The Gross Dishonesty of the Mainstream Media on Catalonia 233

Due to social media, the mainstream media can no longer hide what happens. But they can attempt to frame our perceptions of it. What happened yesterday in Catalonia is that paramilitary forces attacked voters who were trying to vote. The mainstream media has universally decided to call the voters “protestors” rather than voters. So next time you go to your polling station, apparently what you are doing is protesting. This kind of distortion through misuse of language is absolutely deliberate by professional mainstream journalists. In a situation where thousands of peaceful voters were brutalised, can anybody find a single headline in the mainstream media which attributes responsibility for the violence correctly?

This was a headline on the Guardian front page at 10.29am today. The people who wrote it are highly educated media professionals. The misleading impression a natural reading gives is absolutely deliberate.

Maintaining the Establishment line in face of reality has been a particular problem for picture editors. The Daily Telegraph has produced a whole series of photos whose captions test the “big lie” technique to its limits.

Note the caption specifically puts the agency for the “clash” on the people. “People clash with Spanish Guardia Civila…”. But the picture shows something very different, a voter being manhandled away from the polling station.

Actually what they are doing is preventing voters from entering a polling station, not preventing a riot from attacking a school, which is the natural reading of the caption.

In fact the firemen are trying to shield people walking to vote from the paramilitaries. The firemen were attacked by the Guardia Civilia shortly after that.

Sky News every half hour is repeating the mantra that the Catalan government claims a mandate for Independence “after a referendum marred by violence”, again without stating what caused the violence. In general however Sky’s coverage has been a great deal better than the BBC; Al Jazeera has been excellent.

I strongly suspect that were it not for social media, UK mainstream media would have told us very little at all. This is an object lesson in how the mainstream media still seek to continue to push fake news on us in the age of citizen journalism. They no longer have a monopoly on the flow of raw information; what they can do is to attempt to distort perceptions of what people are seeing.


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233 thoughts on “The Gross Dishonesty of the Mainstream Media on Catalonia

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  • Republicofscotland

    The Westminster government promised Scotland that it would promote Scotch Whisky abroad.

    Westminster trade groups including Scotland’s governor general, were supposed to promoted the product. However a FOI requested by the Scottish government, showed that the trade groups had not ONE document relating the vital Scotch export.

    Westminster and their anti-Scottish man who pretends he’s working for the best interests of Scots, can never be trusted.

  • Jennifer

    Just a clarification about your comment on the second photo at Ramon Llull school: the entrance to the school is behind the crowd. They had been there since 5am (some had spent the night) to peacefully protect the school and the people coming to vote there. The riot police are trying to get in and remove the urns.

    • craig Post author

      Blackstripedswan, the first link you post states:

      “The Guardia Civil (English: “Civil Guard”; [ˈɡwarðja θiˈβil]) is the oldest law enforcement agency in Spain. It is organised as a military force charged with police duties under the authority of both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence.”

      That is a paramilitary force.

      • Loony

        Obviously the Guardia Civil is a paramilitary force.

        surely you must know that in the Exxon/UK/Spain orchestrated (failed) coup in Equatorial Guinea the Guardia Civil had set sail from Cadiz as it was intended that they provide policing services in Equatorial Guinea in the immediate aftermath of the coup. You would hardly dispatch the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to undertake such a task.

      • Blackstripedswan

        Great article Craig, but to understand what is now happening I was only pointing that the guardia Civil is a professional police, just like the “Policia Nacional” (the other state police force in Spain). The main diference between them is the military structure of the Guardia Civil, which only means less rights for their members. But they both operate exactly the same as a normal and professional police, in fact, the Guardia Civil is the traffic police who fines you when you drive too fast on the road.

        I mean, in Spain there is no difference between being beaten or repressed by either these two police forces that are operating there at the orders of the central government. The central government, ruled by the Popular Party (PP) has stated that it will use the full weight of the law, and therefore everything it has (only the army is still missing).The riot police of the “Cuerpo Nacional de Policia” is as feared as its civil guard colleagues:

        Belive it or not, but this is only a contribution based on proximity and personal experience 😉

    • Loony

      Aint it funny how everyone and their dog is lining up to condemn the violence of the Guardia Civil.

      This force has been violent for generations and many, many people have fallen foul of their brutality – but no-one cares. Now suddenly their, more or less, routine actions are a cause for opprobrium. How come no-one cared until Sunday. If you suddenly care today then why did you not care yesterday?

      • Republicofscotland

        Oh the poor old facist paramilitary Guarda Civil, everyone picking on them, oh what a shame.

        Still I’m not surprised at you defending them.

        • Loony

          I am not defending them – I a pointing out the vacuous nature of those who attack them. The Guardia Civil are not being attacked for their crimes they are being attacked by desperate virtue signalers who somehow believe that jumping on this particular bandwagon is a demonstration of their moral purity.

          • Republicofscotland

            “The Guardia Civil are not being attacked for their crimes ”


            What planet were you on, during Sunday’s vote? Let me guess Pluto.

            Yeah definitely defending them.

  • Stu

    Well done to the SNP for banning fracking. As with gay marriage it took them too long but the decision is the correct one. Let’s hope that now they are facing a challenge they will return to the innovative policies of their first minority government.

    Renewables are the future for Scotland and hopefully the world.

  • yesindyref2

    The media propaganda truth slide isn’t a one-off, it continues even this week. From reporting the Catalan Government figures as soon as available, including the closed polling stations and the stolen 700,000 ballotes which would have made turnout 55% or more. the media has already reduced this to 42% by ignoring the stolen ballots.

    Now there’s a reduction for that 42% to “four out of 10”, abd taking the non-voters as NO voters as we’ve seen some of the more wild doing with our own referendum: “However, only around four in 10 of Catalonia’s population voted, with many anti-separatists apparently choosing to stay at home

    Next steps for propaganda is working out the 90% of that 42%:

    Less than 38% of the population voted for Independence
    Less than 38% voted for Independence
    Just over a third voted for Independence
    Only one-third voted for Independence

    and so the perception slide continues.

  • Jordi carrasco

    Completely agree ! One remark: in all the cases, it was not police preventing voters to get to the polling stations. It was voters defending polling stations being attacked by police to steal ballots full of votes. People were there since friday !

    • Tiggy Sagar

      They were confiscating the ballot boxes because it was a totally unofficial vote, where only those in favour of independence recognised it as a proper vote and turned out to vote. No government can take that as legitimate. Supposing an unofficial vote had been undertaken by those against independence, with only people against independence voting in it – would you say that should be recognised? The police were not wrong to try to take the boxes from an illegal referendum; they were wrong to engage in violence.

  • erik Jeffery

    Well, if you want a really bias opinion you should read the accounts in the Spanish press, largely supported by funds from the Partido Popular, the present Spanish government. Inaccurate, unsympathetic to the Catalan cause (as always), grossly misleading in virtually all aspects. Spanish television especially TVE (equally funded using taxpayers money) was the same, hiding the disgraceful activities of the Guardia Civil and the Policia Nacional from its audiences. I felt the BBC coverage was just about acceptable, however their knowledge of Catalunya, its history, its people and culture is pitiful and why it is in a relationship with Spain at all is generally unknown. The Catalan press on the other hand was truly excellent.

  • Tiggy Sagar

    I have been watching both the BBC and Sky News and BOTH have been clear about the violence towards the people and heavy-handedness of the police. They have also mentioned that it was an unofficial and unrepresentative vote made up only of the large minority seeking independence, something you’ve omitted to mention.

    • nevermind

      BBC and Sky? is that tyhe best you can orientate yourself to Tiggy?

      yesterdays intervention by the King has given this police violence an even greater emphasis, last night we are shown Guardia civil in their civil outfit, behind the glass hotel foyer were they are staying, angry faces baying like wolfs, saying ‘let us at them’, trained thugs.
      The Kings intervention has nudged it up, and Rajoy, already facing financial irregularities investigations in his party, will now feel strengthened for whatever he plans for the declaration of Independence later on next week.
      We will see more violence, maybe next time he will be deploying soldiers as well.

      Off course, the Spanish royal family is also well known for their financial impropriety, believing that taxes are paid by the Spanish and Catalans and Basque serves, only.
      If Spanish banks fail in the run up to a GE in Spain, it is very likely that this could be the start of another financial crash, I have to watch and see what zero-hedge and Max kaiser say about this.

  • Dave Lawton

    Guardia Civil they are no more and no less than a bunch of trained thugs.I know that from personal experience when I tried to intervene to stop them pistol whipping Moroccans who were on route to France.They still have secret police lurking everywhere quite easy to spot though as they are not very subtle.Spain still has that feeling of a hidden paranoid state.

  • George

    Dear Craig, your perception is massively mislead here… You are calling these people harmless vorters? Is it an officila election? NO! So they are not voting, it is sign of protest… And it is the right and duty of the governemnt to maintain public order and hinder htese people from protest, going beyong their rights to protest, in particular if threatening the country itself. You totally missed the point here… And interesting how you forgot to mention, that only 40% participated so the minimum requiremtns for a quorum were also no met…

  • Dave Jackson

    Totally agree, I have English and Catalan friends in Barcelona so I am very aware of the true situation. These are the people who fought Franco not that many years ago. If I were Catalan and had been a remain voter, I would by now have changed my mind. I would not want to be ruled by a government who sanctioned violence against its own people!

  • Real Democrat

    The violence is utterly deplorable and whoever ordered the police to grab the plastic voting tubs should resign. That said, this was only a demonstration or protest, not a proper referendum. The rules that apply to voting were simply ignored. Crowds were allowed to stand inside polling stations, voters did not register, multiple voting was easy and the people organising the vote showed no impartiality. No-one should refer to that farce as a ‘referendum’. The fact that Puigdemont claims that the ‘result’ gives him a mandate to declare independence proves that he has no real interest in democracy or in proper procedures.
    It is laughably ironic that an article which takes the media to task for their reporting of the scenes of violence is itself incapable of distinguishing between a demonstration and a referendum.
    Sturgeon gave us another comic piece of irony when she said that the votes of 2 million people (the Catalans) cannot be ignored, though she herself has simply ignored the 2 million votes which kept Scotland in the UK.

  • Tiffany Porter-Carpenter

    I am an American and you know the horrendous situation in our country w/ “fake news”, expressed time and again even by our President. So I contribute here w/ no actual knowledge of your situation beyond knowing that you need help in fighting against an oppressor of the truth. With sincere good fortune in defense of your case, Tiffany Porter-Carpenter in the town of St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

  • Stein Svala

    That some of the most experienced journalists in the socialdemocratic friendly, and obvious Spanish nationalistic newspaper, El Pais, quit in protest against propagandic attitude in the paper, and the fact that TVE- journalists (Spanish state TV) writes an open protest about how their newseditor in Madrid misled and desinform, talks by itself!

  • Peter Garland

    I’m disabled and skint so unfortunately I can’t pay your cost.
    However I wanted to thank you for your courage and integrity in your writing.

  • George Dawson

    I was in Barcelona over the referendum weekend. The restraint and stoicism of the Catalan people in the face of punishing assaults on polling stations was amazing. The local news showed horrific scenes of middle aged men and women, hands aloft in a gesture of peaceful submission, being dragged bodily, often by the hair or face, and sometimes thrown without hesitation over the heads of others seated on stairways by armoured, helmeted and anonymous civil guards. The issues are complex. There is strong support for remaining part of Spain too but the Spanish government has probably helped to reduce this.

  • Feinmann

    The dishonesty of Craig Murray.

    Mr. Murray, investing in his authority to talk about issues he does not master, he does not even know he is dishonest. For example, call “paramilitary forces” when referring to the Civil Guard (GC). The Guard is a military body, but with police functions. It has been operating for about 250 years, and its military character only affects its internal discipline, not its operation as policemen. They are similar to the Garde National, French or the Italian Carabinieri.

    After that shit of calling the paramilitaries to the GC there is little to add. The rest of the article is full of those half truths or lies, I want to think that out of ignorance, not out of bad intention.

  • Feinmann

    Saying that the referendum has been won by the sepatatists with 90% of the hidden votes that the unionist parties called for abstention. Only 2 million voters have voted, of an electoral body of 5.5 million. He has not voted half. That 90% of positive votes hardly supposes an apollo of 1/3 of the electoral body to the separation. That without taking into account the irregularity of the voting, in which many people came to vote on many occasions, many polling stations where anyone, including minors, was allowed to vote.

    That without entering into the irregularity of the approval of the law of referendum, curdled blocking the opposition deputies in the exercise of their rights, and even skipping the very rules of the Catalan Parliament.

    Mr. Murray has much to learn before writing articles like this.

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