You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that the mainstream media doesn’t have the general public’s best interests – or the truth – at heart. A quick perusal of the financial news, where the current economic collapse is portrayed akin to a force of nature rather than the deliberate, planned destruction of the economic system by banking oligarchs, intended to pave the way for a new global currency in which central bank domination will be exacerbated, tells you that the media is siding with the fraudsters not the victims. Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are lauded by the press as the saviours of nations, but the real horrors of IMF structural readjustment vehicles and their predatory, loan shark influence on impoverished countries, forced into debt then stripped of their resources by international corporations, is kept out of the front pages and news bulletins. The press, after all, is corporate, and in no hurry to expose the crimes of its shareholders.
The current Libya crisis is a classic example of how the media colludes with belligerent Western nations and shares their aims. With echoes of the Iraq War build up combined with the intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, once again we’re witness to the same tried and trusted propaganda methods: consistent demonization of Gaddafi including comparisons to Hitler with little to no background on his long-standing ties to Western arms dealers and the very nations now seeking to depose him; a persistent campaign to drum up support for military intervention based on a “humanitarian mandate” to combat an increasing in violence and hostilities, conflict secretly stoked by the very powers that claim to be standing by to intervene to prevent more bloodshed. Few who rely solely on the likes of the BBC, for instance, will be aware of the capture of SAS soldiers by Libyan rebels – even fewer will be aware of the broader strategic imperatives characterised by covert subversion and military build up; cold, calculated realpolitik masked by the call for military intervention on humanitarian grounds. After all, the media’s role is to make imperialism respectable, to hide the drive for resources and maintaining spheres of influence in a cloud of fake honourable intentions and empty, repetitive rhetoric about spreading freedom and democracy to the world.
This sychophantic servility towards those who exploit and degrade is perhaps best exemplified in the media’s treatment of the British royal family. Watch a royal procession on the BBC live and the impression given is that one is witnessing a living deity gracing mortals with their presence, such is the tone of awe and reverence. Any criticism is delivered as titillating scandal for tabloid consumption – the public can tut under their breath at the sight of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform at a fancy dress party, but any historical context of the family’s ties to real Nazis is left undiscussed; the media can have a field day when it looks like the Queen has angrily abandoned a photo shoot, yet make none of the essential connections when photographing her with a brutal dictator such as General Suharto or the Saudi king. When it comes to their role in oppression and exploitation worldwide through their instrumental roles in military-industrial complex and energy/resources and financial institutions, the royal family rest soundly in the knowledge that the establishment media will keep their secrets safe and sound away from public scrutiny.
While exceptions within the media to this model of propaganda and servility to power are rare, they do exist. Perhaps the most widely known example of such a journalist, battling against the media system of deception from within, is John Pilger. Since the Vietnam War, Pilger has reported tirelessly on the crimes of Western powers committed in the name of imperialism, exposing their collusion with the likes of Cambodia’s Pol Pot, General Suharto of Indonesia and other brutal murderers responsible for the deaths of millions of innocents since the Second World War. In tackling these deceptions Pilger pulls no punches, confronting key policy makers on their lies and challenging their mendacious responses unflinchingly. Beyond this, Pilger faces up to the collusion between the industry in which he works and the halls of power and corruption, a challenge virtually no one else who works in the mainstream media seems willing to accept.
A far cry from the likes of the BBC’s former political editor Andrew Marr, who dedicated considerable energy to fawning over Tony Blair and supporting the case for war with Iraq (something the BBC on the whole threw itself into with disturbing enthusiasm), Pilger routinely exposes the lies of the large media establishments and imparts a much needed and healthy dose of scepticism regarding who’s interests they really represent. When the old media issues its long overdue final death rattle, John Pilger is one of the few journalists who can emerge safe in the knowledge that his career was driven by principles, not propaganda. His huge body of work stands as a testament to his rare brand of scrutiny motivated by integrity and a sense of justice.
The New Rulers of the World
The War on Democracy
War by Other Means
Breaking the Silence
Flying the Flag (Arming the World)
Stealing A Nation
Palestine is Still the Issue
Breaking the Mirror
Cambodia: Year Zero
Apartheid Didn’t Die