Media Lens

Media Lens is a British media analysis website established in 2001 by David Cromwell and David Edwards.[1] Cromwell and Edwards are the site's editors and only regular contributors.[2][3] Their aim is to scrutinise and question the mainstream media's coverage of significant events and issues and to draw attention to what they consider "the systemic failure of the corporate media to report the world honestly and accurately".[4][5]

Media Lens
Screenshot from Media Lens (22 March 2013)
Type of site
Media analysis
Available inEnglish
EditorDavid Cromwell and David Edwards

The editors, whose site is financed by donations from website visitors,[5] issue regular "Media Alerts" concentrating on those mainstream media outlets legally obliged to be impartial (the BBC and Channel 4 News) or usually considered liberal[6] like The Guardian[7] and The Independent. The site's editors frequently draw attention to what they see as the limits within which the liberal media operates,[8] and provide "a riveting expose of the myth of liberal media based on a variety of empirical case studies", according to Graham Murdock and Michael Pickering.[9]

Media Lens is admired by John Pilger, who called the website "remarkable" and described the writers as "the cyber guardians of honest journalism".[10] Other journalists, in particular Peter Oborne,[11] have also made positive comments about the group, although it has come into conflict with other journalists. The Observer's foreign editor Peter Beaumont asserted that the group operated a "campaign" against John Sloboda and the Iraq Body Count (accusing the latter of underestimating the number of casualties).[12] George Monbiot has also criticised Media Lens for their defence of Edward S. Herman against charges of "belittling the acts of genocide".[13]

Foundation and influences

By the late 1990s, David Edwards had concluded that there was a "media suppression of the truth about the effect of the sanctions" against Iraq, and an indifference to climate change: "the media were still celebrating the idea that Britain might soon be blessed with a Mediterranean climate". Another motivation came from interviewing Denis Halliday, former head of the UN’s humanitarian aid program, after concluding its actions in Iraq were "genocidal".[14]

Meanwhile, David Cromwell had found coverage of certain issues to be "paltry",[15] and had gained a negligible response from the newspapers to which he had written.[16] The two men first met in 1999, and Edwards suggested beginning a collaborative website.[17]

Central to Media Lens analysis is the Propaganda model, first developed by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, in their book Manufacturing Consent (1988).[18][19] The theory posits that the way in which news media is structured (through advertising, media ownership, government sourcing and others) creates an inherent conflict of interest which leads to systemic bias and propaganda for undemocratic forces.[18][19] Edwards has also cited Erich Fromm, who thought "a society that subordinates people and planet to profit is inherently insane and toxic",[14] and his practice of Buddhism as influences.[20]

Activities and main arguments

Since 2001, in regular online Media Alerts, the editors scrutinise media coverage, the arguments used, source selection, and the framing of events to highlight what they see as incidents of bias or omissions, or direct lies.[21][22] Their media alerts are distributed without charge by email to an international readership, according to Media Lens in 2009, of around 14,000 people. The website is financed through website user donations.[21][5]

The editors engage in email and Twitter exchanges with British journalists and editors,[5][8] Cromwell and Edwards invite their readers to challenge journalists, editors and programme producers directly via email, specifically discouraging abusive contact.[18][23][24][25]

According to Cromwell and Edwards, journalists in the mainstream media articulate an "'official' version of events ... as Truth. The testimony of critical observers and participants" and "especially those on the receiving end of Western firepower – are routinely marginalised, ignored and even ridiculed."[17] They believe that mainstream journalists gradually absorb an unquestioning corporate mindset as their careers progress, becoming unwilling to question their occupations or governments claims, but not consciously lying.[26] In Cromwell and Edwards' opinion, western government actions have followed "a historical pattern of deception" going back several centuries,[27] while they assert that "the corporate media is the source of some of the greatest, most lethal illusions of our age".[27] Edwards has written, that because of these corporate distortions, "we believe, society is not told the truth about the appalling consequences of corporate greed for poor people in the Third World, and for the environment."[28]

In an interview with the New Left Project website in August 2011, they said journalist Seumas Milne "hints in this direction, but that's all. And he is the Guardian's chief 'dissident' figleaf – he is as good as it gets".[29][30] The Guardian's Michael White, in January 2012 accused Media Lens of suggesting the newspaper's two most left-wing writers, Milne and George Monbiot "trim their sails and pull their punches to accommodate their paymasters".[31] He added: "Media Lens doesn't do subtle. Nor do its more acceptable heroes, such as John Pilger or [The Independent's] Robert Fisk".[31]

A former supporter,[32] the philosopher Rupert Read has criticised their use of "extremely dubious" source material including Michel Chossudovsky, whom he calls a conspiracy theorist,[32][33] "Not unusually, one has to go to media such as" RT and Press TV "to find any coverage", Cromwell wrote in September 2016 (he was considering coverage of the Yemeni Civil War), which are "so often bitterly denigrated as 'propaganda' operations by corporate journalists".[34]

According to Cromwell and Edwards, the liberal wing of the mainstream media are gatekeepers "of acceptable debate from a left or Green perspective, 'thus far and no further'"[35] and insist that in a corporate system dissenting views have difficulty gaining attention.[5][6] They have contrasted positive comments the mainstream media make about western leaders, with the epithets used to describe politicians such as Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's former President.[36] The "far-left pressure group" are "doughty defenders of Venezuela's revolutionary regime", according to Oliver Kamm,[37] while the journalist and academic John Rentoul has accused them of being defenders of the government of North Korea.[38]

In 2013, they described the corporate media as "an extremist fringe" from which progressives should completely dissociate themselves.[39] Media Lens has been critical of dissenting voices, like John Pilger, who work in the mainstream media.[40] While considering the Australian-born journalist a "huge inspiration", they argue that Pilger's "work is used to strengthen the propaganda system‘s false claims of honesty and openness".[17] However, around 2006 when Seumas Milne was Guardian comment editor, they asserted, "he won’t publish Pilger". Pilger they believed was not published by the paper "because he’s honest about the media" and "draws attention to the vital role of the entire liberal media establishment in crimes against humanity. So he is persona non grata".[41] Pilger himself in a New Internationalist interview in 2010 believed Media Lens "has broken new ground with the first informed and literate analysis and criticism of the liberal media".[42] By December 2002, nearly 18 months after the site's creation, Pilger was already describing Media Lens as "becoming indispensable".[22]

In May 2011,[14] and more extensively in January 2015, they advocated "a collective of high-profile writers and journalists willing to detach themselves from corporate and state media, and to place themselves entirely at the mercy of the public" with their output freely available "from a single media outlet" and financed by donations.[43] "The support would be vast, if the initiative was posited as an alternative to the biocidal, corruption-drenched corporate media", they said in an interview with The Colossus website in January 2016.[44] An advocacy on Twitter by one of the editor's for young writers to "follow your bliss" (a term coined by the American writer Joseph Campbell) and contribute "what you absolutely love to write to inspire and enlighten other people" rather than bothering about prestige or financial reward led to extensive responses on the social media platform.[45] The journalist James Ball argued writers should try the mainstream first to gain attention for their work as "virtually all of the best journalism comes out of 'corporate' or 'mainstream' media", such as the parliamentary expenses scandal, "the exposure of offshore leaks", "Iraq War Logs", "Libor rigging", and "dozens of other major pieces of accountability stories".[46]

General responses

Oliver Boyd-Barrett, an academic specialising in Communications Studies, has said that Media Lens possess a "relentless commitment" to assessing the media "on criteria of rationality and humanity, for what they write and fail to write, and doing so in a tone that is determinedly polite and respectful, even when the content is highly critical".[5] Journalist Owen Jones has written that the editors' "attack me with even more force than writers who actually defend the status quo. Those writers confirm their analysis, after all: my presence disrupts it, and therefore I’m actually arguably worse", accusing them of "once tweeting a paragraph I wrote summing up the arguments of those who attacked critics of Obama, and pretending those arguments were what I actually thought".[2]

Peter Barron, former editor of the BBC's Newsnight commented in 2005: "In fact I rather like them. David Cromwell and David Edwards, who run the site, are unfailingly polite, their points are well-argued and sometimes they're plain right."[47]

Peter Beaumont argued in June 2006 that Media Lens "insist that the only acceptable version of the truth is theirs alone and that everybody else should march to the same step", and described them as "controlling Politburo lefties".[12] Padraig Reidy wrote in a piece for Little Atoms, that Media Lens "is only ever asking questions it thinks it already knows the answer to".[48] According to Sarah Ditum in August 2015, Media Lens are "largely engaged in an endless project of separating the anti-war sheep from the goats to be purged."[49] Edwards in response to Ditum wrote: "We, of course, have neither the power nor the desire to 'purge' anyone for anything".[50]

David Wearing, writing for openDemocracy in September 2015, commented that while the group has "a vocal, dedicated following", it also has "a long record of alienating potential allies with their purity tests and aggressive oversimplifications."[51] "Alienating potential allies does not produce an effective affront to parliamentary or corporate power", wrote Elliot Murphy in May 2014. "At best makes a few hundred people (or sometimes thousands...) that bit more cautious and sceptical about what they read in the papers."[8] Michael White in May 2016 thought their work suggests "their own editing priorities may be as partisan and un-self-aware as the corporates they so severely condemn".[52]

The group's email campaigns, according to Peter Beaumont in The Observer, amount to contact from "a train spotters' club run by Uncle Joe Stalin".[12] John Rentoul wrote about this aspect of Media Lens in 2011. Such an email exchange,

"may continue until journalist is too busy to reply or until the snarl of Chomskian-Pilgerism is unwittingly betrayed and journalist realises he or she has not been engaging with a reasonable person. At this point, Media Lens adherent then posts the email chain on the sect's website, without notice or permission [beginning a thread]. This is supposed to embarrass the apologist for the corporate media/torture/Tony Blair and expose him to ridicule by other sect members".[53]

In May 2014 Elliot Murphy also answered the query "What can I do?" about a "corporate journalist who's reporting" a subject "in a skewed or reactionary way", stating that the group gives the "one familiar answer"; for example, to contact Nick Robinson "to let him know we’re onto him".[8] Murphy suggested that a "potential leftist" convert might see them as "more concerned with being correct than doing right".[8]

The journalist Peter Wilby, is of the opinion that "their basic critique is correct" and occasionally commissioned Cromwell and Edwards while he was editor of the New Statesman.[7] In an article about them, John Pilger mentioned their first collaborative book, Guardians of Power (2006), and wrote that "not a single national newspaper reviewed the most important book about journalism I can remember",[10] including the left-wing Morning Star, although the newspaper did review their second book, Newspeak In The 21st Century, in 2009.[54] Wilby wrote in 2006 that "the Davids are virtually unknown; as leftist critics, they are marginalised."[7]

On 7 July 2008, Wilby reported in The Guardian that The Times legal manager Alastair Brett had written to Edwards about "vexatious and threatening emails from visitors to Media Lens" received by journalist Bronwen Maddox, then with The Times, and threatened an application for a high court injunction to prevent their users from contacting Maddox.[55] Maddox told Wilby that Media Lens "stir up some very nasty people".[55] In a case of alleged copyright infringement, Brett managed to gain the removal of emails from Maddox which had been incorporated into a Media Lens article in part concerning a piece by Maddox on Iran which had been published on 17 June.[55][56] Although Maddox reported receiving dozens of comments, the only email directly quoted by the complainants was from "the second coming of Jesus Christ" with a threat to fire Maddox, which had also been sent in similar form to dozens of journalists and to Media Lens itself.[55][57] According to Wilby, Edwards asked "what world do these people live in that they have to be so protected from the rough and tumble of political debate?"[55][58]

On 2 December 2007, Edwards and Cromwell were awarded the Gandhi International Peace Award.[59] The award was presented by Denis Halliday, the former United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, and himself a recipient of the award in 2003.[60]

Political standpoint

Media Lens are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the Labour Party.

Case histories


Justification for war

Prior to the Iraq War in 2002, Media Lens argued that it was fraudulent for the UK and US government to claim justification for a war on the basis that Iraq still possessed a credible Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threat and had an active WMD programme.[61] Media Lens cited the work of former chief UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who had stated 4 years previously, after thorough investigation by UN inspectors, that Iraq had been found to have "fundamentally disarmed" with 90–95 percent of its WMD capability eliminated. The editors further cited Ritter's opinion that it would have been impossible for Iraq to rearm "from scratch" within the four years since the UN had left given the level of scrutiny they were under.[61]

A 30 April 2003 Media Lens database search, covering the period leading up to and including the invasion of Iraq found that of the 5,767 articles published by The Guardian and its sister paper The Observer only 12 made any mention of Scott Ritter. According to Edwards, this constituted "a shocking suppression of serious and credible dissident views", which he said were "soon to be entirely vindicated".[62][63] This is a view shared by Eddie Girdner, who cites Media Lens as among those who drew this conclusion before the war began.[64]

According to Richard Alexander, writing in 2010 about the Iraq war, Edwards and Cromwell "trenchantly dissected the servant role the British media played in bolstering the lies to the British public purveyed by the UK government".[65] After referring to the "mountain of evidence" assembled by Cromwell and Edwards for their argument, John Jewell wrote for The Conversation website: "It must be remembered that the press was not completely united in its support for Blair" pointing to the opposition of the Daily Mirror to the invasion of Iraq as an example. Jewell's assertion about the "anti-war" Mirror was not entirely shared by Media Lens who criticised its respect for Blair's "patent sincerity".[66]

Nick Robinson in Live From Downing Street (2012), refers to an exchange between Media Lens and then Head of BBC News Richard Sambrook in late 2002 a few months before the invasion of Iraq:

"[W]e believe you are a sincere and well-intentioned person ... but you are at the heart of a system of lethal, institutionalised deception. Like it or not, believe it or not, by choosing to participate in this propaganda system, you and the journalists around you may soon be complicit in mass murder. As things stand, you and your journalists are facilitating the killing and mutilation of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of innocent men, women and children".[67]

Robinson responded to this argument: "It is absurd – not to mention offensive – to suggest that journalists who report both the case for war and the case against it are morally responsible for those who die in it".[67]

Reporting of conflict

Media Lens in 2003 compared the BBC's reporting on the Iraq war to "Boys' Own war pornography".[68] They cited a rhetorical question posed by BBC correspondent Bridget Kendall in 2006, about whether the Iraq war was "justified" or a "disastrous miscalculation" as a demonstration of personal bias, which they see as being the "norm", rather than meeting the requirement for reporting to be impartial. In their opinion, this excluded the arguments of the anti-war movement and ex-UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who are considered to have seen the war as "an illegal war of aggression".[69]

They have cited comments made by Andrew Marr in 2003, while he was the BBC's political editor to advance their argument that journalists regularly present inflated assessments of the accomplishments of western politicians. They considered Marr to be overtly sympathetic to Tony Blair, the former prime minister.[70] Cromwell and Edwards asserted in 2003 that "there never was an Iraqi threat" and "If Tony Blair and George W. Bush are not guilty of war crimes, who is?"[71]

Casualty figures

Media Lens have challenged the mainstream press coverage of the extent of killings during the conflict.[5][24][72] An example is the treatment of data from several academic surveys on the casualties during the Iraq War published in The Lancet by academics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which estimated that 655,000 excess deaths had occurred since the invasion, than would have been expected in the absence of conflict. Despite the survey using recognised statistical methods, its findings were rejected by US and UK governments, who cited a much lower figure, a position which was largely supported in US and UK media coverage.[24][73] Media Lens contrasted the media response to the Iraq study, with uncritical coverage of a similar study by the same researchers, using the same methods, which had estimated 1.7 million deaths in the Congo.[24][73] Following criticism from Media Lens over an article written for The Guardian, mathematician John Allen Paulos acknowledged he had been wrong to use a "largely baseless personal assessment", to call into question the findings of The Lancet study.[72][74]

Media Lens challenged The Independent's Mary Dejevsky to explain an editorial comment in the paper that, "by extrapolating from a small sample... While never completely discredited, those figures were widely doubted". Dejevsky responded that, while the sample may have been standard, it seemed small from her "lay perspective". Her main point "was less based on my impression than on the fact that this technique exposed the authors to the criticisms/dismissal that the govt duly made, and they had little to counter those criticisms with, bar the defence that their methods were standard for those sort of surveys". The response was considered incoherent by Edward Herman who stated it was "Massive incompetence in support of a war-apologetic agenda".[72][74] According to Mukhopadhyay, the exchange was evidence that journalists, who do not have the statistical expertise to evaluate technical reports, "do not always take the obvious step of seeking expert advice".[72] Reviewing Media Lens' engagement with press coverage of The Lancet study, Arvind Sivaramakrishna drew a similar conclusion stating, "Political correspondents are clearly ignorant of sampling frames and techniques, confidence limits, significance levels, likelihood estimators, and so on."[73]

Peter Beaumont accused the editors' in April 2006, of a campaign apparently intended to silence John Sloboda and his Iraq Body Count project, because it produced a victim count lower than The Lancet study.[12][75][76] Iraq Body Count published a paper at this time, which accused Media Lens in particular of its opponents, of work which is "inaccurate and exaggerated, personal, offensive, and part of a concerted campaign to undermine IBC's reputation among those who use our data".[77]

In the same month in 2006, David Fuller, a journalist on Newsnight, covered their critique of Sloboda and the IBC's methods and also summarised his findings on the BBC website.[78] The Media Lens editors considered Fuller's attack "the most distorted and damaging smear of our work" up to that point but the editors' decision not to accept invitations to appear on Newsnight, led Fuller to accuse them of "[refusing] to engage in any way that does not allow them total control of the interaction."[79][80] Sloboda said Media Lens "are a pressure group that use[s] aggressive and emotionally destructive tactics".[76] Media Lens in turn have accused Sloboda of not being an epidemiologist and therefore unqualified to undertake, or criticise, studies on unexpected mortalities in Iraq.[81] Sloboda acknowledged that Iraq Body Count were "amateurs" but strenuously denied this should have any negative connotations on their work.[82]

In August 2009, ZNet, the website has reprinted Media Lens alerts, published an article by Robert Shone accusing the editors of errors in its critique of the IBC, particularly its assumption that IBC only used western media sources in counting fatalities in Iraq.[83] Cromwell confirmed in a Green Left Weekly interview that they had responded to Shone "long ago", but their rebuttals had "dropped off the bottom" of the group's (then active) message board. About Shone's ZNet article: "We learned a long time ago that constantly responding to unreasonable critics just feeds their obsession and inner turmoil. It's why we stopped".[84]

"Without their meticulous and humane analysis", wrote John Pilger of Media Lens "the full gravity of the debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan might have been consigned to bad journalism's first draft of bad history".[10] In his book The Triumph of the Political Class (2007), the conservative journalist Peter Oborne wrote that while researching media coverage of the Iraq war, he had found the site "extremely useful". Media Lens are "often unfair but sometimes highly perceptive".[11]

Srebrenica: Chomsky and others

Concerning the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, the Media Lens editors asserted in November 2009, "Apart from affirming that a massacre did take place, we have written virtually nothing about Srebrenica".[85] The sources of conflict with their critics have been the distinction between a massacre and the act of genocide and the freedom to contest generally accepted evidence for historical events. (See Historical negationism#Serbian war crimes in the Yugoslav wars.) In a 2006 alert, which took the form of an open letter responding to the BBC's correspondent John Simpson, who had reported from Belgrade during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, they wrote that "our argument is that the kind of points made by" Chomsky, Herman, Diana Johnstone, and Pilger, among others, "were almost never seen in the mainstream media, the BBC included".[86]

The Guardian newspaper published on 31 October 2005 an interview with Noam Chomsky conducted by Emma Brockes.[87] Chomsky complained about the interview in a letter to Ian Mayes the readers' editor on 3 November 2005, after which Media Lens responded with their first article on this issue on 4 November.[88][89] The Guardian apologised within a few weeks concluding that Brockes had misrepresented Chomsky's views on the Srebrenica massacre and his support for Diana Johnstone. According to The Guardian, neither of them "have ever denied the fact of the massacre".[90] Media Lens responded to The Guardian's change of mind in a second article posted on 21 November.[91]

The repercussions of the Brockes interview continued for some time. Ian Mayes, then the readers' editor of The Guardian, wrote on 12 December 2005 about "several hundred" emails from Media Lens followers, who were campaigning in support of Chomsky, to Mayes himself and Brockes.[92] In December 2009, Oliver Kamm wrote in his blog for The Times newspaper that Media Lens had removed from their website a reprint of open letter to Amnesty International by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson in which the authors, Kamm asserted, repeated false claims about Serb-run detention camps in Bosnia which had led in 2000 to a successful libel action brought against LM magazine (originally Living Marxism) by ITN.[93][94][95]

In June 2011, George Monbiot wrote that Media Lens "maintained that Herman and Peterson were 'perfectly entitled' to talk down the numbers killed at Srebrenica".[13] (Media Lens editors had written in 2009: "Herman and Peterson, then, are not denying that mass killings took place at Srebrenica. They also do not accept the figure cited by [Oliver] Kamm and others, but that they are perfectly entitled to do.")[85] Monbiot wrote that Herman and Media Lens had taken "the unwarranted step of belittling the acts of genocide committed by opponents of the western powers".[13] Media Lens responded that their argument had been that Herman and Peterson were "perfectly entitled" to debate the facts not that "they are entitled to falsify, mislead, wilfully deceive, or whatever 'talk down' was intended to suggest".[96]

Aside from Holocaust denial, which Media Lens finds particularly insidious "because of the extreme racism and hatred motivating the doubt in this particular instance", they wrote in August 2011:

To be clear, we reject the right of any court, any government, indeed anyone, to apply labels like "genocide" to historical events and then, not merely argue but demand that they be accepted. The assumption that human institutions are in possession of Absolute Truth belongs to the era of The Inquisition, not to serious debate.[85][96]

The Times commentator Oliver Kamm ("[o]ne of our most relentless critics") wrote in October 2012: "The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has revealed the identity of 6,598 people missing since the fall of Srebrenica, through DNA analysis of human remains in mass graves. It estimates the total number of victims as around 8,100. If ML maintains that deniers [Herman and Peterson] are 'perfectly entitled' to their position, it must believe that the ICMP has faked that analysis".[33][85] In his opinion, Media Lens "stands with genocide deniers" in its connection with Herman and his colleague, David Peterson, both of whom he linked in their assertions about Srebrenica with Holocaust deniers.[33] The Media Lens editors wrote in November 2009, that they had only written "defending Noam Chomsky" against the Guardian's claims in the rescinded interview by Brockes.[85]


Rupert Read, an academic and Green Party politician, has written that Media Lens tends to talk up the numbers of victims from western actions but minimise those of regimes in conflict with the west, such as those of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Slobodan Milošević.[32] He has written that the editors use dubious source material on fatalities in the conflicts in Syria from Aisling Byrne and Robert Dreyfuss,[32] which serves "tacitly to increase the credibility of Assad's black propaganda".[97] David Edwards responded that Pilger, David Peterson and others, responded positively to their alerts on Syria and that "We have received literally one negative response – from Rupert Read".[98]

The cartoonist and writer Martin Rowson in June 2012, suggested in Tribune that the Media Lens editors indulge in "shilling for tyrants", following an exchange with them on Twitter in which the editors accused him of depicting a bloodstained Bashar al-Assad after the Houla massacre, without having evidence of the Assad regime's responsibility for the atrocity and for using only his "'cartoonist's hunch'" as proof.[99][100] They asked Rowson on Twitter: "Would you rely on a 'hunch' in depicting Obama and Cameron with mouths smeared with the blood of massacred children?"[100] According to Rowson though, accusing them of advocating literalness in his work: "despite my repeated requests, they still won’t or can’t tell me why they don’t also demand my evidence for alleging that Merkel [Angela Merkel] and Lagarde [Christine Lagarde] have really truly desecrated corpses".[99]

In February 2017, Media Lens wrote that Assad "has been UK journalism's number one hate figure for years" who is treated as being "on a par with earlier enemies like Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi (arguably, Assad is essentially the same archetypal 'Enemy' in the minds of many corporate journalists)".[101] Later in June, Media Lens were criticised by journalist Brian Whitaker for their support of journalist Seymour Hersh. In his article, Whitaker commented that Hersh had falsely rejected claims Assad's forces had made a chemical weapons attack using Sarin gas in Khan Shaykhun in April 2017.[102]

Further reading

The editors of Media Lens have co-authored two books:

  • Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media, London: Pluto Press, 2006 ISBN 978-0-7453-2483-8[103]
  • Newspeak in the 21st Century, London: Pluto Press, August 2009 ISBN 978-0-7453-2893-5[104]
  • Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality, London: Pluto Press, September 2018 ISBN 978-0-7453-3811-8[105]

David Cromwell's Why Are We the Good Guys?: Reclaiming Your Mind from the Delusions of Propaganda (September 2012, Alresford: Zero Books, ISBN 978-1780993652) also draws on Media Lens' contact with journalists.[106]

See also


  1. Clarke, Joe Sandler (6 November 2013). "Interview: David Cromwell and David Edwards - Media Lens". HuffPost. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  2. Jones, Owen (21 March 2016). "Obsessive Angry Detractors". Medium. Retrieved 21 February 2017. Media Lens, or rather two men called Dave who have appointed themselves watchdogs of the corporate media
  3. "Who Are We?". Media Lens. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  4. "What is Our Objective?". Media Lens. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  5. Boyd-Barrett, Oliver (2010). "Newspeak in the 21st Century - Book Review" (PDF). Media, War & Conflict. 3: 371. doi:10.1177/17506352100030030903. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  6. Clark, Neil (15 May 2013). "The Left vs. the Liberal Media". The American Conservative.
  7. Wilby, Peter (30 January 2006). "On the margins". New Statesman.
  8. Murphy, Elliot (6 May 2014). "There Will Be Tweets: Media Lens and the Death of Friendship". Z net. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  9. Murdock, Graham; Pickering, Michael (2008). Narrating Media History. Routledge. p. 169. ISBN 0415419158.
  10. Pilger, John (29 November 2007). "The cyber guardians of honest journalism". New Statesman.
  11. Oborne, Peter (2008) [2007]. The Triumph of the Political Class. Pocket Books. p. 272. ISBN 141652665X.
  12. Beaumont, Peter (18 June 2006). "Microscope on Medialens". The Observer. See also Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (28 June 2006). "A Superb Demolition – Part 3 – Squeaky Spleen – Beaumont Strikes Back". Media Lens.
  13. Monbiot, George (13 June 2011). "Left and libertarian right cohabit in the weird world of the genocide belittlers". The Guardian.
  14. Walby, Sam (10 May 2011). "Interview with David Edwards from Media Lens". UK Indymedia. Interview also reproduced at "Interview with David Edwards". Now Then. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011.
  15. Cromwell, David (2012). Why Are We the Good Guys?. Alresford: Zero Books. p. 30.
  16. Cromwell, David. Why Are We the Good Guys?. p. 35.
  17. Pedro, Joan (6 October 2007). "Interview with David Edwards and David Cromwell of Media Lens". alterzoom. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007.
  18. Freedman, Des (2009). "'Smooth Operator?' The Propaganda Model and Moments of Crisis" (PDF). Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 6 (2): 59–72. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  19. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (2006). Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media. Pluto Press. pp. 4–5. ISBN 0745324827.
  20. See the last chapter of Newspeak in the 21st Century (London: Pluto, 2009) where Edwards explains this part of his life.
  21. Townend, Judith (2 December 2009). "Q&A: Media Lens – 'Our book will likely be more or less ignored, as other similar books have been'". Journalism.
  22. Pilger, John (5 December 2002). "John Pilger prefers the web to TV news - it's more honest online". New Statesman. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  23. At the end of each alert is the advice: "The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others ... we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone." See for example: Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (22 June 2011). "Three Little Words: WikiLeaks, Libya, Oil". Media Lens.
  24. Brock-Utne, Birgit (2011). Expanding Peace Journalism: Comparative and Critical Approaches. Sydney University Press. p. 86-. ISBN 1920899707..
  25. See for example Cromwell, David; Edwards, David (15 October 2009). "The Balance of Power – Exchanges With BBC Journalists". Media Lens.
  26. Media Lens, About Us, archived from the original on 24 February 2010, retrieved 2 March 2010
  27. Quoted in Barker, Dan Raymond (12 January 2011). "Rax Interview with Media Lens". New Internationalist.
  28. Edwards, David (Spring 2004). "An eye to media compassion". Dharma Life.
  29. Cromwell, David; Edwards, David; Lewis, Ed (15 August 2011). "Hackgate: A Triumph For The Liberal Media?". New Left Project. Retrieved 17 January 2016. See also Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (2006). Guardians of Power. London: Pluto Press. p. 9. We do see honest reporting and commentary in the media. We read Robert Fisk in The Independent, Seumas Milne in the Guardian and John Pilger (and Media Lens!) in the New Statesman.
  30. An attempt to establish a sustained email exchange with Seumas Milne over four months from September 2011 was unsuccessful, see "Seumas Milne, George Monbiot & 'Media Analysis' In The Guardian Wonderland". Media Lens. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  31. White, Michael (27 January 2012). "Media Lens shows it doesn't get the whole picture". The Guardian. White was responding to "Silence Of The Lambs: Seumas Milne, George Monbiot & 'Media Analysis' In The Guardian Wonderland". Media Lens. 25 January 2012. The response to White's article was "Snow, White And The Two Daves – The Guardian Responds". Media Lens. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  32. Read, Rupert (19 February 2012). "Syria: my enemy's enemy is not my friend". Open Democracy. Specifically Read was responding to a two-part alert ("UN 'Travesty': Resolutions Of Mass Destruction – Part 1". Media Lens. 14 February 2012. and ".Part 2". Media Lens. 16 February 2012.) These alerts were reprinted on the New Internationalist website here and here. Media Lens responded to Rupert Read on their forum on 21 February. (Archived from the (unavailable) original on 27 March 2012.) A later version of Read's piece: "The Left must support the Syrian uprising". New Internationalist. 23 February 2012. was partially disowned by NI. Read had written about MediaLens use of sources earlier in "Exposed: The pro-Assad useful idiots in our midst". Left Foot Forward. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  33. Kamm, Oliver (22 October 2012). "Media Lens: a warning". The Times.
  34. Cromwell, David (13 September 2016). "Menwith Menace: Britain's Complicity In Saudi Arabia's Terror Campaign Against Yemen". Media Lens. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  35. Sinclair, Ian (13 November 2006). "All Eyes on Media Lens". Morning Star.
  36. Barnfield, Graham (12 November 2009). "Newspeak in the 21st Century". Times Higher Education. London. For Media Lens articles on this point see "Ridiculing Chavez – The Media Hit Their Stride – Part 1". Media Lens. 16 May 2006. and Edwards, David (13 March 2013). "Death Of A Bogeyman - The Corporate Media Bury Hugo Chávez". Media Lens.
  37. Kamm, Oliver (27 February 2016). "The Pedant: Orwell was wrong: let's embrace passive constructions". The Times. London. Retrieved 27 February 2016. (subscription required)
  38. Rentoul, John (8 June 2009). "North Korea, Land of the Free". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 July 2009. The article Rentoul cites is "Cartoon Korea: Filtered to Fit". Media Lens. 8 June 2009.
  39. Sinclair, Ian (April 2013). "Fourth estate agents". Peace News (2556).
  40. Pilger, John; Albert, Michael (16 February 2013). "The View From The Ground". Z net. Z Communications. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. I have worked all my career in the mainstream. I’ve done this by expending a huge amount of energy in maintaining my place, and fighting my corner. It has been often and literally a struggle, but in time I learned to navigate through and sometimes around institutions. Learning to navigate is critical for young, principled journalists.
  41. "UK Watch Interviews Media Lens". Media Lens. 15 January 2013 [c. 2006]. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  42. "Interview with John Pilger". New Internationalist. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  43. Edwards, David (29 January 2015). "Feral Journalism - Rewilding Dissent". Media Lens.
  44. "An Interview with Media Lens". BS News. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2018. (Original published as "An interview with Media Lens". The Colossus. 4 January 2016. Archived from the original on 10 September 2016.
  45. Edwards, David (7 March 2018). "'Follow Your Bliss' - The Tweet That Brought Corporate Journalism To The Brink Of A Nervous Breakthrough". Media Lens. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  46. Ball, James (2 February 2018). "Telling journalists to "follow your bliss" by writing for free is as anti-socialist as you can get". New Statesman. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  47. Barron, Peter (11 November 2005). "Could you do better". BBC News. Retrieved 11 November 2005.
  48. Reidy, Padraig (August 2016). "Russia Today is not alternative news: it is propaganda". Little Atoms. Retrieved 29 November 2016. For the article to which Reidy was responding, see Robinson, Piers (2 August 2016). "Russian news may be biased – but so is much western media". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2018. We also need to think about exploring alternative news and information sites such as Media Lens
  49. Ditum, Sarah (24 August 2015). "Being right about the Iraq war has made the left insufferable". New Statesman. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  50. For the response and context, see Edwards, David (4 September 2015). "Corbyn And The End Of Time - The 'Crisis Of Democracy'". Media Lens. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  51. Wearing, David (2 September 2015). "Six problems with Sarah Ditum's article about Iraq and the left". openDemocracy. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  52. White, Michael (16 May 2016). "Iraq, Syria and the cost of intervention (and non-intervention)". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  53. Rentoul, John (27 February 2011). "Banging the Drum Against Human Rights". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012.
  54. Coysh, Daniel (25 September 2009). "Newspeak In The 21st Century". Morning Star.
  55. Wilby, Peter (7 July 2008). "On the press: Publish and be damned". The Guardian.
  56. "Selling the Fireball - George Bush and Iran". Media Lens. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  57. Peter Barron, the former editor of the BBC's Newsnight commented in November 2005 that although Cromwell and Edwards "are unfailingly polite", he had received "hundreds of e-mails from sometimes less-than-polite hommes engages - they're almost always men - most of whom don't appear to have watched the programme" as a result of complaints instigated by Media Lens. He also said "their points are well-argued" and they are undoubtedly correct from time to time. See Barron, Peter (11 November 2005). "Could you do better". BBC News. Retrieved 11 November 2005.
  58. See also Peterson, David (26 June 2008). "Guest Media Alert: David Peterson Responds to Oliver Kamm". Media Lens. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  59. Greenslade, Roy (30 November 2007). "Media Lens win Gandhi award for exposing the faults of liberal journalists". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  60. Hayat, Omar (2 December 2007). "Gandhi International Peace Award 2007 citation".
  61. "Iraq and Arms Inspectors - The Big Lie, Part 1". Media Lens. 28 October 2002. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  62. Edwards, David (2010). Peace Journalism, War and Conflict Resolution. Peter Lang Publishing. p. 309. ISBN 1433107260.
  63. Cromwell and Edwards wrote in The Guardian in December 2004 about the limited media references to Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, both of whom resigned from the UN over the sanctions they had administered in Iraq. See Cromwell, David; Edwards, David (15 December 2004). "Balance in the service of falsehood". The Guardian.
  64. Girdner, Eddie (2008). USA and the New Middle East. Gyan Publishing House. pp. 26, 53. ISBN 8121210011.
  65. Alexander, Richard (2010). Framing Discourse on the Environment. Routledge. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-415-88835-6.
  66. "Tony Blair took Britain to war in 2003 – but most of Fleet Street marched with him". The Conversation. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. For his assertion about Media Len's "mountain of evidence", Jewell cites: Edwards, David (10 June 2013). "The Iraq War Was Not A Media Failure". Media Lens. Retrieved 17 February 2017. Media Len's assertion about the Mirror is also taken from this source.
  67. Robinson, Nick (2012). Live from Downing Street: The Inside Story of Politics, Power and the Media. London: Bantam Press. p. 393. Robinson cites from: Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (1 January 2003). "Update: BBC Director of News Responds on Channeling Government Propaganda". Media Lens. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  68. "Horror, Cruelty And Misery – The Real Meaning Of 'Liberation'". Media Lens. 9 April 2003.
  69. Cromwell, David; Edwards, David (14 September 2009). "BBC controversy: Is the BBC really independent?". The First Post. Archived from the original on 23 December 2009. (extract from Newspeak in the 21st Century, 2009).
  70. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (17 September 2010). "A Journey Unchallenged – Andrew Marr Interviews Tony Blair". Media Lens. Marr was one of their earliest critics, he described one argument they presented as "pernicious and anti-journalistic", see "The BBC's Political Editor Responds". Media Lens. 13 October 2001. For a hard copy version of this exchange see Edwards and Cromwell Guardians of Power, London: Pluto Press, 2006, pp. 105–108
  71. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (19 August 2003). "Adventures in Media Surreality – Part 1". Media Lens.
  72. Mukhopadhyay, Swapna; Greer, Brian (2007). Sriraman, Bharath (ed.). "How Many Deaths? Education for Statistical Empathy". The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast (2007 Monograph 1). ISSN 1551-3440. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  73. Sivaramakrishna, Arvind (23 February 2010). "Critique of the mainstream press". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  74. "Burying the Lancet - Part 2". Media Lens. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  75. "Iraq Body Count – A Shame Becoming Shameful". 10 April 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  76. "Transcript of an interview with David Fuller for Newsnight". BBC News. 2006., used for an item about Media Lens, criticises the sampling methods utilised by The Lancet study.
  77. Dardagan, Hamit; Sloboda, John; Dougherty, Josh (April 2006). "Speculation is no substitute: a defence of Iraq Body Count". Iraq Body Count.
  78. Fuller, David (28 April 2006). "Virtual war follows Iraq conflict". BBC News.
  79. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (3 May 2006). "Maelstrom of Vitriol – The BBC Smears Media Lens". Media Lens.
  80. Fuller, David (6 June 2006). "A cracked lens". The Guardian. See also "Iraq Body Count – Media Lens responds". Newsnight. BBC News. 28 April 2006.
  81. "Iraq Body Count – Media Lens responds". Newsnight. BBC. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  82. "Interview transcript – John Sloboda". Newsnight. BBC. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  83. Shone, Robert (14 August 2009). "Media Lens's errors on Iraq Body Count". Znet. Z Communications.
  84. Ward, Mat (4 August 2012). "How an activist fathered a media critic". Green Left Weekly.
  85. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (25 November 2009). "Dancing on a Mass Grave – Oliver Kamm of The Times Smears Media Lens". Media Lens. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  86. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (14 June 2006). "The BBC's John Simpson Responds Again". Media Lens. Retrieved 24 March 2016.. For Media Lens use of sources relating to the Kosovo War, including pieces by Edward Herman and John Pilger, see Lippman, Roger (3 April 2006). "Re: Media Alert: Disappearing Genocide (death of Milosevic)". Balkan Witness. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  87. Brockes, Emma (31 October 2005). "The Greatest Intellectual?". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2018. As reproduced on The readers' editor had advised the paper to remove the interview from their online archive, see Mayes, Ian (12 December 2005). "Open door". The Guardian. The removal was something Chomsky had not asked The Guardian to do, and it is his official website on which it is reproduced.
  88. Mayes, Ian (12 December 2005). "Open door". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  89. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (4 November 2005). "Smearing Chiomsky – The Guardian in the Gutter". Media Lens.
  90. "Corrections and Clarifications". The Guardian. 17 November 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  91. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (21 November 2005). "Smearing Chomsky – The Guardian Backs Down". Media Lens.
  92. Mayes, Ian (12 December 2005). "Open door". The Guardian. This article was in response to a complaint about the newspaper's retraction of Brockes' interview with Chomsky by David Aaronovitch, Oliver Kamm and Francis Wheen.
  93. Kamm, Oliver (10 December 2009). "Retreat of the Srebrenica deniers". The Times. Archived from the original on 12 July 2010.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  94. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (6 December 2009). "Deleted Thread: 'Open Letter To Amnesty International'". Media Lens (forum). Archived from the original on 24 February 2010.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  95. See also Simpson, Daniel (23 January 2010). "On Media Lens, Lying, and the Balkans". Balkan Witness. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  96. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (2 August 2011). "A 'Malign Intellectual Subculture' – George Monbiot Smears Chomsky, Herman, Peterson, Pilger And Media Lens". Media Lens. Monbiot returned to this subject in a slightly later article: "Media Cleanse". 4 August 2011. See also "Our response to Monbiot's June 13, 2011 article". Media Lens forum. 16 June 2011. Archived from the original on 16 November 2012.
  97. Rupert Read "The Left must support the Syrian uprising" cited above.
  98. "Response to Rupert Read's latest". Media Lens forum. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012.
  99. Rowson, Martin (17 June 2012). "Life through Medialens – but not as we know it". Tribune.
  100. "The Houla Massacre". Media Lens. 31 May 2012. We recognise the bloody ruthlessness of the Syrian Baathists, epitomised by Assad's father and continued now by his son, Bashar
  101. Edwards, David (6 February 2017). "Undermining Democracy – Corporate Media Bias on Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Syria". Media Lens. Retrieved 6 February 2017. See also Edwards, David (13 December 2013). "The Media's Hypocritical Oath - Mandela And Economic Apartheid". Media Lens. Retrieved 28 February 2017. In this article, Edwards writes: "Oborne compared the results of Mandela's strategy with those of the West's Official Enemies: 'Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Milosevic, Saddam Hussein. The list goes on and on.'" In Peter Oborne's original article about Nelson Mandela, the quote is introduced as follows: "This epic generosity of spirit is rare in the history of political action. Just think of the 20th century and the monsters it created: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin..." See Oborne, Peter (6 December 2013). "Few human beings can be compared to Jesus Christ. Nelson Mandela was one". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 December 2013.
  102. Whitaker, Brian (1 July 2017). "Syria, Seymour Hersh and the Sarin denialists". Al-bab. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  103. "Guardians of Power", Media Lens, 12 November 2010.
  104. "Newspeak In The 21st Century", Media Lens, 8 November 2010.
  105. Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (September 2018). Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality. London: Pluto Press. p. 336. ISBN 978 0 7453 3811 8. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  106. Ian Sinclair "Why Are We The Good Guys? Reclaiming Your Mind From The Delusions Of Propaganda" Morning Star, 25 November 2012.
  107. Hackett, Robert; Carroll, William (2006). Remaking Media: The Struggle to Democratize Public Communication. Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 0203969928.
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