Several recent events have “burned” the press, sometimes called the “mainstream media” or “the news.”
At one time, the great newspapers, the New York Times, The Guardian, a list of a dozen or so, combined with CBS News, the home of media “stars” such as Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow and the BBC, kept the world abreast of events.
Those days are long gone. The great writers are gone, investigative journalism is dead, replaced by “blogging,” a haphazard affair of “robo-lies” overwhelming a very few newer unfunded and largely unnoticed “media stars.”
The events we speak of are the ISIS/ISIL phenomenon, the coup in the Ukraine and the current Ebola crisis.
All three expose huge problems with the media, not the simple bias which has plagued the mainstream news for decades, not even the laziness of actors reading press releases replacing reputation and renown.
The press is dead. News is an information business, dependent on sources, on ability to check facts, to discern reality from fantasy. For decades the corporations that bought the world’s media had been able to sell their advertising and peddle propaganda, even hide scandals and spin events.
In America, the fall came when the Murdoch media empire, a collection of sex, fear porn and conspiracy theory “married” America’s pro-Wall Street political party, the “GOP,” becoming its “mouthpiece.”
In Britain, the Murdoch empire became the mechanism of corruption, bribery, blackmail and espionage, all hidden behind a veneer of “phone hacking,” soft pornography and Islamophobia.
In America, Murdoch not only owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, both laughable if their content weren’t insidious, but Murdoch also owns half a dozen “entertainment” networks as well, blending television drama of surprising quality with endless plotlines about “Iranian and Pakistani terrorists.”
The same actors who, in one show play Mossad agents always helping out their slovenly American counterparts, alternate playing Iranian nuclear plotters.
Burned by Events
ISIL/ISIS has been a news disaster. Nothing whatsoever has come out of regions controlled by ISIS/ISIL. They refuse to “embed” reporters, choosing instead to stick to operational security that, to any trained analyst, should have revealed long ago that they are not what they seem.
The media has left their audience not only with questions but with the certainty that there is both no ability to report on the Middle East and a strong desire to keep information from audiences. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened but, due to the nature of the dramatic acts, rape, beheadings and the like, normally the press would want as many details as possible. There is a longtime saying at American schools of journalism which is, “If it bleeds, it reads.”
Ukraine is another problem for the media. Time and time again, the media have announced the fall of pro-Russian regions of Ukraine and then, only days later, has to announce the Ukrainian army in full retreat.
Then, there is the story about Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, the blatant attempt to blame rebels or Russia using altered satellite photos, forged documents and wild conjecture. When the Russian government repeatedly released exculpatory evidence, clearly demonstrating the press to be “making it all up,” simply walking away from the scene of their own crimes no longer worked.
Ebola may kill the press more quickly than some of those infected with that horrific disease. The press has been shown to have no assets in Africa at all, no press relationships, no government sources, no bureaus. Press TV, Russia Today and Veterans Today have more press assets in Africa than the British, French and US media combined.
Thus, when entire nations are “locked down” and entire villages, even cities, are cordoned off and dozens or hundreds, no one really knows, of dead bodies lie in the streets, no one is there to report it. Worse still, the seriousness of the problem becomes fodder for outright fabrication by the media, based on the election year political agendas.
Some networks report the potentiality of million deaths while others claim the whole thing is invented. Are there villages with dead bodies in the streets and dying people who could be saved if proper resources were made available? Were one to depend on the media, it would be impossible to answer that as the desire to delve into conspiracies of bashing political enemies has proven to outweigh informing the public.
Ebola has proven, not only that the press can’t be relied on but, moreover, that they are dangerous as well.
The world’s largest network is CNN, formerly part of Turner Broadcasting, an organization “gobbled up” by Time Warner Broadcasting. With nearly 100 million people viewing CNN around the world each day, it is surprising how CNN, in actuality, does very little news analysis and will at times run the same online web “front page” for 4 days in a row.
Of that potential viewership, individual news shows often have fewer viewers or listeners than amateur podcasts, with numbers being well under 500,000. For internet traffic with regard to CNN, the majority of “time on site” is spent waiting through commercials and slow load times to view the injured from train wrecks. Seventy percent of their “traffic,” web and broadcast, is tied to gossip and subjects involving sexuality.
For news sources like Huffington Post, same ownership, over 95% of their traffic is sexually oriented; making their news reporting only a “front” for what is, in actuality, a pornography website. The same can be said of all Murdoch owned media though it is difficult to ascertain how much time is spent looking at “dirty pictures,” a mainstream of Murdoch papers, except the Wall Street Journal. The Journal has moved from financial reporting to conspiracy theories and propaganda.
The first foreign owned network to be seen in the US and Britain is Al Jazeera, owned by the royal family of Qatar, host to a number of American military bases and primary financier of what “conspiracy theorists” call “false flag terrorism.”
For years, millions of Americans advocating blocking Al Jazeera and even shooting down its satellite facilities with air defense missiles, unaware that the owners of Al Jazeera are closely aligned with the US.
The least well known of alternative news media are the Israeli newspapers, particularly the Times of Israel, openly run by the Mossad, the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, supposedly representing Israel’s “liberal left.” Surprisingly, though Israeli’s own or control over 90% of US media, imbuing both censorship and heavy doses of propaganda, their own media is relatively free and surprisingly competent but for one critical issue.
Except for extensive military censorship of Israeli press, something crippling to their credibility, their overall competence is admirable.
Iran has, by far, the most controversial and most powerful media presence outside the US and Britain with its Fars News Network.
Below, Fars takes on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, whose recent interview with Iranian President Rouhani was altered and some fabrications closely aligned with recent Israeli attacks on Iran were inserted:
The CNN aired its interview with Rouhani on Tuesday but the news channel added to or changed parts of his remarks when Christiane Amanpour asked him about the Holocaust.
Here is the exact English translation of President Rouhani’s remarks:
Rouhani’s: “I have said before that I am not a historian and historians should specify, state and explain the aspects of historical events, but generally we fully condemn any kind of crime committed against humanity throughout the history, including the crime committed by the Nazis both against the Jews and non-Jews, the same way that if today any crime is committed against any nation or any religion or any people or any belief, we condemn that crime and genocide. Therefore, what the Nazis did is condemned, (but) the aspects that you talk about, clarification of these aspects is a duty of the historians and researchers, I am not a history scholar.”
And here is what the CNN translation says:
CNN Question: “One of the things your predecessor (President Ahmadinejad) used to do from this very platform was deny(ing) the holocaust and pretend(ing) it was a myth, I want to know you, your position on the holocaust, do you accept what it was, and what was it?”
CNN’s Translation: “I’ve said before that I am not a historian and then, when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it. But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that Nazis committed towards the Jews as well as non-Jews is reprehensible and condemnable. Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn, the taking of human life is contemptible, it makes no difference whether that life is Jewish life, Christian or Muslim, for us it is the same, but taking the human life is something our religion rejects but this doesn’t mean that on the other hand you can say Nazis committed crime against a group now therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it. This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an even-handed discussion.”
Of the Iranian president’s statement, the areas in “bold” are mistranslations while the areas in “italics” are utter fabrications.
Fars, Press TV and al-Alam typically present in depth reporting, not seen in the west often focused on exposing propaganda and bias in media.
The response in the west has been to ban access to commercial broadcast capabilities, block satellite access and continually subject these news organizations to cyber-attacks.
Age of Ignorance
The end result of using information and media as a weapon of war, of turning what should be the basis of building historical context into a bizarre mix of pornography, conspiracy theory and propaganda, is having its toll. The result is uninformed voters — nations capable of being manipulated into immoral wars on a whim and of following policies rooted entirely in fiction.