Examples of The Metro’s right wing ideological bias in Autumn 2022.
The Metro’s reporting (28/09/2022) of Sir Keir Starmer’s Speech at the 2022 Labour Party Conference was definitely limited, and offers students of media studies an interesting contemporary example of how news values and/ or agenda setting influence the news agenda.
There are some good examples here of what appear to be deliberate bias against labour…
Firstly on the headline page not only is the labour conference given half the space of the royals story the headline ‘don’t forgive’ makes them seem aggressive and harsh, AND there’s a little quip about Keir and his wife being dressed in sync which is maybe an attempt to belittle labour.
And then there’s the order and manner in which the two main items of the day are presented…
Firstly we have the royals, BEFORE the labour conference reporting…
And even Eurovision trumps Labour!
And then on page three AFTER Kate and Will and Eurovision we finally have an item on the labour party conference (well it’s page four, page two was a full page advert)…
Also note how this is all just dull text – there’s no attempt at all to bullet point the key ideas – there could be a nice infographic where the advert is to the left which would make this material more readable, but there isn’t.
Rather the message here seems to be ‘ignore this dull stuff but here’s some pictures of Keir and his wife who have dressed well’.
Of course it could just be plain old News Values influencing why Kate and Wills are appearing before Labour – the royals are more photogenic, and pictures matters in papers, and we have just had the death of the Queen so there is continuity.
HOWEVER, given the national interest surrounding the cost of living crisis and Tory economic policy crashing the economy I think there is more than News Values at work here…
Why I think this reporting might be ideological
There is some extremely significant political context to Starmer’s speech, rooted in some major socio-economic turbulence this Autumn.
The recent Tory budget gave some major tax cuts to the richest in society on top of recent hand-outs to the UK’s two biggest oil companies – BP and Shell, while ordinary people are left to soak up much of the increased cost of living themselves.
In short, the Tories have done more to help the rich than the poor and showed little interest in investing in a green-future to provide long term solutions to increasing energy prices and any potential future price shocks.
And Keir Starmer, the leader of the major opposition party is, in this speech, outlining a viable alternative strategy to what the Tories are offering.
And yet this speech has been relegated to small text on pages 4 and 5, after the pictures of Will and Kate in Wales.
To my mind this seems to be a straight up attempt to offer the masses some royal entertainment fluff rather than reporting on the Labour alternative to the cost of living crisis in an accessible manner.
I mean, think about it – they could have bullet pointed the key facts but all we have is a very unattractive full text version of the speech, it’s very easy to just ignore it, effectively rendering it invisible to many readers.
And given that the Metro is a right wing paper, that is probably the whole idea!
What do you think? Is this an example of ideological agenda setting?
Are the owners and editors of the Metro using their position of power to narrow the agenda of news reporting and discredit the views of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party…?
Or is this just plain old news values at work and the paper simply providing what the audience demand…?
This material should be of interest to students studying the Media option as part of A-level sociology.
It should also be of interest to students generally – it’s your future the Tories are messing up after all!
Shock Horror – groups of older children have been ‘descending’ on cinemas recently to ‘disruptively watch’ the latest Despicable Me Movie – Minions: The Rise of Gru.
These children have been meeting up at cinemas in groups as large as 50, dressed in suits and calling themselves ‘Gentleminions’ and filming themselves getting up to various antics such as walking in slow motion through cinema lobbies with hands held in a particular ‘pointy finger’ despicable me pose and being rowdy during viewings of the movie – doing things such as cheering when Gru appears on screen…
Some of these children filmed these antics and uploaded them to TikTok where some videos received hundreds of thousands of views, some into the millions.
Cinema staff and management weren’t so amused by the actions of the ‘gentleminions’ with some cinemas banning groups of older children in suits from buying tickets for the movie, and with some parents of younger children saying they were scared by these antics.
These acts of minor deviance by young people should be of interest to anybody studying the Crime and Deviance aspect of sociology – as such disruptive and rowdy behaviour is clearly deviant in the context of a cinema where the social norms are that viewers keep themselves to themselves in the lobby are and are quiet during screenings.
But there’s a lot more Sociology we can apply to this contemporary event!
Sociology Applied to the #GentleMinions
First off – I call them older children because I can’t quite bring myself to call them young men, which in terms of their biological age at least some of them are. (At least I think most of them are 16-20 judging by their physical appearance, it’s hard to tell – the older I get the younger the young seem to be!).
So the first sociological concept this event reminds me of is the ‘social construction of childhood‘ – it reminds me that childhood is something flexible, and in this case we have young adults actively choosing to regress into a state of childhood for an evening.
Think about it – these people would have grown up with the ‘Despicable Me’ Franchise, being actual biological children when most of the movies were screened – and now, once the five year wait is over for the next instalment they want to regress back into that time that was probably more comforting for most of them!
So this is an illustration of the blurring of the boundaries between adulthood and childhood and in this case of adults choosing to act like children for a short while.
A Thoroughly Postmodern Event!
Obviously (hopefully) Despicable Me and the Minions are not real, they are a media construction, a cartoon.
This event couldn’t have happened without the media – and probably wouldn’t have happened without TikTok.
These kind of stunts are much more appealing to get involved in if your going to feature in a video that gets hundreds of thousands of views, after all!
An attempt at Belonging…?
Becoming a #GentleMinion, engaging in minor disruptive stunts in the cinema, filming them and uploading to TikTok is a pretty accessible way of feeling like you’re part of of something larger.
Think about it – the Minions ‘belong’ – they are like a very large community that work together, for the most part, for shared purpose, something that it is somewhat lacking in our real world postmodern society that is increasingly divisive and fractured.
But just by wearing a suit and pranking in the cinema for an evening and being part of a TikTok upload you get to be part of a global ‘movement’ that for a fleeting moment share their love of this movie.
It may be a fleeting and desperate attempt at belonging, but I kind of get it – and it’s harmless enough.
A minor moral panic….?
They’re hardly the mods and rockers but these cinema antics were/ are deviant and they did upset people and this did cause a response from the cinema-authorities, who banned some youths in suits from watching the Despicable Me movie…
However, in terms of degree of deviance these events are clearly not that harmful, and more interestingly it’s the youths themselves sharing their antics on TikTok – not the mainstream media exaggerating how deviant or disruptive they were.
#GentleMinions – Final Thoughts…
Personally I see this as relatively harmless youthful antics, not great for young kinds watching the movie with their parents, but in the grand scheme of things this is on the low end of social harm!
And this is hardly a challenge to the social order – if anything it reinforces it – it’s young people saying how much they like to consume mainstream media – I mean if any of these people were a threat to existing power structures they’d be out campaigning with a real social movement and probably wouldn’t spend so much time identifying with a cartoon!
Small confession…. I’ve had way too many Netflix binge sessions over the last year, and one thing I’ve noticed is that most of the Netflix shows have a wider range of representations of gender than I’m used to seeing on the BBC.
In fact practically every series features pretty major characters who are gay, bisexual or (more recently) transgender and as a general rule these sexuality-identities are incidental to the plots – that is to say that for the most part characters are just gay (for example) and that’s that, rather than their ‘gayness’ being part of the plot itself.
In other words Netflix seems to be doing a great of job of normalising gender diversity.
FINALLY, A T.V. series which features a bisexual woman as the MAIN CHARACTER – she starts off with a boyfriend, he dies, and then she seems to develop a preference for always women as the series progresses – but no big deal, that’s just how it is!
Most characters are heterosexual but the ‘Utopia’ in the series is founded by a ‘founding trio’ who are in a three-way relationship, and later on in the series it turns out one of the main characters is a Lesbian, but actually very reticent about sex (not that interested in emotional closeness for various reasons) and there is also one transgender character, B list rather than A-list though.
One of the best pieces of T.V. I have ever seen – featuring a bad gay FBI agent and a closet gay Hillbilly – they are not the most savoury of characters, but then again neither are most of the characters in this series which also features possibly the most dysfunctional yet functioning ‘cereal packet nuclear family’ ever.
Star Trek Discovery
The only show I’ve ever seen which features a non-binary character – the show does make a bit of a thing out of this as at one point they explain their sexuality to someone else (not identifying with any gender in particular.
Incidentally the main character ‘ is a woman, but with a traditionally male name – Michael – NEVER questioned which I kind of like. Almost like a subtle challenge to one of the most obvious gender markers.
There are MORE examples…
I kept this to just FOUR examples, but there are many many more – drop your suggestions in the comments.
Or it might be more useful/ difficult to drop new shows which DON’T have a gender diversity theme going on – it seems to be the new norm on Netflix..
According to ex Facebook employee Frances Haugen Facebook’s puts its profits over protecting users from harm – over the last several years it has consciously chosen to recommend posts which spread online hate and encourage addictive behaviour rather than protect users.
Haugen has gone on record stating that Facebook’s own research shows that many children show addictive patterns of behaviour when using Instagram – it doesn’t make them happy, but they can’t stop using the app.
She also says that Facebook recommends extremist and radical material to people, creating divisions, because such material holds people’s attention for longer and this increases their advertising revenue. This may well include content that is hateful towards to women and is very much in line with findings from this documentary.
Finally she says that Facebook’s safety department is relatively understaffed compared to other departments – more people are employed in tweaking its algorithm for profit compared to keeping people safe.
And funnily enough Facebook recently announced it would be rebranding to ‘Meta’ – this is typically what companies do when the criticisms mount up – so as deflect negative attention away.
Relevance to A-level Sociology
This is of relevance to the Media Option, and is also supporting evidence of how TNCs spread harms, supporting the Marxist Theory of crime (possibly!)
Cybercrime is one of the most harmful types in terms its economic costs to individuals and businesses.
This reason alone suggests that students of A-level sociology studying the crime and deviance module should pay special attention to to this type of crime.
What are the economic costs of cybercrime?
A recent McAFee report estimated the global cost of Cybercrime in 2019 to be over $1 Trillion.
Accenture does an annual survey on the costs of Cybercrime to business and that revealed that the average cost of malicious attacks is just over $1 million to a company, with several days of downtime as a result.
The overall size of the global economy in 2020 was around $84 trillion, meaning global cybercrime accounts for 1% of global economic output.
Tax dodging by mainly corporations but also wealthy individuals costs the global economy just over $400 billion annually. (Source: The Conversation)
In 2015/ 16 the UK government estimated the total cost of ALL crime to be around £50 billion – besides cybercrime, fraud and theft were very high cost crimes, both made much easier with the growth of online networks.
The projected costs of Cybercrime are much greater. according to Cyber Security Ventures the global cost of Cybercrime is set to reach $10.5 trillion dollars by 2025
Analysis/ Evaluation – what to make of these figures?
These statistics suggest that the costs of Cybercrime are growing rapidly, and if you believe the projections, then Cybercrime is by far the most damaging type of crime in terms of financial cost.
However, you need to question the validity of data published by Cybersecurity companies – it is in their interests to exaggerate the extent of cybercrime so they can sell more security software!
Having said that, official statistics themselves show a HUGE increase in the amount of cybercrime in the last five years, and so it’s likely that the costs of cybercrime would have increased too.
I haven’t here distinguished between cyber dependent crime and cyber-enabled crime – I think a lot of the increasing costs are due to old types of crime (fraud and especially theft) becoming more common online (as opposed to face to face) – I guess the internent just makes it easier to attempt to commit these types of crime, en masse (as through phishing) rather than the slower and more risky physical thefts.
The depressing thing is that I find none of this surprising – we live in more networked world, and one unfortunate consequence is that it’s now easier to attempt to commit fraud and theft against faraway victims online – it’s simple rational choice theory – computer networks make it more convenient to attempt crimes such as phishing and identity theft with less risk.
And while I’m sceptical about Cyber Security companies exaggerating the extent of online crime, I’m inclined to agree with them that this is on an uptrend as that’s what official statistics from all around the world suggest, not to mention the increasing amount of anecdotal evidence from people who have been scammed, and TBH I only need compare the amount of phishing emails in my inbox today compared to five years ago to realise the increase in attempted crimes against me, and presumably millions of other people receiving such mail in their Spam folders every day!
It seems it’s more important than ever to take your online security and safety very very seriously.
The media simplify the coverage of crime in the following ways:
Media coverage tends to focus on the individual criminals, and their psychological state, with very little focus on the social context which led to a crime being committed (so very little sociological analysis in the mainstream media!)
Crime stories quote the police and victims and their families, but rarely experts in the field – nice link to the news value of ‘personalisation’ here.
Coverage is usually ‘emotional’ and often ‘angry’ with little objective analysis of the actual risk of the wider public also falling a victim of the crime featured. As a result, the media spreads an unrealistic fear of crime.
Coverage of crime is often associated with only one policy option – harsher punishments for offenders – there is very little discussion of alternatives to punishment, despite the fact that a lot of evidence points to the fact that harsher punishments are not the most effective means of controlling crime.
You can find several examples of this simplification of the crime narrative in the BBC News and crime-focussed documentaries (even though the later are supposed to have more depth and breadth)
Documentaries typically take the side of the police – following them around, or having them in as experts in the studio – Crimewatch even encourages the public to phone in and help the police
The underlying causes of crime are rarely looked at in the news or crime documentaries – as we will see next term factors such as family breakdown, poverty, child abuse mean that many criminals are themselves victims of an unequal society and a harsh upbringing, but this is rarely considered.
You rarely hear from the criminals – they tend to be talked about by experts. One obvious example of this is the issue surrounding the war on terror – have you ever heard the Islamists point of view in the mainstream media? The west has been engaged in a ‘war against Al Queda’ for a decade now – wouldn’t it maybe help our understanding of this war if the BBC had made some attempt to let a radical Islamist at least explain why they think terrorism is legitimate? Maybe just once in the last decade?
Where political protest happens, the media tend to focus on the violence done by a fringe minority rather than the issues that are being protested about – focussing on violent clashes between police and demonstrators (if there are any) rather than on the issues and speeches that went on during those demonstrations.
This should be a useful update for students studying both the Crime and Deviance and Media options as part of A-level sociology.
If we include fictional crime programmes, the Media tends to sensationalise crime: Many programmes almost revel in crime and especially deviance, sometimes even glorifying it. Consider the way that deviant celebrities are treated or consider the hyperreal, idealistic representations of war in games such as Call of Duty.
Fictional crime dramas tend to normalise police violence and erase the issue of Racism according to this Guardian article.
The researchers suggest that the main cop or detective characters are depicted as inherently ‘good’ even though are frequently doing ‘bad things’ – like ‘roughing up’ suspected criminals, or much worse. In fact, the vast majority of the central characters do things which are in breach of police-conduct standards and often illegal, and yet they are not portrayed as bad for doing so. Police illegality is seen as normal and acceptable.
The researchers further suggest that crime dramas ignore the central issues of Racism in the police force, in reality they say, everything is about Race when it comes to policing (think of the skewed stop and search rates) and yet this issue is barely even mentioned in fictional crime dramas.
This blog post by a final year university student at the University of Bournemouth contrasts how the right wing press and left wing press cover the recent increase in Knife Crime in the UK – the Telegraph and Daily Mail take a ‘moral panic’ approach using the phrase ‘Wild West’ Britain to describe the increase, while the left wing press are more objective and make more of an effort to understand the causes.
The author also looks at the issue of Drill Musicians getting negative press for ‘inciting violence’, another example of a moral panic, maybe?
Cybercrime refers to illegal activities carried out with a computer over a network such as the internet.
Some of the most common types of cybercrime include:
Identity and data theft
internet fraud (online scams)
hacking (unauthorised access to networks)
Infecting devices with viruses
Denial of Service attacks (DOS attacks)
file sharing in breach of copyright
3D Printing of illegal products
The key characteristics of cybercrime include:
The use of digital technologies – either a desktop or laptop computer, but also mobile phones and games consoles.
Cyber crime takes place over networked devices. (NB this means one of the main strategies for protecting yourself is to DISCONNECT OR SWITCH OFF your devices whenever you can!)
Most cyber crime is informational – it involves an attempt to access and steal personal or corporate/ government information or an attack on online identities.Cyber crime is non-local in nature – it takes place in ‘cyberspace’, not in a real physical location.
Having said that, there are physical locations where ‘attacks’ originate from, and these are often in different countries to the victims, making cyber crime very global in nature.
There is a considerable ‘data gap’ when it comes to what we know about cyber criminals – more than 80% of victims of online fraud can say NOTHING about the person that committed a crime against them for example.
Cyber dependent and cyber enabled crime
This is a common distinction in criminology (and a very useful analysis tool for A-level sociology students!).
Cyber-dependent crime refers to crimes which can only take place over computer networks – such as Hacking, virus and Denial of Service attacks. These are relatively new crimes, as they have only been possible since the emergence of the internent.
Cyber-enabled crime refers to pretty much ALL cyber crime and includes OLD types of crime that have been made easier with internet – this is MOST cyber-crime and includes identify theft, fraud, file sharing, counterfeiting and child pornography.
There maybe some types of Fraud which you think aren’t possible in the offline world, such as attempting to steal money from people through catfish type romance scams, but technically this would have been possible before the internet through newspaper dating ads and sending photos via letters, but as you can imagine, this would have been A LOT more difficult back in the day before the internet!
Contemporary Examples of Cybercrime
Below I provide some examples of famous historical cybercrimes and more recent cybercrimes to illustrate the nature and extent of some of the different types listed above.
(I’ve omitted the last type in the bullet point list, it’s a bit sensitive).
Identity and data theft
Only around 5% of the internet is visible (searchable by Google), 95% is the Deep Web (which includes the Dark Web) which is where people’s and corporations’ private data is stored, invisible to Google and encrypted, so that most people can’t gain access to it.
HOWEVER, data breaches are VERY common – where a company’s private records are either hacked or security weaknesses are exploited by other means.
This infographic shows you the extent of data breaches, and there are some BIG companies that have had been victims – Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Experian and many, many others.
Wikipedia shows you the same data in a list format , citing research estimating that the annual cost of data breaches to companies currently stands at over $2 trillion annually.
If people’s personal data is breached it can make its way onto the internet so other people can access it. Sometimes this data might be made available for free (just for lolz), other times it might be up for sale on the Dark Web – the later being more likely if the data has financial value, like people’s financial information.
Depending on the type of stolen data made available this can be used against people in the following ways:
email lists can be used in personalised phishing attempts (so if a criminal has a list of Barclay’s customers’ emails and other details, he can put together a more authentic looking Barclays phishing scam email).
Some personal data may be used to set up bank accounts and apply for credit cards which can then lead to financial crime being committed in other people’s names, this is essentially IDENTITY THEFT.
some data might be damaging to people’s reputations – like the Adult Friend Finder data breach – many people on that site were married.
If passwords are hacked they can be used to take over people’s social media and other accounts and then used against them – ever received an email from a friend you haven’t heard from in years directing you to click on a link? They were probably a victim of a data breach!
If you want to find out whether your email has been in a data breach, or ‘pawnd’ – the click here (NB not a scam!) – HaveIBeenPawnd.com.
Pawnd shows us that data in over 11 billion private accounts have been ‘breached’ and it further reports that the details of over 200 million of these accounts have been ‘pasted’ online – or made available so other people can access them.
NB – data breaches are not always the result of the obvious criminal organisations or lone individuals – the recent Pegasus SpyWare scandal is an example of a corporate enabled state crime in which people’s data was accessed illegally by various governments around the world.
Internet fraud (online scams)
The number of internet frauds, or internet scams out there are, unfortunately, many and varied. They include, but are by no means limited to…..
Covid-19 scams – A VERY unfortunate response to pandemic has been the emergence of lots of fake websites and emails (a form of phishing) offering people everything from ‘quality’ (in reality crap) Facemasks to rapid tests for travel to fake vaccines.
Get rich quick investment scams – there must be thousands of fake profiles on Instagram and other sites where users claim to be making LOTS of money trading stocks, crypto, currencies, property, and if you invest with them, you get a cut of their profits – you invest a little, get some returns, then you invest more, then your buddy stops contacting you and runs off with your money.
Instagram influencer scams – Influencers can get scammed too – especially the up and coming ones – with bogus offers to ‘come to this amazing location or event sponsored by Cosmo and take photos, but oh you’ve got to pay some money upfront for the hotels/ drivers/ flights and so on – they arrive to find the first night paid for, and then nothing else, and no sponsors of course!
Phishing scams – ”You’ve won a prize’ – please click here and enter ALL your personal and bank details so we can transfer it into your account.
False shopping scams – bargain web sites with ‘too good to be true’ prices – you pay for some goods at a crazy 70% discount and then, err, never receive them!
The ‘Nigerian Romance’ (419) scam – this is THE classic scam, 419 refers to the penal code in Nigeria which outlaws it – basically someone sets up a fake profile on a dating site, worms their way into the confidence of the unsuspecting victim they message, this could take months, and eventually they require a substantial sum of money to help with their sister’s or mother’s (or whoever’s) medical expenses following an accident. In the USA alone in 2019 there were 146 00 victims who reported losing an average of $6000 each in these scams. (Further evidence that Americans are VERY stupid, maybe?)
Scareware – ‘Your computer is infected please call this number to get it sorted’, which may mean you end up being a victim of the following….
The ‘Microsoft Windows has been infected’ (‘Indian Call Centre’) scam – in which either someone from India (probably claiming to be in America or the UK if you push them) calls you (or you may have well called them following their Scareware attack) and helps you get rid of the virus infecting your Microsoft Windows software – accept in the process you give them access to your PC and they download all your data stored on that PC which may include bank details and passwords which they can use to get your money or set up fake accounts in your name, and get money that way, linking to Fraud above.
A recent example of one of these get rich quick scams is outlined in this BBC article – the victim explains how someone he followed on Instagram claimed he was making a lot of money trading currencies and that if people invested with him, he would carry on trading in the same way and deposit their share of the earnings back into their accounts.
The victim said he started off with a small amount of money – £1000, started see returns and gradually invested more and more, until the returns stopped and he’d lost a total of £17 000 to what was a scammer who’d set up a fake account on Instagram.
NB – watch out for instagram: according to one estimate almost HALF of accounts are fake.
Hacking (unauthorised access to networks)
Kevin Poulson is one of the world’s most famous hackers – in 1983 at the age of 17 he hacked into ARPANET, The Pentagon’s computer system. He was quickly caught but not prosecuted as he was a minor at that time.
He ignored the warning he received and carried on hacking, he gained some fame by hacking into Radio station’s servers when they ran competitions guaranteeing the 100th caller would win a prize – he made sure he was that caller and won and Porsche and $20 000.
He’s served five years in jail for his crimes but is now reformed and is a ‘white hat’ hacker who works for Wired magazine. You can read more about his story here. NB this is a great example of a biography providing us insight into criminal behaviour!
Another interesting type of hacking is ‘hactivism’ – most commonly associated with the group Anonymous (‘We are Legion’) – they were most active a decade ago around 2010, when they famously took issue with Scientology, hacking their systems and making them less visible on Google.
According to this article Hactivism has had something of a resurge with Covid-19. If you’re interested in finding out what Anonymous are up to, there’s a collection of articles from Wired here.
3D Printing of illegal products
3D printers bring an interesting twist to cybercrime – a good example of cyber enabled crime – it is now possible to print very robust, very powerful guns using a 3D printer, and (I imagine) you can pick up the specifications somewhere from the Dark Web.
It’s not just guns – printers can also be used to print access cards (swipe cards), and even drugs depending on the type of printer you have.
This is where a nation state engages in attacking government or Corporate systems in an attempt to bring down those systems. Russia has been accused of doing this recently by the U.S President Joe Biden.
NB – it may be difficult to pin the blame on the Russian State as they allegedly get criminal organisations to do this on their behalf and then make no effort to prosecute them.
Content analysis shows that the media exaggerate the extent of violent and sexual crimes, with over-reporting of such crimes giving us the impression that there is 10 times more of it than is actually the case according to sources such as the Crime Survey of England and Wales.
This blog post summarises some recent evidence demonstrating how the media exaggerate the extent of violent crimes and the extent to which they do this.
This should be a useful update for students studying both the Crime and Deviance and Media options as part of A-level sociology.
Violent Crime is exaggerated 10 times
Harper & Hogue (2016) found that in the UK sex offenses made up 20% of all crime reported by the media, but only 2% of all crimes were sex offences. So that’s an exaggeration by the media of 10 times the actual rate of crime. (Source.)
Twitter exaggerates the extent of violent Crime just as much as the mainstream media
An analysis of 32 million tweets in 17 countries in Latin America over 70 days in 2017 revealed that 15 out of 1000 were crime related.
The number of tweets about crime were then compared to the murder rates in those countries and the fear of crime as measured by surveys.
There was no correlation between the number of tweets about crime and the underlying crime rate.
Moreover, just like the mainstream media, tweets showed a ‘strong bias’ towards sharing information about violent and sexual crimes.
The study also found that 62% of accounts were linked to mainstream media accounts, meaning that only 38% of tweets were from regular users, many of which linked articles from mainstream media.
This suggests that Twitter is just an echo chamber for the exaggeration of violent crime in the media.
Latin America – people tweet a lot about Violent Crime, they are doing it to themselves!
One BIG STORY makes it worse…
One ‘big story’ can trigger an increase in similar stories. For example, Harper (2018) found that there was 300% increase in reporting of sex crimes against children when the news about prolific paedophile (and friend of Prince Andrew) Jimmy Saville broke in YEAR. (Source.)
Please click here to return to the Media and crime Hub Post.
I quite like Russel Brand, as a lot of his content is very sociological and critical and the video below in which he analyses aspects of the recent ‘Royal Rebrand’ of Will and Kate is fit to appear in a sociology text book IMO!
This is Russel Brand’s take on the recent release of Will and Kate’s 10 year wedding anniversary video – in which, according to uncritical mainstream news media, they share aspects of their private lives with the public.
The short video is basically them and their two children spending some time on the beach and in the countryside, and roasting marshmellows on an open fire under and oak tree.
Brand correctly points out that this isn’t in fact Will and Kate sharing aspects of their private lives, there is nothing private about this video. It is an engineered publicity stunt in which ‘every sweater choice and every marshmellow has been carefully agonised over and deliberately selected’ in order to convey a warm and comfortable family image.
He also points out how symbolic the oak tree is – English and long live, just like the royal family.
The Royal Paradox
Brand deepens his analysis by talking of the ‘royal paradox’ – the Royal Family have to walk this bizarre line between being rarified enough to be different from the rest of us and yet similar enough to us so that we can identify them – they need both for us to carry on agreeing to pay them out of the UK tax pot, but the two kind of undermine each other.
This Video = A Royal Rebrand now the Queen’s Days are Numbered
As Brand says, The Queen simply can’t go on forever, and Charles has been ‘tainted by Diana’ (and best not mention Andrew) and so the Royal Institution has to rely on Kate on Wills, especially since Harry and Megan have defected!
Hence this video – it’s an attempt to walk that line, symbolically, between ‘relevant to us’ – it’s a quick social media life update shared widely on social media of the ‘new’ royal family being ‘just like us’, and yet different and rarified, as symbolised by the oak tree – maybe this is an attempt to cast Kate and Wills as the ‘perfect modern-traditional’ family – stable, reliable, dependable, with roots stretching back into tradition.
Will this work?
I agree with Russel that the Royal Institution has no place in a modern (or postmodern) society, the more you think about it, the more it needs to fade away, but there are so many people with a vested interest in keeping it alive into the next generation and this is part of that rebrand it seems.
So far the media are buying it, and I see no evidence of the masses suddenly developing enough intelligence to see through this nonsense, so very possibly we’re about to enter into a new era of pro-royalism, bolstered via social media as desperate and uncertain people cast about for something stable and ‘real’ to identify with in our uncertain times?!?