Benazir Bhutto: Oxford party girl cursed by blood-soaked family dynasty
This tasteful headline, in the tragic hours after this woman's murder, from the UK's Daily Mail tabloid newspaper, was followed by this piece of enlightened wisdom, in the story's opening paragraph: "...to her many critics she was also 'the diva of corruption'".
"Diva of Corruption". In quotes. As if someone - anyone - had even actually said that about her.
A quick Google search revealed that - um, zero pages on the internet called her that - at least, before the Daily Mail headline. The very next day, (I just checked) - 17 references in Google - (and every one of those I bothered to check were simply quoting the Daily Mail article). I'd bet by the time you read this, it's in the thousands...and people forget where it started.
The Daily Mail does not just mis-report reality - it makes it up. And people are stupid enough to follow.
Not only did I spend a day with Benazir Bhutto recently, but The Daily Mail put ME on their front page, too, along with an even more farcical concoction:
Manhunt for Oxford student after St Tropez bar brawl
Not a word of this article was true. Not a single, solitary word.
It was universally reported that Benazir Bhutto was shot. Until it was proved that she wasn't.
Because the press does not report reality. Even when they try to get it right, they never even come close. Ask anyone who's ever been reported on. They always get it wrong. Even when they try!
But often, they don't even try.
Many newspapers in the world are doing badly these days. They don't have the money to actually report. So they "report" the results of their Google searches. And so they end up reporting, as fact, the vivid imaginations of the creative writing professionals at the UK tabloid "news" papers.
The "news" is in quotes, not the papers, as it is indeed paper, good for wrapping up fish, certainly not "news".
The thing about Benazir Bhutto being shot came from at least one witness, a photographer who was interviewed on television, available within minutes on Google.
Yet witness statements are notoriously inaccurate. There is a famous experiment often done in university lecture halls, by psychologists. A man runs into the hall and grabs the lecturer's bag. She immediately says, don't worry, this was just a set-up, to test your abilities as eye-witnesses. "How many remember that his hat was red?" Something like 75-85% percent will. "Blue?" 10-15%.
But, of course, he wasn't wearing a hat.
People are enormously susceptible to suggestion. The photographer thinks he saw Bhutto shot. It gets repeated, again and again, amplified through repetition, and becomes accepted as fact.
In the witch trials in Salem, in the late 1600s, Harvard educated men swore they saw women turn into cats, or fly on broomsticks. Several decades later, a teenage girl confessed that she had fomented most of this. She, like the photographer who "saw" Bhutto shot, would claim she saw someone flying on a broomstick. Quietly. Never making a fuss about it.
Soon, she would be forgotten. But not the flying witch.
This is no joke. People were KILLED because of this. Not by some uneducated mob. But, after fully legal trials, conducted by Harvard educated judges (the only local university at the time was Harvard, so the judges were virtually all, to a man, Harvard educated, as well as many of the witnesses.)
And like the psychology students who immediately remembered the red hat when they were asked about it, even though it didn't exist, people would actually remember seeing someone fly on a broom - even though - I hope we can all agree, self-evidently - no one had flown on a broom.
That story about "me"? It was a bit worse, as someone actually had a motive - which I'll get into elsewhere - to make people believe it - but it simply wasn't true. Nor the bizarre and surreal biography of "me" (in reality a conflation of several people with similar names, with a good dash of fiction thrown in to spice it up to Daily Mail standards). Nothing but my name was right.
To make matters worse, Daily Mail is known to just make stuff up. Deliberately. It's part of British tabloid culture. As my friend said, when I mentioned the headline about the tragically murdered Benazir Bhutto -
Your problem is that you're american. In the states (a country which has
not been free for nearly 1000 years) the journalists are seen as the
fourth estate ,the last check and balance, the last break between tyranny
of government and the trumpet of the will of the masses.
Here they're just blood sucking scum.
The Daily Mail's primary reason is to reinforce the distorted world-view of its readers, and grab attention with crazy headlines.
The press might being doing badly in some parts of the world, but the press in the UK makes gobs of money, more in many cases than television. Lying is big business.
Let me just repeat, then - no one in the universe had ever called Benazir Bhutto what they said she was called, the "Diva of Corruption", if Google is to be believed, before The Daily Mail did. They just made it up. And Benazir Bhutto was not shot. The story about me has not a word of truth in it.
They just made it up.
Benazir Bhutto's friends and family, and my friends and family, were the victims of one of The Daily Mail's stock plots. Rich Oxford person is bad. Famous families are bad. We (the poor, dribbling, fuck-headed masses), are good, as we take our fat, mis-shapen bodies to work on the bus or tube, spilling crumbs on these vile sheets of lies.
Someday, I plan to turn this site - Anti-News.com (with a dash) - into a full-blown thing on news versus reality.
This is just a placeholder page, for now.
But if you'd like to keep in touch, you can do so, here. When I open the site, I promise to send a present to everyone who's been kind enough to put their name down here...probably a free song, or book, or CD - who knows...
J. A. Washington