Are you sick and tired of the daily predictions of doom and gloom by self-appointed prophets? The daily dose of impending catastrophe or the end-of-life-on-this-planet — as we know it — sort of stuff? The endless cynicism and nihilism dished out each day on radio, television and your newspaper of choice. The underlying theme of much of what we hear, see and read about appears to revel in either the inhumanity we level on our fellow humans or the destruction we are accused of levelling upon planet Earth. Or conversely, the death and destruction planet Earth foists upon humanity. 

Some of these doom-laden prophets like the Greens, with their constant, deep seated hatred of man-kind are fairly transparent, in as much as most people, who can think rationally, can usually see through a Green premise and identify the underlying dogma, hypocrisy or resentment. 

Others, like certain TV journalists, like to get in there, and whip up potent images of death & destruction, or exploit some poor soul or their families. Take the ABC’s Sally Sara, who, when sent to cover an event, say like the recent one in Pakistan, always seems to manage to winkle out some poor sodding family or child to expose on ABC News, rather that cover the actual details of the magnitude of the flood itself, and those who are doing their best to fight it. Her stint in Africa seemed to celebrate the morbid. 

Another ambulance-chaser is the BBC’s Orla Guerin. You’ve most likely seen her reports on either SBS or ABC news services. They’re the ones from either the Middle East, Africa or southern Asia where the key ingredient to her story, any story, every story, is to find some unfortunate child, preferably dripping with blood or starving or suffering in some abominable way — then exploit the hell out of it. Humour just ain’t her style. 

Guerin’s droning Irish accent, with large dollops of faux compassion, can at times be quite sickening. The exploitation of people in distress or in distressing situations is now a regular feature of the worst excesses of television news, where creating some political point, overrides any notion that a news-story has many sides and many facets. Guerin, who seems to rejoice in developing and presenting the very worst example of human suffering she can find, was exposed in 2006 when she claimedon the BBC that the Palestinian village of Bint Jbel had been flattened and wiped out by Israeli forces. A Channel 4 report filed by their reporter, Alex Thomson, at the same time, showed that only the centre of Bint Jbel had been damaged. Both Guerin and Thomson were filmed walking down the same street, on the same day. 

A cameo of the international, world-roaming journalist, whether war correspondent or TV network outrider, appeared in the 1999 war/comedy Three Kings when Nora Dunn played the TV journalist Adriana Cruz — a look-a-like study of the aggressively tough real-life journalist Christiane Amanpour. The constant quest for blood-soaked stories of body parts or screaming war-shocked children isn’t a job for sissies. 

Recently ABC News, covering a helicopter crash in the Blue Mountains of NSW, filmed one of the injured survivors lying on a stretcher, at the scene of the crash. From a wide-shot it could be seen that the injured man was shaking fairly violently as if in some sort of shock or severe trauma. The cameraman then zoomed into the man’s blood-splattered face for a close-up. The issue isn’t that the cameraman shot the footage. The issue is that when the video images reached the ABC newsroom, someone made the decision to include the vision in the 7 pm news. So much for the man’s dignity, or his family and friends who might have seen it. 

Moving from Blood News to Blood Propaganda we find the beautifully filmed TV National Geographic/Germany co-production America Before Columbus, which was recently shown on SBS. It is really worth buying the DVDs (if you missed it on TV) to experience the stultifying and subtle way an anti-Western, anti-human Green vision of history can be presented. It really is a masterpiece of seduction. If you don’t stay alert you can miss the subliminal messages. 

Western civilisation, him bad. Indigenous culture, him good. And the series is most likely being shown to children in a school near you. 

Hidden beneath the apparent basic premise of this 2-part documentary series, that is, the Columbian Exchange, lies a constant message of the absolute awfulness of Westerners. It is very clever, in fact possibly the cleverest Green ploy since global warming. The Columbian Exchange was the trans-ocean transfer of ideas, plants, animals, diseases and science from Europe to the Americas, and vice versa—the transfer of ideas, plants, animals, disease and science from the Americas to Europe and the world beyond. 

The subtlety of the series rests with little touches like European introduction of fruits, vegetables, cereals, animals, ideas — bad. Introduction of American fruits, vegetables, cereals, animals, ideas to the world — no comment! Unfortunately most TV news, documentaries, newspaper articles and academic research and comment has a Left-leaning bent. People with either Centre or Centre-Right views are a rarity in these fields. So to get the point of all of the above angst is the suggestion that you get a copy of Matt Ridley’s new book, The Rational Optimist published by Fourth Estate.

It is a heart-starter for those who forlornly believe that rational thinkers are an endangered species. Without giving too much away, a few sentences from the back-cover blurb might encourage a purchase:

Matt Ridley is a former science editor for The Economist and former Chairmanof Northern Rock bank — well before it went broke. He writes on popular science.

"Life is getting better, and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, lifespan are up; disease, child mortality and violence is down — all across the globe."

Three cheers for Matt!

Blood News – an exchange:

Response by Sally Sara here…

John Izzard replies here…

Further response by Sally Sara here…

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