There are no risks, although there might be if there was some real investigative journalism, there are no considerations, apart from ensuring that the master’s brief is adhered to, and the only cost might be damage to the daily drivel’s own credibility, but that is not really worth very much anyway. Therefore, there is no upping the ante and, on terra firma, ‘The Guardian’ today has nothing better to do than rabbit on and wear us down with its continuing corruption and censorship in China narrative. It is, however, when that narrative is given the sort of bottom up attention that it hardly deserves that things become interesting.
The interest doesn’t come from any additional news content in today’s article, even if the censors in China are apparently no longer content just to ban editors “from covering the Panama Papers leak”, but have also now “stepped up their censorship of websites, ordering all content related to the Panama Papers to be scrubbed as new revelations emerged of how relatives of some of the country’s top leaders had used secretive offshore companies to store their wealth.”
No, this is hack journaism at its worse. However, it is when the article refers to Sarah Cook, a “China specialist” from Freedom House, contending that the disclosures have lead to not only public anger, but also to the possibility of opposition to the Chinese president from within the party itself, that our interest is awakened. However, this interest is not because of the news content per se, but rather because a “specialist” from Freedom House is spouting off her tuppence worth. Or, might there be the beginnings of social unrest and an internal party coup in Beijing? Poppycock, of course!
It would appear that Ilya Lozovsky, an assistant editor of ‘Democracy Lab’, handles Freedom House with kid gloves in his article at ‘Foreign Policy’ when he gives his article the heading, “Freedom House’s index of freedom is flawed – but the story it tells is indispensible”. This is the kind of tone to be expected from someone who, after all, worked for the organisation. However, a skimming and scanning is enough to reveal that the author articulates some very strange positions considering some of the conclusions he appears to have reached.
For instance, not only does he seem to agree that Freedom House has a “neo-liberal bias”, but he also questions its methodology and in doing so directs us to Jay Ulfelder, a political scientist and independent consultant, who finds all sorts of flaws in the organisation’s conclusions. Nevertheless, Mr Lozovsky still seems to think that although flawed “Freedom House’s ratings still matter” and that “they are a crucial tool for pro-democracy activists.”
The organisation has a neo-liberal bias and its findings are flawed, yet they “still matter”, even although Nils D. Steiner from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz substantiates that there is both bias and flawed methodology in Freedom House’s findings when he writes:
“Differentiating between the period before 1989 and after 1988, I obtain consistent evidence of a substantial bias in the FH ratings for the former period. For the latter period, the estimates are a little less consistent and hint to a smaller, but still existent political bias in the FH scores.”
One might wonder what kind of gobbledygook Orwellian world humanity finds itself in when flawed methods and inaccurate findings from a biased organisation matter?
What kind of world, indeed, and it is a world where newspapers like ‘The Guardian’ discharge their drivel based on sources from. biased organisations which use unscientific methods and flawed findings. Pseudo information which deflects from the real problem, which is in this case is global tax avoidance by the 1% at the expense of the rest of us, and which always has an ulterior motive. Therefore, the next time the hacks from the mainstream media give the Anti-defamation League, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, the National Endowment for Democracy, or one of thousands of other organisations as the source of its information, look into who exactly is behind that source.