By Ollie Richardson
The following text was originally written by this same author in 2016 to highlight how the western media recycles its media campaigns over many decades, using the example of the wave of refugees entering Europe. Now, over one year later, it would seem that it is a very apt moment to republish the text. Whether it is “chemical weapons” in Syria, “shia death squads” in Iraq, “pro-Russian rebels” in Donbass – there is no need to dedicate hours and hours debunking headlines and assertions when history proves that every western media campaign uses a template that has served an agenda as long as there has been the means, motive, and opportunity to pillage foreign lands.
One may ask what the public opinion was like during these times [World War I – ed], with the financial sector in London purely focused on the control of the seas. The Victorian workhouses and general poor quality of life and life expectancy during Industrialisation is known to all, and preceding this, inequality and poverty was in plain sight to even the Native Americans, who were shipped over to London like performing animals to persuade the Queen to offer her financial backing for future colonial expeditions.
Edward Bernays’ book “Propaganda”, written in 1928, offers an insight into how public consciousness in Britain was artificially spoon-fed to the working classes. In order to shape the collective conscious of the British public into accepting World War 1 as something both necessary and beneficial, the mass media needed to be mobilised. The national newspapers available to the public included the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the News of the World, the Evening Standard, the Telegraph & Star, and the Daily Mail.
These newspapers were assigned the task of beating the war drums loud enough so that the general public would depict the “evil” Kaiser as a dictator that had to be removed. Arthur Ponsonby, in 1928, wrote a book that documents the methods these newspapers used to ensure a positive public attitude towards what was frankly an invasion of Germany. Here are a few examples from the book:
The Daily Mail, on September 9th 1914, published an agitative article that reinforced the rumour that Russian troops were passing through Britain towards the Western Front. There were rumours of this throughout the military circles, but no steps were taken to attempt to debunk them. Instead, the British military used this frenzy to their advantage. The green light was given for the press to run riot with the story. The Daily Mail then reported that the Russian troops were in France. The House of Commons, on November 18th 1914, were forced to admit that there were no Russian troops.
After spending months personifying the Kaiser as the ultimate evil, the Daily Mail published a picture of him with the caption “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. Shortly afterwards, the Daily Mail, the Times, and the Daily News all reverted back to attacking him in order to back the British campaign against the Boers. The Daily Mail wrote on October 1st 1914:
“He is beginning to realize the desperate character of the adventure on which the Kaiser embarked when he made his wanton war.”
On September 22nd, 1914, the Daily Mail published a letter written by William Blake Richmond, which refers to the Kaiser as a “lunatic” who wont put fear into England. It continues:
“This last act of the barbarian chief will only draw us all closer together to be rid of a scourge the like of which the civilised world has never seen before.
The madman is piling up the logs on his own pyre. We can have no terror of the monster; we shall clench our teeth in determination that if we die to the last man the modern Judas and his hell-begotten brood shall be wiped out…”
An account by the former editor of the Sunday Times, Captain Wilson, appeared in the New York Times on February 24th 1922:
“A correspondent of the London Daily Mail, Captain Wilson, found himself in Brussels at the time the war broke out. They telegraphed out that they wanted stories of atrocities. Well, there weren’t any atrocities at that time. So then they telegraphed out that they wanted stories of refugees. So I said to myself, ‘That’s fine, I won’t have to move.’ There was a little town outside Brussels where one went to get dinner – a very good dinner, too. I heard the Hun had been there. I supposed there must have been a baby there. So i wrote a heart-rending story about the baby of Courbeck Loo being rescued from the Hun in the light of the burning homesteads.
The next day they telegraphed out to me to send the baby along, as they had about five thousand letters offering to adopt it. The day after that babies clothes began to pour into the office. Even Queen Alexandra wired her sympathy and sent some clothes. Well, I couldn’t wire back to them that there wasn’t a baby. So I finally arranged with the doctor that took care of the refugees that the blessed baby died of some very contagious disease, so it couldn’t even have a public burial.
And we got lady Northcliffe to start a crêche with all the baby clothes.”
A falsified story about a German U-boat Commander was published in the Daily Mail on July 12th 1918:
“Staff-Paymaster Collingwood Hughes, R.N.V.R., of the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty, lecturing yesterday at the Royal Club, St. James’s Square, said that one of our patrol boats in the Atlantic found a derelict U-boat. After rescuing the crew our commander inquired of the Hun captain if all were safely aboard, as it was intended to blow up the U-boat.
‘Yes,’ came the reply, ‘they are here. Call the roll.’ Every German answered. The British Commander was about to push off before dropping a depth charge, when tapping was heard.
‘Are you quite sure there is no one on board your boat?’ he repeated.
‘Yes,’ declared the Hun captain.
But the tapping continued, and the British officer ordered a search of the U-boat. There were found in it, tied up as prisoners, four British seamen. The rescued Germans were going to allow their prisoners to be drowned.”
The story was deemed to be unverified and “without” foundation in the House of Commons on July 15th and 23rd, 1918.
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