Here’s something I wrote a week ago:
While corporate media do actively lie when circumstances and a systemically driven deference to power require it, their preferred MO is to lie by omission. Not only is that safer. It is in the long term more effective …
I’m often making this point. The context for the above was the silence by all Western media – debarred by their business models from being truthful with us on matters vital to power 1 – on the February 20 publication by China’s Foreign Ministry of its report on “US Hegemony and Its Perils”.
Shortly after, on March 7, the ‘quality’ sections of Western media echoed the preposterous story, first aired in the New York Times and Washington Post, that last September’s pipeline sabotage was the work of a few Ukrainian mavericks without the knowledge of Washington or Kiev – see Nordstrom: the comedy continues. Neither NYT and WashPo, nor Guardian, Der Spiegel and all the other media doing their bit to spread this risible damage limitation spin …
… the fantastical denial of US involvement, with its even more fantastical variant that Evil Putin is the culprit – he being too stupid to figure out that, should he wish to disrupt gas supply to Europe, he had only to turn off the taps – has foundered on the reefs of reality …
… saw fit to mention a February 8 piece by Seymour Hersh.
(He who more than half a century ago forced these same outlets, on pain of being globally scooped by media minnows, to come clean on the My Lai massacre of old men, women and children in a “South Vietnamese” village suspected of Viet Cong sympathies.)
His more recent piece – How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline – had confirmed what anyone paying attention had long ago concluded. On ground of means, motive and opportunity, not to forget Joe Biden’s own dark promise, Washington had to be the perp.
Thus spake the MEP married to Polish American neocon and Russia hawk, Anne Applebaum
That same coalition of the attentive would also conclude that NYT and WashPo ‘revelations’ of a handful of ‘patriots’ having the wherewithal for so sophisticated an operation in the world’s most heavily patrolled sea lanes – having too the desire to deal a crippling blow to Europe’s consumers and businesses 2 – was, as Caitlin Johnstone put it, the equivalent of the small child who, having broken the living room lamp, tells M & D that a very bad man in cape and twirling moustache had burst in and done the dirty deed.
In the China report example we’re talking media lies of omission. The pipelines example shows lies of commission (by unnamed ‘intelligence sources’ aided by the mendacity or self-serving credulity of journalists unworthy of the name) and omission. Neither is better or worse than the other. Both advance evil agendas.
(Try Caitlin’s post today.)
Imagine walking down a city street with your proverbial Martian. As you pass a hospital she asks, “what is that building?”
“That”, you reply, “is where people get their arms and legs cut off while they’re asleep.”
It’s the truth. Just not the whole truth, or anything remotely close to it. As a matter of fact it’s so tiny and grotesquely skewed a slice of the stuff as to be one big fat fucking lie.
I rest my case.
* * *
- Chomsky nailed it. “Media are large corporations selling privileged audiences to other corporations. Now the question is: what pictures of the world would a rational person expect from this?” In the case of The Guardian (trapped between inability to cover its costs by selling ad space, and reluctance to set a paywall sure to threaten its standing as the world’s leading liberal paper) increased reliance on wealthy sponsors like Bill Gates and George Soros is the result. For their part state funded broadcasters like ABC, BBC and PSB depend on politicians fearful of or in bed with a media oligarchy, as well as their upper echelons being political appointees from the corridors of power. (One fruit of the March 2023 stand-off between BBC Director General Tim Davie, and former England striker and current soccer commentator Gary Lineker, is to place a spotlight not only on Davie’s political affiliations – showing the suspension of Lineker to combine hypocrisy and folly in ways he surely regrets – but also the financial ties of his own appointee as BBC chair, Richard Sharp, with former prime minister and serial liar Boris Johnson.)
- As I and others have repeatedly argued, here for instance, the damage done to Europe by the Nordstrom sabotage is not an unfortunate price paid by the US for weakening Russia. It is a war aim. Cut off from trade with Eurasia, Europe is bound more tightly to the US imperial orbit. More specifically here, as energy-starved EU businesses go to the wall or relocate in the USA, its transatlantic rival is weakened even as US LNG exporters do a roaring trade. Tell me again what Henry Kissinger said: “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.” As when that other Nixon man, US Treasury Secretary John Connally, told a stunned G10 in Rome 1971 the dollar was to be decoupled from gold – “our currency, your problem” – we see a strange compulsion to confess.