Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Mar 16, 2023 2:39 pm

It’s Good To Be Mean To War Propagandists


Sydney Morning Herald editor Bevan Shields has published an article titled “We are not above criticism but these attacks go too far“, tearfully rending his garments over criticisms his paper’s three-part war-with-China propaganda series “Red Alert” has received from former Prime Minister Paul Keating and from ABC’s Media Watch.

The whole article is Shields moaning about the way Keating raked Australian war propagandists at the National Press Club of Australia on Wednesday. He cries about how Keating told “Red Alert” co-author Matthew Knott “you should hang your head in shame” and “do the right thing and drum yourself out of Australian journalism,” mocked the intelligence of Sky News reporter Olivia Caisley for seriously suggesting that China is a military threat to Australia, and called Sydney Morning Herald editor Peter Hartcher a “psychopath” and “maniac”.

“For years, we have laughed along with Keating as he hurls his trademark barbs. But it’s not funny any more,” weeps Shields.

And you know what? Good. It’s good that these disgusting war propagandists are crying. They deserve a lot worse than a public tongue-lashing from a former prime minister.

To be clear, when I say the people Keating ripped into at the National Press Club are propagandists, that’s not just how I see them — that’s how they see themselves. They might not use that label, but they plainly see themselves as responsible for promoting Pentagon-friendly narratives, as evidenced by their behavior at that very press conference. If you watch them line up to question Keating and listen to what they are saying, over and over again you hear them trying to insert narratives like a propagandist rather than asking probing questions like a journalist.

You hear ABC’s Andrew Probyn work to insert the narrative that China is a threat to Australia by citing things like sanctions on select Australian products in retaliation for Canberra’s playing along with Washington’s attacks on Beijing over Covid, regurgitating the discredited claim of Chinese “debt diplomacy”, and babbling about China’s militarization as though the US wasn’t encircling China militarily and engaging in increasingly aggressive acts of brinkmanship.

You hear the aforementioned Olivia Casely work to insert the narrative that China is a military threat to Australia.

You hear Bloomberg’s Ben Westcott work to insert the narrative that Australia should work with the US to protect its trade from China, hilariously accidently re-enacting the famous Utopia sketch by ignoring the fact that China is Australia’s primary trading partner.

You hear The Australian’s Jess Malcolm work to insert the narrative that China building up its own military in its own country is somehow a “provocation” against Australia, which Keating immediately smacks down with appropriate disdain.

You hear the aforementioned Matthew Knott work to insert the narrative that Keating is a treasonous Xi Jinping puppet by sleazily insinuating that the former prime minister must say critical things about the “Chinese Communist Party” in order to prove his fealty.

Over and over again they line up to act like loyal defenders of the US empire, and over and over again Keating treats them like what they are: propagandists. Power-worshipping bootlickers for the most powerful empire that has ever existed.

Watching Keating tear strips off all those war pornographers was so satisfying because it showed Australians the appropriate emotional posture to have toward these depraved freaks. That’s the bare minimum level of contempt they should always be treated with. Australians who don’t want a war with China are still unclear about how to respond to this deluge of mass media war propaganda our country is being smashed with, and Keating showed exactly how to respond; he provided a solid model for us all.

If anything, Keating was too kind to those ghouls. One really can’t have enough disdain for those who peddle war propaganda professionally and pass it off as journalism to the unsuspecting public. They’re right up there with all the absolute worst human beings who have ever lived, and they should be treated as such.

Bevan Shields melodramatically refers to the public excoriation of his colleagues as “Donald Trump-like abuse of journalists doing their jobs,” but they are not journalists doing their jobs. They are propagandists. If you want to call yourself a journalist, you need to act like it. Be skeptical, question your sources and their funding, and get the story right. That’s the job. In this case the lives of nearly 26 million people are relying on you to get it right. It’s a huge responsibility and you are failing us. You deserve so much worse than to have mean things said to you by a retired politician.

These Pentagon puppets deserve more than just shame. I can’t believe they can so blithely push our country into the frontline of someone’s else’s war. How very generous of them to offer up our sons and daughters in the name of the almighty US of A.

It should enrage all Australians that a war of unimaginable horror is being shoved down our throats by the US empire, and it should enrage us that people who call themselves “journalists” are using the trust of the public to help manufacture consent for it. We need to start saying “NO” to this, and we need to whip up enough fire in our bellies to make sure that “NO” comes out with enough force to generate fear in these bastards.

Australians are not good at rage, but rage is what these actions should elicit, and our own actions need to start flowing from there. We can’t just let them inflict this horror upon our world with a signature Australian “Ah, whatever you reckon’s a fair thing mate.” The war propagandists cry about “abuse” when being put in their place by a 79 year-old ex-PM while inflicting the most abusive thing imaginable upon our civilization.

This cannot stand. We’ve got to get moving, people. These pricks will get us all killed if we don’t.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Mon Mar 20, 2023 2:12 pm

Empire-Funded Think Tanks Are Not Valid Sources: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix



It is never, ever acceptable, under any circumstances, to cite think tanks funded by governments and the military industrial complex as sources of information or expertise on matters of national security or foreign affairs.

If you do cite them (and, again, don’t), then at the very least you need to disclose the conflict of interest their funding causes in your reporting, and you need to make it abundantly clear to your audience that it is a conflict of interest.

This happens every single day in the western media, but just as an example take the way the independent Australian publication Crikey has shamefully published a bogus propaganda piece about the Chinese government persecuting LGBT people, with their sole source being the empire-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

As soon as you do this, you’re guilty of journalistic malpractice. As soon as you find yourself writing anything like “According to my source from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute,” you have ceased to function as a journalist and are now functioning as a propagandist. It’s insane that this extremely obvious fact isn’t better understood.

You all get that you can’t cite unverifiable claims by outlets like RT or Sputnik unless it’s for official statements from the Russian government, but for some reason you’ve been told that it’s okay to cite think tanks that are paid by western governments and arms manufacturers in your reporting. It isn’t, and it never has been. It has always been a brazen violation of journalistic ethics, and if you give it a moment of intellectually honest thought, you will know this to be true.

Australians need to stop talking about AUKUS as a “defence partnership”. It’s got nothing to do with “defence”. You don’t need long-range submarines to defend Australia’s easily-defended shores, you need long-range submarines to attack China. Anyone who doubts this hasn’t been paying attention.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating explained what this is probably really about the other day, saying it’s about taking out China’s nuclear-armed submarines to cripple their “second strike capability”, i.e. to allow the US to win a nuclear war with China.

It’s not a defence partnership because it’s got nothing to do with defence, and it’s not a defence partnership because it is not a “partnership”. It’s the US empire driving Australia to its doom, to nobody’s benefit but the US empire.

Either it’s about attacking China, or it’s about protecting our trade with China from China. Which makes more sense to you?

One of the biggest obstacles to building a robust anti-war movement is people’s belief that their own individual activism and opposition makes no difference, which is simply not true. Your individual activism and opposition makes ALMOST no difference, not no difference. These might sound similar, but they’re actually literally an entire infinity apart.

If your efforts to oppose our trajectory toward World War Three made no difference, then those efforts would be pointless. But if your efforts make even the slightest bit of difference above absolute zero, all that means is a lot more people need to join you to help turn us away from this dangerous trajectory.

Hollywood has given us the wrong impression of how these things work, because the narrative structure of movies always places all its emphasis on the actions of the individual protagonist having an immensely consequential effect. Luke Skywalker blows up the Death Star. Frodo destroys the One Ring. The Avengers save the universe. The storyteller needs to make the hero’s actions have major consequences to get you to care about their adventure, and thus get you to care about the story they’re telling you.

But real life isn’t like that. In real life it takes many, many people to bring about real change. The actions of one individual make very little difference; even people like me who have larger-than-average voices are just a tiny drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things.

Real change doesn’t depend on the individual, it depends on the collective. We can see this just by looking around society, at what a massive billions-of-cast-members collective improvisation human civilization is. It takes the collective to keep civilization functioning, and it will take the collective to change it.

One bee sting won’t protect the hive, but many bee stings is deadly. The bee doesn’t hesitate because its one individual sting isn’t going to bring about its Hollywood ending — it just stings.

We need to be like that. Sting with all the power of your one sting, whatever that may be. Organizing. Attending protests. Guerrilla street activism. Writing. Tweeting. Making memes. Distributing literature. Talking to people. Making videos. Whatever you can do to help wake up the rest of the bees and alert them to the threat that our collective hive has come under.

You won’t stop the empire by yourself. You won’t make a major difference. But you will make a difference. And there’s nothing anyone can do to stop you from making that small difference that you can make.

Take that unstoppable small difference and work toward getting as many of the others to do the same, because enough unstoppable small differences will necessarily add up to becoming an unstoppable big difference. And once we hit that point, healthy change becomes inevitable.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Mar 21, 2023 1:45 pm

John Bolton’s Prominence In The Media Proves Our Entire Society Is Diseased


In order to narrative-manage the public conversation about the Iraq War on the 20th anniversary of the invasion, those who helped unleash that horror upon our world have briefly paused their relentless torrent of “Ukraine proves the hawks were always right” takes to churn out a deluge of “Actually the Iraq War wasn’t based on lies and turned out pretty great after all” takes.

Council on Foreign Relations chief Richard Haas — who worked in the US State Department under Colin Powell when Bush launched his criminal invasion — got a piece published in Project Syndicate falsely claiming that the US government and his former boss did not lie about weapons of mass destruction, and that “governments can and do get things wrong without lying.”

Former Bush speechwriter David “Axis of Evil” Frum cooked up a lie-filled spin piece with The Atlantic claiming that “What the U.S. did in Iraq was not an act of unprovoked aggression” and suggesting that perhaps Iraqis are better off as a result of the invasion, or at least no worse off than they would otherwise have been.

Neoconservative war propagandist Eli Lake, who has been described by journalist Ken Silverstein as “an open and ardent promoter of the Iraq War and the various myths trotted out to justify it,” has an essay published in Commentary with the extraordinary claim that the war “wasn’t the disaster everyone now says it was” and that “Iraq is better off today than it was 20 years ago.”

But by far the most appalling piece of revisionist war crime apologia that’s come out during the 20th anniversary of the invasion has been an article published in National Review by the genocide walrus himself, John Bolton.

Bolton sets himself apart from his fellow Iraq war architects by arguing that the actual invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein “was close to flawless,” and that the only thing the US did wrong was fail to kill more people and topple the government of Iran.

Bolton criticizes “the Bush administration’s failure to take advantage of its substantial presence in Iraq and Afghanistan to seek regime change in between, in Iran,” writing that “we had a clear opportunity to empower Iran’s opposition to depose the ayatollahs.”

“Unfortunately, however, as was the case after expelling Saddam from Kuwait in 1991, the United States stopped too soon,” Bolton writes.

Bolton claims that the notoriously cruel sanctions that were inflicted upon Iraq between 1991 and 2003 were too lenient, saying there should have been “crushing sanctions” that were “enforced cold-bloodedly”.

As Reason’s Eric Boehm notes in his own critique of Bolton’s essay, perhaps the most galling part is where Bolton dismisses any responsibility the US might have for the consequences and fallout from the Iraq invasion, attempting to compartmentalize the “flawless” initial invasion away from all the destabilization and human suffering which followed by saying “they did not inevitably, inexorably, deterministically, and unalterably flow from the decision to invade and overthrow.”

“Whatever Bush’s batting average in post-Saddam decisions (not perfect, but respectable, in my view), it is separable, conceptually and functionally, from the invasion decision. The subsequent history, for good or ill, cannot detract from the logic, fundamental necessity, and success of overthrowing Saddam,” Bolton writes.

This is self-evidently absurd. A Bush administration warmonger arguing that you can’t logically connect the invasion to its aftereffects is like an arsonist saying you can’t logically connect his lighting a fire in the living room to the incineration of the entire house. He’s just trying to wave off any accountability for that war and his role in it.

“One might suspect that Bolton imagines a world where actions should not have consequences because he’s been living in exactly that type of world for the past two decades,” Boehm writes. “Somehow, he’s retained his Washington status as a foreign policy expert, media commentator, and presidential advisor despite having been so horrifically wrong about Iraq.”

And that to me is what’s the most jaw-dropping about all this. Not that John Bolton still in the year 2023 thinks the invasion of Iraq was a great idea and should have gone much further, but that the kind of psychopath who would say such a thing is still a prominent news media pundit who is platformed by the most influential outlets in the world for his “expertise”.

It’s actually a completely damning indictment of all western media if you think about it, and really of our entire civilization. The fact that an actual, literal psychopath whose entire goal in life is to try to get as many people killed by violence as he possibly can at every opportunity is routinely given columns and interviews in The Washington Post, and is regularly brought on CNN as an expert analyst, proves our entire society is diseased.

To be clear, when I say that John Bolton is a psychopath, I am not using hyperbole to make a point. I am simply voicing the only logical conclusion that one can come to when reading reports about things like how he threatened the children of the OPCW chief whose successful diplomatic efforts in early 2002 were making the case for invasion hard to build, or how he spent weeks verbally abusing a terrified woman in her hotel room, pounding on her door and screaming obscenities at her.

And that’s just Bolton’s personality. The actual policies he has worked to push through, sometimes successfully, are far more horrifying. This is the freak who has argued rabidly for the bombing of Iran, for bombing North Korea, for attacking Cuba over nonexistent WMD, for assassinating Gaddafi, and many other acts of war. Who helped cover up the Iran-Contra scandal, who openly admitted to participating in coups against foreign governments, and who tried to push Trump into starting a war with Iran during his terrifying stint as his National Security Advisor.

This man is a monster who belongs in a cage, but instead he’s one of the most influential voices in the most powerful country on earth. This is because we are ruled by a giant globe-spanning empire that is held together by the exact sort of murderous ideology that John Bolton promotes.

Bolton is not elevated at maximum amplification in spite of his psychopathic bloodlust, but exactly because of it. That’s the sort of civilization we live in, and that’s the sort of media environment that westerners are forming their worldviews inside of. We are ruled by murderous tyrants, and we are propagandized into accepting their murderousness by mass media which elevate bloodthirsty psychos like John Bolton as part of that propaganda.

That’s the world we live in. That’s what we’re up against here.

And that’s why they’ve been working so hard to rewrite the history on Iraq. They need us to accept Iraq as either a greater good that came at a heavy price or a terrible mistake that will never be repeated, so that they can lead us into more horrific wars in the future.

We are being paced. Until now, “Iraq” has been a devastating one-word rebuttal to both the horror and failure of US interventionism. The essays these imperial spinmeisters have been churning out are the early parlay in a long-game effort to take away that word’s historical meaning and power. Don’t let them shift it even an inch.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Mar 22, 2023 2:41 pm

20 Years After Iraq, Corporate Media Defends US War Crimes But Obsesses Over Trump Trivialities
Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist 22 Mar 2023

A fake AI-generated image of former president Donald Trump being arrested by police. (Twitter)

Liberals and the media give great attention to Donald Trump's legal problems that are related to his personal life, but they cover up for the war crimes he and other presidents committed.

United States troops began the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003 under the direction of president George W. Bush. The death toll estimates for Iraqi civilians vary between 275,000 and 654,000 as a direct result of warfare, with one study estimating as many as 1 million deaths . If even the lowest figure is correct, the U.S. committed a horrific war crime, a deliberate attack on a civilian population.

In 2003 thousands of people massed in protest across the country. On February 15, 2003 , millions gathered around the world in the largest protests since the Vietnam war. While public opinion was divided, the corporate media firmly sided with the Bush administration. MSNBC fired Phil Donahue, who hosted their highest rated show, because he expressed opinions in opposition to the war. Even Oprah Winfrey , an opinion maker hawking snake oil self-improvement quackery and celebrity worship, presented a pro-war program featuring the likes of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who worked with her paper to lie about the existence of Iraqi biological weapons programs.

Little has changed 20 years later. Now the New York Times describes the ruined nation as merely free but not hopeful without any mention of the continued devastation. They also blithely point out that George W. Bush still believes he was right to kill thousands of people . The Times indulges Bush in this latest puff piece, informing us that he enjoys painting and benefits from favorable comparisons to Donald Trump. Every U.S. president kills people and Trump is no exception. He is responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 Venezuelans who succumbed as the result of his brutal sanctions imposed on their country. Collective punishment on a civilian population is by definition a war crime.

Trump is in the news of late but not because he killed Venezuelans or anyone else. The former president may be on the verge of being charged with falsifying business records with “intent to defraud” because of the way he recorded a reimbursement to his attorney who made a hush money payment to a porn star with whom Trump had an affair. The appeal of the story is part salaciousness and part mockery of Trump who made the payments just days before being elected president.

Former presidents generally receive all sorts of consideration. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed in connection with the Watergate scandal or any other offense. New presidents come into office vowing not to bother investigating their predecessors. Bush’s torture programs went unpunished by Barack Obama. There is collusion at the top of the political heap, with political elites rivaling mafia codes of silence.

Not so with Trump, who partly due to his own personal failings has created problems for himself that are unique to former presidents. Yet he may be punished for an incompetent cover-up of personal behavior while bigger crimes are hidden or even defended. Of course there is also a desire to drive a stake through Trump’s heart and kill him off politically, although the result may not be what Democrats expect. Even if Trump doesn’t run for president again, Trumpism will live on and perhaps be emboldened when it might have withered away on its own.

The gleeful anticipation of a Trump indictment and arrest are odd when one considers the dangers facing humanity. Joe Biden, the current white house occupant, has created a political disaster with his Ukraine proxy war. He has damaged relations with former allies, failed to damage Russia as he promised, committed his own war crime of sabotaging the Nord Stream pipeline, and is unable to extricate himself from Ukraine in the way he would like. When the Biden team isn't saber rattling against Russia, they are shooting down Chinese weather balloons and planning on a two-front war when they are already losing on one front. Banks are failing and Biden is bailing them out while families struggle with cuts to the SNAP program.

But the corporate media is one gigantic mouthpiece acting on Biden’s behalf and they say nothing about the problems he has created domestically and internationally. Big crimes remain hidden, even for Trump. It is his personal foible that gets attention and not the crimes he committed while in office.

The same liberal glee at the prospect of seeing a Trump mug shot is extended to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Putin demurred on the Iraq invasion in 2003 when the now rehabilitated Bush was out for blood. But Putin was widely reviled even before Trump’s 2016 election and was then falsely blamed for putting him in office.

Now that the U.S. is using Ukraine to fight Russia, Putin is demonized all over again. The “collective west” even engineered a war crimes indictment. The warrant claims that he kidnapped Ukrainian children. The proof is lacking but the phony outrage isn’t. Like the U.S., Russia is not a signatory of the Treaty of Rome which brought the International Criminal Court into existence. The ICC literally has no standing even if Putin is guilty of the charge.

Of course the U.S. not only decided not to be a party to the treaty which brought the ICC into being, but in 2002 passed a law, the American Service Members Protection Act , which prohibits Americans from being prosecuted by the ICC. It also gives the U.S. the right to forcibly remove any citizen who might fall into the court’s hands. The same nation which quite literally reserves the right to violate human rights around the world, is now ecstatic that flimsy charges are filed against the president of another country.

If Trump ends up in court because he paid his attorney to pay off a former girlfriend, justice will not have been done. The nonsense indictment will be a failure, not a victory. Trump will never face jail time for kidnapping Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab or assassinating Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. His predecessors understand the importance of defending the big crimes. But January 6 and other antics put Trump on the outs with the rest of the elite gang. He gets no protection and could make history in a way that he never dreamed of.

https://www.blackagendareport.com/20-ye ... ivialities


The U.S. War in Iraq: 15 Years and Counting… the Dead and Displaced, 2018. (Photo: Pressenza)

20 years later, the stain of Corporate Media’s role in promoting Iraq War remains
Originally published: Common Dreams on March 20, 2023 by Brett Wilkins (more by Common Dreams) | (Posted Mar 22, 2023)

As the world this week mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, journalism experts weighed in on the corporate media’s complicity in amplifying the Bush administration’s lies, including ones about former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons upon which the war was waged.

“Twenty years ago, this country’s mainstream media—with one notable exception—bought into phony Bush administration claims about Hussein’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, helping cheerlead our nation into a conflict that ended the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis,” Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian wrote Sunday.

That “one notable exception” was a group of journalists at the Washington, D.C. bureau of Knight Ridder—which was acquired by McClatchy in 2006—who published dozens of articles in several of the company’s papers debunking and criticizing the Bush administration’s dubious claims about Iraq and its WMDs. Their efforts were the subject of the 2017 Rob Reiner film Shock and Awe, starring Woody Harrelson.

“The war—along with criminally poor post-war planning on the part of Bush administration officials—also unleashed horrible sectarian strife, led to the emergence of ISIS, and displaced more than 1 million Iraqis,” Abcarian noted.

She continued:

That sad chapter in American history produced its share of jingoistic buzzwords and phrases: “WMD,” “the axis of evil,” “regime change,” “yellowcake uranium,” “the coalition of the willing,” and a cheesy but terrifying refrain, repeated ad nauseam by Bush administration officials such as then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice: “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

“Of course,” wrote Abcarian,

there was never any smoking gun, mushroom-shaped or not.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit investigative journalism organization, Bush and top administration officials—including then-Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Rice—”made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

Those lies were dutifully repeated by most U.S. corporate mainstream media in what the center called “part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”

“It should not be forgotten that this debacle of death and destruction was not only a profound error of policymaking; it was the result of a carefully executed crusade of disinformation and lies,” David Corn, the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for Mother Jones, asserted Monday.

Far from paying a price for amplifying the Bush administration’s Iraq lies, many of the media hawks who acted more like lapdogs than watchdogs 20 years ago are today ensconced in prestigious and well-paying positions in media, public policy, and academia.

In a where-are-they-now piece for The Real News Network, media critic Adam Johnson highlighted how the careers of several media and media-related government professionals “blossomed” after their lie-laden selling of the Iraq War:

David Frum—Bush’s lead writer who coined the term “Axis of Evil” to refer to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea—is “a well-paid and influential columnist for The Atlantic and a mainstay of cable TV.”
Jeffrey Goldberg, then a New Yorker reporter who pushed conspiracy theories linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and al-Qaeda to Iraq, is now editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.
MSNBC‘s Joe Scarborough, an erstwhile Iraq War hawk, rebranded himself as a critic of the invasion and occupation, and is a multimillionaire morning show host on that same network.
Fareed Zakaria hosts “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN and writes a weekly column for The Washington Post.
Anne Applebaum, a member of the Post‘s editorial board at the time who called evidence of Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs “irrefutable,” now writes for The Atlantic and is a senior fellow at the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

“The almost uniform success of all the Iraq War cheerleaders provides the greatest lesson about what really helps one get ahead in public life: It’s not being right, doing the right thing, or challenging power, but going with prevailing winds and mocking anyone who dares to do the opposite,” wrote Johnson.

Other journalists not on Johnson’s list include MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews—who infamously proclaimed “we’re all neocons now” as U.S. forces toppled Hussein’s statue while conquering Baghdad—and “woman of mass destruction”Judith Miller, who although forced to resign from The New York Times in disgrace over her regurgitated Bush administration lies about Iraq’s WMDs remained an influential media figure over the following years.

In an interview with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft—which is hosting a discussion Wednesday about the media’s role in war and peace—Middle East expert Assal Rad noted:

Rather than challenging the narrative of the state, calling for evidence, or even humanizing the would-be victims of the war, the Iraqi people, reporters such as Thomas Friedman with significant platforms like The New York Times most often parroted the talking points of U.S. officials. There was little critical journalism to question the existence of WMDs and little reflection on important issues, such as the U.S. role in supporting Saddam Hussein in the 1980s against Iran, international law, or the humanity of Iraqis.

While there was some contrition from outlets including the Times as the Iraq occupation continued for years and not the “five days or five weeks or five months” promised by Rumsfeld, journalist Jon Schwarz of The Intercept noted that media lies and distortions about the war continue to this day.

“Perhaps the most telling instance of the media’s acquiescence was a year after the Iraq invasion,” said Rad,

when President Bush’s joke at the White House Correspondents’ dinner about finding no weapons of mass destruction was met with uproarious laughter from an audience of journalists.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Mar 28, 2023 1:47 pm

The New York Times Is A Disgusting Militarist Smut Rag


I hate The New York Times. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. With every fiber of my being, from the depths of my immortal soul.

The “paper of record” for the most murderous and tyrannical nation on earth, The New York Times has been run by the same family since the late 1800s, during which time it has supported every depraved American war and has reliably dished out propaganda to manufacture consent for the political status quo necessary for the operation of a globe-spanning empire that is fueled by human blood and suffering. It is a plague upon our world, and it should be destroyed, buried, and peed on.

And I am being charitable.

Among the latest items of unforgivable militarist smut churned out by the Times is an article titled “An Anxious Asia Arms for a War It Hopes to Prevent,” which freakishly frames the US as just a passive, innocent witness to the US military encirclement of China.

Times author Damien Cave writes ominously that China’s president Xi Jinping “aims to achieve a ‘national rejuvenation’ that would include displacing the United States as the dominant rule-setter in the region,” as though it makes perfect sense for the US to be the “dominant rule-setter” in the continent of Asia.

(You see lines like this in The New York Times constantly; earlier this month the Times editorial board bemoaned the fact that “the United States had tried with little success to persuade or compel China to abide by American rules,” like that’s a perfectly sane and normal line to write. Other nations make demands, the US makes “rules”. These people really do begin with the premise that the US government owns the entire world, and then write from there.)

Watch how Cave then frames the US military encirclement of China as something “China’s neighbors” are doing as a “response” to Xi’s goal of “displacing the United States as the dominant rule-setter in the region”:

In response, many of China’s neighbors — and the United States — are turning to hard power, accelerating the most significant arms race in Asia since World War II.

On March 13, North Korea launched cruise missiles from a submarine for the first time. The same day, Australia unveiled a $200 billion plan to build nuclear-propelled submarines with America and Britain that would make it only the seventh nation to have them.

Japan, after decades of pacifism, is also gaining offensive capabilities unmatched since the 1940s with U.S. Tomahawk missiles. India has conducted training with Japan and Vietnam. Malaysia is buying South Korean combat aircraft. American officials are trying to amass a giant weapons stockpile in Taiwan to make it a bristling “porcupine” that could head off a Chinese invasion, and the Philippines is planning for expanded runways and ports to host its largest American military presence in decades.

Notice the glaring contradiction between the narrative that the US is “the dominant rule-setter in the region” and the framing of this encirclement operation as something the US is merely supplying to locals who request it of their own free will. If you acknowledge that the US exerts enough control over those nations to be able to “set rules” for them, then it’s probably a bit nonsensical for you to claim they’re stationing US war machinery because it was their own idea that they chose of their own volition.

As we discussed recently with regard to Australia, we’ve all seen what the US does to nations which disobey its “rules”. Australia isn’t arming itself against China to protect itself from China, Australia is arming itself against China to protect itself from the United States. The same is true of all the other US assets listed above.

Just one paragraph after outlining the ways China is being military encircled, Cave then writes that China has “engaged in provocative or dangerous behavior” toward its neighbors:

In flashpoint after flashpoint over the past year, China’s military has also engaged in provocative or dangerous behavior: deploying a record number of military aircraft to threaten Taiwan, and firing missiles into the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone for the first time last August; sending soldiers with spiked batons to dislodge an Indian Army outpost in December, escalating battles over the 2,100-mile border between the two countries; and last month, temporarily blinding the crew of a Filipino patrol boat with a laser, and flying dangerously close to a U.S. Navy plane, part of its aggressive push to claim authority in the South China Sea.

The US empire asks us to believe many stupid things on a daily basis, but arguably the very stupidest among them right now is the narrative that the number one geopolitical rival to US power is being surrounded by US war machinery defensively.

The US is surrounding China — a nation on the other side of the planet — with war machinery in a way it would never permit itself to be surrounded for even an instant. One of these nations is the aggressor, and the other is responding defensively to those aggressions. If you can’t tell which is which, it’s because empire propaganda has melted your brain.

Another recent New York Times article titled “From Rockets to Ball Bearings, Pentagon Struggles to Feed War Machine,” author Eric Lipton warns urgently that the US isn’t producing enough weaponry to meet its current needs while preparing for war with China.

“If a large-scale war broke out with China, within about one week the United States would run out of so-called long-range anti-ship missiles, a vital weapon in any engagement with China, according to a series of war-game exercises conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank,” Lipton writes.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is funded by military-industrial complex entities like Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and is also directly funded by the US government and its client states, including Taiwan. Lipton makes no mention of this immense conflict of interest.

The whole article reads like an advertorial for the need to pour more wealth and resources into arms manufacturers, even directly citing statements from war profiteering CSIS funders like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Lipton quotes Lockheed Martin COO Frank St John expressing his deep and solemn concern that the Pentagon might not be meeting its goals in procurement of expensive military equipment, saying, “Any time you see an analysis that says, hey, we might not be prepared to achieve our strategic objectives, that’s concerning.”

Hey thanks for your concern Frank, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that your company sells the murder machines which meet those strategic objectives. Great journalism, Mr Lipton.

“The surge in spending is likely to translate in the long run into increased profits at military contractors,” Lipton notes.

Yeah, no shit.

One of the most freakish and depraved things happening in our society is the way war machine-funded think tanks shape public opinion through the mass media and government without that conflict of interest being disclosed. Profoundly influential outlets like The New York Times routinely cite them as though they are impartial analysts of national security and foreign affairs and not functional PR firms for war profiteers and government agencies.

If you killed thousands of people and sold their skins for a fortune, the media would correctly call you the worst monster who ever lived. If you kill the same number of people for the same amount of money but do it by lobbying for war and selling the weapons used in that war, the media will call you an industrious job creator.

It is never, ever acceptable, under any circumstances, for news media outlets to cite think tanks funded by governments and the military industrial complex as sources of information or expertise on matters of national security or foreign affairs. As soon as they do this, they’re guilty of journalistic malpractice. As soon as you find yourself writing anything like “According to my source from the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” you have ceased to function as a journalist and are now functioning as a propagandist. It’s insane that this extremely obvious fact isn’t better understood in western journalism, but we can understand why this point is obfuscated by looking at the power structures it serves.

Western media are the marketing department of the US-centralized empire, selling war and militarism to the public in the form of nonstop propaganda. And The New York Times is probably the most destructive offender among all of them.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2023/03/27 ... -smut-rag/

The thing about Chomsky is that even as he rightfully rails against the manufacturing of consent is that he does the very same himself with his doctrinaire anti-communism. He didn't get to be a millionaire by endorsing a serious challenge to the bourgeois state, ya know.

To quote a meme I can no longer find:

You can be a child forever if you believe that Noam Chomsky is in any way radical.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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