Manufacturing Opinion, Today's Mainstream Media
By Timothy V. Gatto
31 August, 2011
Since 9/11 the United States has been under a constant barrage of lies, misinformation and propaganda put out by the United States government in order to advance its global agenda. There have been many in the alternative media that have attempted to tell the truth in order that American citizens have access to facts and information that they normally would never have received from the American mainstream media. These people have been maligned and impugned and called conspiracy theorists and political radicals.
This has not deterred these truth tellers from trying to deliver the truth to as many Americans as possible under circumstances that can only be called “draconian”. One reason that the American public seems to be so gullible is because of its long history of journalists that once operated with an extraordinary amount of integrity. Because of the fourth estate's sense of responsibility to the truth, the act of deception by the government of the United States seems unfathomable. Americans have become dependent on the media and throughout its history, especially the print media. The New York Times for example has been a beacon of enlightenment over the last century. This is not the case in 21st-century America however. The New York Times, even though it claims to print the truth, has become the very symbol of propaganda not unlike Russia's Pravda during the last century.
Things have changed so radically since the middle of the last century that many Americans are getting their news from the former Soviet Union and media outlets such as Russia Today. RT is becoming a beacon of truth in a world filled with slanted news and propaganda. The same can be said of Press TV which is the overseas media outlet for the supposedly oppressed people of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Between RT and Press TV and alternative news outlets such as the real news network (TRNN) that operates worldwide and has offices in Canada and in Washington DC, that still allow Americans the luxury of receiving news that isn't slanted and propagandized like so many outlets in the American mainstream media.
There is a silver lining in this however; many people have become journalists out of necessity and a desire that people know the truth. For many, what started out as a way to register their discontent in the way that news has been presented to Americans, many Americans have found themselves becoming full-time reporters. The rise of the American alternative media has been nothing short of amazing. Websites that started out as simple blogs, have become online media giant's. A case in point is the Huffington Post which was recently sold to AOL for hundreds of millions of dollars.
While talk radio has seen to become the new stomping grounds of the American right, online print media seems to be where the American left, the liberal and progressive side of the American political scene gets its point across to the American people. There seems to be two distinctive dynamics in the American political scene. There seems to be two ways of looking at American political discourse. One is the traditional mindset of the American mainstream media. This is where politicians like Barack Obama and John Kerry can be described as progressive liberals. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If the only criterion used is what's written in the mainstream media, then Barack Obama and John Kerry could actually be liberals. This is because the views presented by the mainstream media are so skewed, that president Obama has actually been described as a centrist. In reality, it's very hard to believe that someone who has involved this country in wars across the globe for resources, and someone who has supported the corporate oligarchy at every turn at the expense of the American middle class could actually be considered part of the American left.
I talked about two distinctive dynamics in a new American political scene. The second segment is what I believe to be the true nature of American politics. This is the political arena where a middle-of-the-road politician is not one that wages war against nations that don't measure up to American political standards. This is the dynamic where politicians are judged by what they do and not what they claim to be. One cannot be considered a leftist because he happens belong to the Democratic Party. In reality the truth is most American politicians at the federal level have political views that are very much right of center. This can be ascertained by the actions of the President when in Wisconsin the Republican state government tried to break the back of the public sector unions. A real progressive would not have looked at this nonchalantly from the Oval Office. If Obama were a true progressive he would've used his office and his influence to stop Gov. Walker's brutal attack on the public sector unions. If we had an honest mainstream media, his political obituary would have been written.
If one only had the mainstream media to judge political discourse in the United States, it would appear that most politicians basically are cut from the same cloth. The fact is, most politicians at the federal level are indeed cut from the same cloth. It's the people however, that are separated in their views and this rift is growing exponentially by the day. America has entered into an era of naked class warfare. It is not only the Republicans that refuse to tax the rich and their corporate masters. The Democrats are also to blame for the widening disparity between the rich and the poor.
When historians look back at this time in America's history, how will they be able to justify our actions across the globe? How can we defend the decision to wage war against the government of Libya under the guise of protecting the civilian population from an evil dictator while we turn a blind eye to the situation in Bahrain where the minority Sunni monarchy tortures and imprisons their people for demonstrating peacefully for more democratic government? How can we justify the adversarial stance against the Islamic Republic of Iran? It was not so long ago when we used Saddam Hussein to fight a proxy war against Iran. It was the United States and Britain that overthrew the democratically elected prime minister of Iran and installed the brutal regime of the Shah. The mainstream media impugns the nation of Iran with every chance it gets. Meanwhile, Iran is a nation that has not fought a belligerent war against its neighbors in over 300 years. We also vilify Hugo Chavez in Venezuela because he refuses to kowtow to the American Empire.
In conclusion, the prime reason that the American government can operate the way it does is because the media in this country refuses to report the truth about what is really happening in the world and America's role in the international community. There are very few good journalists in today's mainstream media. There are very few journalists that are willing to ask today's leaders in Washington the hard questions. The old journalistic standard of who, what, where, when and how is not part of the journalist's toolkit. The media today explains very little about what is really happening across the world. Today's reporters have a habit of disregarding many of the facts about a story but will go to great lengths to tell you what it all means. Reporting the news today is less important than manufacturing public opinion.
Tim Gatto is the author of "Complicity to Contempt" and "Kimchee Days" from Oliver Arts and Open Press . He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard on Blog Talk Radio at http://blogtalkradio.com/liberalpro
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