Hameed ABDUL KARIM
US President Thomas Jefferson once said that ‘the security for all (Americans) is in the free press. That was when more than 80 percent of the US media were independent. But by 1983 there were only about 50 corporations which controlled more than half of all information, knowledge and entertainment companies in the US. In 1987, the figure fell dramatically to 27. Today the picture for a free media is even grimmer with more corporations merging in the wake of the recession.
This goes to show the extent of the power in the hands of so few. So if Thomas Jefferson were to come back to earth, he will be horrified to see his safety net eroded and that the media is now controlled by a handful of individuals hell bent in the pursuit of making money. Morals no longer have any validity in a post-modern materialistic society.
‘News’, for want of a better word, is tailor made to fit into the agenda of the warlords in Washington. The US media would want the world to believe that they are free and fair. Yet a cursory glance at its coverage of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine will expose the fact that the US media selects only some stories and skews them in a way that fits into the US global agenda.
A classic example of this is the ‘WMD’ hoax that George Bush foisted on the ever ready-to-be-brainwashed American people. That the US media collaborated with the Bush regime in propagating this con is now much too obvious.
Big Lie Syndrome
In media parlance this con is known as the ‘Big Lie’. The idea behind the Big Lie is that the bigger the lie the more the chances of it being believed.
This strategy allows room to entertain denials from the other side, but with every denial comes another barrage of accusations. Sometimes, though, a little masala is necessary especially when the chips are down as was in the case with Iraq when the IAEA refused to endorse US claims.
So what happens then? Simple. You have a sideshow. In this case, the sideshow was Tony Blair, war criminal and peacemaker, with his now infamous dossier, which was a shameless forgery. And then, hey presto, we’ve got the game going again. Eventually a terrified audience concludes that it’s best to be safe than sorry and toes the line of the establishment. An identical exercise is now in place with regard to Iran.
Incidentally, the current coverage of Iranian protests is hyped to such an extent that anybody with an iota of grey matter in his head can conclude that it is the US and other Western Governments that are directing the news coverage.
The role of the US media (and other sections of the Western media) has been to manufacture public consent as the US launches one military campaign after another to globalise the world for its own benefit and to the detriment of third world countries.
The home audiences are engineered to stand up and cheer. In the case of Afghanistan the plea was simple. Saudi terrorists bombed the Twin Towers, so let’s go bomb Afghanistan and the crowed roared in approval like they do at big league baseball games.
Suppression of information
The media’s power is not only confined to engineering public consent but also to restrain from freedom of thought. The home audiences are viewed by the PR companies as ‘less endowed’. Way back in 1932 Reinhold Niebuhr had said that ‘given the stupidity of the average man it is the responsibility of the cool observers to provide the necessary illusions that provides the faith that must be instilled in the minds of the less endowed’.
To illustrate how the US media keeps information away from its public it’s pertinent to quote Sen. Paul Findley who said he had not heard the word ‘Islam’ until he got hit by the Jewish lobby. It was joked that when George Bush jnr. was asked who the Taliban were he had said they were a pop group in Indonesia! Jokes aside, George Bush paucity of intelligence is now legendary and is probably a State secret.
Another case in point is the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty over forty years ago but the US Government has not given into the demand of the survivors for an inquiry. Over 35 American servicemen perished in that attack and over 170 were injured. Some of the men were maimed for life. Not many Americans know of this incident because the US media has deliberately kept this away from the public domain.
Then there is the Lavon Affair where Israeli under cover agents had planned to bomb US institutions in Cairo and put the blame on the Arabs. Unfortunately for the Israelis, the Egyptian Police nabbed the Israeli agents in the nick of time. Up until now the US media has not reported these stories to the American public, definitely not in the way they reported Saddam Hussein’s fictitious WMDs.
The truth is the US media skilfully misleads the US public for the benefit of its Government. In other words, the US media is now an arm of the US Government, unlike in the days of Thomas Jefferson.
The founding fathers would have been horrified if they saw the way the US media behaved in the aftermath of 9/11. Virtually all TV journalists wore the American flag lapel pins in a show of solidarity with the government. More than 150 songs were banned from radio stations, including John Lennon’s immortal rendition of ‘Imagine’. There was to be no talk of peace! Neither was there to be a closer look on statements like ‘you are either with us or with them’ that George Bush made.
To give an illusion of a free media the bigwigs in the circus would allow, what is known, as Prof Noam Chomsky points out, is a ‘permissible discourse.’ But even in this parameters are defined so that the truth does not get out.
But things are changing in the US, albeit a tad too slow. Recently the famous American actor Sean Penn said that the American media has gone too far in its lying game. He said he was tired of hearing or reading that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was a dictator.
Chavez had been elected three times in row in the most democratic manner that would make many Americans blush in shame, because they cannot say the same about their elections that gifted George Bush the Presidency. Sean Penn had said that American journalists should be jailed for lying to the American people.
It is now becoming clear that the American media is only advertising its corporate agenda in the guise of news reporting.
The hatred generated against Muslims in the aftermath of 9-11 was so intense that Ann Coulter, contributing editor of National Review Online, and a regular talking head on the extreme rightist Fox News was so captivated by the propaganda that she felt free and very American to propose ‘We (Americans) should invade their (Muslims’) countries, kill their leaders and convert all Muslims to Christianity.’ Imagine how Fox News would have reacted if a Muslim said the same thing against Christians!
But then they say those were patriotic times and journalists got carried away with an overdose of patriotic fervour. Understandably so. But history records the worst of crimes have been committed during ‘patriotic times.’
A recent case of how the US media (and much of the Western media) brainwash the home audiences can be found in the Marja operation in Afghanistan. From the very beginning it was clear the US wanted to have something to show its public to convey the impression that it was making ‘progress’ in the quagmire that Afghanistan has turned out to be.
Hence the Marja operation. As it turned out, the ‘news’ presented by US military officials and dutifully reported by all major U.S. media was nothing but a hyped up propaganda exercise and a typical case of misinformation to manipulate the minds of the ‘less endowed’ American public.
The fact of the matter is Marja was nowhere near the ‘main Taliban stronghold.’ It was a dusty farming community without any military significance. And as the news about the ‘large and loud victory’ gradually fade from TV screens, it’s becoming clear that the Marja operation was yet another ruse created by the US and it’s media to hoodwink their public into believing something that is not true.
A few weeks ago a New York based non-profit group calling itself ‘Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’ (FAIR) disclosed that most of the ‘pundits’ who appear on channels like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CNBC and Fox Business Network are actually on the payroll of corporations and special interest groups that they represent on TV.
To make matters worse for the US media it was reported that TV channels were well aware of the payments these ‘pundits’ received but had refrained from disclosing this fact.
This is yet another example of how the US media, the State and the big corporations work hand-in-hand to dupe an unsuspecting public into believing as true all the fabrication that they come up with just so that the big boys and girls in the ruling elite can make their big bucks.
FAIR’s exposure should shock the American people and motivate them to call for the ‘democratisation of the US media’ to use the words of the famous intellectual Prof Noam Chomsky.
In the meantime, those behind the Policy for the Next American Century (PNAC) must be busy mapping out strategies to extend their dominion in the world whilst the media must be planning its line of attack to occupy the minds of people.
It’s about time the US public was told that their media has been misleading them right along and that there was no ‘red under the bed.’ Neither was there any threat from the Viet Cong to the ‘American way of life.’ This was all cooked up to fit into America’s global agenda for full spectrum domination of the entire world.
America’s ruling elite invents an enemy to keep its public in fear of being taken over by some wicked foreign forces or a foreign ideology. Currently Islam serves the purpose for America’s jingoist brand of patriotism promulgated by the media.
There is no ‘jihadi next door’ as Time magazine would want us to believe, neither are there any hooked nose Arabs lurking somewhere in the dark to run amok in America.
America’s enemy is its own media.