Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The mass media and the power of projecting national attitudes

Debunking U.K.'s 'cringe-worthy' grief over Diana

Aug 25, 2007 04:30 AM
Mitch Potter
Europe Bureau

LONDON–If time heals all wounds, a decade of pondering the tragic death of Diana has brought at least one startling insight into the extraordinary outpouring of grief that gripped Britain in the days following her demise.

It never happened.

Not, at least, in the way we were shown during that first week of September 1997, when it seemed the whole of the United Kingdom was united as never before in tearful, cataclysmic mourning.

Yes, a mountain of bouquets was placed at the gates of Buckingham Palace, inspiring the phrase: "Diana's floral revolution."

Yes, a cluster of shrines to the late princess sprang spontaneously in the windows of high-street Britain.

And yes, even the Queen herself abandoned royal tradition, reluctantly acquiescing to the clamour to show she cared.

But 10 years on, British researchers who have looked long and hard beneath the veil of tears for Diana conclude the country's famed stiff upper lip never actually crumpled.

A distraught, flower-bearing minority did hold court for the cameras throughout that frenzied week.

But seldom did those cameras pan right or left to show the vast majority of Britons who sensed something "cringe-worthy" in the spectacle of sorrow and chose instead to quietly get on with their lives.

The disconnect between what was shown and what really was happening is the subject of a trove of research by a handful of British academics, including Cardiff University Professor James Thomas, who debunks the myth of collective mourning with some interesting viewing statistics.

Four million Britons were watching when BBC One aired an evening tribute to Diana Spencer, Thomas reveals in his book Diana's Mourning: A People's History. More than three times as many, a massive 14 million, chose instead to watch that night's instalment of Coronation Street.


"It wasn't the whole nation. It just looked like it. But half of Britain, perhaps cringing a bit, was completely uninvolved. They just kept quiet because they didn't want to be seen to be going against something that seemed like a popular awakening of some kind."

Read it all here.

I find this article interesting because the media projection of Canadian attitudes concerning mass immigration and multiculturalism is handled in a similar fashion. It focuses on ethnic cultural events and gives then a place of primacy within the Canadian cultural identity that it leads one to believe that turbans, saris, burkas, reggae, etc. are as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup. It also focuses on the opinions of Canadians who appreciate these ethnic cultural events and are advocates of multiculturalism. But all the media has to do is pan left or right of the event and witness the mass of Canadians who do not care for these things let alone identify with them as being Canadian. It would also witness the “cringing” many Canadians try to suppress when they witness firsthand the ethnic and cultural transformation of their country and suddenly realize they are strangers in their own land.

There is a collusion of support from Canadian media for mass (third world) immigration and multiculturalism compelling Canadians into believing that they support mass (third world) immigration and multiculturalism as well. In Ontario alone there is The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, TVO (TV Ontario), CityTV (local Toronto Station owned by CHUM), OMNI 1 and OMNI 2, and the CBC. Rarely can one find dissenting opinion of immigration and multiculturalism in these media outlets. Since Canadians are inundated with support for mass immigration and multiculturalism it appears that to be opposed to it renders one in the minority of opinion. Therefore those “nay sayers” keep their opinions to themselves, much like the British during Diana’s death, thus further enforcing the illusion of national and wide spread support even though that is not the case.

I am convinced that most Canadians do not approve of their nation’s immigration policy and are opposed to multiculturalism as well. Canadians are not interested in becoming minorities in their own country because nobody does. Canadians do not support immigration because they think Canada is “too white.” The few places where dissension is allowed are on radio call in shows and it is interesting to hear how many Canadians call in to voice their opposition to the ethnic and cultural transformation of their country. Mass support for Herouxville, Quebec, and media criticism I might add, is an example. Mass opposition to allowing turbans as part of the RCMP uniform is another. When Canadians overcome their reserve and dare to confront the inevitable accusations of racism (an intimidation technique employed to silence opposition) they start to realize that they are not alone in their dissent and are in fact more numerous than previously imagined. Canadians need to speak out. It is one of the reasons I have this blog.

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