‘Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind’. George Orwell.
If you think I’m about to write a review on the 1940 film Gas Light, directed by Thorould Dickinson, starring Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard, then I’ve managed to confuse you, as the article is more about ‘gaslighting’, or as Trump calls it, ‘fake news’.
Actually the intention is not to confuse you at all, as there is a link. ‘Gaslighting’ is an authentic clinical term derived from the film, in which Paul (played by Anton) attempts to cause his newly wed wife Bella (Diana) to think she is going mad. The subterfuge is part of his plan to track down some the jewels hidden by a murdered former wife, and the gas light he uses to try and find them. For some strange reason, whenever he lights the lamp, the other lamps in the house dim, which along with the mysterious upstairs noises (in truth, Paul moving around trying to find the jewels) all contribute to Bella doubting her sanity, compounded by the husband insisting she is imagining things.
The clinical term is more a description of the process and effect of a form of psychological bombardment designed to deliberately lead the subject to believe he or she is going mad, which is why the term has recently been extended to encompass the machination of the MSM, which Trump less euphemistically called ‘fake news’.
I’d only cottoned onto ‘gaslighting’ a week or two ago (being rather slow on the uptake) realising how much more effective the term was in describing what has been going on in the MSM campaign against Trump; but also, by extension, to media coverage (or the lack) of a number of different events here in Australia, some of it constituting straight out disinformation.
Take the Pauline Hansson burka ‘stunt’ in the senate at the end of last week. Senator Brandis saw what she did as insulting to Australian Muslims, and ultimately endangering us. Senator Hanson Young, who ironically wasn’t there at the time, came out even more strongly, leading Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray of Sky News to suggest she was trying to get political mileage out of an already fraught situation.
Of course our impartial ABC wanted a bit of the action, so the ABC Sunshine Coast Jon Coghill interviewed Haset Sali, former President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Societies, in the hope of getting a damning Muslim perspective on Pauline wearing her little black burka in the Senate chamber. Instead quite the opposite happened, in that he confirmed that the Qur’an does not in any way require women to cover their faces. But he went a lot, lot further: he clearly stated “the sooner Muslim women get rid of this hideous garb the better’. Here was a golden opportunity for the ABC to throw Pauline Hanson’s own accusation back in her face that the ABC was highly biased. Instead the interview was ‘disappeared’: it never went to air, but appeared as a Facebook post and subsequently went viral, eventually making it a headline article in The Australian.
My point? It’s all about the narrative and the need to preserve it at all costs. It doesn’t matter whether it is right wing or left, nothing must be allowed to get in the way of the message, not even a little thing called truth. As for we the long-suffering public, . . .well, in this era of gender fluidity, we simply have no idea whether we are Arthur or Martha.