Hold the Front Page: The Reporters Are Missing and Journalism is Dead

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A lot of mainstream journalism has descended to the extent of a cult-like system of bias, rumour and omission. Subjectivism is all; slogans and outrage are proof sufficient. What issues is “notion.”

(CN Op-ed) — The dying of Robert Parry earlier this yr felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for unbiased journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared a lot in frequent.

Hersh revealed the My Lai bloodbath in Vietnam and the key bombing of Cambodia, Parry uncovered Iran-Contra, a medication and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White Home. In 2016, they individually produced compelling proof that the Assad authorities in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They weren’t forgiven.

Pushed from the “mainstream”, Hersh should publish his work exterior the US. Parry arrange his personal unbiased information web site Consortium Information, the place, in a ultimate piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “accredited opinions” whereas “unapproved proof is brushed apart or disparaged no matter its high quality.”

Though journalism was all the time a unfastened extension of firm energy, one thing has modified lately. Dissent tolerated once I joined a nationwide newspaper in Britain within the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism strikes in the direction of a type of company dictatorship. It is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the brand new “groupthink”, as Parry referred to as it, meting out its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.

Witness the witch-hunts towards refugees and immigrants, the willful abandonment by the “MeToo” zealots of our oldest freedom, presumption of innocence, the anti-Russia racism and anti-Brexit hysteria, the rising anti-China marketing campaign and the suppression of a warning of world battle.

With many if not most unbiased journalists barred or ejected from the “mainstream”, a nook of the Web has turn out to be an important supply of disclosure and evidence-based evaluation: true journalism websites comparable to wikileaks.org, consortiumnews.com, wsws.org, truthdig.com, counterpunch.org and informationclearinghouse.com are required studying for these making an attempt to make sense of a world during which science and know-how advance wondrously whereas political and financial life within the fearful “democracies” regress behind a media facade of narcissistic spectacle.

Propaganda Blitz

In Britain, only one web site gives constantly unbiased media criticism. That is the outstanding Media Lens — outstanding partly as a result of its founders and editors in addition to its solely writers, David Edwards and David Cromwell, since 2001 have concentrated their gaze not on the standard suspects, the Tory press, however the paragons of respected liberal journalism: the BBC, The Guardian, Channel four Information.

Cromwell and Edwards (The Ghandi Basis)


Their technique is easy. Meticulous of their analysis, they’re respectful and well mannered after they ask why a journalist why she or he produced such a one-sided report, or did not disclose important information or promoted discredited myths.

The replies they obtain are sometimes defensive, at instances abusive; some are hysterical, as if they’ve pushed again a display on a protected species.

I’d say Media Lens has shattered a silence about company journalism. Like Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in Manufacturing Consent, they characterize a Fifth Property that deconstructs and demystifies the media’s energy.

What is very attention-grabbing about them is that neither is a journalist. David Edwards is a former trainer, David Cromwell is an oceanographer. But, their understanding of the morality of journalism — a time period hardly ever used; let’s name it true objectivity — is a bracing high quality of their on-line Media Lens dispatches.

I believe their work is heroic and I’d place a duplicate of their simply printed e-book, Propaganda Blitz, in each journalism faculty that companies the company system, as all of them do.

Take the chapter, Dismantling the Nationwide Well being Service, during which Edwards and Cromwell describe the vital half performed by journalists within the disaster dealing with Britain’s pioneering well being service.

The NHS disaster is the product of a political and media assemble referred to as “austerity”, with its deceitful, weasel language of “effectivity financial savings”  (the BBC time period for slashing public expenditure) and “exhausting decisions” (the willful destruction of the premises of civilized life in fashionable Britain).

“Austerity” is an invention. Britain is a wealthy nation with a debt owed by its crooked banks, not its individuals. The sources that may comfortably fund the Nationwide Well being Service have been stolen in broad daylight by the few allowed to keep away from and evade billions in taxes.

Utilizing a vocabulary of company euphemisms, the publicly-funded Well being Service is being intentionally run down by free market fanatics, to justify its selling-off. The Labour Celebration of Jeremy Corbyn might seem to oppose this, however is it? The reply may be very probably no. Little of any of that is alluded to within the media, not to mention defined.

Edwards and Cromwell have dissected the 2012 Well being and Social Care Act, whose innocuous title belies its dire penalties. Unknown to many of the inhabitants, the Act ends the authorized obligation of British governments to offer common free well being care: the bedrock on which the NHS was arrange following the Second World Struggle. Personal firms can now insinuate themselves into the NHS, piece by piece.

The place, asks Edwards and Cromwell, was the BBC whereas this momentous Invoice was making its manner by Parliament? With a statutory dedication to “offering a breadth of view” and to correctly inform the general public of “issues of public coverage,” the BBC by no means spelt out the menace posed to one of many nation’s most cherished establishments. A BBC headline stated: “Invoice which supplies energy to GPs passes.” This was pure state propaganda.

Media and Iraq Invasion

There’s a putting similarity with the BBC’s protection of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lawless invasion of Iraq in 2003, which left 1,000,000 lifeless and lots of extra dispossessed. A research by the College of Wales, Cardiff, discovered that the BBC mirrored the federal government line “overwhelmingly” whereas relegating reviews of civilian struggling. A Media Tenor research positioned the BBC on the backside of a league of western broadcasters within the time they gave to opponents of the invasion. The company’s much-vaunted “precept” of impartiality was by no means a consideration.

Blair: Lawless (Workplace of Tony Blair)


One of the telling chapters in Propaganda Blitz describes the smear campaigns mounted by journalists towards dissenters, political mavericks and whistleblowers. The Guardian’s marketing campaign towards the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is essentially the most disturbing. Assange, whose epic WikiLeaks disclosures introduced fame, journalism prizes and largesse to The Guardian, was deserted when he was not helpful. He was then subjected to a vituperative – and cowardly — onslaught of a sort I’ve hardly ever identified.

US Sanctions China for Buying Russian Fighter Jets and Missile Systems

With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian e-book led to a profitable Hollywood film deal. The e-book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “broken persona” and “callous.” Additionally they disclosed the key password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to guard a digital file containing the U.S. embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped within the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the many police exterior, gloated on his weblog that “Scotland Yard might get the final giggle.”

The Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore wrote, “I guess Assange is stuffing himself stuffed with flattened guinea pigs. He actually is essentially the most huge turd.”

Moore, who describes herself as a feminist, later complained that, after attacking Assange, she had suffered “vile abuse.” Edwards and Cromwell wrote to her: “That’s an actual disgrace, sorry to listen to that. However how would you describe calling somebody ‘essentially the most huge turd’? Vile abuse?”

Moore replied that no, she wouldn’t, including, “I’d advise you to cease being so bloody patronizing.” Her former Guardian colleague James Ball wrote, “It’s troublesome to think about what Ecuador’s London embassy smells like greater than 5 and a half years after Julian Assange moved in.”

Such slow-witted viciousness appeared in a newspaper described by its editor, Katharine Viner, as “considerate and progressive.” What’s the root of this vindictiveness?  Is it jealousy, a perverse recognition that Assange has achieved extra journalistic firsts than his snipers can declare in a lifetime? Is it that he refuses to be “certainly one of us” and shames those that have lengthy offered out the independence of journalism?

Journalism college students ought to research this to know that the supply of “pretend information” is just not solely trollism, or the likes of Fox Information, or Donald Trump, however a journalism self-anointed with a false respectability: a liberal journalism that claims to problem corrupt state energy however, in actuality, courts and protects it, and colludes with it. The amorality of the years of Tony Blair, whom The Guardian has did not rehabilitate, is its echo.

“[It is] an age during which individuals yearn for brand new concepts and contemporary options,” wrote Katharine Viner. Her political author Jonathan Freedland dismissed the craving of younger individuals who supported the modest insurance policies of Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn as “a type of narcissism.”

“How did this man ….,” brayed the Guardian‘s Zoe Williams, “get on the poll within the first place?”  A choir of the paper’s precocious windbags joined in, thereafter queuing to fall on their blunt swords when Corbyn got here near successful the 2017 common election despite the media.

Complicated tales are reported to a cult-like system of bias, rumour and omission: Brexit, Venezuela, Russia, Syria. On Syria, solely the investigations of a bunch of unbiased journalists have countered this, revealing the community of Anglo-American backing of jihadists in Syria, together with these associated to ISIS.

Leni Riefenstahl (r.) (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone by way of Getty Photos)


Supported by a “psyops” marketing campaign funded by the British International Workplace and the U.S. Company for Worldwide Growth, the purpose is to hoodwink the Western public and pace the overthrow of the federal government in Damascus, whatever the medieval various and the chance of battle with Russia.

The Syria Marketing campaign, arrange by a New York PR company referred to as Function, funds a bunch referred to as the White Helmets, who declare falsely to be “Syria Civil Protection” and are seen uncritically on TV information and social media, apparently rescuing the victims of bombing, which they movie and edit themselves, although viewers are unlikely to be instructed this. George Clooney is a fan.

The White Helmets are appendages to the jihadists with whom they share addresses. Their media-smart uniforms and gear are equipped by their Western paymasters. That their exploits usually are not questioned by main information organizations is a sign of how deep the affect of state-backed PR now runs within the media. As Robert Fisk famous not too long ago, no “mainstream” reporter reviews Syria.

In what is called a hatchet job, a Guardian reporter based mostly in San Francisco, Olivia Solon, who has by no means visited Syria, was allowed to smear the substantiated investigative work of journalists Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett on the White Helmets as “propagated on-line by a community of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the assist of the Russian authorities.”

This abuse was printed with out allowing a single correction, not to mention a right-of-reply. The Guardian Remark web page was blocked, as Edwards and Cromwell doc.  I noticed the listing of questions Solon despatched to Beeley, which reads like a McCarthyite cost sheet — “Have you ever ever been invited to North Korea?”

A lot of the mainstream has descended to this degree. Subjectivism is all; slogans and outrage are proof sufficient. What issues is the “notion.”

When he was U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Basic David Petraeus declared what he referred to as “a battle of notion… performed constantly utilizing the information media.” What actually mattered was not the information however the best way the story performed in the US. The undeclared enemy was, as all the time, an knowledgeable and significant public at dwelling.

Nothing has modified. Within the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s film-maker, whose propaganda mesmerized the German public.

She instructed me the “messages” of her movies have been dependent not on “orders from above”, however on the “submissive void” of an uninformed public.

“Did that embody the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I requested.

“Everybody,” she stated. “Propaganda all the time wins, should you permit it.”

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based mostly in London. Pilger’s Website is: www.johnpilger.com. His new movie, “The Coming Struggle on China,” is out there within the U.S. from www.bullfrogfilms.com