Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered on October 2, 2018 by agents of Saudi Arabia’s despotic government, and the CIA concluded they killed him on direct orders from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Eight Saudi men have been convicted of Khashoggi’s murder by a Saudi court in what the Washington Post characterized as sham trials with no transparency. The higher ups who ordered the murder, including MBS, continue to escape responsibility.
In “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” published in 1988, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky exposed the techniques that the commercial media used to promote and defend the economic, social and political agendas of the ruling elites. These techniques included portraying victims as either worthy or unworthy of sympathy. A Catholic priest such as Jerzy Popiełuszko, for example, murdered by the communist regime in Poland in 1984, was deified, but four Catholic missionaries who were raped and murdered in 1980 in El Salvador by U.S.-backed death squads were slandered...
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, along with 18 members of the House of Representatives—15 Republicans and three Democrats—has sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the Qatari-run Al-Jazeera television network register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The letter was issued after Al-Jazeera said it planned to air a documentary by a reporter who went undercover to look into the Israel lobby in the United States. The action by the senator and the House members follows the decision by the Justice Department to force RT America to register as a foreign agent and the imposition of algorithms by Facebook, Google and Twitter that steer traffic away from left-wing, anti-war and progressive websites, including Truthdig. It also follows December’s abolition of net neutrality.
Closely observing the grammar of the Official Russiagate Narrative is revealing and instructive. It provides clues to the (language-)game being played. Consider what I call the insidious article, the. In the public prints and official pronouncements, it’s not enough to say Russians tried to muck around in the American election. It’s almost always the Russians. This is a subtle way to convey the idea that Vladimir Putin and his intel agencies were responsible. If a second-tier Russian oligarch who wishes to help Putin hires, on his own initiative, “a bunch of subliterate-in-English trolls,” in Masha Gessen’s words, and pays them the minimum wage to (again Gessen) “post mostly static and sort of absurd advertising,” that is treated as the equivalent of Putin’s executing a plan to destroy the American political system.
Ever wonder how the television, radio and newspaper people select whom they are going to interview or get quotes from when they are reporting the news or producing a feature? I do. What I’ve learned is that they go to guests that are connected with the established powers—such as think tanks in Washington, D.C. that work on “the military industrial complex” policy (to borrow President Eisenhower’s words) and somehow lean toward more war mongering (e.g. NPR and the U.S.-Iran relationship) or backing more weapon systems (such as a new nuclear bomb arsenal and more F-35s and air craft carriers). You won’t be hearing from MIT Professor Emeritus Ted Postol on the chronic failures of the anti-ballistic missile program (spending $13 billion this coming year).
Guardian columnist and leader writer Natalie Nougayrede wrote an op-ed last month examining propaganda in our supposed age of “lies and distortion.” Focusing on “Russian propaganda” and “Russian meddling” in the West’s political systems, Nougayrede argued “citizens who live in an authoritarian, disinformation-filled environment deal daily with the reality of propaganda in ways we can’t fully experience, because we live outside of it.” The former executive editor of Le Monde newspaper in France couldn’t be clearer. Propaganda is what “they” — Russia and other official enemies — do, not something the West dirties its hands with. In actual fact, as academics David Miller and William Dinan argue in their 2007 book A Century of Spin, sophisticated propaganda has played a central role in Western societies, particularly the United States, since the early 20th century.
Mass-Media has become the main opposition to the progressive governments of the region. After the long and sad neoliberal night of the 1990s - which broke entire nations like Ecuador - and since Hugo Chávez won the Presidency of the Republic of Venezuela at the end of 1998, the rightist governments of the continent began to be overthrown like houses of cards, bringing Popular governments and aligned with ‘Socialism of Good Living’ across our America. In its heyday in 2009, out of ten Latin American countries in South America, eight had leftist governments. In addition, in Central America and the Caribbean, there was the Farabundo Martí Front in El Salvador, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Álvaro Colom in Guatemala, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Leonel Fernández in the Dominican Republic.
Trumpwashing—defined as whitewashing, obscuring or rewriting the broader US record by presenting Donald Trump as an aberration (FAIR.org, 6/3/16)—was on full display Thursday in a nominally straight news report from the New York Times’ Mark Landler (12/28/17) on how Trump has reshaped US foreign policy. What exactly is this “liberal, rules-based international order,” and when did “the world” view the United States as its most reliable anchor? Landler doesn’t say, he simply asserts this highly contestable and ideological claim, and moves on to pearl-clutch about Trump ruining the US’s hard-won moral authority. He has some 100 percent uncut pro-US ideology to push under the guise of criticizing Trump, and no amount of basic historical facts will get in his way.
By Charles Ferguson for The Guardian - In one of the most jaw-dropping press conferences of all time, this month President Trump declared war on the entire news media, except Fox News and Alex Jones of InfoWars. Last week he doubled down with his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, on the same day that the Guardian, New York Times, BBC and CNN were among news organisations barred from a press briefing. All of this is occurring at a time of unprecedented financial pressure on the news media. For newspapers and magazines, both advertising and readership are shifting rapidly from print to the internet. Print advertising and circulation revenues are declining sharply. Furthermore, as readership shifts to the internet, digital advertising revenues are shifting even more sharply away from the news publications themselves to the small number of technology companies that send them traffic. Facebook and Google now capture the overwhelming majority of digital advertising revenues.
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig - The media landscape in America is dominated by “fake news.” It has been for decades. This fake news does not emanate from the Kremlin. It is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry that is skillfully designed and managed by public relations agencies, publicists and communications departments on behalf of individuals, government and corporations to manipulate public opinion. This propaganda industry stages pseudo-events to shape our perception of reality. The public is so awash in these lies, delivered 24 hours a day through electronic devices and print, that viewers and readers can no longer distinguish between truth and fiction.
By Jay Caspian Kang for Medium - Over the next year or two, media — especially prestige print media — will begin thinning out its ranks. The economic forecast, despite temporary spikes in post-election subscriptions, is not good and headcount spots will have to be cleared to make room for all the incoming pro-Trump takes. “Identity politics writers” (read: anyone who isn’t white and who doesn’t spend 99% of their time reporting) will almost certainly be the first to go. In reality, this is just a self-correction on the part of prestige print media. As early as three years ago, the entire senior editorial staff of the New Yorkermagazine was white (the web, where I worked for a short stint in 2014, was slightly more diverse. I even sat next to a minority, which was a first for me in my publishing career.).
By Nauman Sadiq for Counter Currents - What bothers me is not that we are unable to find the solution to our problems, what bothers me more is the fact that neoliberals are so utterly unaware of the real structural issues that their attempts to sort out the tangential issues will further exacerbate the main issues. Religious extremism, militancy and terrorism are not the cause but the effect of poverty, backwardness and disenfranchisement. Empirically speaking, if we take all other aggravating factors out: like poverty, backwardness, illiteracy, social injustice, disenfranchisement, conflict, instability, deliberate training and arming of certain militant groups...
By Mark Ames for Alternet. Last month, the Washington Post gave a glowing front-page boost to an anonymous online blacklist of hundreds of American websites, from marginal conspiracy sites to flagship libertarian and progressive publications. As Max Blumenthal reported for AlterNet, the anonymous website argued that all of them should be investigated by the federal government and potentially prosecuted under the Espionage Act as Russian spies, for wittingly or unwittingly spreading Russian propaganda. It’s now been a few days, and the shock and disgust is turning to questions about how to fight back—and who we should be fighting against. Who were the Washington Post’s sources for their journalism blacklist? WaPo’s key source was an anonymous online group calling itself PropOrNot (i.e., “Propaganda Or Not”). It was here that the blacklist of American journalists allegedly working with the Kremlin was posted. The Washington Post cited PropOrNot as a credible source, and granted them the right to anonymously accuse major American news outlets of treason, recommending that the government investigate and prosecute them under the Espionage Act for spreading Russian propaganda.
By Jay Dyer for Global Research - In fact, the earliest days of mass print media were erected on a famous fraud known as the “Great Moon Hoax” of 1835 – something researcher Chris Kendall has long called attention to – wherein the “educated,” “elite” widely accepted the mainstream publications’ claim bat people inhabited the lunar surface. In our day, a similar hoax still reigns, as mainstream media is literally as credible as Weekly World News’ Bat Boy story. Anyone who has seen Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane knows the director became a target of one of the most powerful media moguls of all time – William Randolph Hearst (who bought up all the major papers of his day).
By Jenni Monet for Indian Country Today Media Network - Outside a triage tent at the foot of the Oceti Sakowin Camp, frantic chatter and whirring generators fused with the familiar drone of police surveilling in the night sky. “We have seen four gunshot wounds, three of them to the face and head,” said Leland Brenholt, a volunteer medic. By gunshots, he insinuated that rubber bullets had been used on hundreds of people clashing with police. Conflict erupted again over the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, Sunday night.