Caitlin Johnstone: Media Muzzling Anti-War Protests

Western coverage of the war in Ukraine is making people accept the continuous escalations toward world war. We must wake each other up from this propaganda-induced sleep.

Antiwar demonstrators in London on Feb. 25. (Stop the War Coalition, Twitter)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article:

In their article “European antiwar protests gain strength as NATO’s Ukraine proxy war escalates,” The Grayzone’s Stavroula Pabst and Max Blumenthal document the many large demonstrations that have been occurring in France, the U.K., Germany, Greece, Spain, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium and elsewhere opposing the Western empire’s brinkmanship with Russia and proxy warfare in Ukraine.

Pabst and Blumenthal conclude their report with a denouncement of the way the Western media have either been ignoring or sneering at these protests while actively cheerleading smaller demonstrations in support of arming Ukraine.

“When Western media has not ignored Europe’s antiwar protest wave altogether, its coverage has alternated between dismissive and contemptuous,” they write.

“German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle sneeringly characterized the Feb. 25 demonstration in Berlin as ‘naïve’ while providing glowing coverage of smaller shows of support for the war by the Ukrainian diaspora. The New York Times, for its part, mentioned the European protests in just a single generic line buried in an article on minuscule anti-Putin protests held by Russian emigres.”

This bias is of course blatantly propagandistic, which won’t surprise anyone who understands that the mainstream Western media exist first and foremost to administer propaganda on behalf of the U.S.-centralized empire. And chief among their propaganda duties is to suppress the emergence of a genuine peace movement.

As we’ve discussed previously, it has never in human history been more urgent to have a massive, forceful protest movement in opposition to the empire’s rapidly accelerating trajectory toward a global conflict against Russia and China.

Other peace movements have arisen in the past in response to horrific wars which would go on to claim millions of lives, but a world war in the Atomic Age could easily wind up killing billions, and must never be allowed to happen.

And yet the public is not treating this unparalleled threat with the urgency it deserves. A few protests here and there is great, but it’s not nearly enough. And the reason the people have not answered the call is because the mass media have been successfully propagandizing them into accepting the continuous escalations toward world war that we’ve been seeing.

People aren’t going to protest what their government is doing if they believe that what their government is doing is appropriate, and the only reason so many people believe what their government is doing with regard to Russia and China is appropriate is because they have been propagandized into thinking so.

The mass media are not telling the public about the many well-documented Western provocations which led to the war in Ukraine and sabotaged peace at every turn. They’re just telling everyone that Putin invaded because he’s an evil Hitler sequel who loves killing and hates freedom.

The mass media are not telling the public about the way the U.S. empire has been encircling China with war machinery in ways it would never permit itself to be encircled while deliberately staging incendiary provocations in Taiwan; they’re just telling everyone that China is run by evil warmongering tyrants.

The mass media are not reminding the public that after the fall of the Soviet Union the U.S. empire espoused a doctrine asserting that the rise of any foreign superpower must be prevented at all cost; they’re letting that agenda fade into the memory hole.

Because people believe Russia and China are the sole aggressors and the U.S. and its allies are only responding defensively to those unprovoked aggressions, they don’t see the need for a mass protest movement against their own governments.

If you tell the average coastal American liberal that you’re holding a protest about the war in Ukraine, they’re going to assume you mean you’re protesting against Putin, and they’ll look at you strangely if you tell them you’re actually protesting your own government’s aggressions.

The narrative that Russia and China are acting with unprovoked aggression actually prevents peace, because if your government isn’t doing anything to make things worse, then there’s nothing it can change about its own behavior to make things better.

But of course, there is a massive amount that the Western power alliance can change about its own behavior with regard to Russia and China that would greatly improve matters. Instead of working to subordinate the entire planet to the will of Washington and its drivers, they can work toward de-escalation, diplomacy and detente.

We’re not going to get de-escalation, diplomacy and detente unless the people use the power of their numbers to demand those things, and the people are not going to use the power of their numbers to demand those things as long as they are successfully propagandized not to. 

This means propaganda is the ultimate problem that needs to be addressed. Ordinary people can only address it by waking the public up to the fact that the political/media class are lying to them about what’s happening with Russia and China, using whatever means we have access to.

So that’s what we need to do. We need to fight the imperial disinformation campaign using information. Tell people the truth using every medium available to us to sow distrust in the imperial propaganda machine, because propaganda only works if you don’t know it’s happening to you.

Our rulers are always babbling about how they’re fighting an “information war” against enemy nations, but in reality they’re fighting an information war against normal Westerners like us. So we must fight back.

We need to cripple public trust in the propaganda machine and begin awakening one another from our propaganda-induced sleep, so that we can begin organizing against the horrific end they are driving us toward.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

29 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Media Muzzling Anti-War Protests

  1. robert e williamson jr
    March 4, 2023 at 14:38

    Pretty interesting, CNN seems to have gone all-in giving pro Israeli coverage reported by their mouth pieces.

    However, just this AM, they had a report on “thousands” protesting Israel’s Right wing government and there where what to appears to have been hundreds if not thousands waving the “White & Blue” along with one large banner claiming something about the “Crime Minister”.

    Anti-war protests here in the U.S. not so much. Interesting to say the least, especially in light of Joe Bidden’s speech given during the much belated ceremony to bestow the Congressional Metal of Honor award to Col. Paris D. Davis for his heroic actions in Vietnam in 1965.

    Got that 1965, a Metal for which the paper work apparently disappeared at least twice. I listened intently as POTUS described this mans actions. Actions that should have become legendary long before now.. Davis was the first black man to lead a Green Beret Special Forces team into combat. Everyone needs to read or hear this story.

    Davis remains now, at 83 a huge man, slender and bowed but one who obviously has the heart of a lion.

    Out of respect for Col. Davis I’ll kept my thoughts on Biden’s comments during the ceremony to myself but all here should watch the video of the ceremony and learn how this man, after 60 years, was used again by his government.

    You cannot make this stuff up.

    Thanks CN

  2. Steve Hill
    March 3, 2023 at 06:54

    Speaking truth to power means having to deal with people being imprisoned unfairly, brutality, and bloodshed. Unfortunately, although while I firmly believe that the commentary in this article hits the nail on the head, I don’t see the majority of Americans as being willing to go through this over Ukraine.

  3. peter mcloughlin
    March 3, 2023 at 06:31

    We are escalating toward WW III. Preventing it is near impossible. There are a number or reasons for that.
    • Historically, every empire has eventually faced the war it was trying to avoid – its own destruction. Nobody wants nuclear war. The conclusion of the syllogism is clear – nuclear war
    • War itself is built upon an illusion – power. No one can hold power forever, although everyone produces teleological schemes to try and prove they can.
    • “Power” is about control. But humans’ ability to control reality is limited, further diminished by denial of this fact.
    • Then there is the illusion of “ideas”, that conflicts are based upon them: all wars are fought over interests (power).
    Anyone wishing to read more, search:
    A free ebook: The Pattern of History and Fate of Humanity

  4. Katharina
    March 3, 2023 at 05:00

    Here in Germany, an unspeakable witch hunt has started against Sahra Wagenknecht, a left politician who organized the big peace demonstration in Berlin. Newspapers call peace activists ‘Lumpenpazifisten’ – a term straight out of Nazi Germany – or ‘Friedensschwurbler’, roughly translated ‘peace babblers’. Worse even, the law against ‘Volksverhetzung’, that is ‘incitement of hatred’, paragraph 130, was recently updated. It will punish “public endorsement, denial and grossly trivialization of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes if the crime is committed in a way that is capable of inciting hatred or violence and to disrupt public peace”. If you even hint at the fact that Putin might have had a reason to go to war you’re already ‘endorsing and trivializing his ‘brutal war of aggression’ against the absolutely innocent and democratic Ukraine. And, of course, you’re a right wing extremist as well, because only right wing extremists can possibly be Lumpenpazifisten.

    In other words, in Germany you are a Nazi if you are not in full compliance with the Nazis; they will fight you with Nazi methods and when you call them out on it, you’re a Nazi for not being Nazi. Doesn’t make sense to you? Well, there’s method in the madness. Nobody knows what’s right and wrong anymore, all that sticks is the notion that you cannot trust your own lying eyes, or your own moral compass, and better believe what the government says. Or so it’s meant to be.

    Oh, and of course, while Putin is of course guilty of “genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes”, not a single one of the US wars falls under the same category. Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, Syria, Yugoslavia, they all were noble crusades for freedom and democracy, just like Ukraine is fighting for nothing but freedom and democracy and ‘our values’.

    And while Sahra Wagenknecht gets publicly accused of ‘condoning rape’ because only Russians rape women and commit war crimes, you can read in the news that another migrant who raped a 15-ys-old girl got away with two years probation. Another one who forced a 14-ys-old girl into prostitution, burned her arms with boiling water and knocked her teeth out got two years probation as well – and 300 social hours. The daily madness in a country that not only lost its morals and its spine, but quite clearly its brains as well.

    • Valerie
      March 3, 2023 at 11:56

      That is a very sad and scary situation Katharina. It seems the collective west has lost its “common sense”. We appear to be being driven/pushed along by some unseen force; not only the hate filled propaganda in the MSM. Russians are being subjected to abuse and threats in the UK too. Madness, eveywhere.

    • Bruce Edgar
      March 4, 2023 at 10:25

      Thank you. I have been very curious about European responses to the war. Have noticed for some time that DW is completely silent on such reporting, and only publishes what the state apparently wants to hear. The other day, RT reported several marches in Germany, yet not one mention in the news. No acknowledgement. Certainly, I have seen this all along at BBC, our own NPR, and other popular sites. I have looked for a German alternative news site–but published in English. Have had no luck; do such exist? Keep sharing your info and stories please!

      • Katharina
        March 5, 2023 at 05:47

        I’m afraid I don’t know any such website. As far as I know, www (dot) is run by a German, but the site is international and doesn’t focus on Germany.

        If you don’t mind automatic translation you might look at www (dot) nachdenkseiten (dot) de and www (dot) Then there is www (dot) – the author is a German journalist living in St. Petersburg. His site is very russian-centric, but in a world of mostly russophobic hate propaganda that is actually a refreshing and much needed counterpoint.

    • mgr
      March 4, 2023 at 13:25

      Katharina: Yes, stupid and horrific. The new fascists are the “liberal” interventionists marching in the American led rules-based-order army. Amazing that non-American publics have fallen for this.

  5. Duane Grier
    March 3, 2023 at 04:28

    Caitlin, let me start by saying that I love your commentary, look forward to it. However, in my opinion, as noble as I find your assertion about people raising their voices and being the difference, I have to pull the drapes on that sunshine.

    It is too late. Greed (Mammon) has taken charge of this country, this world, but this country specifically. It cannot last. But whatever takes this system down will be painful to the nth degree.

    I am a mere 66 years old, but I’ve seen a lot. What I have come to realize is that humans are flawed, flawed, flawed. When I exam our history it always leads right to where we are now. The only people who rise to any kind of real power are sociopaths. A popular rising will not quell these forces, at best it will modify them.

    I hope you are right about something that can abort our current trajectory. But I won’t be placing my wager on your side.

  6. Andrew Boyles
    March 3, 2023 at 01:57

    Caitlin, I am Andrew Boyles from Canada, a member of the chartered Professional Engineers of my home province of New Brunswick, professional license #4058 until 2015 when I resigned. I want you to know I read virtually all your posts because you speak calmly but with a significant sense of urgency about the brainwashing and the lies perpetuated by Western statee media against the Russia story in the Ukraine conflict. It saddens and depresses me that a disturbingly small group write to you to give you the support and moral stengthnto carry on with your extraordinary important work of unbrainwashung hundreds of millions of people to not commit global suicide. Please contact me anytime if there is anything I can do to help you. I have a 2750 person following on LinkedIn and we want to be hundreds of thousands helping you organize the people against the war. How cam I help
    How can we help? Please write back Caitline you’re a world leader in shaping opinions.

  7. Realist
    March 2, 2023 at 21:05

    So many really powerful posts by the readers in response to this article and the catastrophe of which it speaks, i.e., another mass human extermination event called war, but carried out in a fashion that varies only slightly in purpose and fashion from the many mass human sacrifices to the “gods” practiced by so many human tribes over the millennia. When future human generations (if there are any) or future intergalactic archaeologists uncover the extensive mass graves that are sure to remain for ages, how will they intuit any meaningful difference from the immense charnel pits of human skeletons left behind by the Aztec death cultists, the Mongol invaders of Medieval times, the killing fields of Flanders, or the mass graves accompanying unknown numbers of massive and prolonged pandemics? They are sure to realise that humans quite regularly died off in huge numbers, but will they understand or “appreciate” the widely different circumstances under which these events were considered normal and just had to happen? Why, many such mass die-offs were even considered “honorable” and “valiant,” the ultimate mark of a really noble individual–whether victim or perpetrator!

    A real shame that all these words of wisdom will go absolutely unread, as though none of them exist, because the mass media in this purported “democracy” and bastion of “freedom” absolutely refuses to acknowledge their existence or veracity let alone share them with the public, undoubtedly under orders from our government and/or the corporate owners of these so-called services. They dare not speak the truth, because these truths set no one free. In fact, knowing the truth would send a huge number of wealthy and powerful people to prison or their execution for the widespread commission of vile and disdainful war crimes. Can’t have that rap draped around the shoulders of the folks who control damn near everything in our perfect society, now can we?

    As always, the innocent and those who attempt to adhere to the morality everyone gives lip service to will bear the onus of contempt and punishment. The man they picked out for that role was decided upon long before the images of WWIII were even a gleam in Victoria Nuland’s eyes, and that fellow was always to be Vladimir Putin, someone as different from the greedy self-aggrandizing fools who totally run the West in their completely totalitarian style. A real shame that, at least throughout the thoroughly deranged “Christian” West, Putin will be placed alongside Genghis Kahn, Atilla the Hun and Ragnar Lothbrok in the history books. They will say he imperiously slaughtered as many victims as Montezuma and for absolutely no sane reason. It’s already dogma from the instant historians of the digital age.

    • bonin
      March 4, 2023 at 05:16

      Ukraine’s only choice is to give up their land. Ukrainians are Nazis and must be neutralized. Also, Ukrainians are not humans.

      • Winston Smith
        March 4, 2023 at 05:57

        How can you say such a thing? Ukrainians have every perogritive to defend themselves even if they are wrong.

  8. mgr
    March 2, 2023 at 18:29

    Exactly. It’s the principle of GIGO; garbage in, garbage out. Natural law.

  9. tiska
    March 2, 2023 at 18:05

    We must have an “anti war” movement, demonstrations. Take note….. If any large demonstrations do make their way into the national scene, then there will be “false flag” events, violence blamed on the peace demonstrations, many will be arrested, black listed, etc… I do not think our “leaders” will change their stripes.

    The destruction of Ukraine is of no importance in this game…. and I do not think that the welfare of US citizens is very important, either.

  10. Frank
    March 2, 2023 at 17:14

    There will be a devastating third world war.
    When the zio Anglo Saxon war mongers want a war, they always get one. They wanted ww1, they got it, ww2 they got, Korean war, Vietnam war, Iraq war x2. The world saw the largest anti war protests in 2003. Did it make a difference. Absolutely not. They brushed off Russians security concerns in December 2021. A massive signal for what is to come. Gathering and shouting makes no difference, only violent revolution to physically remove and summarily hang the lunatics in charge.Fasten your seatbelts.

    • March 3, 2023 at 01:32

      Well stated. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 anti?war protests, the demonstrations on 15 February 2003 being the largest and most prolific.

    March 2, 2023 at 16:58

    Propaganda supported by blanket international censorship of academic studies, media reports and electronic media reports and analysis in support of Ukraine has been on an unimaginable scale.

    Elon Musk has shone clear light on the processes whereby Twitter was subverted to the Deep State narrative of Russia bad, Ukraine good.

    Despite this, and an early rush of support for Ukraine, support for Ukraine is waning. Americans are appalled at the amount of money being showered on Ukraine while their own infrastructure and economy collapse.

    So what is the Endgame?

    Russia hasn’t faltered. It’s mowing down Western artillery along its entire front line. It’s encircling the Ukrainian war criminals in the Donbas and gradually dragging them out of the civilian structures they’ve hidden in and killing them.

    Ukraine on the other hand has lost over 500,000 men in its lust for territory and power and can’t win from its present position.

    BUT AMERICA (the instigator of this conflict) WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD!

    CAN IT?

    Not at this point. It’s not strong enough. Will it misjudge its power and have a go anyway? Possibly.

    Can it win? No! Russia and China are far more intelligent, disciplined and strategic and are supported by far more advanced weaponry.

    Will nukes be used?

    Possibly, but if they are, it will mean the end of America and massive victories for Russia and China, both of whom have smart nuclear defence systems that can confuse and disable incoming missiles, rendering them useless before they hit ground.

    So whatever happens, the West and its would-be Master are done for, and the sooner they realise the fact the better.

    To support this outcome, we need to direct all our efforts to telling America and the rest of the world why it can’t win!

  12. Charles E. Carroll
    March 2, 2023 at 16:39

    Well said, but I don’t see it happening.

  13. FMJ
    March 2, 2023 at 16:20

    Thank you Caitlin for your urgent article on the shocking terrors we face if we do not put a stop to this madness. I do not have too much faith that this can be stopped. Even in my limited circle of friends and family it is exceptionally difficult to bring these vital points into a serious discussion as a result of the relentless propaganda we are having foisted on us morning, noon and night. People tend to be quite scathing when I raise the issues you have mentioned above. It is as if they are afraid to confront the fact that the West is the enemy, our own people are our enemy. Journalists, reporters, politicians, big business are now enemy number one and we don’t even see it so great are the propaganda and lies.
    I am terrified on behalf of my adult children.
    I will however now make a conscious effort to discuss this every chance I can irrespective of the response.

    • John Ressler
      March 3, 2023 at 10:33

      ” . . . in my limited circle of friends and family it is exceptionally difficult to bring these vital points into a serious discussion as a result of the relentless propaganda we are having foisted on us morning, noon and night. People tend to be quite scathing when I raise the issues you have mentioned above. It is as if they are afraid to confront the fact that the West is the enemy, our own people are our enemy.” Ouch, but true! This is also my experience when trying to discuss vital political issues of the day for approximately the past 20-years. Apparently, a lifetime of propaganda has rendered the critical thinking and the moral compass of individuals and the greater society, to be absent/non-functioning. The US is set on KILL, set on WAR – it is “a force that gives us meaning” Chris Hedges. The carefully crafted and sadly predicable narratives provided by our mis-leadership are delivered non-stop by a thoroughly co-opted MSM, seems too large to recognize, if not overcome. I have given up FMJ – tired of being personally attacked and marginalized. I come to CN to read important information about the world I live in. The comments section is a life preserver in a Land of Zombies.

      • Valerie
        March 3, 2023 at 11:42

        I understand perfectly John. I was utterly astonished to hear a bloke the other day tell me that Putin knows he is a dead man if he uses nukes, because they (the west i presume) know exactly where he is all the time and is watched/monitored and so they will kill him. Land of the zombies is right.

  14. Lee Vail
    March 2, 2023 at 15:10

    From what I see in my area, the brainwashing has been successful, the vast majority accept this insane Ukraine War.

  15. shmutzoid
    March 2, 2023 at 14:46

    True enough. Western imperialists, led by the USA, have steadily been consolidating power over the flow of information. Analysis that includes any historical perspective of events/issues is relegated to a few alternative sites. ……. The way Hersh’s recent report on the pipeline sabotage was summarily ignored by corporate media is a snapshot of where we’re at.
    ———Of course coverage of anti-war activity/protests will be shunned by MSM. In the realm of foreign policy, the MSM is little more than the PR arm for the empire’s objectives.
    —————— As I’ve previously posted, it won’t be long before we see increased criminalization of protests, in general. It’ll be deemed as being “disruptive to the public order”, or some such nonsense. From there it’ll go to “that’s anti-American hate speech!”
    Imperialism abroad makes necessary tighter social control at home. That is an immutable calculus.

    Nothing less than the global solidarity of working people can affect any REAL change. Millions in the street day after day——-sustained general strikes, and more. ALL globally coordinated. ……….. These one-day peace rallies here and there ain’t gonna cut it. …. Hell, the millions that took to the street around the world didn’t prevent the US illegal war on Iraq. So, imagine how massively larger (and globally coordinated) the effort has to be now to even get the ruling elites’ attention. ………. People standing up with that kind of global unity would scare the crap out of our ruling elite. ……………

  16. Bruce Edgar
    March 2, 2023 at 14:13

    On Feb 16, three days before the multi-city Rage Against the War Machine –I emailed the Seattle Times employee whose beat is listed as Local News. I asked him these upcoming rallies all across the nation hadn’t been mention in the paper so far–it was definitely local news, whether well attended or not. Believe it or not, he wrote back and asked me “what is it about?” because he had not heard of it. I sent him relevant links including Chris Hedge’s discussion of unified focus on the war. I said that I hoped to see some mention of both the Tacoma and Seattle venues. No article appeared prior the date, and still after several weeks there has been no mention of it. As Caitlin points out, such things don’t exist in this censorship age. For me, this was graphic confirmation of what I had suspected all long, and which Caitlin underlines in this important article.

    • Mark Stanley
      March 3, 2023 at 12:01

      Yes Bruce. I have wondered who actually owns (or controls) the Seattle times, the Tacoma News Tribune, and the Olympian. They all run syndicated articles from MSM. The Olympian is a joke. It’s published in Vancouver, and is almost out of business. Since Olympia is a 90% government town, that operates at an oh-so-comfortable 23 miles per hour, its little rag is a pathetic mouthpiece for gubment.
      I am sure you are aware of the ‘Ministry of Truth” that our idiot governor is endeavoring to implement.
      The 180 degree flip from liberal to neo-liberal in the Pacific Northwest is rather alarming.
      Whatever happened to peace rallies in Seattle?

  17. Gilpin Jackson Jones
    March 2, 2023 at 14:13

    Hint: When you oppose the powerful in society, don’t expect the powerful to help you. You might want to make your plans and do your organizing taking into account that the powerful will not only not help you, but that they might even oppose your efforts to take power and wealth away from them. Counting on the people you are opposing to broadcast your message for you seems rather futile.

    Besides, this appears to assume that there are Americans opposed to the war. If there are, they just suddenly appeared. In the last Presidential election, there was one anti-war candidate on the ballots. She struggled to get even 1% support, and was pretty much drummed out of her party for her efforts. The “War is Great” faction beat the Anti-War faction by at least 99 to 1. And anti-war points of view were completely missing in the mid-terms, even with world war III erupting.

    Its only after this is all done that we will find a large number of Americans claiming that they were ‘the good Americans’ and that they opposed the war all along. Or at least that will be their testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Boards.

    I’d hope I am wrong. But, in a year of war, there has been no major lefty anti-war protests, and the solitary righty anti-war protest drew only a couple of thousand people. I’d hope I was wrong, but a year of the sound of silence confirms the results of the elections. America loves war.

    PS. opposing the war because you don’t like Biden does not count. The Republicans were very pro-military and belligerent and aggressive when Trump was in power, and they have not exactly found Jesus and his peaceful anti-war stance since.

  18. ray Peterson
    March 2, 2023 at 13:51

    ‘Twitter Files” reveal how deep U.S. intelligence agencies control
    social media; mass media betrayed Assange and WikiLeaks
    to the security state; propaganda for consensus (Chomsky), puts
    a pretty face on all the government lies:
    And Frank Zappa said long ago: “Beware of pretty faces that you
    find, a pretty face can hide an evil mind.”

    • Patrick Powers
      March 2, 2023 at 19:04

      Hah! That was Johnny Rivers’ Secret Agent Man, not Frank.

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