Thursday, May 15, 2014

Public opinion bought and paid for

The American problem

In a previous column I introduced a phrase with which many readers may not yet be familiar: “presstitute media.”

The phrase was coined by Paul Craig Roberts, a highly qualified observer of how America government actually works, who argues that the American national media is now largely a bought and subordinate unit of the corporate interests — Wall Street and finance first and foremost — which dominate the government in Washington.

I offered two examples of what Roberts is talking about. Here is another:

CNN anchor, Christine Amanpour recently interviewed the American diplomat, an assistant secretary of State, who was caught on tape months ago discussing the intended regime change in the Ukraine — which politician the U.S. administration would install as president of that unhappy nation.

In other words, which one would play ball with Wall Street banks, the IMF and World Bank; could be relied upon to stop buying oil and energy from the Russians and buy it instead from freedom loving Exxon Mobile; and which one would put Ukraine’s extraordinary wheat production in the hands of American agribusiness.

The diplomat, a woman who when she thinks she is not on the record, conducts herself in the language of a boys high school locker room, was being rehabilitated after the fallout from her cosmically embarrassing conversation.

She got lots of time to explain what Ukraine is really all about — freedom and democracy and self rule — and the noble assistance being offered by the U.S. and E.U.

Amanpour finally got around to that leaked conversation. And the U.S. diplomat got to explain, again, that her actions and that of the American government had nothing to do with regime change, but were about good U.S./E.U relations, and, of course, freedom, democracy and self rule.

Not self rule for the Ukrainians in the Crimea, who when given the chance, self-ruled themselves right out of the Ukraine and back to Russia. And not for the apparent millions in eastern Ukraine who want to do the same thing. Not that self rule.

Amanpour kept a straight face while this recovering diplomat related how, in the midst of the chaos (which she had helped orchestrate), she took life and limb in hand — and sandwiches. And went out on the street to deliver them to the people “on both sides.”

Diplomat and saint, by her own testimony. Fighting off the urge to laugh out loud, I stayed with CNN.

Amanpour then went immediately into a segment on propaganda. The Russians, we learned, are really good at it. But not so good as were the Nazis, we learned.

The attempt to link the Russian government with the Nazis was too obvious for words.

What explains that editorial decision to vilify the Russian government by association with the Nazis, which is the European equivalent of one American calling another a racist?

It was the desire to lead away from another American embarrassment. “Our side” bungled it in the Ukraine. In the ensuing chaos, the freedom loving Ukrainian leader we wound up with is a guy who fronts modern, honest to God, unrepentant Nazis.

It’s not just that their grandfathers fought with the Nazis against the Russians and Allies in WW II, but that to this day they spew the toxic language of racial and ethnic purity.

So the American corporate media spreads the corporate government line, dutifully directing the attention of the American people away from any information that explains why millions of Ukrainians want no part of the American government’s new friends there.

Which is not to say that the Russian government is not playing the propaganda game. I’m sure it is. And I suppose the Russian media is as manipulated by oligarchs as is the American national media. And maybe most Russians have no more idea what is going on in the Ukraine than most Americans.

But that’s their problem. The American problem is, we need a free press to sustain our democracy; but increasingly, the American national media appears as bought and paid for as everything and everybody else in Washington.

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