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« Still smoking and drinking at 100 | Main | Nick Hogan - target reached!!! »

This media bias really hacks me off

Woke up this morning to find the following story all over the media: "Ash calls for 5% increase in tobacco tax" (BBC News), "Call for 5% rise in tobacco tax" (Press Association), "Anti-smoking group urges 5% rise tobacco tax" (ITN News).

All these stories read like an ASH press release. There is not a single comment opposing the idea of a tax increase on tobacco (large or otherwise). Click on the image above to see the ITN report. It's a classic piece of propaganda. Goerbals Goebbels would be proud.

You would think, at the very least, that someone would have spoken to the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (if not Forest) because the TMA does a lot of lobbying on this issue.

But no.

So, this morning, between eight and nine, while you were asleep or munching on your Weetabix, muggins here has been ringing around the BBC, the Press Association etc to complain (in the nicest possible way) about what I can only call the institutionalised bias that is once again evident in the smoking debate.

Of course it's too late for this story but this sort of thing makes me so cross it actually makes me even more determined never to give up.

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  • Response
    Response: Problem Solved
    ...will open up a chain of smoke-easies... glamorous hostesses... dancing girls... say Joe sent you.

Reader Comments (26)

Of course ASH wants an increase - it must be feeling the pinch, too, in these recessionary times - especially when it raises so little for its coffers from volunary donations.....

March 6, 2010 at 9:27 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Simon -

Once again - thanks for all you efforts.

You, of course, are scarcely alone in being hacked off with such a clunkingly obvious case of Media Bias - regardingly a Perfectly Normal Human Activity (I know, I know).

Yet there must be SOME proper journalists left these days who aren't called Booker, Littlejohn, Monckton, Liddle, or Pilger.

Journalists, that is to say, who do old-fashioned journalistic things such as Ask Awkward Questions, Doubt The Official Account, and Ferret Out The Truth.

The fact that such paragons now seem to be in such short supply raises the following question:

Is it the result of Censorship From Above (Soviet style)?


Is it the result of Censorship From Within (ditto) ?

Perhaps someone on the inside would kindly let us know.

Even if the Fourth Estate HAS been taken over by Global Property Developers and Corporate Spivs..........

March 6, 2010 at 9:36 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I saw the report and wondered why there was no opposition view and thought to myself what a bunch of Bull. Propaganda is a better term. I want to thank the author for putting my feelings into words so much better than I could. Do you think the people will ever wake up and see what the government and narrow minded people are doing to our few and rapidly fading liberties?

March 6, 2010 at 9:44 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Censorship from within.
Like this story, what they do is just release it with out telling anybody.
I'ts the same mentallity you get from a child when they state.
Not tellin ya !
I'ts the Fake charities that need to be exposed.
It is the Fake charities who cause this and who release these "hate statements" unopposed or unquestioned .
Again the media quote ASH statements as if they are some kind of ministerial department.
Arnott spouts off like some kind of comissar.

I have seen some journalism that questions the logic of the bans.
However I have never seen any MSM column inches questioning the "quack science" behind the claims of SHS etc.
Because their own false science is their achilles heal.
And that false claim is the one they desperately try to ensure never gets questioned in the MSM.
How do they pull it off.
Proof the MSM is morally corrupt.
Climategate proved this.
No other answer is there.
I guess there are journalists who would love to write on these subjects.
The editors must be the link between big business - political interests and the control of what is oddly enough termed journalism nowadays.
I'm sure a lot of the rubbish that gets printed i.e., THS are merely column inches paid for in the same manner as advertising space.
However when I read comments from the public on these most doubt them.
It is a clear case of vested interest force feeding the public .
SPIN, I believe is the term.

March 6, 2010 at 10:27 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Specky -

You're bang on, as usual !

But ain't it frustrating that we on this site have to devote SO much of our daily energy to convincing The Others of the validity of the Bleedin' Obvious ?

I'm sure Human Intelligence isn't SUPPOSED to be left on permanent Standby Mode - only to be switched on when occasion demands.

Is it ?

March 6, 2010 at 11:10 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I think the other reason is that as smokers we are being demonised.
So lots of weaker minded people think we are some kind of legitimate target.
So no questions about any of the Junk science and Jouralism hurled our way.
Non smokers are starting to wake up a bit though.
I know this through conversations I have with others.
As now their turning on other lifestyle choices ,maybe they may start to see the attack on smokers for what it is.
The blueprint for the control of the proletareate.
Or just plain old bullying.

March 6, 2010 at 11:34 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Oh my god.
Demonisation again.
Thank you BBC you really scraped the bottom of the distatefull barrell with this one.
This is insinuating smokers kill their children.
This woman is stark raving bonkers.
Or evil ,you decide.
I believe this statement has already been discredited too.
Arnotts statement.
"Smoking by fathers increases the risk of infant death as well. Our organisation supports increasing the price of tobacco because it will encourage smokers to consider quitting and so protect their children."

March 6, 2010 at 11:46 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Specky -

Yes, I think the penny IS starting to drop with a great many - even the 'Dandy'-readers.

(I speak with the unforgiving prejudice of a 'Beano' man, I confess).

And WE have to do our bit to 'de-normalise' the notion of Control - not least by casually dropping the word into our conversation, when opportunity permits.

You've only to plant the seed (which may remain dormant for a while, admittedly).

On the other hand:

Good Ideas - like Bad Jokes - can go 'viral' with surprising speed sometimes.

March 6, 2010 at 11:54 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V


Question to Resident 'Taking Liberties' Shrink:

WHY is it that EVERY time I hear/read the word ARNOTT, I feel the strange urge to construct a guillotine ?

A strangely un-English sentiment which I'm at a loss to explain.......................

March 6, 2010 at 11:59 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

“Such an increase would discourage children from buying cigarettes”. And there was me thinking that it is illegal for children to buy cigarettes.

The cynic in me is asking about the timing of this report. Why put this out now, are they trying to distract the public away from the super fast fund raising that has secured Nick Hogan’s release?

March 6, 2010 at 12:08 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Yep !

March 6, 2010 at 12:22 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Goerbals would be proud.

No, he wouldn't. He'd have been darn annoyed. One thing that Joseph Goebbels really did not like was people spelling his name wrong.

March 6, 2010 at 12:43 | Unregistered Commenteridlex

And Herr G was a smoker, too.

Albeit, off-camera................

March 6, 2010 at 14:11 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I manage to miss all of Danny Baker by switching over to R4 for two hours.

March 6, 2010 at 14:45 | Unregistered Commenterjon

ASH really are playing with fire suggesting increasing cigarette taxes. They are EUR 8.50 for 20 in Ireland and this report from the Irish times sounds like crack or heroin dealers in Brixton, Moss Side, The Bronx or South Central Los Angeles.

"CRIMINAL GANGS are using young people to sell smuggled tobacco door-to-door in housing estates around the State, an Oireachtas committee has heard. Benny Gilsenan, a shopkeeper in Dublin’s north inner city, said 12-14 year olds were being used to offload illegal cigarettes by criminals anxious to avoid detection by gardaí (police)."

March 6, 2010 at 15:06 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Well I suppose it will be a boost to the black economy.
Gangsters have to buy thier flash clothes and cars from ligitimate businesses !

March 6, 2010 at 16:28 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

If smoking and drinking is so dastardly evil why does the State continue to pay benefits which can be used to pay for such things?

Or to put it another way, Why *aren't* ASH calling for cigarettes to be made unavailable to welfare claimants by paying them with food vouchers instead of money?

March 6, 2010 at 18:54 | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Currently Marlboro are approx £19.00 a carton of 200. (£1.90 a pack of 20). Take an Easyjet flight to Sofia and fill yer boots! Yay!

March 6, 2010 at 18:55 | Unregistered CommenterSpartan

lf anyone needs advice on dealing with Customs just drop me a line You can bring as much back as you like regardless of what Customs try to imply. l've been doing it for years and never had any confiscated. Usually bring back a suitcase full.One of the few benefits of being in EU.

March 6, 2010 at 19:12 | Unregistered CommenterSpartan

I buy mine EU .
I'm not paying the mad taxes here.
So how many adult smokers then ,funny old thing ,statistics.
Try 33 % ?.

March 6, 2010 at 21:19 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Spartan -

That's good news indeed.

I assume that means that the airlines don't have their own 'policy' on tobacco amounts - unlike a certain coach company I could mention ?

March 6, 2010 at 21:38 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

When will the Government and the media realise that going to ASH for their expert opinion on smoking-related topics is like going to the BNP for their expert opinion on race issues?


March 6, 2010 at 22:51 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

Mr A -

Perhaps we tend to be too charitable in assuming that it's independent, unbiased advice that they want - rather than the simple confirmation of their own simple prejudices.

Other possible instances spring to mind........

March 7, 2010 at 3:34 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Once a ban is passed, Moaner Industries will immediately open a chain of smoke-easies , secretly situated in disused warehouses, basements and lock-up garages. Forget your filter-tips… forget your roll-ups and the Woodbines. Here, we will employ scores of glamorous hostesses to encourage furtive smokers to buy them those wild and wicked Capstan Full-Strengths... (Cont'd)

March 7, 2010 at 14:43 | Unregistered Commenterlenko

@ martin V
as the resident shrink, I'd like to confirm your impulse is entirely understandable. Especially if the name is pronounced "Arnaulx"

March 7, 2010 at 22:43 | Unregistered CommenterRose

Rose -

Many thanks: I should be able to sleep more easily now.

However, I believe I swore on the latest thread just now. I find this Primal Scream Therapy does much to relieve Arnott-induced tension.

For a while.

Lenko -

'Smoke-easies', eh ?

With the Bad Guys (Smokers) as the new Untouchables, that'd be a smashing piece of Historical Irony.

Big Al would've loved it.................

March 8, 2010 at 9:45 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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