Thursday, October 9, 2014

Oct. 9: the news media and manipulation

Most news media don't tell the news. They create it. For example.......

In the Korean war, UN forces easily beat North Korea - China became very worried that they were looking to an invasion of China. (And the Chinese were right. The UN commander, Douglas MacArthur, had been making it clear, much to the anger of the American government, that he intended to invade China.) So, China ordered the UN troops not to go beyond a certain point. And MacArthur sent them beyond it.

What happened then was chaos and panic as China kept its word, and sent a massive force into North Korea. I knew Canadian soldiers who were there - and they didn't even try to fool anyone. They ran in panic. Everybody ran.  This was more than a retreat. This was a humiliating rout.

Until the news media got hold of it. Then it wasn't even a retreat. It was a strategic withdrawal. Never mind that a strategic withdrawal IS a retreat. And never mind that this one was not a response to orders; it was a panicky escape. The soothing, strategic withdrawal term even became a movie buzzword for a Hollywood film about the retreat, "Retreat, Hell!"

In the final scene, a frightened soldier uses the word retreat. And the hero says, "Retreat, Hell! This is a strategic withdrawal."

The success of that propaganda took us into a journalistic practice that became standard in the 1950s. All Korean war veterans in Canada were called "Korean War Heroes" even when the story had nothing to do with war, as in "Korean War Hero opens new restaurant in Moncton".

I found it odd because I could just remember how we were taught to laugh at Russia for calling all of its soldiers heroes all the time.

So -just a few weeks ago, the American and Canadian publics were completely opposed to any more war. Now, they're in favour. Why?

It was the news of ISIS beheading prisoners. This was evil, unheard of, contrary to all the rules of war. It was so evil, the people who do it must be evil by nature. It's genetic.  That's what the news media told us. And that appeal to our racism was what turned the trick. And it was deliberate.

The first reality is that nobody obeys any rules of war. Every war the US has fought since Korea has been illegal and full of war crimes, including the deliberate mass murder of civilians and the stunning reliance on torture, including torture of child soldiers (with Canadian complicity). If the world had a functioning world justice system, Harper could well be facing a death sentence for his involvement in Afghanistan.

We have been complicit (if only as a small player) in burning innocent people alive, killing civilians by the millions, destroying whole nations.

But beheading? No, us Christians cannot tolerate that. We, a racially superior people, do not have that evil influence in us. (So how come we're allied to a Saudi Arabia that is the world's most severe dictatorship, and a companion of the US and several other countries who financed and trained ISIS, - especially when the Saudis are probably the world champs in beheading?) But don't fret. Our news media will never tell us all this.

In fact, in the Thursday Irving press, B8 "Inaction on Syria frustrates coalition" there is a story about ISIS attacking a town on the Turkish border while the Turks "just watch the slaughter".

Well, yes. It is a slaughter. All wars are slaughter. Slaughter is what war is about - on both sides. But this story is from The Associated Press - and you have ever seen or heard any of our news services referring to an American slaughter as in, say, Vietnam or Iraq or Libya? No, because that's not the way our news media operate.

The reality is that for centuries, arabs and Africans in general have been slaughtered or impoverished by the tens of millions by Turkey, Britain, France, Belgium and now the US so that their resources can be plundered by western big business. Any traditional values have been destroyed. Most arab people have very little of their society left. And, yes, that produces pretty radical and hating people. But killing even more of them is not likely to change anything. We've been there, done that.

So where will this war take us? Almost certainly to its main target, the destruction of Syria - and very likely to World War Three which Obama has been promoting ever since American agents planned the overthrow of the government of Ukraine. In this, he will have the full support of Canadian and American churches, just as the Christian churches of Germany largely supported Hitler.
B5 for Thursday at last has the story of a 100 car train blowing up in Saskatchewan after a derailment. Though only six cars exploded, they were carrying highly toxic petroleum distillates to - well - they don't tell us. It was sent by - they don't tell us. Was the smoke toxic? Yes. People had to be evacuated. Will it damage the environment and kill wildlife. Almost certainly; but the story doesn't say. Was it the old type of tank car that was responsible for the disaster of Lac Megantic - they don't tell us. All we know is that some twit of a local village reeve said he's sure the government is doing its best the regulate railway companies.

As a matter of fact, it's not doing a damn thing. And it, especially Transport Canada, got roasted just recently for neglect of the most obviously necessary regulation and maintenance.

Is it possible this train was coming our way - and from somebody we know? Could be. But the Irving press never asked. Nor did it ask whether this was a another 1 crewman train, or why the shipper chose this. Nor did it ask the big question - about how such shipments to New Brunswick are expected to multiply.

But, hey, let's look on the bright side. By cutting services, the federal government was able to reduce the national debt.

B1 on Wednesday carried an excellent story from The Canadian Press on how the report of the Commissioner of the Environment tore one hell of a strip off Harper. She says that Harper has done nothing whatever to meet international commitments he has made to reduce greenhouse gasses - and there is now no hope we will reach our deadlines. (of course not. The oil industry doesn't want to reduce greenhouse gasses. And Harper knows who he serves.) She also said that despite Harper's big talk about Arctic development, preparations like ocean surveys are nowhere close to being ready - nor do we have the ships to do the work. She also came down heavily on his serious neglect of Transport Canada and the Department of Oceans and Fisheries.

This is worth a read. But to get the real fire in it, read Alec Bruce's column  on  the same topic on the editorial page of the Thursday paper. Bruce also has a good one in Wednesday's paper, this time on the economic downside of fracking.
If what's happening in the world is too much for you, take a look at the editorials that deal with the real problems of life. Thursday takes a fearless look at garbage collection. Wednesday kissed the boss's ass with how good it is to have a small government   ( It's an article of faith in big business circles that the government that we elected should be too weak to protect us from big business.)

In fact, a government, a real government, needs a large and well-informed civil service and cabinet to be able to control big business (which,  yes, should be controlled. But big business wants to control everything - including us.)

Norbert continues his mindless series on reforming democracy. He speaks of change as coming from "the people". Rosa Parks, for example, he says began the breakthrough for civil rights in the US.  (She didn't Norbert. And African Americans still don't have full civil rights. All Rosa Parks won was the right to sit in a white section of the bus. To this day, American blacks get lower pay than whites - even when both have the same education. Their schools, to this day, are the worst funded. Their chances of getting shot by police are higher. He also refers, on Thursday, to the signing of Magna Carta as a result of a movement of citizens. Norbert, I would flunk you in a first year history course if  you wrote that on an exam. Read some history. Magna Carta was not the result of a movement of citizens.)  This whole series is pure bilge by a man who has no idea what he's talking about. But he shows skill in talking about how to reform our political system without once mentioning the big business that controls it.

Rod Allen tried to write a serious and useful column. He doesn't make it.

Beth Lyons has a useful column"YWCA Week Without violence is a global event with a local focus."
Then there are all those things the paper doesn't tell us about, and never will. For example, how many wars are peace-loving Americans fighting right now? Or supporting with money and advice and training?

Well, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ukraine (supplies and diplomatic support); drones in Pakistan, Niger, Djibouti, the Seychelles -and an unknown number of countries that have been attacked by special ops or undermined by American agents.

ISIS isn't attacking us. It's shooting back.

Then - a piece of news it might report. (It doesn't like the people on one side of misbehaviour. But it kisses up to the other side of misbehavers.)

My source here is - and this is a sad one. is a group of (mostly) retired journalists of the old school - honest, questioning, and ethically as straight as they come. I would trust their news more than that of any news medium I know.  They accuse two, top journalists of unethical behaviour. The two are Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy.

Apparently, both have lucrative contracts to perform "celebrity talks" for a wealthy organization. It's called the Oil Council of Canada. Sorry, boys. It's profoundly unethical for a journalist to be in such a conflict of interest situation.  The word is that CBC is investigating it. But, much as it hates CBC, don't expect a report of this in the Irving press. It hates CBC; but it just loves The Oil Council of Canada - which is equally responsible for its unethical behaviour. (Actually, that could be a tricky legal point. I'm not sure the oil industry has any ethics to be responsible for.)

I have a note for another topic "The Atlantic Charter of 1841 and the betrayal of our veterans". But I think I'll save that for Nov. 11.


  1. Speaking of plundering African's vast natural resources...Ebola and AFRICOM is a match made in Hell.

    Ebola will probably turn out to be a cover story for the plundering, along with additional bonus deceptions that could easily piggyback on this issue.

    Just like other boogeymen as with Osama, Al-Qaeda, or ISIS, they could milk this for years.
    Fear porn anyone?

  2. 1841? You sure?

    I'd heard about the Mansbridge thing before, is that old news or are there newer allegations? Rabble is a great source, as is Rabble has a lot of really good podcasts as well. The sad fact is that I'm not sure there are ANY other decent media sources in all of canada!

  3. Well, almost 1841. Or with just a little change, 1941 suggests itself as a more likely date.
    Last weekend, because of a bargain offer, I got cable TV. (I haven't watched TV for several years.) Now, I eat supper looking at TV - and remembering why it was I stopped watching it several years ago.

    It's actually even worse than it used to be. American news is appallingly biased and outright lying. Canadian news (CTV, Global, and CBC) is just unspeakably boring, with interchangeable talking heads.

  4. Yeah, why would you bother? At the very least dump your television and spring for high speed internet. You can watch virtually all the channels online, you can even find new movies and shows-all legal. When I talk to people who have televisions all I can think of is "what is wrong with you?" Thats when you know people aren't paying too many taxes when they will basically throw away money for no reason. I'm still throwing money away for our phone service, thats next.

    I don't listen to the news, but Fair and Accuracy in reporting has a good blog that basically summarizes everything thats wrong with it without having to actually listen to it.

    And again, west africa has been plundered for centuries, they don't need a virus.