When Americans think of propagandized people they think of the now defunct Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or perhaps a banana republic dictatorship of the sort supported by their government. Very few of them would think of themselves as being under the sway of a government and corporations who work hand in glove to tell outright falsehoods or hide important information that is inconvenient for them.
In this country, not only are we victims of a government intent upon keeping us misinformed or silent in the face of its wrong doing, but they work hand in hand with a media almost entirely owned by corporations. The interests of the people are rarely in sync with the interests of these corporations, and that results in a media which works with the government which consciously works to misdirect our attention or have us believe outright lies.
Almost every major news story gives us an example of this terrible phenomenon. We may be told that Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons capability, but we are not told that it has the right to do so as a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty. To add insult to injury, there isn’t any proof that Iran has even acquired this capability.
But Israel is chomping at the bit to attack Iran, and its lackey state, the United States of America, will not stand in its way. The corporate media never tell us that Israel, a country which is not a signatory of the NPT, has an arsenal of an unknown number of nuclear weapons.
A simple and easily provable fact, that the nation which casts itself as the victim of a potential nuclear power is itself nuclear, is rarely mentioned. One might read the New York Times and Washington Post every day and watch one of the broadcast or cable news networks at night, and not be aware of this information.
“Government sources say,” are the buzz words for falsehoods told in the name of the state. So-called prestigious publications will print the most outrageous information without attribution, investigation or proof of very serious charges. The Washington Post prints a story, quoting an anonymous source, claiming that Gaddafi’s Libya not only was in possession of a mustard gas stockpile, but also that it was supplied by Iran.
When Israel and/or the United States attack Iran none of the highly paid anchor men or women or reporters who have access to the administration will stray far from the official party line. That is why one president is as dangerous as any other. The system rewarded the liars who drove America to war against Iraq. The anti-Iranian warmongers will probably fare equally well.
Foreign policy has long been the domain of the big lie, but reporting or the lack of reporting on important domestic issues is either twisted in favor of the powerful or ignored altogether. The sins of omission are as dangerous as the sins of the bald faced lie. Did any major newspaper report on the week-long Georgia prison strike which took place one year ago? This phenomenal story of incarcerated Bloods and Crips working hand in hand with members of Aryan nation should have been front page news. But it was ignored, and the country lost an opportunity to be informed that their nation has the largest prison system on the planet and that it profits quite literally from their slave labor.
The court scribes who tell us that a statistical blip is proof of economic recovery or that the president had no choice but to accept the “Satan sandwich” budget deal are no better than propagandists in dictatorial states. The press corps in Libya, who actively assisted NATO in destroying that nation, committed international war crimes in the process. They will never reveal their own evil doing nor will they be called to account by a public that doesn’t even realize the magnitude of their crimes.
Anyone who is resistant to the notion that this country is awash in propaganda need look no further than the case of Anwar al-Awlaki. The president ordered the killing of an American citizen who was never charged with a crime. He then directed his minions to reveal to the New York Times the existence of a secret, extra legal memo which justifies his actions. The Times no doubt celebrated their role as court favorites and ignored the role that a newspaper ought to play in reporting a story that should have resulted in a presidential impeachment.
Americans love to say that they live in the greatest country in the world. Such a nation will be hard pressed to admit that they can trust little of the information they get. The nexus of a corrupt governmental structure and a corporate media results in nonsense on a good day and disinformation on a bad one. Our country is not great, it is just powerful and very, very dangerous.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.