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“Childishly apocalyptic polemic” October 7, 2009

Posted by dissident93 in Medialens.

Steven Poole (author of Unspeak) criticises Medialens’s book, Newspeak, in his Non-fiction review roundup for the Guardian:

[Medialens] claim that “the BBC is part of a system of thought control complicit in the deaths of millions of people abroad, in severe political oppression at home, and in the possible termination of human life on this planet”. So runs their counterproductive tendency to bathe everything in childishly apocalyptic polemic; they also affect to know what is going on “unconsciously” in journalists’ minds, and seem unaware that their own preferred descriptions of events are often just as rhetorically framed as the versions of the “psychopathic corporate media” (on which they nonetheless rely for factual reference).

Who knows what Medialens’s disciples will make of that. Perhaps they’ll see Poole as an unwitting “servant of Power”, or something. Anything but allow that he might have a point. I’ve read Poole’s book, Unspeak – it’s full of useful observations, and although it owes something to George Lakoff’s approach, it struck me as being original and “radical”. Which is more than can be said of Medialens’s output.

Poole is smart enough to immediately home in on Medialens’s own special “rhetorical framing”, which creates its own forms of “newspeak” and “thoughtcrime”. I imagine Orwell spinning in his grave over Medialens’s inappropriate and/or unintentionally ironic book title.

Postscript: other reviews

In addition to Steven Poole’s Guardian piece (see above), there are a couple of other reviews of Newspeak that I found perceptive:

Through a lens darkly, by Phil Chamberlain – for Tribune magazine
Attack of the Clones, by Max Dunbar – for 3:AM magazine