Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]
01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total per-capita costs]
01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]
01.08 Monarch butterfly numbers plummet 86 percent in California [0:58 video; Do You Care?]
01.08 Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work [Making America Less Great Again]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
01.18 With Mattis Gone, Trump Is Already Sowing More Global Chaos [Trump plays General—what could go wrong...]
01.18 Impeach Donald Trump
01.18 President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project [An impeachable offense]
01.18 10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech [3:27 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Bill Maher: If We Don’t Impeach President Donald Trump, Where Is The Bar? [9:49 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 With US 'Drilling Towards Disaster,' Report Warns Anything Less Than Urgent Green New Deal Will Be 'Too Little, Too Late' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Trump plans to relax Obama rules for oil companies put in place after BP disaster [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Trump's war on science: how the US is putting politics above evidence [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
01.16 Can Philadelphia 'stop people from dying' as drug crisis and gun violence rage on? [Whole country suffers from lack of effective federal policies... Seeing a pattern? P.S.: The answer is not a Wall!]
01.16 Why are more Americans than ever dying from drug overdoses? [graphs]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
01.17 Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]
International & Futurism
01.17 White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not [More equality requires us to fix ignored and distorted problems]
01.16 Global tensions holding back climate change fight, says WEF [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
THE CENTER-RIGHT'S MEDIA NARRATIVE:
Embedded Bellwether: The Paper of Record Prepares the Public for More Slaughter
Monday, 13 April 2009
Now the New York Times' faction has one of its own in power, which doubtless makes the stovepiping of propaganda even easier, more congenial -- indeed, even more unconscious -- for the great Gotham bellwether.Noam Chomsky, among others, has noted how faithfully and thoroughly the corporate American media advances the agenda of the state, achieving a near Pravda-like degree of servitude without any need for the kind of overt, direct control once practiced by Pravda's Soviet masters. This is done, in large part, unconsciously; that is, most of the practitioners (and all of the owners) of the corporate media share the same assumptions and values of the nation's ruling elite. They don't have to be told to believe what the elite believe; they believe it already.
Naturally, there are factional rivalries among the elite, played out most vividly every four years in the presidential campaigns, where two candidates with mutual assumptions and values split hairs over side issues to get their faction to take a turn at the top; and thus various bits of the corporate media tend to line up more closely with one faction over the other. But on the core values of the modern American power structure -- the use of overwhelming violence to achieve political ends (chiefly, the predominance of the American elite over world affairs as far as possible); the primacy and privilege due to wealth, and the burning need to preserve that primacy at the expense of everyone else, if need be; and the ineffable, ineradicable, mystical goodness of the imperial state, which can never really sin nor err, except, perhaps, from the misapplied excess of its own forever-good intentions (liberating the oppressed, safeguarding national security, etc.) -- there is no genuine disagreement. For the American elite, the principle of governance that Richard Nixon and George W. Bush openly adopted -- "If the president does it, it's legal" -- is always operative on a larger scale: "If America does it, it's good, or was meant to be good, even if it does turn out wrong every now and then" (generally due to the perceived "incompetence" of the particular faction in power, or perhaps the ingratitude and unworthiness of the recipients of America's benevolence.)
With these shared values reaching across the bipartisan divide in politics, and suffused throughout the commanding heights of American society (and through much of general population as well, especially the doctrine of America's mystical goodness), it's no wonder that a high degree of consensus -- a widespread "conventional wisdom" -- is so readily formed on the major issues of the day. Of course, this conventional wisdom shifts over the years, as the agendas of the elite factions shift in response to various events and trends; but at any given time, it is so powerful and pervasive as to be almost invisible.
One of the great bellwethers of conventional wisdom is of course the "paper of record," the New York Times. The paper's factional leaning is well-known -- it tends toward the extremely tame, pro-empire, pro-oligarchy center-right stance known rather laughingly as "liberalism" in the United States -- but that has never prevented it from performing its duty as a pipeline for the propaganda of power. One of the most vivid examples of this was the paper's key role in preparing the public mind to accept, even applaud, an act of naked military aggression against Iraq -- even though this murderous campaign was led by rivals of the Times' factional soulmates among the elite.
Now the Times' faction has one of its own in power, which doubtless makes the stovepiping of propaganda even easier, more congenial -- indeed, even more unconscious -- for the great Gotham bellwether. A story in Monday's paper is a good case in point. Written by C.J. Chivers, embedded with American ground troops in Afghanistan, it shows the "liberal" paper preparing the American public to accept, even champion, a bloody escalation of the conflict -- including a subtle "justification" for the great increase in civilian casualties that will come with Obama's "surge" in Central Asia.
In the horribly stilted, obfuscating prose that characterizes so much of the Times' writing -- especially the more propagandist pieces -- Chivers tries to have it both ways, readying reader for more bloodshed while dangling sugar plums of "hope" to ease the coming pain:
In short, the conflict of Afghanistan is evolving from an "older war" in which a limited number of American troops and airplanes and missiles killed people in a somewhat limited geographical area to a "newer war" in which a greater number of American troops and airplanes and missiles will kill even more people in a somewhat larger geographical area. This will also result in more Americans being killed, but somehow, the extension and expansion of precisely the same failed strategy that has led to the present deteriorating position -- "invigorating" the war, as Chivers calls it -- will make things more "hopeful."
The story is filled with lots of "savvy" tactical talk and "light at the end of the tunnel" boilerplate from military sources that will be dismally familiar to anyone with the slightest memory of the Vietnam War. But what is perhaps most ominous is a passing observation thrown in toward the end of the story, where Chivers rides through a rural Afghan village with soldiers from Company C of the First Battalion, 26th Infantry. First -- 20 paragraphs into the piece -- Chivers finally notes that some of the villagers are less than enamored of the liberator's presence in their land:
He then zeroes in on his ride with C Company through the Pech Valley, and the greeting they received there:
Then comes the money graph:
He then concludes with a recitation of the casualties suffered by the small company in Iraq and now in Afghanistan.
The "takeaway" at the end of the story seems clear: In order to win through on the president's agenda of hope and transformation in Afghanistan, we must brace ourselves for some tough fighting -- and high costs -- as we face down a ruthless enemy that uses old women and young children to stalk and kill our troops.
So, as the death toll mounts in the coming months and you hear all those overwrought sob stories about "slaughtered civilians" -- including the emotional handwringing about "women and children" among the unavoidable collateral damage that occurs when you are trying to do the right thing for a bunch of ungrateful Muslim wretches -- just remember what the New York Times has told you: some of those collaterals were probably packing heat. They deserved to die. This good, hopeful, progressive war need not trouble your conscience at all.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on April 14, 2009.
Public Service Ads: