Freedom Rider: The Media’s True Lies [Annotated]

by Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

 

Target Iran: cui bono?  The media never ask that critical question.

The disinformation carried out on a regular basis prevents even dogged news followers from knowing what their government is doing and why.”

A recently released Gallup poll [5] asked Americans which nation they considered to be their country’s greatest enemy. Iran was first on the list, thought to be public enemy number one by 32% of respondents. It was followed by China, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, Pakistan, the United States itself, Japan and Saudi Arabia in order of magnitude on the scale of perceived evil.
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Editor’s Note: WATCH BELOW A RANDOM EXAMPLE OF DISINFORMATION UN DER “FREEDOM”, THIS TIME TARGETING SYRIA
Once the governing elites decide on a course of action, as the author points out, the corporate media follow slavishly. Yet they dare not call it propaganda. In order to really understand what’s happening in Syria, and not to allow yourself to be manipulated, simply read the post by our colleague Stephen Gowans, SYRIA’S UPRISING IN CONTEXT.  The sad fact is that the brainwash in the West, and especially the United States, is so pervasive that even award-winning journalists fail to understand what they’re seeing.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
The transcript of this NBC segment can be found in the addendum at the foot of this article

The poll results are an indicator not of the level of danger posed to the American people, but of the degree of propaganda spewed by the media and the White House. It would be all but impossible for any other nation to loom so large in the American mind at this time. We are told that Iran is poised to develop nuclear weapons, kill all Israelis, launch terror attacks in the United States and perhaps create bad weather too.

Even Americans who strive to be well informed are caught in the net of disinformation. Every news story detailing the supposed menace presented by Iran neglects to mention that Israel has an unknown number of nuclear weapons. This information would make Americans less likely to believe in any danger from Iran, which is precisely why it is omitted.

There is always collusion between the corporate media and whomever resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Nearly ten years ago the Bush administration used the media to make the case for invading Iraq. They simply printed and broadcast every claim the Bushites made, from the existence of weapons of mass destruction to tales of mushroom clouds and yellow cake.

The poll results are an indicator not of the level of danger posed to the American people, but of the degree of propaganda spewed by the media and the White House.”

Now the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, NBC and their cohorts are once again the willing conduits for the big lie. They always are, for any president. If Ronald Reagan wanted to invade Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island which had done nothing more than build an airport with the assistance of Cuba, he did so, and the media told us nothing which differed from the party line. If George H. W. Bush wanted to invade Panama, he did, and the media said that his action was perfectly fine.

It doesn’t matter which country is the target of America’s wrath, the press repeat almost word for word what the president wants them to say. There is rarely any critical analysis or admissions of past guilt. The public were told that Grenada was strategically important, and that a Cuban built airport was a sign of grave danger to life and limb. Thirty years later, none of the media who passed along lies as truth have dared to question themselves or their slavish devotion to administration policies.

The same has been true of every other president and Obama is no exception. It didn’t matter that United Nations inspectors reported a lack of nuclear or chemical weapons in Iraq. They are now telling the world that Iran has no nuclear weapons capability, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to administration spokespersons or watching the evening news.

Not one major American news outlet has cast down on ridiculous tales of an Iranian used car salesman plotting to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador. When Iranian scientists are murdered in broad daylight, Israeli involvement is never considered, even though the connection is a logical one. The shrug of the shoulders and the claims of ignorance disappear when bombs [6] quite conveniently target Israelis in India, Thailand and Georgia.

The public were told that Grenada was strategically important, and that a Cuban built airport was a sign of grave danger to life and limb.”

Iran is immediately blamed, despite the fact that officials in those nations express skepticism. There is no mention of Israeli aid to Iranian dissident groups that may be acting on behalf of their patron. There is a kind of consistency at work. Iran is blamed and the possibility of Israeli wrong doing is not given any credence.

The list of government lies promoted by a supposedly independent media is a long and sorry one indeed. The tragedy is that even when Americans are determined to inform themselves, they remain ignorant. The disinformation carried out on a regular basis prevents even dogged news followers from knowing what their government is doing and why.

The result is that in this democratic nation, presidents behave like dictators, doing whatever they like, and an uninformed citizenry is in no position to stop them. If our newspapers are nothing more than propaganda sheets, there is little reason to pay attention to them beyond predicting when they will allow a president to begin carrying out bad deeds.

The media drumbeat against Iran is a disgrace, but it tells us that the attack can’t be too far away. Iran is not America’s worst enemy. Our worst enemies are right here, smiling as they read from teleprompters or quoting from anonymous administration sources. Once again they are working hand in glove to help another president destroy a country and kill many, many people.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. [7]Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Links:
[1] http://blackagendareport.com/category/department-war/grenada-invasion
[2] http://blackagendareport.com/category/department-war/panama-invasion
[3] http://blackagendareport.com/category/department-war/war-iran
[4] http://blackagendareport.com/sites/www.blackagendareport.com/files/target_iran.jpg
[5] http://www.gallup.com/poll/152786/Americans-Rate-Iran-Top-Enemy.aspx
[6] http://news.antiwar.com/2012/02/16/israeli-officials-blame-iran-for-recent-bombings-despite-lack-of-evidence/
[7] http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/
[8] http://www.addtoany.com/share_save?linkurl=http%3A%2F%2Fblackagendareport.com%2Fcontent%2Ffreedom-rider-media%25E2%2580%2599s-true-lies&linkname=Freedom%20Rider%3A%20The%20Media%E2%80%99s%20True%20Lies

ADDENDUM
The world, as NBC sees it (and would like YOU to see it).


Arthur Edwards  /  AFP – Getty Images, file

Marie Colvin (left) and Remi Ochlik (right) were killed in Homs, Syria, Wednesday, opposition activists and a French government official said.
 
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 2/22/2012 7:26:16 PM ET
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Two award-winning journalists — prominent American war correspondent Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik — were killed Wednesday by Syrian shelling of the opposition stronghold Homs.

The attack, which killed a total of at least 13 people, came as President Bashar Assad’s regime escalated its attacks on rebel bases by using helicopter gunships, activists said.

Weeks of withering barrages on the central city of Homs have failed to drive out opposition factions that include rebel soldiers who fled Assad’s forces.

Hundreds have died in the siege and the latest deaths further galvanized international pressure on Assad, who appears intent on widening his military crackdowns despite the risk of pushing Syria toward full-scale civil war.

A witness contacted by Reuters from Amman said shells hit a house in the Baba Amr district of Homs in which Colvin, who worked for the U.K.’s Sunday Times newspaper, Ochlik and other journalists were staying and a rocket hit them when they tried to escape.

Syrian activists said French reporter Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy, also of The Sunday Times, were wounded in Wednesday’s shelling. Bouvier was said to be in serious condition.

Injured need ‘urgent’ help
Activist Abu Thaer said a total of four journalists were wounded. There were unconfirmed reports that an American woman was among them.

They were being treated in a makeshift hospital but there was nothing that could be done for them and they needed to be urgently evacuated, according to Thaer. “There is hardly any medical equipment or medicine to treat people,” he said on Skype.

A YouTube video from Homs activist Khalied Abu Salah, showed him standing in the rubble next to the bodies of Colvin and Ochlik, on the floor of a grey concrete hallway scarred with bullet marks and cracks from the blasts.

“These are the bodies of the American journalist Marie Colvin and this is the French journalist Remi Ochlik. They are martyrs of the random shelling on the neighborhood of Baba Amro …,” Salah says.

He raises his fist defiantly and calls for urgent aid to treat the wounded in Baba Amro. “I am sending a message to the European Union to move immediately. The blood of your own has mixed with Syrian blood. You need to move now,” he shouts.

After the French government confirmed the deaths, President Nicolas Sarkozy said, “That’s enough now, the regime must go.”

“This tragic incident is another example of the shameless brutality of the Assad regime,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said of the journalists killed.

Colvin: ‘Snipers all around’
Just a day before, on Tuesday, Colvin, from Oyster Bay, New York, had talked movingly about the attacks on Homs and, in particular, its Baba Amr suburb by Assads forces.

“The Syrians are not allowing civilians to leave. Anyone who gets on the street, if they are not hit by a shell, they are sniped,” she told the U.K.’s ITN television news.

“There are snipers all around Baba Amr on the high buildings,” Colvin added. “I think the sickening thing is the complete merciless nature … they are hitting civilian buildings absolutely mercilessly, without caring. The scale of it is just shocking.”

Colvin, 57, had worked as a foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times for the past two decades. She was instantly recognizable for an eye patch she wore after being injured by shrapnel while covering conflicts in Sri Lanka in 2001.

Colvin said she would not “hang up my flak jacket” even after the eye injury.

“So, was I stupid? Stupid I would feel writing a column about the dinner party I went to last night,” she wrote in the Sunday Times after the attack. “Equally, I’d rather be in that middle ground between a desk job and getting shot, no offense to desk jobs.

Speaking to BBC News Tuesday, Colvin compared the situation in Baba Amr to the massacre of Srebrenica during the Bosnian war in 1995, when Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Muslims.

She said there were 28,000 living in Baba Amr and “they are here because they can’t get out.”

Video: Syrian forces bombard Homs (on this page)

Colvin told the BBC that she had counted 14 shells falling on the suburb within 30 seconds early Tuesday morning.

‘Marie Colvin is one of the greats’
She spoke about watching a 2-year-old child dying from shrapnel wounds in a makeshift clinic in an apartment, saying it was “absolutely horrific.”

“The doctor just said ‘I cannot do anything’ (for the child). His little tummy just kept heaving until he died,” Colvin told the BBC. The child was among a “constant stream” of injured civilians coming to the apartment for treatment, she said.

 

 

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