Saturday, April 21, 2007

Under the "V"

From the website of "Editor and Publisher": "The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear next Wednesday, a 90-minute PBS broadcast called 'Buying the War,' which marks the return of 'Bill Moyers Journal.' E&P was sent a preview DVD and a draft transcript for the program this week."

A couple of commenters on the E&P preview of Moyers's documentary drew the conclusion that the media, especially the electronic media, simply wrote an erroneous "first draft" of history. Such baloney.

If the electronic media are owned by the same corporations that own the warmongers in the White House, should we be surprised that they got together to cook up a batch of lies?

The "press" wasn't writing a "first draft" of anything. Moyers's documentary proves that they were regurgitating the bullshit the regime was feeding them, and they knew exactly what they were doing.

The Moyers expose reveals that of the 414 Iraq stories that ran on NBC, CBS, and ABC news in the six-month runup to the war, nearly all originated in PR handouts from the White House, Pentagon, or State Department.

NBC is owned by General Electric, CBS by Westinghouse Corp., ABC by Disney, and the White House by all of the above. I don't know why anybody is surprised that our corporate masters got their story straight when they needed to light a fire under the public, ever composed mostly of wide-eyed innocents, so as to boil them up into a sustained paroxysm of war fever.

There were a few dissenters. The Knight-Ridder newspaper chain did some commendable, genuinely investigative reporting during late 2002 and early 2003 (and if an independent, free press still exists at all in this country, you'll find it only in the "dead tree" media and on the blogs). NBC fired Phil Donahue after he objected to the network's orders that he couldn't have antiwar people on his show by themselves, and that he was required to have "two conservatives for every liberal." But mostly the corporate media simply did what they were ordered to do.

Welcome to Oceania.

Addressing the topics of mind control in modern societies, Noam Chomsky recently wrote that "In crude and brutal societies," (such as the old Soviet Union or North Korea today) "the Party Line is publicly proclaimed and must be obeyed - or else. What you actually believe is your own business and of far less concern." But the United States is not a crude and brutal society, and theoretically we enjoy "freedom of speech" and a "free press." Theoretically, we do not experience governmental mind control.

But in fact, we do experience it. The runup to the Iraq War is a perfect example of it. Chomsky explains, "In societies where the state has lost the capacity to control by force, the Party Line is simply presupposed; then, vigorous debate is encouraged within the limits imposed by unstated doctrinal orthodoxy. The cruder of the two systems leads, naturally enough, to disbelief; the sophisticated variant gives an impression of openness and freedom, and so far more effectively serves to instill the Party Line. It becomes beyond question, beyond thought itself, like the air we breathe." (Emphasis is mine.)

And who defines this "unstated doctrinal orthodoxy" of which Chomsky speaks? Who "imposes" the limits of acceptable political thought in a "free" society? Who delivers our "Party Line" to us?

Brian Williams does. And Chris Matthews. And Charlie Gibson. And Katie Couric. This is not an idle, reckless, or outlandish accusation I'm making here. If you want proof of what I'm saying, of what Chomsky is saying, Watch the Moyers documentary on Wednesday night and you'll see just how Americans were force fed their Party Line on Iraq.

No comments: