1. Exquisite Tweets from @leebryant

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    Sometimes I unplug my brainstem from the non-stop crisis liveblog that has become our life in the UK and become briefly conscious of how the media, especially the BBC, has failed us on Brexit in a way that reminds me just a little bit of the collapse of Yugoslavia. (1/20)

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    To destroy a successful, stable multi-ethnic state takes years of preparation, before the fuse is lit and events accelerate out of control. The people who set the fire then shrug, act like it was all casus fortuitus, and we all have to react to the new facts on the ground.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    A small minority of wreckers can easily unravel a state if they pick at the right threads. But the key is getting the media to ignore wider context / analysis & just focus on the ‘bang bang’ like our non-stop liveblogs - “OMG, Gove just got in his car!”

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    In ex-Yugo, Mark Thompson chronicled the painstaking way nationalist media gradually persuaded people to ignore their own lived experience of harmony & begin ‘othering’ their neighbours. It was a short hop from there to pre-emptive attacks. books.google.co.uk/books/about/Fo…

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    In UK, anti-EU ultras hunkered down after losing the argument in 1990’s & played a long game of de-stabilisation & media manipulation. This list of UK media lies about the EU is indicative of the effort they put into cultivating hostility: blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/euro…

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Many of today's loony commenters in the Telegraph & Mail (yes, I read their splutterings) are 100% convinced the EU is moments from total collapse, and that the UK should pre-emptively fight to hasten that imagined outcome, & not co-operate (£39bn! etc). This stuff works!

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Ex-Yugo also had principled media like Oslobodenje & Yutel opposing nationalism even after the war began. But in UK, gutter press sets the agenda & BBC follows, neutral between lies/truth, but biased towards bold, simplistic positions, hence the boosting of Farage, Davis, et al.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    The BBC seems not to realise its framing decisions shape, rather than reflect, public opinion. Farage = lovely TV, but @carolecardwalla = too complicated, bit moany, so ignore. Journos who know they are being lied to by non-credible bad actors never seem to call them out.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Has anyone seen a journo confront one of the wreckers along the lines of ‘you lied before the vote, why should we listen now?’ or ‘OK genius, please lay out your alternative plan’? These editorial choices mean they are players in the crisis, not just observers.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    In ex-Yugo, BBC took an editorial decision to frame Bosnia as 3-way ethnic civil war (‘all sides guilty’), despite reality of multi-ethnic state trying to survive a genocidal aggression to divide it. Why? To simplify for their audience. Editors as participants, not observers.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Great BBC journos under fire would argue with their editors who asked them to balance reports with the ‘other side’. What is the ‘other side’ of besieging & shelling a city? If one side says kill them all & other says ‘please don’t’, the truth is not in the middle.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    2 days before the war, ppl in Sarajevo told me there couldn’t be a war - unthinkable. 9mo later they were burning books for warmth. When a state collapses, it happens faster than you imagine, but liveblog ‘bang bang’ won’t tell you why. We are all the proverbial boiling frogs...

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    How did the UVF drag act get a say in removing my fundamental freedoms? Why are cretins like Fox, Francois, Davis taken seriously? Why are Spiked/RCP now everywhere? Telegenic, simplistic positions + media literacy gets the seat at the table that a wrecking minority needs to win.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Karadzic was laughed at. Funny hair. Mad poetry. But if they had their time again, Bosnians would no-platform the hell out of him. See Hemon’s eloquent critique of the media’s belief that they can somehow out-argue contemporary fascists: lithub.com/fascism-is-not…

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Karadzic didn’t have a view of a better society. Like Bannon and the ERG Brexiteers, his was a negative vision of destroying co-existence, with little idea of what might come next. Serbia & Bosnia are still paying the price; only organised crime really won.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    And the rewards for wrecking can be huge. One eg among many is JRM’s partner Odey, laughing all the way to the bank: thetimes.co.uk/article/it-s-b… - it is no coincidence Brexit was bankrolled by the nastiest super-rich ppl in UK. Where is the outrage?

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Yet here we are, liveblogging the barely literate ‘no confidence’ letter of a fat bloke from Essex who I wouldn’t trust to service my car, whilst ignoring business leaders, civil society, 3m EU Brits, etc because they are soooo boring & keep saying the same thing. Not sexy!

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    UK is not Bosnia, of course. But neither was Bosnia til ‘92. There is a chance the UK will break up if it crashes out, and then who knows? But the media continue to give attention & credibility to the bad actors marching us towards the cliff.

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    Maybe I am getting old, but in a mature society that just about functions despite its inequalities, a good maxim for pols & media alike should be ‘first, do no harm.’ Media hunger for tweetable soundbites should not override responsibility to seek the truth. But maybe too late?

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant

    There's no conspiracy behind this, & plenty of decent people working hard in media. But the BBC's outdated version of balance is incredibly vulnerable to exploitation by bad actors, and no longer fit for purpose IMO. As with climate change, it let us down when most needed /END

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    leebryant

    Lee Bryant