Propaganda Agendas

The BBC are going to give the Director General who’s resigned after 54 days in office a £1.32 million golden parachute. Isn’t that kind of them? I make that nearly £25,000/day.

But why this is not going to change is illustrated by the Telegraph story which tells us the Patten has approved a £1.32 million severance package for George Entwistle, after 54 days in place as director-general.

This is a society where the élites have abolished the penalties for their own failures. The slime rises to the top, screws up and gets handsomely rewarded for so doing. In the fullness of time, one expects Entwistle to be given a lucrative job on the fringes, to “compensate” him for the indignity of being fired.

And the new DG has walked out of a TV interview. I wonder how much he’ll get when he goes?

Anyway, I was arguing last night that one-way bullhorn broadcast media are inherently propaganda media. For example, the principal role of the BBC during WW2 was to maintain civilian morale. And if that’s your agenda, you can’t just baldly report the news, particularly if it’s very bad news. No, you have to look on the bright side.

So when the French army surrendered in 1940, and the British army had retreated to Dunkirk, and was facing complete annihilation, the bright side was that an armada of little boats sailed across the channel, and took them all back to England. And that’s the heart-warming British story of Dunkirk: it’s one of heroic rescue against all odds. The preceding catastrophic military defeat has been overshadowed by the subsequent heroic rescue. So Dunkirk was made into something to feel good about, and even proud of.

And I imagine that, during the subsequent London Blitz, after a day when thousands of homes had been destroyed, and hundreds of lives lost, and a couple of enemy bombers shot down, photos of the downed bombers would be on the front pages of newspapers the next morning, with the farmer who shot them both down standing proudly next to one, shotgun in hand. It gave people something to feel good about.

And this sort of agenda-driven news management has continued in peacetime. The 2007 pub smoking ban was carefully managed, essentially by down-rating its importance, and barely mentioning it in the news, apart from brief interviews of a couple of grateful smokers. And everyone said what a great success it had been. Just like Dunkirk.

The agenda of the media wing of Tobacco Control is to denormalise smoking, and everything is subservient to that goal. And so it plays up the faintest shred of evidence about the dangers of tobacco, and plays down any benefits. So how would they spin this report in Medical News?

Lung cancer in females will rise thirty-times faster than in males over the next thirty years in the United Kingdom, according to a new report by King’s College London, and funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.

The authors of the report say that the number of annual deaths among women in the UK will rise from approximately 26,000 in 2010 to about 95,000 in 2040 – an increase of over 350%.

Male annual cancer deaths over the same period are expected to rise by 8%, from 39,000 in 2010 to 42,000 in 2040.

Almost no mention in Medical News of smoking at all, apart from the rather half-hearted bleat at the end:

The majority of lung cancer patients are either current regular smokers or used to be.

Today’s BBC coverage of the same story, however, emphasizes smoking far more, with a helpful picture included:

Lung cancer kills more people in the UK than any other cancer. Cases of lung cancer reflect smoking rates two to three decades earlier, and about 80% of cases are linked to tobacco.

The peak time for smoking in women was in the 1960s – 20 years after the peak in male smoking.

 A bit further down is added, rather tersely:

…this will largely be due to an ageing population.

So the increase in lung cancer will be the result of increased longevity, not peak smoking 60 years previously. But they had to link it to smoking all the same, didn’t they?

The propaganda agenda of the past 60 years has required that smoking always be mentioned in the same breath as lung cancer, and the link repeatedly emphasized. And today the BBC was doing exactly that once again, in the middle of a crisis that has, oddly enough, grown out of telling lies based on shoddy research.



About Frank Davis

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17 Responses to Propaganda Agendas

  1. Tom says:

    Information on how to do propaganda, by the German National Socialist Party, 1920’s thru 30’s:

    Almost everything described in these “how to” manuals pretty much is what the Anti-Smoking Industry has followed to a tee.

    For newspaper propaganda back then, the National Socialist Party had a special propaganda guidebook that was kept in secret by all newspaper editors and by following the guidelines in the book, all newspapers could be kept on the same wavelength reinforcing one another and the party.

    Nowadays, with modern electronic communications, I imagine the propaganda of the Anti-Smoking Industry can be kept extremely cohesive and repetitively so worldwide and subtly enough to remain undetectable to the casual reading/listening/viewing public.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      An excerpt from an antismoking “advocacy toolkit” (from a Canadian toolkit, but will be very

      similar around the world). These “toolkits” sport very few, if any, facts. It highlights the tricks/tactics used to contrive appearances – from flooding comments boards with inflammatory rhetoric, to conducting their own “polls”, to giving the appearance of wholesale public support for smoking bans – to manipulate the public and politicians/law-makers:

      “For the next few months, strive to ensure there are positive media stories, letters to the editor, etc., that tout how well the bylaw changes are working. There will no doubt be a backlash from smokers in the beginning until they get used to the changes.

      In the meantime, you have to counter their negative comments in the media, in comment sections of online news pieces and blogs, on radio call-in shows, etc.
      Your job is to make politicians continue to believe that they did the right thing.”
      It is not unheard of for councillors to backtrack on their decision and water down legislation.” (p. 48)

      Click to access Smoke-free%20outdoor%20spaces%20advocacy%20-sept2010.pdf

      Even if a smoking ban has produced catastrophe, the role of the antismoking activist is to assure the public and law-makers in particular that the ban is a “resounding success”, that even smokers are ecstatic about being further marginalized. It is all activism of the worst kind.

      Antismoking activists are – demonstrably – destructive pathological liars. Those that have been given obscene amounts of funding have become professional liars, i.e., propagandists.

  2. beobrigitte says:

    Lung cancer kills more people in the UK than any other cancer. Cases of lung cancer reflect smoking rates two to three decades earlier, and about 80% of cases are linked to tobacco.

    The peak time for smoking in women was in the 1960s – 20 years after the peak in male smoking.
    An analysis by King’s College London for Macmillan suggests there will be an overall doubling of lung cancer cases from 65,000 in 2010 to 137,000 in 2040. This will largely be due to an ageing population.

    So the increase in lung cancer will be the result of increased longevity, not peak smoking 60 years previously. But they had to link it to smoking all the same, didn’t they?

    60 years latency of the manifestation of lung cancer caused by active smoking? Aren’t we led to believe that a whiff of “passive smoke” has killer potential?

    He said research was a key part of improving lung cancer outcomes, and added: “It is nonsensical that research in this area receives such minimal funding compared with other cancers. This has to change.”

    In which case the first step could be to use the monies wasted on anti-smoking brigade for the improvement of (the current medieval) treatment of cancers. One could be tempted into thinking that improved treatment for cancer (especially lung cancer) is not on the WHO agenda as this would make the whole anti-smoking cause obsolete.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      Smoker prevalence has been declining for both males and females since 1970 (ages 35 – 59) . In males the LC rate has gone down and in females it has gone up (ages 60 – 64).
      As far as I can see the pattern of lung cancer in both sexes is poorly explained by differing smoking rates (if smoking is supposed to cause 80% of cases).

  3. briartuck says:

    Is it just me, or is there a glaring non-sequitur in there somewhere?
    1. “annual deaths among women will rise… …to about 95,000 in 2040”
    2. “Cases of lung cancer reflect smoking rates two to three decades earlier”
    3. “The peak time for smoking in women was in the 1960s”

    If female smoking prevalence peaked in the 1960s, and lung cancer case numbers reflect smoking prevalence from “two or three decades earlier”, then female lung cancer cases should therefore have peaked in the 1990s.

    Why, then, are we being told that they will rise at least until 2040?
    Someone call Anna — the figures need re-fudging.

    ~ BT

    • Frank Davis says:

      You’re quite right. There is. It does not follow.

      In fact, I found myself wondering whether it was put there quite deliberately for people to trip over.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        We have a mental disorder on hold to be issued with every new ban movement:

        Nord Med. 1994;109(4):121-5.
        [Environmental somatization syndrome. How to deal with the external milieu syndrome?].
        [Article in Swedish]
        Nilsson CG, Göthe CJ, Molin C.
        SourceMed Rehabiliteringskliniken, Huddinge Sjukhus.

        Somatization is a tendency to experience and communicate psychogenic distress in the form of somatic symptoms and to seek medical help for them. Patients suffering from environmental somatization syndrome (ESS) consider their symptoms to be caused by exposure to chemical or physical components of the external environment or by ergonomic stress at work. ESS is distinguished by mental contagiousness and a tendency to cluster. Sometimes it explodes in wide-spread epidemics that may be escalated by mass-media campaigns. Extensive ESS epidemics have been connected to, i.a., arsenic, carbon monoxide (“generator gas poisoning”), mercury (“oral galvanism”), carbon-free copy papers, electromagnetic fields (“electric allergy”) and repetitive movements (“repetition strain injury”, RSI). The typical patient directs the interest on the external environment, refuses alternative explanations of his symptoms and abhors any suggestion of a psychogenic etiology.

        The community is often placed in difficult positions by lobby groups calling for drastic measures to eliminate alleged disease-inducing exposures. When hygienic evils occur simultaneously with an ESS epidemic, it is essential to strictly differ the hygienic problems from the ESS problems. If mismanaged, measures aimed at reducing hygienic inconveniences may aggravate the complex of ESS problems.

        Come help us spread the fear!

    • garyk30 says:

      Actually, one can not make a comparison between the total number of LC deaths and smoking rates.
      The comparison should be between the total number of deaths and the total number of smokers; or, between the incidence rate of deaths and the incidence rate of smoking.

      Total number of LC deaths has been increasing for decades and(in America) the total number of current smokers has pretty much stayed the same.

      There were about 50 million smokers in 1965 and there are about 46 million now.The incidence rate declined due to the increase in the number of adults from about 118 million adults to about 230 million adults.
      Year Ever-smokers Current-smokers Ex-smokers Adult population

      (numbers in millions)

      1965 66.2 50.1 16.1 118.2

      1970 71.9 48.1 23.8 128.6

      1974 74.7 48.9 25.8 132

      1980 83.6 51.6 36.5 155

      1985 90.8 50.4 40.4 167

      1990 90 45.8 44.2 180

      1995 91.8 47.2 44.6 191

      2000 90.6 46.5 44 200

      2005 91.5 45.1 46.4 216

      2009 96.5 46.6 49.9 230

      The risk for lung cancer is the same for never-smokers and ex-smokers that have quit for 15 years or more.
      90% of the ex’s have the same risk for lung cancer as never-smokers and their lung cancer deaths can not be attributed to smoking.

  4. garyk30 says:


    Click to access Tobacco-Trend-Report.pdf

    Table 3
    We find that in 1965, there were(in America) 21 million female smokers and in 2009 there were 20 million female smokers.
    Not much change. There is no huge increase or decrease over the years.

    We also find that in 1965 there were 3.1 million smokers over the age of 65 and in 2009 there were 3.6 million smokers over the age oof 65.
    Not much change there, either. The 16% increase comes no where near explaining the magnitudes of increase in lung cancer deaths over that period of time.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Nanny was causing LC,they are the only ones besides pharma making any money from it!

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    The illicit trade protocol has been adopted in Seoul without calls for a ban on duty-free tobacco sales
    Duty-free tobacco sales were given a boost today (November 13) with the adoption of the illicit trade protocol at the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Seoul as its text does not include a ban on duty-free tobacco, although it does subject the channel to further scrutiny in the future.

    Following the adoption of the protocol, it needs to be ratified by individual states. Once the protocol has been ratified by at least 40 countries, it will come into effect and become binding on signatory parties.

    Earlier this year, at the fifth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB5) in Geneva the parties involved agreed a way forward to tackle the illicit trade of tobacco, marking the end of a process spanning five years to defend duty-free tobacco sales from claims that they contributed to illicit trade.

    European Travel Retail Confederation secretary general Keith Spinks told DFNIonline: “As per the original agreement they would not go back to review what had been decided at the INB5, so it was reasonably straightforward. What it means now is that it will open for signature next year, and once 40 countries sign up it becomes binding on the parties that ratified it. What happens then depends on how fast countries sign up to it, and then we can start looking at all the rules and provisions of the protocol.

    He added: “We are now back where we were at INB5, when the parties agreed that within five years of the adoption of the protocol an investigation into duty-free would take place [to ascertain the extent of any link between duty-free sales and illicit trade]. We are happy with that.”

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank tomorros blog roll!

    Researchers Debate a License to Smoke Cigarettes

    Simple Simon’s at it again
    They do it for coal-burning power plants. So how about something for what many consider to be a walking smokestack — the cigarette smoker?

    Yes, a license to smoke. Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney in Australia, offers this radical proposal to help reduce the damaging health effects of tobacco, both for the user and the recipient of second-hand smoke.

    You may think this is brilliant … or crazy … or both. Chapman’s proposal appears today (Nov. 13) in the online journal PLoS Medicine, accompanied by an opposing view put forth by Jeff Collin, a professor of global health policy from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

    Both Chapman and Collin agree on the basics: Prolonged use of tobacco causes the death of about half its users; no other human activity, including war, is responsible for more deaths annually; and cigarettes may cause more than a billion premature deaths by the end of this century if things don’t change, according to World Health Organization estimates.

    What the researchers disagree on, however, is how to change things. Chapman calls for an extreme approach.

    Argument for a license

    The gist of Chapman’s proposal is for governments to issue a smartcard to tobacco users to limit access to tobacco products and also to encourage them to quit. He suggests a limit of 50 cigarettes per day averaged over two weeks, enough to accommodate heavy smokers. [Infographic: Who Still Smokes?]

    There would be a fee for the license, based on usage, that “would neither be trivial nor astronomical … [but] set at a sufficient level to give smokers some pause in deciding whether to obtain or renew their license,” Chapman wrote.

    We have this system already, Chapman said, in the form of drug prescriptions that act as a “temporary license” for substances that can be dangerous if used improperly.

    As for the smartcard, this would not be onerous to obtain, but indeed would be mandatory for all tobacco purchases. Abusers of the system — both retailers and consumers — would face sharp fines. Japan has such a system in place for purchasing cigarettes from vending machines.

    Wait, wait: Before you brush this off with the assumption that it would create a black market economy or that it smacks of Big Brother, Chapman fields these and most other arguments in his proposal, available for free viewing at PLOS Medicine.

    For example, if obtaining a license is not difficult, a smoker has little incentive to purchase cigarettes from a criminal, and black-market sellers have no profit motive, Chapman told LiveScience. [Never Too Late: 5 Bad Habits You Should Still Quit]

    “Opponents of the idea would be quick to suggest that Orwellian social engineers would soon be calling for licenses to drink alcohol and to eat junk food or engage in any ‘risky’ activity,” Chapman added. “This argument rests on poor public understanding of the magnitude of the risks of smoking relative to other cumulative everyday risks to health.”

    The counter-argument

    That said, Collin, a public health expert in his own right, respectfully disagrees with Chapman. He thinks that issuing smoking licenses is implausible in most countries, except maybe in Singapore or places with advanced infrastructure and relatively strict social policy rules already in place.

    Collin said that a smoking license would increase stigmatization of smokers and also shift focus away from the tobacco industry, which he claims is the real culprit in the global smoking epidemic.

    “A fundamental challenge confronting any endgame strategy is that the move towards a tobacco-free society should address the social determinants of health and promote equity and social justice,” Collin wrote. “The proposal for a smoker’s license should be rejected as failing this challenge.”

    Regardless of the method, several countries — Singapore and New Zealand, for example — have stated goals of having smoke-free populations within a generation or two, Chapman said. Other developed nations have set a goal of lowering the smoking prevalence to under 10 percent of the population, down from a current level of around 20 to 30 percent.

    These countries have implemented advertising bans, widespread smoke-free policies, large graphic warnings, and, most recently, plain packaging. As with Chapman’s proposal for a tobacco license, however, these current controls would have seemed unimaginable a few generations ago.

    See Collin’s counter-argument also in PLoS Medicine.

  8. jaxthefirst says:

    Smoking or smoking-related stories these days intrigue me. It’s almost as if a memo has gone round from the editors-in-chief of all the major media outlets with a general instruction to all of their writers to always mention smoking in any cancer-related story, but that the writers themselves – unlike in previous years – are much less keen to do so. The odd stuck-in-at-random placing of the smoking-related sentences in both of these articles almost seem as if the writer put them in as something of an afterthought. Sort of along the lines of: “Oh, ummm, I’ll stick the obligatory ‘smoking’ sentence in – errrrr – here.” They almost seem like incidental sentences which don’t really belong in the story.

    Neither do either of these articles seem to be bothered by the obvious mathematical inaccuracies, as pointed out by both Frederik and Briartuck, which even a maths-dumbo like me can see. Previously all sorts of wordy machinations would have been used to confuse the issue so that the obvious lack of a link in this predicted rise to cigarette smoking wasn’t so obvious – in fact, in previous years the figures bit might even have been omitted altogether so that there’d be no possibility that the mathematical contradictions could be spotted.

    I know that Harley and I are almost alone in thinking that these days Tobacco Control are simply putting a tenaciously brave face on the fact that they’re on the run, but every new initiative I hear emanating from the Tobacco Control propaganda presses these days seems to echo with the sound of the bottom of the barrel being scraped, and every news article touching the subject just doesn’t seem to have the same enthusiasm for “blame it all on smoking” that it used to. Who knows? Maybe journalists have got bored with being used as mouthpieces for whichever popular cause their editors might happen to support and are re-developing an inclination to report news, rather than made-up stories. My goodness! What is the world coming to?? Next we’ll be hearing about scientists wanting to do real research instead of just doing a few tests to confirm a predetermined outcome! How utterly unthinkable!

  9. junican says:

    It’s time that we started using their propaganda bible against them.

    In the Doll’s Doctors Study (which began in 1951), 31,000 male doctors took part. Of these, 5,400 were non-smokers, 4,800 were ex-smokers and 21,000 were smokers. After 40 YEARS there had been 900 cases of lung cancer deaths (all kinds of lung cancers) out of 20,000 deaths all together in that period of 40 years. According to Doll’s mathematics (statistics is mathematics and not science), smoker LC’s outnumbered non-smoker LCs by about 30 to 1. Even so, out of 21,000 persons (over the age of 25) who were smokers in 1951, by 1991, when the youngest of these people would have been at least 65, only some 900 at most had contracted lung cancer. If that is proof that smoking causes lung cancer, I’ll eat my hat.

    But we see the propagandists’ trick, do we not? They concentrate on the difference between the mathematics of smokers and the mathematics of non-smokers. They avoid like the plague any mention of the actual totals.

    Only in the vague, generalized assertion that ‘tobacco kills half its users’ do totals appear. Even then, they are not mentioned in detail. Heart failure, as cause of death, appears twice as often for smokers as for non-smokers. The propagandists mention that, but they do not mention that pneumonia polishes off vast numbers of over 80s. [Pneumonia is classed as ‘a disease’, but, in reality it is more akin to drowning. It occurs when very old lungs are no longer capable of dealing with common or garden detritus which enters the lungs when we breathe]

    I have just completed Part 2 of my summary of the 40 year Doctors Study Report by Doll. In the graphs, there is one which shows that people who give up smoking before the age of 35 actually outlive non-smokers! Here is the URL for my summary:

    ASH is just the Tobacco Control advertising agency. It is not worth taking on. The quack doctors and professors are one step up, but they are not the ‘top people’. I am pretty sure that Hastings is in overall charge of propaganda. We know that there is this Australian/New Zealander (not sure which) named Black in the DoH who is deeply involved at the top. Those are the people who are really behind the persecution of smokers. Those are the people to go after.

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