Nöel Newsome i l’essència de la notícia

Dans le document 1.1.1. Objectius de la recerca (Page 109-124)

h. Avaluació de resultats

2.3.3. Nöel Newsome i l’essència de la notícia

“Simplicity and honesty are the only recipe for succesful propaganda”333: Són paraules de l’editor en cap del servei europeu de la BBC, Noël Francis Newsome, que en fou també principal ideòleg. Havia nascut el 1906. Format a l’Oundle School i al Magdalen College d’Oxford, va treballar de periodista primer a Bristol i Londres i després a Malàisia. A l’staff de la secció internacional de The Daily Telegraph des del 1935334, l’1 de setembre de 1939 s’incorporà com European News Editor de la BBC. En arrribar tenia un personal format per cinc persones, entre elles Douglas Ritchie, també provinent del The Daily Telegraph335. Amb el temps va tenir sota la seva responsabilitat més d’un centenar de periodistes i entre 36 i 50 hores al dia –segons el moment- d’emissions radiofòniques (això és, 121 emissions diferents) en 25 idiomes336: l’operació radiofònica més gran del moment, en paraules d’un observador337.

El seu objectiu últim era, com el de tota la propaganda, escurçar la guerra i accelerar la victòria dels aliats338. Newsome, en aquest sentit, actuava com “activist and a crusader in broadcasting terms”339. Les emissions havien d’aconseguir debilitar la moral dels enemics i reforçar la dels amics. El mitjà, a diferència d’altres concepcions de la

333 Newsome, Nöel (11/01/1942). Propaganda to Europe during January, February and March. FO 898/41.

The National Archives, Kew, pàgina 6.

334 Les dades de la biografia estan extretes de la referència oficial que figura a Newsome, Nöel, Ed.

(1944). Europe. London, King and Staples Ltd.

335 Després de la reorganització de 1941 figurava com Assistant European News Editor. Va acabar assumint les funcions de Newsome quan aquest darrer va anar a Ràdio Luxemburg. Cf. Graves, Charles L. European News Service. NERI 3/1. The Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge.

336 Aquesta és la xifra que dóna Groves, en un document sense data. Aleshores, treballaven al servei europeu més de 100 periodistes i més de 100 traductors, missatgers i tipistes. (Ibid.).

337 Boyle Why spin didn't help win World War II.

338 Diu Newsome en un document intern: “all news and views, in addition to stimulating interest, must, however unobtrusively, serve the one real and fundamental propagandist aim of helping us to win this war as rapidly as possible” (Newsome, Nöel (12/02/1940). Presentation of European News Bulletins. NERI 3/1.

The Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge pàgina 2). El seu segon, Douglas Ritchie, explica en un document de 1941: “Most of our propaganda up to now has been devoted to persuading Europe that we deserve to win this war, that our victory is good for them, and that we shall win the war. This propaganda, with the notable assistance of the Gestapo and the crazy German economic system, has been extremely successful” (Ritchie, Douglas E. (04/05/1941). Broadcasting as a Weapon of War. NERI 3/2. The Churchill Archives Centre, pàgina 9).

339 Mansell Let truth be told: 50 years of BBC external broadcasting.

propaganda, eren sobretot les notícies redactades d’acord amb els criteris abans esmentats.

El mes de febrer de 1940, abans de la reorganització, Newsome donava al seu equip les següents instruccions a tenir presents quan feien butlletins informatius:

1. Be interesting, but don’t waste time on items of interest but of no propagandist value, since there are plenty which have both qualities.

2. Remember you are dealing in the spoken and not in the written word.

3. Be slick in presentation without being cheap, and don’t be subtle or over-sophisticated while avoiding “talking down” to your audience.

4. Be accurate in even the smallest details.

5. Select the news so that every item has real value to your particular audience.

If it isn’t available find it for yourself, and never be content with indifferent items as

“patters”.

6. Try to perform the dificult mental feat of being at one and the same time Britain talking to Germany and a German listening to the British news, so that your bulletin says what you want in a way which a German is ready to listen to. (Ditto in all languages).

7. Remember that the nacked truth is a magnificient weapon, but that sometimes it is more seductive when attractively clothed.

8. When there is time seek counsel and advice from anyone in a position to give it, i.e. your colleagues, the Ministries and departments, normally throught the liasons provided, the language supervisers and the translators

9. When in doubt about the accuracy or advisability of an item don’t risk it. Leave it out if it is a minor matter, ask advice if it is a major one.

10. Try to make your particular bulletin the best of the bunch in its way, find your own features and special items, and even when using the same general news as the other languages, work on it until it is in its best possible form for your language.

There are very few items which are musts in any particular form for all languages. º.

This means hard work and extra work, but it is worth it.

11. Never become resigned and say “there’s no news about”. There is always enough material available to produce and interseting and valuable 15-minute bulletin. The less ready-made news there is the more scope you have to use your own tallents.

12. Remember you are fighting just as much as anyone in the armed forces, and that for you the battle is very much on340.

Tenien quatre tipus de productes: news, news talks, news features and actuality features i programmes, a més de productions. Tot el que s’emetia en les tres primeres

340 Newsome Presentation of European News Bulletins. pàgines 10 i 11.

categories era subjecte d’un “centralised control and inspiration”341: des del Centre Desk, Newsome supervisava la feina de totes les seccions del servei, garantint una coherència que d’altra manera hauria estat difícil d’aconseguir. Des d’allà tenia accés a les fonts de les notícies, als informes sobre la propaganda enemiga, i funcionava al seu aire, sense deixar gaire marge a la intervenció superior del PWE. Al seu torn, cada servei podia –tot respectant els principis i les directrius del Centre Desk- adaptar les notícies a la seva manera, per bé que finalment havien de passar pel control d’aquest organisme central abans de ser emeses342.

Els principis que Newsome defensà per a l’European Service de la BBC343 quedaren fixats en una lliçó impartida en l’escola del PWE el 1943, així com en algun altre document de treball intern de la BBC344. La segmentació de públics no estava renyida amb la voluntat de mantenir una línia per a totes les emissions en tots els idiomes345. Newsome apostava per una línia ofensiva, independent de l’acció prèvia de l’enemic:

“we do not subject our broadcasts either to the enemy’s propaganda line or to the prejudices and tastes of our listeners, enemy, neutral or friendly”346.

La seva línia eren, fonamentalment, aquestes idees mare:

- El servei europeu de la BBC és un servei de notícies, i no de propaganda.

- El que determina allò que es diu són els esdeveniments, no unes idees preconcebudes, “although events are seen against a constant background formed of certain principles and beliefs”347.

341 Newsome, Nöel (23/04/1941). Propaganda Directive in European Service of B.B.C. NERI 3/1. The Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge.

342 Cf. Mansell Let truth be told: 50 years of BBC external broadcasting, pàgines 91 i 92.

343 Newsome, Nöel (08.1943). The European Service: Principles and Purposes. Problems, Policy Points and Presentation. FO 898/99. The National Archives, Kew.

344 Newsome The European Service. Principles and Purposes. Problems and Policy Points.

345 En una ocasió, Newsome va arribar a segmentar les audiències de cada país en tres tipus, “bad men, our implacable enemies”, “the good men, our friends” and the “opportunists and wobblers”, despertant totes les alarmes de Lockhart. Un exemple de la funció conciliadora de Kirkpactrick, que envià al cap del PWE aquesta nota: “I have spoken to Newsome about this. He agrees that it was ill-advised and asks me to express his regrets to you. Newsome did not make the point, but I think it is possibly worth pointing out that this was not a directive, but rather a background note expressing this own view. The fact, however, does not affect the objection that listing the Allies in order of merit in a document with such wide circulation to foreigners is indiscreet and undesirable” (Kirkpatrick, Ivone (13/05/1942). To Mr. Bruce Lockhart. FO 898/41. The National Archives, Kew).

346 Newsome The European Service. Principles and Purposes. Problems and Policy Points. pàgina 2.

347 Aquest realisme també es tralladava a les seves opinions sobre la política exterior: “A foreign policy cannot be based on such perilous illusions without catastrophe. The only foundations for a successful foreign policy, one which achieves security and prosperity for the nations concerned, are material

- No s’informa de res que no es cregui que és cert.

- Del que és cert, no se suprimeix res: es donen també les males notícies.

- No s’expressen visions que no estiguin justificades per fets.

- La línia editorial ve donada més per la pròpia estimació dels fets i menys per a contradir la versió de l’enemic.

- S’intenta explicar la pròpia visió a l’oient sense adornar-la.

- S’usa com a munició no meres paraules, sinó paraules que expressen idees. Les armes van des de petites bales de les notícies de cada dia fins als grans projectils de la pròpia filosofia.

- Sinceritat i criteri: “our sincerity provides the propellant explosive charge, our judgment the aim and the range finding, and the timing”.

Són principis que sintonitzen amb el compromís amb la veritat de la resta de propaganda blanca. La passió amb la qual els defensava podia estar sota algunes d’aquelles incomoditats que despertaven les seves emissions de tant en tant en cercles polítics348. El document de Newsome continua amb una declaració d’intencions prou explícita:

WE BELIEVE IN THESE THINGS:

Western civilisation, derived from classical philosophy and the Christian ethic, as the best hope for humanity;

The assertion of the dignity of the individual tempered by such “planning” as is essential to fitting the individual into a community and thus creating a community valuable to the individual.

Tolerance, tempered by refusal to compromise with that which has been proved evil and incompatible with our conception of civilisation.

Compassion, steeled by hatred of all that is cruel.

Forward-looking combined with recognition of that which is good in our inheritance from the past.

Justice, without any qualification whatsoever.

realities...” (Newsome, Nöel (1944). France's place in the Europe of the future. Dins Europe. Nöel Newsome. London, King and Staples Ltd.).

348 En els documents que queden als Arxius, Newsome no amaga les seves opinions respecte alguns punts de la política exterior britànica. Pel que fa a Espanya, per exemple, no té inconvenient en afirmar l’any 1942 que “this is one of the chief thorns in our side owing to the fact that we have a listening public overwhelmingly in favour of the democratic cause after its experiences under the Franco dictatorship, whereas British foreign policy demands that nothing shall be said to upset the Madrid Government”

(Newsome The European Service. Principles and Purposes. Problems and Policy Points. pàgina 10).

International organisation of humanity, with due respect for national culture and character.

Faith in the excellence of our own institutions and ideals, tempered by recognition of our shortcomings.

(...)

The EUROPEAN SERVICE TRIES TO BE:

Accurate but graced with the qualities of imagination.

Reliable without being dull.

Honest and truthful without qualification.

Sober without being lifeless or timid.

Interesting without being superficial.

Profound without being obscure.

On the offensive but not arrogant.

British without being narrow or insular.

And, technically, it aims at being as advanced and daring as the circumstances of reception in Europe demand or permit349

Newsome era, no hi ha dubte, un idealista. Estava convençut, que

The sole certain way of undermining the morale of the foe and strengthening that of the friend is to assume that we are going to win and that nothing can stop us. Fortunately we can assume this honestly and with conviction if we have our feet on the ground350.

Estimava el periodisme, però al mateix temps fou un propagandista bel·ligerant.

Davant dels que criticaven l’ús propagandístic de les notícies, ell responia afirmant que propaganda and news are inextricably interwoven, and the craftman who uses them must be free from many of the standards (academic, diplomatic or bureaucratic) of other brain-workers351.

Argumentava que aquesta feina s’havia de mesurar pels resultats, en aquest cas per l’aprovació del públic. Utilitzant una metàfora de la premsa, deia: “the finished article is the influence exerted on the public”352.

349 Newsome The European Service: Principles and Purposes. Problems, Policy Points and Presentation.

350 Newsome The European Service. Principles and Purposes. Problems and Policy Points. pàgina 4.

351 Newsome Presentation of European News Bulletins. pàgina 11.

352 Ibid., pàgina 11.

La proposta de Newsome -allò que alguns amb menysteniment qualificaven de Moral Approach- era considerar la propaganda com quelcom amb finalitats curatives, preventives i tonificants. Comparant la societat amb un pacient, Newsome sostenia que la propaganda alemanya havia infectat Alemanya mateix i molts altres països amb la malaltia de “the illusion of their own permanence and invincibility”. En aquest context, la tasca propagandística britànica havia d’actuar de forma

curative where society is badly diseased and the illusion strong, preventive where there is danger of the poison taking effect and the illusion getting a hold, and where society remains fundamentally healthy but still is exposed to the risk of infection our propaganda must be tonic353.

L’únic aspecte on Newsome era notòriament discrepant respecte les lliçons de Walmsley sobre propaganda a l’enemic era respecte l’ús de metàfores armamentístiques. Curiosament, amb la mateixa intensitat que defensava el periodisme més honrat emprava una retòrica bel·licista en els seus escrits. Quan parla de seguir una línia editorial determinada diu “our main batteries in all languages should be directed...”354, o bé “the main attack must be upon...”355; les emissions havien de “to give our friends psychological ammunition to fire at Germans”356. Deia:

We must bombard Europe with facts and lucid, forceful deductions from these facts. And the barrage must be directed against a limited number of essential targets, with all batteries firing at these same targets simultaneously with the best quality ammunition357.

Distingia això respecte a allò que comunament es coneixia com propaganda quan afirmava que

In turning the steam on against the enemy it is essential not to try to raise the temperature by becoming more “propagandist” in tone. Remember our formula: the better the news and the stronger our position the quieter, the dryer and the more

“lapidary” we must be, reserving our tough and slightly swashbuckling tone for announcing our own knocks and setbacks358.

353 Newsome, Nöel (04/05/1941). A Plan and Basis for Propaganda. NERI 3/1. The Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, pàgina 13.

354 Newsome, Nöel (05/05/1942). Propaganda Background Notes. FO 898/41. The National Archives, Kew, pàgina 1.

355 Newsome The European Service. Principles and Purposes. Problems and Policy Points. pàgina 5.

356 Newsome Propaganda Background Notes. pàgina 1.

357 Ibid., pàgina 3.

358 Ibid., pàgina 1.

En tant que editor, redactava diàriament una directiva que orientava l’enfocament dels informatius. L’objectiu de fons era debilitar la voluntat de lluitar de l’enemic. No s'havia de notar, però, que les notícies tenien una intenció de fons: “the news should seem guileless although it must not be so”359. Les seves directives eren precises, efectivament ofensives. Un cronista les titllarà de llegendàries360.

En un document de 1941 resumia així el tipus de propaganda que ell entenia que estava fent:

Thus, our propaganda is bound to be ideological in the true sense of the word (though not in the limited political sense) if it is to be effective. That is to say it must be illuminated by and serve the fundamental ethic for which we stand. In this, of course, religion –Christianity and the religions with which it has affinities- must play its part.

If our propaganda remains superficial, unprincipled and opportunist it cannot, however clever or cunning, contribute anything towards shortening the war, still less towards laying the foundations of a post-war world fit for anyone to live in.

To take a final example, namely the exposure of German lies, forged documents, manufactured evidence, falsification of history, perversions of justice, etc., it is not enough to show ourselves smart by exposing them and the Nazis stupid by perpetrating them so clumsily. We must go further and show that these frauds are the inevitable manifestations of a fraudulent system, of a system which is a fake to its very core, a hollow sham which by its very nature cannot endure; and that we, by exposing it, are not merely scoring points in a war game but serving the transcendant cause of truth, as we must by our very nature, by the dictates of our system which is founded on truth and must therefore be enduring and triumphant.

(...) Beneath the veneer of contemporary scepticism there is an ineradicable conviction among all men that what is evil and false cannot triumph, that depravity carries with it the seed of its own destruction. Thus, to show the enemy as false, evil and depraved is not to hit the air, as most of our propagandist pundits aver, but to hit the enemy in the most vital point.

Certainly the German propagandist are aware of this. They show no shiness of the “moral approach”, however grotesque it may appear when employed by them.

They make the most strenuous efforts to diplay us as depraved, and therefore ripe for destruction. Although they have done so with some success, while we, in a tremendously powerful position to employ it against them, have neglected it as we have neglected nearly all the themes most damaging to the enemy, thanks to over-subtle exponents of the art of propaganda who have not succeeded in realising that the most powerful weapon of propaganda is truth and the more fundamental, universal and eternal the truth the greater its potency.

While it has been accepted that truth, in the sense of accuracy and avoidance of mendacity is essential in our news there has been no appreciation of the fact that this veracity in our reports is a very incomplete achievement unless it reflects an

359 Newsome Weekly Propaganda Background Notes. pàgina 4.

360 Mansell Let truth be told: 50 years of BBC external broadcasting, pàgina 93.

underlying and basic inspiration of our propaganda which draws upon truth for its strength –which in other words is founded upon an integrity which cannot be mistaken and therefore employs the despised “moral approach”361.

Des d’aquest prisma, Newsome era una persona incòmoda. El seu compromís amb la veritat era precisament perquè es demostrava una bona arma propagandística. Era controvertit: dintre de la BBC podien estar d’acord amb el primer punt, però no li estalviaven crítiques per l’ús propagandístic de la veritat. A més, també li criticaven per la seva independència: Newsome es va fer fort dintre del servei europeu, i amb Kirkpatrick van mantenir una línia –la seva- amb poques intromissions fins per part de la pròpia BBC.

L’extrem d’independència el va mostrar Newsome quan va rebutjar l’oferta de pau

L’extrem d’independència el va mostrar Newsome quan va rebutjar l’oferta de pau

Dans le document 1.1.1. Objectius de la recerca (Page 109-124)