US Media as Conduits of Propaganda

Exclusive: The “group think” about the Syrian government crossing President Obama’s “red line” in a 2013 sarin attack has collapsed, but The New York Times still reports it as flat fact, an industry-wide problem, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Nothing disturbs me more about the modern mainstream U.S. news media than its failure to test what the U.S. government says against what can be determined through serious and impartial investigation to be true. And this is not just some question of my professional vanity; it can be a matter of life or death.

For instance, did Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cross President Barack Obama’s supposed “red line” against using chemical weapons, specifically in the sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, or not?

President Barack Obama talks with advisers, including National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, prior to meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Nov. 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with advisers, including National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry, Nov. 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Upon this question rests the possibility that a future President Hillary Clinton will invade Syria under the guise of establishing a “safe zone,” a project that would surely expand into another bloody “regime change,” as occurred in Iraq and Libya amid similar U.S. claims about protecting “human rights.”

Yet, there is substantial evidence that Assad was not responsible for the sarin attack – that is was perpetrated by jihadist rebels as a provocation to draw the U.S. military directly into the war on their side. But it remains conventional wisdom that Assad ignored Obama’s “red line” and that Obama then flinched from enforcing it.

The New York Times and other major U.S. publication cite this “group think” about the “red line” as flat fact, much as many of them reported without doubt that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was hiding WMD, reinforcing the pretext for the U.S. invasion of that country in 2003.

On Wednesday, Times correspondent David E. Sanger wrote an article about the need for a coercive “Plan B” to force Assad from power and added that “president [Obama] has repeatedly defended his decision not to authorize a military strike against Mr. Assad after he crossed what Mr. Obama had described as a ‘red line’ against using chemical weapons.”

Note that there is no attribution to that claim about Assad crossing the “red line,” no “allegedly” or “widely believed” or any modifier. Assad is simply judged guilty by The New York Times, which — in doing so — asserts this dubious narrative as flat fact.

Yet, the Times hasn’t conducted a serious investigation into whether Assad is, in fact, guilty. Their last stab at proving Assad’s guilt in late 2013 collapsed when it turned out that the one missile found to have carried sarin had a range of only two kilometers, less than a quarter of the distance from which the Times had alleged that Assad’s military had fired the rocket.

Faced with that evidence, the Times essentially retracted its findings in a little-noticed article buried deep inside the paper during the Christmas-New Year holidays. So, even as the case collapsed, the Times maintained its phony narrative, which it reprises regularly as happened in Sanger’s article on Wednesday.

Misleading Readers

But what does that do to the Times’ readers? They are essentially being propagandized by the “paper of record,” with a questionable assertion slipped past them as an incontrovertible “fact.” How are they supposed to evaluate whether the U.S. government should launch another war in the Middle East when they have been told that a dubious claim is now enshrined as a basic truth in the Times narrative?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

We saw something similar earlier this year when Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic wrote a lengthy article on Obama’s foreign policy focusing on his 2013 decision not to launch punitive airstrikes against the Syrian military for the sarin attack.

The opus contained the remarkable disclosure that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had told Obama that U.S. intelligence lacked “slam dunk” evidence that Assad was guilty. In other words, Obama pulled back in part because he was informed that Assad might well be innocent.

Later in the same article, however, Goldberg reverted to Official Washington’s “group think” that held as a matter of faith that Assad had crossed Obama’s “red line.” That false certainty has proved so powerful that it defies any contrary evidence and keeps popping up as it did in Sanger’s article.

Which gets me to one of my pet peeves about modern America: we almost never get to the bottom of anything, whether significant or trivial. Often there’s “a conventional wisdom” about some issue but almost never is there a careful assessment of the facts and an unbiased judgment of what happened.

On the trivial side, we have the NFL accusing New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady of participating in some scheme to deflate footballs, even though the scientific and testimonial evidence doesn’t support the claim. But lots of people, including The New York Times, assume the allegations to be true even though they come from one of the most disreputable and dishonest corporations in America, the National Football League, which has recently been exposed for covering up the dangers of concussions.

On more substantive matters, we never see serious investigations into U.S. government claims especially when they’re aimed at “enemies.” The failure to test President George W. Bush’s claims about Iraq’s WMD cost hundreds of thousands of lives, including those of nearly 4,500 American soldiers, and has spread chaos through much of the region and now into Europe.

A Pattern of Neglect

We’ve seen similar neglect regarding Syria’s sarin case and events in Ukraine, from the mysterious sniper attacks that touched off the coup in February 2014 to the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

Arguably, the fate of humankind rests on the events in Ukraine where U.S. propagandists are stirring up the West to engage in a military conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

So, shouldn’t The New York Times and other major publications take special care not to feed a war fever that could exterminate life on the planet? Can’t they find the time to undertake serious examinations of these issues and present the evidence without fear or favor?

But that apparently isn’t how the editors of the Times or The Washington Post or any number of other major U.S. news outlets view matters. Instead of questioning the stories coming from the U.S. government’s propaganda shops, the mainstream media simply amplifies them, all the better to look “patriotic.”

If instead these outlets joined some independent journalists and concerned citizens in demanding that the U.S. government provide verifiable evidence to support its claims, that might force many of these “artificial secrets” out into the open.

For instance, we don’t know what the current U.S. intelligence assessments are about the Syria-sarin attack or the MH-17 shoot-down. Regarding the MH-17 case, the U.S. government has refused to divulge its overhead surveillance, radar and other technical evidence about this tragedy in which 298 people were killed.

If there was some journalistic unity – refusing to simply blame the Russians and instead highlighting the lack of U.S. cooperation in the investigation – the U.S. government might feel enough heat to declassify its information and help bring whoever shot down the plane to justice.

As it stands now on these issues, why should the U.S. government reveal what it actually knows when all the major news outlets are accepting its dubious propaganda themes as flat fact?

The Times and other big media outlets could contribute to the cause of truth by simply refusing to serve as conduits for unsubstantiated claims just because they come from senior U.S. government officials. If the mainstream media did, the American people and the world public might be much better informed — and a lot safer.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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35 comments for “US Media as Conduits of Propaganda

  1. Realist
    May 19, 2016 at 12:04 am

    The “truth?” The Times can’t handle the truth. Gets in the way of the preferred government narratives.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    May 19, 2016 at 1:23 am

    If Obama gets a wider war started soon, this will be good for a newly elected Killary. I can only imagine how if Hillary takes office with an already freshly started military campaign, that this would be enough cover for her to hide her hideous hawkish self behind Obama’s directive, and really cut loose with the bad stuff. I get the cold shivers just thinking about how her passion for world dominance could be the end of us all.

    As Robert Parry stated that his pet peeve is how we Americans never get to the bottom of things, I think that is because between ourselves being overly medicated, to much Kardashian, ESPN, and many other obstructions, we like instant gratification. If the Warren Report said it, well that’s it, case closed. I just used the Warren Report, but it’s any kind of report. Americans know their being lied too, they just don’t know what to do about it. Why complain, if nobody listening.

    Goebbels would be proud of the Western Press.

    Here is a link to a great article about propaganda…..

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article191813.html

  3. Andrew Nichols
    May 19, 2016 at 3:58 am

    So, shouldn’t The New York Times and other major publications take special care not to feed a war fever that could exterminate life on the planet?

    It’s what they always do leading up to war. WW1 WW2 Vietnam …all the same

  4. Silly Me
    May 19, 2016 at 5:54 am

    There is no war fever. The plutocrats simply want to preserve and increase military spending for profit.

    • Kiza
      May 20, 2016 at 2:32 am

      Probably yes, as long as all the warmongering and threatening remains under control. What about the possibility of a loose player? Or one crazy in a wrong place? Someone carried too far by the rhetoric? Or unintended consequences ? Who plays with fire catches fire? And so on, are we willing to bear these major risks just for someone’s profit?

      • Silly Me
        May 20, 2016 at 6:14 am

        I am against privatized military spending to begin with. Russia has been spending seven times less and has outdeveloped the corrupt US system. The prison gig started in the 90s, now public schools are at stake, and I believe, the next is water.

  5. Tom Welsh
    May 19, 2016 at 10:07 am

    It’s not all that surprising that journalists, editors, politicians and ordinary citizens refuse to accept that the whole sarin and MH17 stories are packs of lies. I think this is the canonical explanation of such observed behaviour:

    “Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired”.

    – Jonathan Swift (“A Letter to a Young Gentleman, Lately Enter’d Into Holy Orders by a Person of Quality”).

    • Silly Me
      May 20, 2016 at 6:17 am

      Or, in another word, “don’t argue with morons; you will have to sink to their level and they will defeat you with their experience.”

      • C Porter
        May 21, 2016 at 8:45 am

        Totally on target here. Love the brevity of this gem.

        • Silly Me
          May 22, 2016 at 6:36 am

          Made in Hungary. :)

  6. Tom Welsh
    May 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

    As for the New York Times and its readers, the situation is very simple. If the readers wish to avoid being actively and energetically misinformed, all they have to do is to stop reading the NYT and the other mainstream media. (Avoiding radio and TV news and current affairs is also mandatory – other programs, such as comedy, art and music, or science continue to be mostly safe for human consumption).

    If all American were to ignore the MSM altogether, and get their news and views from organs like ConsortiumNews (and Counterpunch and Russia Insider and Slashdot, etc.) their minds would get a lot clearer and their mental processes would be far healthier. (And entities like Hillary Clinton and Trump would never get a single vote in any election).

    • Silly Me
      May 20, 2016 at 6:18 am

      I read the NYT, because it gives me a reliable picture of the current modes of mass manipulation.

      • Silly Me
        May 22, 2016 at 6:38 am

        Well, I don’t exactly read it; that would be too much to ask. Scan it only as long as my stomach can take it, which hardly ever exceeds five minutes a day.

  7. larry
    May 19, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Exactly, every word! The only reportorial vanity involved is that of the major media superstars (all star-crossed and starry-eyed at the same time – they should fucking know better) who are fearful of stepping out of line, which is ironic because they and their intra-media handlers are already goosestepping dangerously along. The world’s not nearly as stable, such as it was, during the many years of the Cold War. Flashpoints today are practically everywhere, especially the Alamos we are building along Russia’s western border. I doubt the emotional discipline and maturity of our leaders today is as wisely developed as the ones who came directly out of the wars of the 1940s. Today’s leaders come from super-saturated self-indulgent anything goes bullshit society hierarchies, who listen to and fear the voices in each others’ heads more than any still, small voice within. We are treading dangerous waters these days, more than ever, I believe.

  8. David Smith
    May 19, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Mr. Parry, unfortunately The Big Lie is far stronger, and more usefull, than The Truth, and so is unconquerable. The Lie stands on two strong legs: one technical the other ‘Ontological”. The technical is it is an inversion of the facts, so it cannot be refuted by fact. Also The Lie is short and simple, so refutation becomes tiresomely long winded. It is not neccesary, but useful, to contain a small grain of truth(for example, at Ghouta, A rocket WAS launched). “Mao killed millions” is an example of a lie that, in its simplicity, does not need a grain of truth. More problematic is “The Khmer Rouge killing fields killed 1.2 million Cambodians”. The grain is that Khmer Rouge killed 200,000(source an inmate a S-Camp) which is convienent, as the 1,000,000 Cambodians killed by US area bombing(2.8 million TONS of bombs Aug.1969-Aug.1973, source USAF dataset) can be rolled into the Khmer Rouge number. ” The Killing Fields” are quite literally the rural countryside subjected to area bombing by USAF. The Ontological leg of The Lie is the important one. Life is built on Lies, so we are all complicit. Almost every family has one, or several, dirty secrets, and trouble comes from asking questions. In it’s simple form, lying keeps you out of trouble, plus you “get stuff”, so it pays. I know a contractor, very proudly calling himself a entrepenuer, who sets up the job in the morning, then, at 10AM, leaves and drives around selling bags of heroin to his impatiently waiting regular customers. Then there’s the many Husbands, who tell their wives they are going to Walmart on the way home from work, but also make a stop at the in call brothel, yes the checkout line was very slow. And the Wives, who do not love their husbands, just needed a house….. The Lie is far to valuable to give up, or talk about.

  9. May 19, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Great work as always, but there’s an easy answer to how can Times readers know whether to back another war: War is always illegal, immoral, counterproductive, and costly — as Iraq would have been (continue to be) had every lie been true.

  10. J'hon Doe II
    May 19, 2016 at 11:52 am

    FYI–

    ‘OCCUPATION OF THE AMERICAN MIND’ UNRAVELS ISRAEL’S PROPAGANDA WAR IN US

    https://shadowproof.com/2016/05/13/film-review-occupation-american-mind-unravels-israels-propaganda-war-us/

  11. Joe L.
    May 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    I don’t believe that it is just US media that is guilty of propaganda but there seems to be an concerted effort to have all western media align – whether that be on Syria, Ukraine, BDS or any number of issues. I am Canadian and our media pushes the same lines but with a little less vitriol and venom than the US media. Also, I would point out that this “propaganda”, or really a war against us, has been going on a long time. Mr. Parry mentions the New York Times and all that one has to do is go back in history and read what the New York Times was writing during any event. An example of this is after the US dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, and people were dying in Japanese hospitals from radiation sickness, the New York Times was writing that radiation sickness was “Japanese Propaganda” meanwhile the US government confiscated all of the video footage from Japanese hospitals and classified them for, I believe, over 30 years. Next, we know that the US pulled off a coup in Iran in 1953 to protect oil interests, particularly British Petroleum, and then look at how the New York Times called Mossadegh a tyrant to justify the protests and his overthrow. Like the saying goes, “if we ignore history then we are doomed to repeat it” – sadly too many people are ignorant of history so we keep seeing the coups, wars, and all of the repeating lies as justification.

    I challenge people to look back in time to the points that we know for a fact were lies (Gulf of Tonkin, Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, Venezuela 2002 etc.) and see what papers like the New York Times, Washington Post etc. were saying about that event. Operation Mockingbird…

    • May 20, 2016 at 2:32 am

      One small, but highly relevant point. The alternative media has to be far more vigilant than the corporate media, when making unfounded claims that can easily be challenged.

      Though I want to believe most of what you say (perhaps as a result of my own prejudices) you write: “the US government confiscated all of the video footage from Japanese hospitals”. Unfortunately, that casts some doubt on other claims in your comment. There was no video at the time atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The first video images were captured on tape In 1951. Also, it is doubtful there were surveillance cameras using film, or any other method of capturing images, in Japanese hospitals at the time. Or hospitals anywhere else in the world, for that matter.

      If we accuse others of presenting flawed evidence, or making false claims, we must be even more careful not to make the same mistakes ourselves.

      • Ed Hiley
        May 20, 2016 at 10:45 am

        I beg to differ with Bryan Hemmings assertions as to any videos footage of the atomic devastation the US unleashed on Hiroshima, then a few days later, on Nagasaki, which was essentially a field test of a different atomic bomb design than the bomb dropped over Hiroshima. There is ample archival video footage of the structural, physical, and medical effects, beginning almost immediately after US Army and USAF forces entered the sites. A simple Google search results in many websites that contain such video. The assertion that ‘the first video images were captured on tape in 1951.’ is laughable, even ignorant.

        Often times, the comments section reveal how the Establishment operates more than is expressed in the featured article. Keep up the great work, Consortium News!

        • May 23, 2016 at 1:45 am

          My comment refers to video, not film. As a 67-year-old I can assure you I saw film of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and their aftermath on British TV during the 1960s, so I know only too well film of these criminal outrages exists. My point was that there is no video footage of the tragic events, and never was, unless you are claiming to have used to the term video to embrace film, which would be rather disingenuous of you, as almost nobody employs the word in that way these days.

          I intentionally state the need for accuracy. The claim that the US confiscated ‘video’ of patients in Japanese hospitals does not ring true, as video tape recorders did not exist until 1951. Believe what you like, but not only did they depend on large TV cameras needing support, they also required separate heavy tape recorders to do the actual recording.

          Forgive me for suggesting it, but the claim in your comment seems to imply there were video surveillance cameras in Japanese hospitals in the 1940s. If you mean film footage shot by journalists or amateurs was confiscated by the US government you should have made that clear. No only that, but you ought to back up such a claim with evidence, otherwise you are doing exactly what the corporate media does.

          As you don’t present any evidence to support your claim, or make clear your meaning, your attack on my comment only goes to prove my point, which is that the alternative media should be careful not to write things that can be contradicted, as they can be distorted. The replies to my comment demonstrate that only too well. Being the unintentional architect of this minor controversy, I apologize for having distracted attention from Mr Parry’s excellent piece.

          My comment was not intended to contradict Mr Parry’s article in any way. Unlike most corporate media outlets today, his well-researched articles are backed up by solid evidence. His careful attention to detail is what makes his work so credible.

          • Joe L.
            May 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm

            I am sorry Bryan Hemming but you’re splitting hairs here! How about we say “footage” – does that work for you? It amazes me that you made an issue out of a word rather than the actual issue which was “footage” from Japan, from Japanese hospitals, of the egregious crime of dropping the atomic bombs along with trying to cover it up. The point is still valid and maybe you totally missed the point? I am guessing that you probably didn’t even know that there was “footage” from Japanese hospitals and instead went on a rant over “video” or “film”!

            Well I went to your site and I checked out one of your articles and you spell “email” instead of the proper “e-mail” (electronic mail so it should be hyphenated) – I guess I should just dismiss your whole article since there is a lack of accuracy. Also, I see that you talk about copyrights on your site so my questions is did you purchase the photos of Hillary Clinton or maybe the other artwork such as that of dracula? Artwork also has copyrights on them, whether that being photos or written work. If you didn’t purchase those photos and broke copyright laws then does that make your claims about copyright disingenuous? How does that speak to your credibility? Yes, I am spitting hairs to intentionally make a point of a moot comment.

      • Joe L.
        May 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        The Nation: “The Great Hiroshima Cover-up – How the US hid shocking footage for decades.” (August 3, 2011):

        In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan sixty-six years ago this week, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in the airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included vivid color footage shot by U.S. military crews and black-and-white Japanese newsreel film.

        The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for twenty-five years, and the shocking US military film remained hidden for decades. While the suppression of nuclear truths stretched over decades, Hiroshima sank into “a kind of hole in human history,” as the writer Mary McCarthy observed. The United States engaged in a costly and dangerous nuclear arms race. Thousands of nuclear warheads remain in the world, often under loose control; the United States retains its “first-strike” nuclear policy; and much of the world is partly or largely dependent on nuclear power plants, which pose their own hazards.

        Our nuclear entrapment continues to this day—you might call it “From Hiroshima to Fukushima.”

        The color US military footage would remain hidden until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. It rests today at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, in the form of 90,000 feet of raw footage labeled #342 USAF. When that footage finally emerged, I spoke with and corresponded with the man at the center of this drama: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel A. McGovern, who directed the US military film-makers in 1946, managed the Japanese footage, and then kept watch on all of the top-secret material for decades. I also interviewed one of his key assistants, Herbert Sussan, and some of the Japanese survivors they filmed.

        Now I’ve written a book (print and e-book) about this, titled Atomic Cover-up: Two US Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made. You can view some of the suppressed footage below (or contact me at epic1934@aol.com).

        http://www.thenation.com/article/great-hiroshima-cover/

      • Joe L.
        May 20, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        New York Times: “U.S. Atom Bomb Site Belies Tokyo Tales” (September 12, 1945) by William Laurence:

        Tests on New Mexico Range Confirm That Blast, and Not Radiation, Took Toll

        ATOM BOMB RANGE, New Mexico, Sept. 9 (Delayed) – This historic ground in New Mexico, scene of the first atomic explosion on earth and cradle of a new era in civilization, gave the most effective answer today to Japanese propaganda that radiations were responsible for deaths even after the day of the explosion, Aug. 6, and that persons entering Hiroshima had contracted mysterious maladies due to persistent radioactivity.

        To give the lie to these claims, the Army opened the closely guarded gates of this area for the first time to a group of newspaper men and photographers to witness for themselves the readings on radiation meters carried by a group of radiologists, and to listen to the expert testimony of several of the leading scientists who had been intimately connected with the atomic bomb project.

        http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/science/20071030_MANHATTAN_GRAPHIC/sept12_1945.pdf

      • Joe L.
        May 20, 2016 at 2:35 pm

        Democracy NOW!: “Hiroshima Cover-up: Stripping the War Department’s Timesman of His Pulitzer” (August 5, 2005):

        They are filing an official request with the Pulitzer committee to strip New York Times correspondent William Laurence of the Pulitzer he was awarded for his reporting on the atomic bomb. Laurence was not just a reporter for the Times, he was also on the payroll of the US government. He wrote military press releases and statements for President Harry S. Truman and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, all the while faithfully parroting the line of the US government in the pages of the New York Times. His reporting was crucial in launching a half century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb. It is high time, the Goodmans say, for the Pulitzer board to strip Hiroshima’s apologist, William Laurence, and his newspaper, the New York Times of their undeserved prize.

        http://www.democracynow.org/2005/8/5/hiroshima_cover_up_stripping_the_war

      • Joe L.
        May 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Huffington Post: “The Great Hiroshima Cover-up: How the U.S. Hid Shocking Historic Footage for Decades” (August 2, 2011):

        The Japanese Newsreel Footage

        On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the center of Hiroshima, killing at least 70,000 civilians instantly and perhaps 50,000 more in the days and months to follow. Three days later, it exploded another atomic bomb over Nagasaki, slightly off target, killing 40,000 immediately and dooming tens of thousands of others. Within days, Japan had surrendered, and the U.S. readied plans for occupying the defeated country — and documenting the first atomic catastrophe.

        But the Japanese also wanted to study it. Within days of the second atomic attack, officials at the Tokyo-based newsreel company Nippon Eigasha discussed shooting film in the two stricken cities. In early September, just after the Japanese surrender, and as the American occupation began, director Sueo Ito set off for Nagasaki. There his crew filmed the utter destruction near ground zero and scenes in hospitals of the badly burned and those suffering from the lingering effects of radiation.

        On Sept. 15, another crew headed for Hiroshima. When the first rushes came back to Toyko, Akira Iwasaki, the chief producer, felt “every frame burned into my brain,” he later said.

        At this point, the American public knew little about conditions in the atomic cities beyond Japanese assertions that a mysterious affliction was attacking many of those who survived the initial blasts (claims that were largely taken to be propaganda). Newspaper photographs of victims were non-existent, or censored. Life magazine would later observe that for years “the world…knew only the physical facts of atomic destruction.”

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-mitchell/the-great-hiroshima-cover_b_915932.html

  12. Bob Van Noy
    May 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I share your concern Robert Parry. For me, this frustration with follow-up is the ultimate end of the propaganda cycle, where untruth and seeming lack of disclaimer simply end in a sort of dead silence. One can’t blame the propaganda absorbing thousands because the very psychological nature of media propaganda is that, as if by miracle, it works. I first learned this in real-time marketing; by manipulating a presentation, one could “lead” one’s audience in the “direction” of one’s will. The truly stunning part of that lesson is, that it was, and is, so effective. So, with no balance of power speaking back at government; there is no thwarting their message. I am a long time “student” of John Kenneth Galbraith and his theory of “Countervailing Powers”. I used to watch gleefully as Mr. Galbraith shredded William F. Buckley on “Firing Line,” and he did it with humor and relative ease. With a witty and super informed champion like Mr. Galbraith, one could sort of rest easy that the powers that be would be held in check. Now it is clear that those elite powers are in charge, and their ill-conceived messages are nearly the only messages that we receive. We are fortunate, because the mouth pieces for the disinformation we’re receiving, are now so universally reprehensible; that they are almost self defeating. A process I suspect, of late stage propaganda, where it ultimately fails to convince the masses because of its obvious absurdity; kind of like skipping the commercials.
    We here on this wonderful site, share your frustration and appreciate the rare opportunity to speak-up… As always, thank you.

    See an article by Kim Phillips-Fein:
    http://www.thenation.com/article/countervailing-powers-john-kenneth-galbraith/

    • Joe L.
      May 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Bob Van Noy… Well I think nowadays, with the internet, and many foreign news agencies reporting in different languages (particularly English) that there are many challenges to our government’s propaganda. When news was localized I believe that it was very easy for the government to control the message. But now we can hear from our “enemies” and realize that they are human beings as well and that they may very well have a viable point or at the very least the other side of the conversation. I think this is why the US government, particularly, has targeted RT and other foreign news agencies as propaganda because if people believe the foreign news agencies then their own propaganda campaigns fall apart. It seems at times you can see attempts to control information or regulate the internet but I believe many people will revolt against that. What seems to be happening now is that many people are turning away from the MSM to more independent media. I think this is both good and bad – good that people are moving away from the MSM but also that many people are blindly believing independent media which is also spreading propaganda such as Bellingcat (not realizing that Bellingcat is nowhere near as independent as it claims and that links, and manipulation, by the US Government along with people like George Soros cloud the “independent” reporting) which is bad. We should question everything…

      One line that I have liked ever since I first heard it, that I believe very much applies to today, was by George Orwell:

      “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

      Thank you Mr. Parry, John Pilger, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Chris Hedges, Seymour Hersh, Ray McGovern and any of a number of journalists and people of integrity to take the hard road to give us the truth – my hat is off to you all.

      • Bob Van Noy
        May 19, 2016 at 4:45 pm

        Nice Joe L. I especially like your collection of journalists in the last paragraph.

  13. May 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Robert Parry is being nice to mainstream media. He writes that they are guilty of “neglect,” or simply going along with what the government tells them. Perhaps the situation is far more sinister.

    What he doesn’t say is that there is a high likelihood that key establishment media outlets are in cahoots with the State Dept., CIA or its ilk, and act as “media assets.” Remember the CIA’s Wurlitzer’s Organ from the good old days of propaganda and lies?

    I’d like to see Mr. Parry or some organization of honest journalists ask editors and their journalists to sign a statement saying under oath that they have never worked as a CIA (or similar covert agency) media asset, or participated in a government or privately contracted Psy Ops media propaganda program.

  14. bfearn
    May 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    “America is a Nation with a mission – and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace – a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman.” George W. Bush 43rd US President, started the Iraq war. Over a million deaths, millions more lost their homes, Iraq now, 2016, a quagmire.

    “Our purpose in Vietnam is to prevent the success of aggression. It is not conquest, it is not empire, it is not foreign bases, it is not domination. It is, simply put, just to prevent the forceful conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam.” Lyndon B. Johnson, expanded the Vietnam war that killed over 2 million and prevented a democratic leader from running a just country.

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” Adolf Hitler, with advice that American presidents routinely follow.

  15. Joe L.
    May 19, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Operation Mockingbird:

    Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. Begun in the 1950s, it was initially organized by Cord Meyer and Allen W. Dulles, and was later led by Frank Wisner after Dulles became the head of the CIA. The organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views, and funded some student and cultural organizations, and magazines as fronts. As it developed, it also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, in addition to activities by other operating units of the CIA.

    In addition to earlier exposés of CIA activities in foreign affairs, in 1966, Ramparts magazine published an article revealing that the National Student Association was funded by the CIA. The United States Congress investigated the allegations and published a report in 1976. Other accounts were also published. The media operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis’s 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and The Washington Post.

    Further details of Operation Mockingbird were revealed as a result of the Senator Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. According to the Congress report published in 1976:

    “The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird

  16. Zahid Kramet
    May 20, 2016 at 8:03 am

    The rot has set in too deep. Only an American Spring could turn the trick.

    • Joe L.
      May 20, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      Well I remember someone making a comment in some documentary that I watched that there will never be a coup in Washington because there is no US Embassy there! Something to think about…

  17. AndJusticeForAll
    May 24, 2016 at 7:39 am

    i agree the quality of mass media is going down specially when BBC, Bloomberg or others like this site publish a bunch of information and so called analytical articles that often have zillions of elements of propaganda like comparing apples and oranges, focusing on a narrow picture and twisting the context of much broader events, one sided and biased points of view, accusing others of wrong doing and then denying doing the same, publishing wrong information and then citing it over and over as a proof of something, etc. this article is a great example of propaganda. Snake bites itself in a tail.

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