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America’s Media Leads the Charge

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,
And everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned”

W.B.Yeats

The American media is the principal facilitator of aggression in the world today. No administration would be so reckless as to start a war without its tacit endorsement, and that endorsement can be anticipated with mathematical predictability.

Many believe that this is the “Great Lesson” of Viet Nam, that we should never support hostilities without the implicit backing of the “free press”. This judgment does not take into consideration the criminality of killing 3 million Vietnamese (17% of the population) in their own country during a civil war that established the principle of self determination.

The brutal deaths of people in the third world and the subsequent destruction of their environment never factor into the calculus of whether a war is worth fighting. That is just liberal sentimentality.

The real reasons are much more transparent, relating to basic themes of ideology, domination and plunder. That hasn’t changed.

Achieving these goals is no small challenge, but without the collaborative efforts of the media it’s virtually impossible. Their role is just as indispensable as the extraordinary weaponry that is designed to grind enemies into dust.

Many people have some idea of how the media dragooned the American people into the Iraq War. They may know of the calculated disinformation being cooked up in the offices of New York Times or propagated in the Pentagon wing of the Associated Press. They may even know something of how polls were manipulated to obfuscate the fact that one week before the war, 65% of the American people wanted to allow the weapons inspectors more time to continue their job, or that 70% were against intervention without the backing of the UN.

These are tough facts to “bury,” but the media performed brilliantly, transforming a healthy resistance to murder into a “groundswell of support” for all out war.

There’s really no chance that the “mistakes” of the Viet Nam era will be repeated, the centrist voices of reason have been culled out and replaced with the high pitched baying of right wing fanatics. And, in the trenches, where it counts the most, the information gathering team has been successfully schooled in the language that reflects the accepted values of the people at the top. Therefore, when you have a brutal (unelected) dictator like Musharraf in Pakistan, or a human rights abuser like Karimov in Uzbekistan, they are depicted in flowing prose as “our friends in the war on Terror”. Whereas, the democratically elected leaders who have “fallen from grace” with Washington (because they won’t ascribe to an economic regimen that surrenders all tangible assets to transnational corporations) get a predictable drubbing by America’s reporters.

This is how one succeeds in American media, by accepting the language of the “masters” and twisting the news to fit their sordid world view. After all, we may have to go into Venezuela or Iran, so we need to know that the ground work has already been done, that the “right people” have already been demonized.

It’s really not fair to dignify the reporting in America’s papers of record as “journalism”, most of that appears to happening by serious writers “eking by” outside the mainstream. The world of conventional journalism has deteriorated into a “knocking shop” for writers who don’t mind slipping into “the spiked heels and fishnets” for a fat check at the end of each month.

They are every bit as responsible for the bloodletting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti as anyone sitting in the Pentagon War Room.

 

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MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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