As the great journalist John Pilger notes in his 1st April 2018 article about the Ecuadorean Government’s silencing of Julian Assange , we are being subjected to a constant battering on many fronts to ensure we only listen to the ‘right’ information about the world around us.
The demonisation of Russia can partly be explained by Western Government’s concerns about the role of RT.com providing an alternative meme ( in most cases as legitimate -and often more so than its Western news-agency counterparts) to that expressed through what is termed Mainstream media (MSM) . Mainstream Media is in essence, western media which toe the dominant political party line – whether it be anti-Russian, anti-Trump, pro-‘intervention’ ( read ‘killing’) in other countries, or most importantly, pro-consumerism.
But this attempted silencing of alternative media stories, no matter how legitimate or truthful they are, not only extends to foreign entities like Russia or China , it also includes any highly visible figures like Assange who do not espouse what is known to be ‘right’ by our esteemed leaders, and the multitude of internet bloggers who research and analyse the stories behind the stories.
The recent bizarre attempt by western governments and MSM, to conflate alternative opinion as ‘fake news”, borders on the psychotic. It is a witchhunt against those who do not respect the often infantile repetitive lies told in the MSM or by apparently intellectually impaired politicians such as U.K’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, or for that matter Donald Trump. By now the old lies about the reasons we must fight wars in ‘foreign’ lands for ‘freedom and democracy” or to “save civilians”, are wearing remarkable thin.
Thus the ‘establishment’ is now flailing around for a further reason why we should just accept that the mass-killing of ‘other’ people is good for them. In John Pilger’s belief, this media frenzy against those who detour from the party line is a significant threat to the establishment, with the intended war against Russia and China looming and the drums beating ever louder – they can not afford a dissenting “fifth column” in their midst who can undermine the thirst for war or the need for civilians to rally behind the flag.
As the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal has made clear; it is not just Russia and the ‘enemy’ who is manipulating public opinion through ‘slanted stories’ and twitter bots! SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s British parent company, prides itself on its capacity to manipulate public opinion in both foreign lands and internally in the UK. We can be sure that there are many other western companies and intelligence services who, despite their actual minimal real intelligence, aim to manipulate public opinion at home and abroad. In the United States, this is an easy task. The vast majority of Americans have limited education, no understanding of foreign countries and no memory for history- an ideal subject for manipulation!
In the United States therefore we have something passed into law by Congress in 2016 called
The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act would ensure America’s national security infrastructure helps counter the false narratives that harm our security — delivering truthful information and making the world a safer place for the United States and our allies.”
Note .. that as written into the NDAA, the legislation’s provisions establish an inter-agency body “to track and evaluate counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten the national security interests of the United States and United States allies,” and to develop “procedures to expose and refute foreign misinformation and disinformation and proactively promote fact-based narratives and policies to audiences outside the United States.”
Where the ‘facts” come that the public needs re-education on, and the ‘false facts’ that the public needs protection from, do not of course need to be stated. Our respective governments always know best! -don’t they??
As we have seen in the ludicrous litany of lies put out by the British government around the Salisbury nerve gas poisoning affair, all the key mainstream UK and other Western media have jumped in lock-step to push the U.K government Russian-basking charges without once examining the implausibility of the facts presented. Whether these media agencies and their journalists are paid, bribed, coerced or blackmailed into regurgitating this British propaganda, is unknown at this point,
This is of course not something new. State entities have always attempted to manipulate their publics to ensure compliance to the official line -whether it be going to war, or maximising the potential threats of other states to maximise profits for the corporates who fund the ruling “elite” . In all cases, the states’ manipulatory processes are for short-term gain and almost inevitably have a long term negative impact on their public.
The most telling and catastrophically fatal example of this flaw in our ‘democracies”, is the media and political drive for corporates to produce more ‘things’ and for their publics to consume more things. All analysis shows that in a closed system like our little world, this drive inevitably leads to planetary disaster – but it helps keep political parties in power…for now….
A useful analysis of military propaganda here from Adam Ramsay here
Note also the “The Times” (U.K.) fascinating attempt to shut down academic dissent around the U.K. government’s version of events in Syria
https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/gec/ Global Engagement Center (U.S.)