FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Pope TV and the New World Media

 

Seattle, Washington

The 24 hour a day “Pope-a-thon” shows the dramatic shift in the way that news is covered. If a story is inoffensive to the political establishment or if it serves their greater interests (like Schiavo) then it becomes an immediate mega-story that swallows up most of the front page and consumes the majority of TV time. In this way, the national dialogue is controlled by PR firms working closely with Washington to decide what information is suitable for public consumption. It’s perception management pure and simple but, so far, it looks like a winning strategy. As many have already noticed, the Iraqi bloodbath has been knocked out of the headlines and consigned to page 14 next to the women’s lingerie adverts. In its place, American’s are provided with diversionary Uber-stories of vegetative housewives and dead Popes. There’s no chance that the 4 Marines who died in insurgent attacks last Tuesday will appear on page one anymore, nor will the 300,000 disgruntled Iraqis who paraded through Baghdad yesterday calling for an end to the Occupation while burning Bush in effigy. These are the unfortunate victims of the new media regime; a system that dismisses inconvenient facts for the fairy-tales that support the status quo. The new game-plan is to sweep Iraq from the collective consciousness and slow the steady erosion of public support for the war.

The changes in news coverage can be traced to a poll that ran 3 months ago in Washington Post poll which showed in stark terms how unpopular Bush’s war in Iraq has become in just 2 short years. 56% of the people polled said the war “wasn’t worth it” and a whopping 70% concluded that the loss of 1500 American servicemen “was an unacceptable cost”.

The results of that poll sent tremors through the political establishment, and their trepidation is reflected in way that the news is now presented. Ball-players on steroids, Schiavo and a dead Pope are just the first of what will certainly be many similar entertaining distractions. Next week we will undoubtedly discover that Schiavo was carrying Jacko’s love-child.

For the most part, Iraq has been buried by the media; a tacit admission that even supporters are now experiencing both doubt about the wisdom of the war and overall fatigue from the constant flow of bad news from the front. The casualties, the chaos, the lack of reconstruction, and the demoralizing stories of torture are slowly grinding down even the most ardent Bush fan. Beyond the legal and moral questions, the war is starting to look like it was simply a stupid idea conjured up by fanatics. This perception is not likely to change.

Once public support evaporates, that’s it. There’s no second chance.

The Bush team has a serious problem and limited options. There’s no light in the Iraqi tunnel, so the only choice is to manage the information. This explains why the media would rather provide a front-page pictorial of Bush performing his ablutions in front of the velvet-encrusted Pope than show a close up of the helicopter that went down in Afghanistan killing 18 American servicemen. Bush’s Vatican junket is just more-of-the-same photo-op claptrap designed to keep the lens off the mountain of carrion building up in Iraq. Its all part of the imperial narrative dressed up in regal accoutrements and presented as real news. Absent from the coverage were the thousands of incensed Italians on the streets of Rome who were aghast that the world’s foremost war criminal would be allowed to partake in the funereal ceremonies. Americans never saw the angry masses who protested Bush’s visit. Instead, they got the predictable pabulum from media operatives like Jim Vandehei of the Washington Post who faithfully chronicled the pious nostrums from the simpleton-and-chief.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that there is a living God. And, no doubt in my mind that Lord, Jesus Christ was sent by the Almighty. No doubt in my mind about that,” Bush said.

Or this, “The tides of moral relativism kind of washed around the Pope, but he stood strong as a rock.”

Imagine someone who just killed 100,000 human beings and authorized the use of torture on prisoners palavering about “moral relativism”?

Despicable.

Never the less, the fable-making media can be expected to maintain its present tack; inventing a narrative from whole-cloth and exploiting whatever novelty appears in real-time to steer the public away Bush’s ruinous war. It’s what they do best.
The Streetwalking Media

The press is the only institution in American life that is protected by an amendment. The founders wisely understood that safeguarding the free flow of information was imperative to the preservation of democracy. No one is so naïve to believe in the myth of a free press anymore. The entire institution is like an aging hooker locked in a conjugal embrace with her corporate bedfellow. The media jettisoned whatever freedom or credibility it had years ago; choosing instead to serve the narrow interests of its boardroom bosses. Now the news is tailored to meet the needs of its clientele; shaping events to spread the good news about free markets, consumerism and preemptive war. Whatever news cannot be packaged and presented in a manner that serves the objectives of its sponsors is simply left on the cutting room floor. What we see now when we turn on the evening news isn’t a free press, but the front-lines of information warfare: “Who owns the news, who controls what you know?”

Information has been weaponized to rob Americans of their personal liberty, plunder the treasury and dupe the people into foreign adventures. The ideal of an “informed public” actively engaged in the democratic process by exposure to a broad variety of viewpoints is pure baloney. The daily news increasingly aims for uniformity in their storyline to promote conformity of thought among its readership. Diversity is a threat to the system. This being the case, we shouldn’t be surprised that Rumsfeld is deliberately targeting reporters; it is the logical extension of the prevailing political ethos. Information is power, and now that power is the exclusive province of seven media giants who are inextricably linked to the White House.

See No Evil

Don’t talk about a “free press”. The American media showed their true colors in their handling of the decimation of Falluja. The entire media stood by with their hands over their mouths while a city of 250,000 was bombed to the ground in the greatest single war crime in the last decade. The story of Falluja is a tale of cluster bombs, napalm, depleted uranium, banned weapons, families crushed in their homes, dogs devouring dead citizens on the city streets, and masses of displaced people victimized by a vengeful and implacable enemy. It’s a story of unspeakable crimes, of absolute impunity, and unfathomable cynicism.

Even today, a full 6 months after the siege, the story of Falluja cannot be revised enough to fit into the imperial register; so the silence continues.

This is the reality America’s “free press”; the collaborative handmaiden of the US war machine, partners in the destruction of entire civilizations. Eventually, it will have to be chopped down to the root before anything worthwhile can grow up in its place.

MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

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.

June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail