Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept. 13: Keep 'em entertained. And lie to them.

Today's Moncton Times and Tribune story on Syria - yet again - got me thinking about the lying part. The T&T has been buying its stories from Syria from Reuters. Now, Reuters was one of the pioneers of news services, and has usually enjoyed  a trusted reputation. But just about all news services lie when reporting war. Reuter's, I'm afraid, is no exception. It has reported a war in which the rebels had popular suppot, that we are  helping because Ghdaffi is a bad man, that NATO has no  troops on the ground - and all of it quite obviously lies.

If  of those Reurters claims are true, if the rebel have popular support, then how come the war has so far gong on twice as long as it was supposed to be? If Ghadaffi had no popular support, why did he freely issue weapons to civilians in Tripoli? If the rebels were fighting so  hard, how come Reuters reported "fierce" battles between major forces, battles  in which only two or three were killed. And how could it be true - in one of their reports - that one sniper on a rooftop stopped the advance of the whole rebel army?

If NATO has no  troops on the ground, who are all those French, British, and Americans running around with guns?

Ghadaffi was certainly a bad man. He made Libya available to the CIA for its "rendering" and torture. He worked very closely with British and American intelligence services. But you won't find that in any reports from Reuters. You have to go to Wikileaks. diplomatic cables for that.

Nor has Reuters said much about the rebel torturing and killing of Blacks in Libya (most of them migrant labour). 

Nor has Reuters mentioned civilian deaths. We are left with the impression the NATO bombers, in flying well over 30,000 sorties, didn't kill any civilians. That is simply not possible. We know that many, perhaps most, of the bombing has been of cities. One cannot bomb cities without massive civilian casualties. That is particularly true in the use of cluster bombs which normally score some 90 percent of their kills on civilians. And our bomb use includes cluster bombs. That's quite a "humanitarian" effort.

Most war correspondents lie. I'm afraid those working for Reuters are no better than most of the others.  (Oh, don't rely on Al Jazeera, either. Once an excellent news service, diplomatic cables on Wikileaks reveal it has come to an agreement with the US to suppress any news that the USgovernment might find embarrassing.

So the T&T routinely publishes lies as news, especially on matters of war. That's one of its major functions.

Another major function is to keep its readers ignorant of what is going on here, instead filling the paper with hunan interest trivia. It's rather like Ancient Rome in which a tiny elite grabbed all the loot of an empre for itself. That left a Rome full of people living in poverty - a sure path to rebellion. So the elite played it smart, staging the gladitorial games whose brutality appealed to a population that hated itself for its poverty and uselessnes - and wanted to see somebody else punished for it.

Now, you can can see the phenomenon in daytime television with shows like Gerry Springer. Or you can take in our local, ultimate combat fights. Or read today's sports headline - Wildtown Catfight. Or, for the bottom of the heap self-haters of this world, there's pro wrestling.

Think of it all as Rome making itself the entertainment hub of its region. Just like Moncton. Keep them trivial. Keep them hating themselves. Keep them ignorant of what's really going on.

Alec Bruce goes against the current with an excellent column on shale gas. a topic the rest of the paper has alternately ignored or lied about. The more usual summary of what's important and what isn't important in the opinion of the T&T is summed up in the last sentence of the editorial. "It should be an excellent year in Metro for sports, entertainment, and the bottom line." 

Hail, Caesar.

On the op ed page, David Suzuki brings us back to the real world. The space above him is the usual column by a T&T staff writer. And it's the usual human interest story. It's nice that it marks a happy event  and the tenth anniversary of 911. But it really tells us nothing, and is no help in understanding what is going on in the world.

We live in a society remarkably similar to the latter days of Rome, a world of diversions and deliberately created ignorance of what is going on.

It's said that as the barbarians attacked Rome, the Romans could hear the screams of the dying soldiers (mercenaries) on the city walls. But they paid no attention, so absorbed were they in the slaughter going on before their eyes.

Too bad Rome never had an NHL team.

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