utterly obvious "psychological operation" on the listening public, and i felt compelled to bring it to your attention.

best wishes,
james (sheffield, uk)

Greetings James,

It definitely sounds like you're experiencing a media phenomenon in the UK over this latest horrific crime.

In 1984 Orwell described this type of pyschological bombardment by the Party (using the Ministry of Truth) as: "the proles being lashed into one of their periodical frenzies".

These prole-frenzies are called "Hate Week" during which time there's an escalation in crime and everyone feverishly "hates" the criminal and raises the victims to celebrity status. Winston describes how "whole neighbourhoods turn out for long, trailing funerals that go on for hours and are in effect indignation meetings".

Hospital vigils and public funerals for crime victims are happening here in North America too (and elsewhere in Oceania). The funerals are aired on television and the camera focuses on every tearful eye - especially those of the immediate family.

The Party is creating and dramatizing crime so that people will be softened up to crime "stopping" and won't dare protest about government becoming Big Brother and cops becoming thugs because if they do object they'll be accused of being accessories to potential criminals.

Read Orwell on this aspect in 36.Hate Week Volunteerism and 21.Crimestop.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~