AMERICAN MEDIA USES DISINFORMATION TO GUIDE POLICY
When the US attempted to invoke ANZUS -- a mutual defense treaty linking Australia, New Zealand, and the United States -- New Zealand repudiated the treaty and withdrew from the alliance, saying that unity with the United States' aggressive foreign policy was not in line with New Zealand's obligation to provide for it's people's sovereignty and security. The news never reached the American public.
October 11, 2001
BILL WHITE: AMERICAN MEDIA USES DISINFORMATION TO GUIDE POLICY : CORPORATIONS HAVE MORE SAY THAN BUSH ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The report followed the release of a poll by CNN-USA Today-Gallup, stating that 30% of Americans blame the September 11 attack on US-Israeli Policy, but 92% believe the US should join forces with Israel in fighting it's war. But those reports were in stark contrast to polls that appeared outside of the US media. A poll released by Reuters to the Israeli press showed that 58% of Americans believe that US Israel policy was primarily responsible for the attack, and that a plurality of Americans -- 46% to 43% -- believe that the US should begin withdrawing from the Middle East and particularly reducing or cutting aid to Israel. That poll never made it onto Washington news radio
It wasn't the only one.
Since the attack Americans have been bombarded with the notion that it is their freedom and their democracy, and not its foreign policy and global empire, that the Muslim world hates. And while the Bush government has so far moved forward with quite a bit of moderation, the line of the American media has been one of infinite escalation -- with Iraq, with Syria, with all of Islam, and with the entire world.
Disinformation on Foreign Affairs
When the US attempted to invoke the ANZUS treaty -- a mutual defense treaty linking Australia, New Zealand, and the United States -- New Zealand repudiated the treaty and withdrew from the alliance, saying that unity with the United States' aggressive foreign policy was not in line with New Zealand's obligation to provide for it's people's sovereignty and security. The news never reached the American public. Instead they only heard the refrain "The entire world supports us."
When the AP wire ran a story telling of tens of thousands of Greek soccer fans burning American and Israeli flags shortly after the September 11 attacks, it didn't hit American newspapers' front pages. And when the BBC reported that three fifths of Greek "right-wingers" and three quarters of Greek "left-wingers" opposed US policy, that result never made it across the pond. Again there was only one refrain: "The entire world supports us."
And when the strongest evidence of international dissatisfaction at the bombing of Afghanistan came forward -- A Gallup poll showing that while the world's governments may be supporting the US out of fear of American military power, in only three countries in the world -- the USA, Israel and India -- did the majority support the actions, there was silence. It wasn't that the American media hadn't heard it -- it's just that the news was suppressed.
It wasn't the US government's line that the polls contradicted, and the polls weren't suppressed by any government agency -- they didn't have to be. The major media -- the radio stations, television stations, and newspapers -- simply ignored the news by common consent. There was no need for the government to enact censorship -- if the news contradicted the policy line that the media was pressuring the government to adopt, the media ignored the news. Andthis is because the quagmire of Afghanistan is an affair the media is dragging the government into kicking and screaming.
The Fourth Estate
Despite the talk of "Big Oil", "Big Tobacco", "Big Pharmaceuticals" and the centralized, corporate control of America's most powerful industries, there is little talk in the American mainstream of "Big Media", and the role a handful of individuals have played in centralizing the control of American "free press" into their handful of hands. It has become almost impossible in the United States to pick up a newspaper or a magazine, turn on a radio, or watch a television station without being bombarded by a deliberately crafted and censored propaganda message of a minority that, despite not being elected into power, play the defining role in shaping what politicians and the American public believe about each other, and thus, by extension, the policies that those politicians and the American public adopt.
Foreigners to the United States are often surprised that American news is not directly censored and that the government does not pass laws that dictate what can and cannot be reported. This is because in most countries control of information is seen as the prerogative of the state. In contrast, in America, the press is supposed to be decentralized, like the government is supposed to be, and under the control of localities and individuals that reside in them. But like most American ideals, in the past century the ideal of decentralization and freedom has been betrayed and inverted. Now the American press is a centralized lobby, which plays in Washington with all the other lobbies for its piece of the government's power, which it does not hesitate to use to push an agenda that is absolute alien to the needs of America's working people.
In America the press does little but inflame public passions and guide public thought, while remarkably presenting "news" that just so happens to reinforce and justify its political line in every detail. The result is a symbiotic, rather than confrontational, relationship with the US government. The media chooses policies it wants the government to enact, and it lavishes praise and builds the public profile of politicians that are willing to enact them. Politicians that don't are either attacked in the media during the next election, or even worse, totally denied access to all public exposure. If a politician were to say, for instance, that the US should end aid to Israel, during the next election cycle the local branch of the national news conglomerates would publish articles in their district saying that the politician had failed his constituents on some other issue -- maybe local agricultural subsidies -- and that he was expected to lose and that the community was backing his opponent and all kinds of other nonsense that would appear to be unrelated, but in reality would be a pay back for his refusal to play
What this means is that a handful of wealthy men and women -- Gerald Levin, Steven Case, Michael Eisner, Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch, Peter Chernin, Andrew Lack, Johnathan Wolman, Michael Silverman, Donald Graham, Arthur Sulzberger, Joseph Lelyveld, Peter Kann, Mortimer Zuckerman, Anthony Ridder, Douglas H. McCorkindale, Jeffrey Chandler, Frank Bennack and a few others (see chart below) -- can effectively come together and dictate police to the government. Can and do.
Front Groups And Ambassadors
"We're going to need to have these corporations redefined as instruments of public service because they have the resources, they have the reach, they have the skill base, and maybe there's a new generation coming up that wants to achieve meaning in that context and have an impact, and that may be a more efficient way to deal with society's problems than governments," -- Gerald Levin, testimony before Congress, July 27, 2001
The means by which the media barons have come to control America's politics, and have gained the power to drive America into war, is through the placement of other individuals -- their mouthpieces -- into dominant positions in the commentary and opinion sections of newspapers, and in the administration and in the advisory boards that send policy to the administration.
Immediately before every major intervention, a council, committee, or institute has formed, composed of academics, politicians, and particularly representatives of the media conglomerates -- the editor of at least one major "elite" commentary publication (left or right, depending on the administration) among them -- which has released a public statement, had that statement picked up by the press, and had that statement form the line that all media organizations in the country uniformly take. Prior to the US bombing of Afghanistan, the media line was set by the "Project for a New American Century" -- a "think tank" with an AOL email address ( PNAC@aol.com) headed by Rupert Murdoch employee William Kristol, and including among its members prominent columnists from the Washington Post (Charles Krauthammer), the New York Times (Norman Podhoretz), the National Review (William Buckley) and many of the other major media organizations, plus their neo-con friends in the administration, like Defense Policy Board Chair Richard Perle. Before the US interventions first in Bosnia, then in Kosovo, the organization in charge was the Balkan Institute, who included among its board members professional Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, musician's wife Bianca Jagger, columnist Susan Sontag, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Charles Krauthammer, Norman Podhoretz and a collection of ambassadors from the media and the defense establishment. Just prior to the last Kosovo bombing, New Republic editor Larry Kaplan headed an open letter, almost identical to the one published by William Kristol, that appeared with the same old names and faces and laid out the line that the media took for that bombing. Similar letters, with only gradual changes in personalities, appeared when the media lobbied for war with China earlier this year, US intervention in Angola in the 1980s, in Grenada, in Panama, in Iraq, in Somalia, in Haiti, and in every other US military action for the past twenty years (and more, though the internet makes the records of the most recent wars more easily available.)
And for those who want amusement, these "councils" often last only as long as the current administration, before the same people re-organize under a different name, push a "right" instead of a "left" leaning leader into power, and promote the same policies. The website for the Balkan Institute ( http://www.balkaninstitute.org), abandoned as a front group at the end of the Clinton Administration, now serves hard-core pornography.
War On Two Fronts
Though the media lobby is not the only lobby in the American government, it's control of the public's access to information means that it usually gets what it wants. What it wants now, and has been wanting for the past month, is World War III. And while the Bush administration appears to be trying hard to fight it, and keeping this war-that-is-not-a-war within limits, the media, with its ties to American Zionism is dangerously attempting to pull the administration forward.
In the waning days of George the First, the president complained publicly that he was "one lonely little guy" under siege from "powerful political forces." Jewish groups immediately denounced him, claiming he had engaged in a "disgusting display of, if not anti-Semitism, at least something close to it." The media, step-in-fetch-its to the Zionists as they are, responded. Overnight, Bush went from the hero of the Gulf War to the butt of taunts. "Bush is a wimp" and "It's the economy stupid" replaced the yellow ribbon campaign.
Recently the New Republic, a prominent "liberal" opinion journal (though the description of it as "liberal" is totally arbitrary -- its politics are the same as the National Review or the Weekly Standard), republished an essay by Larry Kaplan, it's editor, threatening Bush and challenging George the Second to prove that he was going to play ball -- and reminding the President of the way pro-Israel groups used the media to destroy his father after he refused to toe the Zionist line.
"Domestic politics could tilt a Bush presidency away from Israel, so might elements of W.'s foreign policy team," Kaplan warned, but if that tilt came, a "plausible outcome might be the one many Israel supporters anticipate: Like father, like son."
Antiwar.com columnist Scott McConnell was even more explicit in describing the threat Bush Jr's policies are under from the pro-Israel crowd:
"Bush will soon find himself fighting a two front war, first to rally American and world opinion to support strikes against the Taliban, and secondly against a domestic lobby which will fight [him] tooth and nail ..."
And for those left with any doubt, anti-globalist economist Jude Wanninski wrote of the links between Zionist officials in the administration and the press in an open memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (posted on his website polyconomics.com):
"Wolfowitz, and his pal Richard Perle, have been calling all their friends in the Washington press corps, urging them to beat the drums for war with Iraq[.] Perle actually signed the 'famous' letter of 41 drafted by Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, who is Perle's mouthpiece in Washington. (Bill Safire of the New York Times is of course Perle's mouthpiece in New York. It is incomprehensible to me that [the US government] would allow Perle to remain ... where he is permitted to read all the most sensitive secret traffic flowing through the Pentagon."
The situation in America is a vivid demonstration of what can go wrong when small wealthy cliques are permitted to gain monopoly control over an industry vital to the health of a nation -- and why most of the world's ruling cliques view control of the media as vital to their control of the state. America now sees groups of individuals actively using their control over the organs of public information to force politics on elected officials without regard to the good of the country or its people, and deliberately misinforming the people in order to make them believe that mistaken policies are correct. What is worse is that one sees a large portion of the population following along.
Ultimately what has occurred in America is the failure of free market capitalism. One of the problems of the Soviet revolution is that it allowed a bureaucratic elite to launch a counter-revolution from within and establish themselves as a new bourgeois. The American Revolution allowed the same opportunity, in different form. While developing a Constitution that protected excellently against abuses by the government, it did not allow the citizenry any method of rectifying abuses practiced by other citizens, and did not place any limits on the powers of the "private" shadow government which formed when capitalist competition and the war of all against all left the majority of the nation's wealth in the hands of a non-governmental "private" elite. What is left is a cabal of powerful men that form a barrier between the people and their government, and that filter information so as to only give the public information it wants them to have, and which places itself both above the people and government and beyond any scrutiny by either -- making itself a force greater in power than any other. How much longer the Bush government or the American people will allow themselves to be pushed around by these forces of subversion remain to be seen. The Bush family is certainly aware of these shadows' power and intentions, and the American people grow more so every day. But as long as the shadows operate a barrier to information, and are able to block the beam of the light of truth, the question remains if enough people will ever have enough information to challenge them. But after all, at least there is no censorship in America. Here it is called "editorial discretion."
American media is owned by a handful of
corporations, and these are names that the people of
the world need to know:
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