Freedom Rider: The Media’s True Lies
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“The disinformation carried out on a regular basis prevents even dogged news followers from knowing what their government is doing and why.”
A recently released Gallup poll asked Americans which nation they considered to be their country’s greatest enemy. Iran was first on the list, thought to be public enemy number one by 32% of respondents. It was followed by China, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, Pakistan, the United States itself, Japan and Saudi Arabia in order of magnitude on the scale of perceived evil.
The poll results are an indicator not of the level of danger posed to the American people, but of the degree of propaganda spewed by the media and the White House. It would be all but impossible for any other nation to loom so large in the American mind at this time. We are told that Iran is poised to develop nuclear weapons, kill all Israelis, launch terror attacks in the United States and perhaps create bad weather too.
Even Americans who strive to be well informed are caught in the net of disinformation. Every news story detailing the supposed menace presented by Iran neglects to mention that Israel has an unknown number of nuclear weapons. This information would make Americans less likely to believe in any danger from Iran, which is precisely why it is omitted.
There is always collusion between the corporate media and whomever resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Nearly ten years ago the Bush administration used the media to make the case for invading Iraq. They simply printed and broadcast every claim the Bushites made, from the existence of weapons of mass destruction to tales of mushroom clouds and yellow cake.
“The poll results are an indicator not of the level of danger posed to the American people, but of the degree of propaganda spewed by the media and the White House.”
Now the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, NBC and their cohorts are once again the willing conduits for the big lie. They always are, for any president. If Ronald Reagan wanted to invade Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island which had done nothing more than build an airport with the assistance of Cuba, he did so, and the media told us nothing which differed from the party line. If George H. W. Bush wanted to invade Panama, he did, and the media said that his action was perfectly fine.
It doesn’t matter which country is the target of America’s wrath, the press repeat almost word for word what the president wants them to say. There is rarely any critical analysis or admissions of past guilt. The public were told that Grenada was strategically important, and that a Cuban built airport was a sign of grave danger to life and limb. Thirty years later, none of the media who passed along lies as truth have dared to question themselves or their slavish devotion to administration policies.
The same has been true of every other president and Obama is no exception. It didn’t matter that United Nations inspectors reported a lack of nuclear or chemical weapons in Iraq. They are now telling the world that Iran has no nuclear weapons capability, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to administration spokespersons or watching the evening news.
Not one major American news outlet has cast down on ridiculous tales of an Iranian used car salesman plotting to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador. When Iranian scientists are murdered in broad daylight, Israeli involvement is never considered, even though the connection is a logical one. The shrug of the shoulders and the claims of ignorance disappear when bombs quite conveniently target Israelis in India, Thailand and Georgia.
“The public were told that Grenada was strategically important, and that a Cuban built airport was a sign of grave danger to life and limb.”
Iran is immediately blamed, despite the fact that officials in those nations express skepticism. There is no mention of Israeli aid to Iranian dissident groups that may be acting on behalf of their patron. There is a kind of consistency at work. Iran is blamed and the possibility of Israeli wrong doing is not given any credence.
The list of government lies promoted by a supposedly independent media is a long and sorry one indeed. The tragedy is that even when Americans are determined to inform themselves, they remain ignorant. The disinformation carried out on a regular basis prevents even dogged news followers from knowing what their government is doing and why.
The result is that in this democratic nation, presidents behave like dictators, doing whatever they like, and an uninformed citizenry is in no position to stop them. If our newspapers are nothing more than propaganda sheets, there is little reason to pay attention to them beyond predicting when they will allow a president to begin carrying out bad deeds.
The media drumbeat against Iran is a disgrace, but it tells us that the attack can’t be too far away. Iran is not America’s worst enemy. Our worst enemies are right here, smiling as they read from teleprompters or quoting from anonymous administration sources. Once again they are working hand in glove to help another president destroy a country and kill many, many people.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.