UK Politician Says EU Site Wants To 'Brainwash' Children With Propaganda About Democratic Principles

from the reading-too-much-into-it dept

The UK is famous for its tabloid newspapers and their particular brand of journalism. Here's a fine example from the Daily Express, under the headline "EU attempts to brainwash children with 'sinister Soviet-style propaganda'":

European Parliament chiefs are considering setting up a site to target young children with a "playful" presentation of their working methods and democratic principles.
The Daily Express story is mainly built around a few quotations from the politician Paul Nuttall. He belongs to the UK Independence Party, whose policy in a nutshell is as follows:
the rescue of the British people depends on withdrawal from the EU to regain our self-governing democracy
So it's no surprise that Nuttall has a slightly jaundiced view of anything the European Parliament does. Here are a few of of his comments in the article:
this exercise in funding kiddie propaganda really is cash for EU trash.

...

Our children need to be protected from this type of political propaganda because they are vulnerable and easily manipulated.



Political propaganda on vulnerable kids is a form of child abuse.
What's fascinating here is his choice of words: "kiddie propaganda", "vulnerable and easily manipulated", "a form of child abuse". Whether consciously or not, clear parallels are being drawn here with pornography and even child pornography ("kiddie propaganda") through the use of phrases that are familiar from those fields.

It's also striking that the image chosen by the Daily Express to illustrate the story is the classic perplexed child staring at a screen whose contents we cannot see -- the implication being that there is something bad there, but that we are powerless to protect the innocence of the young viewer. That, too, is something of a cliché in articles about pornography, and it's disconcerting to see it being wheeled out here for an article about promoting democratic principles.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    JT, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:01am

    I'm opposed to censorship but I do wish there was a way to make the tabloid press just shut the hell up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:05am

    Hyperbole is fun to watch, I had a good laugh.

    Although I suspect that many UK citizens will take that seriously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:05am

    The Express hates Europe with a passion that rivals McCarthyism in the US. They need to shut up and do some actual journalism, rather than "WAH WAH YURPE SUX"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:07am

    My own post about how I laughed about it, brings me to another point.

    Why do people read newspapers?

    Well tabloids are fun, I enjoyed them tremendously while in the UK, I just never took anything they said seriously though and when asking others they said the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    Thank you! It is refreshing to actually get a story about something from the less EU-hating side of UK for once.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:14am

    Re:

    agreed, unfortunately, there are parallels with Fox News in the US- there are people who trust the Daily Express above other newspapers. Same with most tabloids, actually. That, and the newspapers don't care about the impact of their stories (witness the phone hacking scandal recently- the newspaper accessing a missing girl's voicemail made her parents hope she was still alive. She was already dead.For that matter, witness the fact that they have apparently been paying off police officers to gt information on cases.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    Big bad immigrants stealing jobs
    Celebrity gossip
    Benefits claimants and their lavish lifestyles
    Celebrity gossip
    Rumours and hyperbole as political commentary
    Celebrity gossip
    Celebrity gossip
    EU vitriol
    Boobs
    Celebrity gossip

    These are the things printed by the tabloids on a daily basis. Anyone with a brain and a penchant for critical thinking will ignore these journalistic parasites.

    There is a lot of quality journalism out there but these tabloids are tainting an entire industry with their non-journalism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Steve4586 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    Ah the Daily Express.

    What a wonderful tome.

    If you believe all you read in the Express you are either a) an idiot, b) committed suicide as a result of the depression created from reading such utterly sensationalist crap.

    In the Express:

    Bad Weather = portent of the world ending
    Anthing to do with the EU = portent of the world ending
    In fact everything = portent of the world ending

    As for the UK independence party, the less said the better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:21am

    Re: Re:

    The fact that there are people who trust the Daily Mail fills me with sadness and vomit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:32am

    Re:

    The problem is, newspapers like the Express and the Daily Fail aren't "tabloids" in the same way as "red tops" like the Sun, Star or Mirror. The latter, with their bawdy headlines, half naked women and the like don't tend to be taken too seriously - at least when they're not insulting Liverpudlians or launching hate campaigns against innocent people like Chris Jeffries.

    The former actually manage to maintain the illusion with many people that they're real journalism, even when they're acting worse than the tabloids. It's been years since I've lived there long enough to get a ground view of things, but the general view when I left was certainly that they're "real" journalism among some crowds. That's definitely worrying given the blatant lies and distortions they get caught with on a regular basis. I hope it's changed, but given the rise in people I seem to be aware of online who repeat their talking points, I doubt it, sadly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:43am

    HOw many

    In the USA 10% of the people participate in The governing..
    20% are sheep..
    70% either dont know how, DONT care, think its to corrupt,...

    The problem tends to be a few...
    SMART people that know POLITICS, dont want the job. That leaves those that DO want the job for their OWN PURPOSES..

    Difficulty comes with REALLY running things as a democracy...
    SHARING KNOWLEDGE..
    FINDING TRUTH..
    making things WORK..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:54am

    Interesting stats. from your rear or actual study ... we may never know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:56am

    "rom the politician Paul Nuttall"

    Hahaha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 5:23am

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Devils_Advocate (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 5:53am

    Yeah, but, whose propaganda?

    Sometimes, it seems propaganda is the only thing coming at you, from all sides.

    You get it from your classic fear-mongering politicians, your sensationalistic gossip press, and of course, your corporate-owned mainstream media.

    In this case, it would be important to know exactly WHAT the proposed EU site intends to "educate your children" about, and how. Otherwise, it's anyone's guess as to what propaganda (if any) is being published, and by whom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 6:37am

    Re:

    Only morons take tabloids seriously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 8:22am

    The response from the European Parliament's Information Office which The Express declined to mention is too large to post here but it's worth reading in full.

    http://tabloid-watch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/we-do-not-normally-find-it-worthwhile.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    Oh the irony

    I run the paper purely for the purpose of making propaganda, and with no other motive.

    Lord Beaverbrook, 1947, owner of the Daily Express

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re:

    Only morons take tabloids seriously.
    Perhaps true, but either way there is sadly no shortage of people who do just that in both the UK and the US...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Re: HOw many

    Well said

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Sambo, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    unless

    "Our children need to be protected from this type of political propaganda because they are vulnerable and easily manipulated.



    Political propaganda on vulnerable kids is a form of child abuse"

    Unless......

    You are using a well known newspaper to spread yours!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    SleepyJohn, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Yeah, but, whose propaganda?

    "Sometimes, it seems propaganda is the only thing coming at you, from all sides.
    You get it from your classic fear-mongering politicians, your sensationalistic gossip press, and of course, your corporate-owned mainstream media."


    Not to mention your empire-building political oligarchies, such as the one that plastered my children's UK school with posters deceitfully insinuating that their daily milk was a gift from the bounteous EU. Or the one that fastened deliberately misleading signs and logos on practically every bridge and road in Scotland implying that they were financed by the EU - when said EU had simply contributed a portion, taken out of the taxes they exact from the UK. There are plenty more examples like those.

    Don't let contempt for the messenger blind you to the danger in the message. This propaganda paints the EU as your benefactor, when it is actually your master - as the ordinary, thrifty folk of Cyprus are about to discover. And they won't be the last.

    Any attempt by the EU to 'educate' your children should be viewed with great concern.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Tex Arcana (profile), Mar 17th, 2013 @ 11:07pm

    Wrong title, Glyn...

    It should read:, "...brainwash children with propaganda about CORPOROCRATIC principles."

    I think that is more correct.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    There is nothing democratic in how the EU creates laws or its president is selected since both are done by secret committee. Democracy can't have secret committees making the laws and choosing its leaders, that would be a oligarchy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    The EU can't "creates laws" and it has never had the power to. Each member state has a choice to ratify any EU suggestions or not

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Jade, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 4:56pm

    Media Literacy is chiefly concerned with increasing awareness of how the media influences personal choice, filters perceptions and beliefs and shapes popular culture. VoxFemme's campaign is for the introduction of a National Media Literacy Week, spearheaded and supported by government, during which media educators, activists and producers coalesce effort and output to engage young people, children, communities, schools and society in general, in thinking more critically about the content and impact of media and towards being more judicious consumers of media output.
    We would like the UK Government to spearhead and support a National Media Literacy week to educate the general population towards more active engagement with media, raise awareness of the impact of media on popular culture and promote more critical media consumption

    Please sign and share
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49014

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This