The Astronomical Price of Media Propaganda: An Electorate of Morons

Given that war between NATO (the U.S.) and Russia would end human civilization, how can so many Americans support it? Answer: most do not think from A to B. This is not because the 75 percent of Americans who want a no-fly zone over Ukraine were born morons. No. It’s because they’ve been propagandized by a cynical, feckless media into bovine stupidity, in part because that media has devoted more time and space to the Ukraine war than “coverage of all other wars in the last 31 years,” according to Responsible Statecraft on April 8. But this was predictable: Americans regard Russia as evil incarnate, having been acclimated by years of the phony Russiagate fiasco, while Moscow’s awful war on Ukraine provided the news biz the chance for wall-to-wall, nonstop demonization of the Slavic menace.

Hours in front of their screens, hearing former spies compare Putin to Hitler, has had a most unfortunate effect on U.S. viewers: It has rendered millions of Americans incapable of comprehending the most elementary and obvious truths, so that they actually support policies that would lead at once to their fiery incineration. How do we know this would happen? Multiple statements from Moscow over decades that Ukraine joining NATO is an existential threat that would lead to war and that if NATO involved itself in that war, Russians would go out in a global nuclear holocaust, “like martyrs.” But most Americans know nothing of this, which has been carefully kept from them, and so they support their own and indeed the human species’ suicide. It’s doubtful that at any time in human history, the population of a world empire ever degenerated into such a parlous, brainless state. And you don’t have to look far to see who’s to blame: our media in concert with our politicos, in this case, because they hold the white house and congress – primarily the Democrats.

You doubt our government and media lie to us? Then consider this NBC news story from April 6. It cites President Biden’s proclamation that Russia would use chemical weapons in Ukraine. Later, however, “three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine.” They explained that the U.S. lied “to deter Russia from using banned munitions.” The article then reveals this was one “of a string of examples” of such deceit “as part of an information war against Russia. To keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance.” So our media now treat us like kindergarteners, openly disseminating CIA black propaganda. And barely a week later, on April 12, new claims surfaced that Russia deployed chemical weapons, amid musings about how the U.S. should respond. But this time we’re supposed to believe them?

(As professor Asad Abukhalil tweeted: “For some inexplicable rational reason, enemies of the U.S. now rush to use chemical weapons for no clear military reason except to provide the U.S. with ample opportunity to mobilize world opinion against its enemies. I now expect Cuba to use chemical weapon against opponents.”)

This particular fib about chemical weapons dates back months, first floated by white house spokeswoman Jen Psaki with all the brazenness of Colin Powell lying through his teeth to the UN about Iraq’s supposed WMD, back in 2003. So it’s safe to say this potential fabrication has been building for a long time, and it’s doubtful that with the ground so carefully prepared, our rulers will abandon it. After Psaki’s fib, next Biden himself picked up the chemical weapons tale. But it all turned out to be unnecessary. That’s because an atrocity story replaced it. And of all types of war propaganda used to cretinize the American populace over the decades, atrocity stories packed the biggest wallop.

Questions arose at once when the Bucha war crime surfaced April 3, but the west stampeded to judgement. The correct procedure for an official conclusion usually is accusation, investigation, proof and conviction. This did not happen until the anecdotal evidence inculpating Russian troops in the April 11 New York Times story. Instead, the atrocity was used to expel Russia from the UN human rights council (on criteria that, if applied to U.S. behavior in the Middle East, would have led to Washington’s expulsion decades ago). You see, the UK dutifully nixed any fact-finding by denying Russia’s request for an emergency security council meeting on the events in Bucha. How convenient. Without the UK’s assist in suppressing this inquest, the U.S. might not have been able to ram through Russia’s expulsion. So we may never know the whole truth about Bucha. At least, that appears to be the plan.

One thing we know, which the New York Times reported on April 6, is that Ukrainian soldiers committed war crimes seven miles from Bucha, namely executing Russian POWs. Ukrainians even filmed themselves murdering the Russian prisoners, and the Times authenticated the video. Twenty-four hours later, the Bucha atrocity became public. This is far too much of a coincidence not to raise eyebrows. But with headlines screaming about Moscow’s war crimes, such skepticism went out the window. But no worries. Very few in the U.S. exercised their gray cells anyway. Nevertheless, what the Bucha and POW crimes reveal is that both sides are committing atrocities.

Put all this in the context of Defense Intelligence Agency comments some weeks back that the Russian assault on Ukraine was not as devastating as expected – certainly not as total as U.S. bombings of Iraqi cities, which literally razed them to the ground – and questions arise about public opinion manipulation. (They’re probably now moot, however, as Russia launches its Syrian strategy, which caused some 23,000 civilian deaths in that country.) “Astonishingly, the two peak months of coverage of the [2003] Iraq war each saw less saturated coverage than last month in Ukraine,” Responsible Statecraft quotes expert Andrew Tyndall. It’s astonishing because U.S. troops were actually IN Iraq. They’re supposedly not in Ukraine. So this amounts to a massive Russophobic propaganda campaign, coordinated by corporate media and corporate politicos. Just as they did in the run-up to the assaults on Iraq and Libya. In all cases they got the results they wanted, thus verifying again the adage that in war the first casualty is truth.

But truth was an American casualty long before the horrifying Russia/Ukraine war. After all, this is the nation that anointed Donald Trump, a pathological liar. How this person attained such lofty political altitudes is a sordid story of media greed – his tall tales during the 2016 campaign sold lots of papers and generated millions of clicks – irresponsibility and laziness. In short, our journalists printed his fake news eagerly and credulously, then and later, when they degraded the public by mindlessly quoting his falsehood of a stolen election. Meanwhile ambitious, amoral Republicans climbed right onto the fascism express. But now we’re told Biden’s lies – to prolong a war! – are okay. Idiotically, Biden’s base will probably swallow this, just as Trump’s followers were unfazed by the fibs oozing out of his mouth 24/7.

But if you think such prevarication began with Trump, think again. Lies riddled American public discourse, dating back decades, despite that otherwise surprisingly honest NBC article’s assertion that the current U.S. propaganda war was the first ever. Ho, ho, ho! Those of us who recall Gaddafi’s Viagra-frenzied soldiers, Iraq’s nuclear bombs, babies being thrown out of Kuwaiti incubators and the Tonkin Gulf incident may regard our print and electronic media’s candor somewhat more sourly than NBC does.

Meanwhile, the atrocity stories keep coming, so regularly that it really does look like someone sure wants to unleash nuclear Armageddon. For instance, on April 8 headlines screamed about a Russian attack on the Kramatorsk train station in Donetsk that killed 50 people. The only problem is that, as Moon of Alabama reported that day, the missile that slaughtered those civilians was a Ukrainian Tochka-U missile. “Russia, unlike the Ukraine, is no longer using Tochka-U missiles. They have been replaced by Iskandar missile systems…Ukraine, which has retained some 90 launcher systems for Tochka-U missiles from Soviet times, has recently fired several of these against Russian and Donbass forces.”

Also casting shade on this particular “Russia did it” story is the fact that the Tochka-U has a maximum range of 120 km. But as Moon of Alabama notes on April 9, “there are no Russian or Russian-aligned forces west-southwest [which he proves is where the weapon was fired from] of Kramatorsk within the 120 km maximum range of a Tochka missile.” So there were two sides to this story. But as is the norm in this war, only one was reported. And it was reported with mammoth, blaring headlines.

So who wants to drag NATO, that is, the U.S. into a probable nuclear blowup with Russia? Well, the Ukrainian president has begged for NATO involvement since the war began, and while this may be understandable for him, it’s another story for his CIA backers. Because Americans, according to a French reporter just back from Ukraine and interviewed this week on C-News, “are directly in charge of the war on the ground.” That means things are out of control and the CIA ain’t fixing them. And if that organization is cavalier about nuclear obliteration, then some of us are seriously behind-hand when it comes to preparing our bomb shelters.

Reports of the CIA training neo-Nazi fighters in Ukraine and of such Nazis using civilians as human shields, and now, of similar accusations aimed at Russian soldiers mean you can expect more atrocities, fabrications, false flags and a very hot propaganda blitz. Some in the pentagon may be leery of war with nuclear-armed Russia based on a fake, but Biden, congress and the millions of Americans understandably outraged by these stories don’t seem to be. Biden apparently wants to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian rather than push for peace negotiations, but unfortunately, in the heat of propaganda hysteria, lies sometimes spin out of control. Let’s just hope Biden doesn’t wind up fighting Russia to the last human. For as propaganda deceptions further debase the U.S. populace and inflame public opinion, that lugubrious outcome looms ahead like extinction itself.


Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Busybody. She can be reached at her website.