Official U.S. policy is to decry torture – at least when done by adversaries – but ambiguities abound when U.S. operatives do the torturing. Then, torture becomes debatable and its defenders go on TV talk shows and even get honors from universities, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.
While many reformers have focused on money in politics, a parallel danger comes from the billions of dollars that right-wing ideologues have poured into media. The likes of Rupert Murdoch have made an art form out of peddling “populism” that serves the financial elites, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.
From the Archive: At the center of the Republican shutdown of the U.S. government is the claim that a “mandate” requiring Americans to get health insurance violates Founding principles, but the Framers of the Constitution were comfortable with a similar mandate for an armed militia, as Robert Parry noted in 2012.
While the U.S. media has some spirited debate over politics and social issues – i.e. Fox News vs. MSNBC – there remains a broad consensus about foreign adversaries whose behavior is almost always cast in the harshest light, a reality that colors how America reacts to the world, as Jeff Cohen writes.
Since the social upheavals of the Sixties, the American Establishment has sought to constrain critical thinking through a variety of techniques, from propaganda to government secrecy to the celebrated ignorance of Fox News. But there are broader societal pressures as well, notes Lawrence Davidson.
From the Archive: A decade ago, as U.S. troops gained control of Iraq, there were many false alarms about finding WMD, leading to President Bush declaring the discovery of mobile biological weapons labs. Robert Parry led the way in challenging that bogus claim in this analysis of America’s false reality.
Exclusive: Current TV’s core failure was the choice by its founder Al Gore to avoid political conflict in 2005 when President George W. Bush was near the height of his powers. That act of cowardice made the “progressive” network largely irrelevant to the biggest battles of the last decade, says Robert Parry.
Since the 1980s, Rupert Murdoch has built his U.S. media empire in close collaboration with the Republican Party, trading the his public influence for favorable regulatory treatment from GOP politicians. But now he is hoping for some help from President Obama’s regulators, say Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.