Journalism — especially about important matters — is not a profession. It’s a calling. Or else, if it’s not a calling, then it is public relations; it is propaganda, “PR” — done for the purpose of receiving pay, not really for the purpose of conveying truth. But propaganda isn’t journalism at all. It’s not merely fake ‘news’; it is fake ‘journalism’. Corporate-owned ‘news’ is that, but so too is government-owned ‘news’. That’s the problem: journalism, as it exists, isn’t what people think it is, and expect it to be. What is called “journalism” is actually now just a branch of the PR profession, and doesn’t deserve to be trusted more than that.
In order to be a staff journalist, one must adhere to the propaganda-aims of the individual(s) (the employer) who control(s) the given ‘news’ medium. No newsmedia-owner hires ‘reporters’ or editors who report (or allow to be published) facts which contradict that owner’s (or controller’s — because this applies to ‘non-profits’ as well) central viewpoint. The employees are purely megaphones for their boss’s views. That’s what they were hired to be, and that’s what they are if they succeed in their profession and rise up the career-ladder in it. Anything that a staff journalist writes (or allows to be published, if that person is an editor) contradicting the owner’s views, counts against that employee, and increases his/her likelihood of being eliminated, or at least of being denied a deserved promotion (because not doing the person’s job for the employer).
To be a staff ‘journalist’ is to be a ‘reporter’ for hire, who is willing to exclude reporting whatever facts the owner wants his/her audience not to know (which can be some very important things, such as that the President is clearly lying to say that solid evidence exists that “Saddam’s WMD” still exist). Unfortunately, almost all media-owners have an agenda that overrides truth — they don’t obtain the huge funding that’s necessary to build audience-share if they aren’t backed by big money (billionaire investors, and mega-corporate advertisers) to begin with. Opposing the big money is a sure pathway to obscurity in the field of ‘journalism’; and ‘journalism’ prizes (especially on international-news or other major stories) are pig’s lipstick, far more than indications of journalistic competence. The best journalists, and news-sites, are low-budget, basically volunteer operations (such as you now are reading, and wikileaks). The big corporations don’t own them, and don’t advertise in them — and so, don’t control them.
A good example of this is the virtually uniform failure of the U.S.’news’ media (including all the Pulitzer people) to have reported the undeniable and simple — and supremely important — fact that U.S. President George W. Bush was lying to assert that he possessed solid evidence that ‘Saddam’s WMD’ still existed, and solid evidence that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his WMD stockpiles — and for him to have asserted, for example, that “a report came out of the Atomic – the IAEA that they [Iraq] were six months away from developing a [nuclear] weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need” to invade Iraq without allowing international weapons-inspectors to complete any new investigation into the matter. But that ‘IAEA’ ‘report’ was actually fictitious — it didn’t even exist.
That 7 September 2002 lie by Bush was stenographically reported to the (unfortunately) trusting public, by the many propaganda-organizations (called ‘news’media) — none of which (except the small Washington Times) reported its blatant falsehood — none of them published to readers that, as the IAEA asserted, “There’s never been a report like that [which Bush alleged] issued from this agency.” That ‘IAEA report’ Bush referenced, had simply been cooked-up by George W. Bush and endorsed by Tony Blair. Like one great journalist bannered, “Everyone Knew that Iraq Didn’t Have WMDs”. Among those “Everyone” was Tony Blair himself, but his participation in Bush’s hoax would already have been obvious by no later than 7 September 2002, when Prime Minister Blair was accompanying U.S. President Bush as Bush was fabricating on-the-spot that lie, and when Blair failed to ‘correct’ what the U.S. President had just asserted. Instead, Blair reaffirmed it. They were two gangsters (just ask the Iraqis whether they were gangsters): Bush, and Bush’s lapdog Blair, destroyed Iraq. They are war-criminals, though unprosecuted (because the U.S. aristocracy and the ones that subordinate themselves to it, prohibit any of themselves or their agents from being prosecuted).
As Craig Murray blogged in Britain, the UK’s aristocracy joined America’s aristocracy in deep-sixing the truth on this crucial matter; and, furthermore, Barack Obama continued the rabid lying for war, after George W. Bush had finished being America’s Liar-in-Chief. Obama was merely a more-articulate and cunning version of Bush, in blackface (which won him almost solid support from Blacks, and from ‘liberals’). So, Obama gave us Libya instead of Iraq; and Syria instead of Afghanistan; and Yemen as the Sauds’ playground for their American-made weapons and supported by their U.S. trainers — and also civil war and ethnic cleansing in Ukraine instead of peace with Russia (whose longest European border is the one it shares with Ukraine). And, instead of an economic crash, Obama gave us (besides his pretty rhetoric of ‘concern’ about the elite’s injustices that his actual actions did nothing to punish) increased economic inequality, flatlined wages, and soaring poverty with lots of new burger-flipping jobs. How much are such realities being reported (except by Bernie Sanders, whom the Clinton-Obama Democratic Party cheated out of the nomination, by manipulating the primaries and relying — and feeding — upon Democratic suckers, on Election Day)?
For example, did the ‘news’ media report that what overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President in February 2014 was no such thing as “democracy demonstrations” which had begun spontaneously in Ukraine after President Yanukovych on 20 November 2013 rejected the EU’s trade offer (which offer would actually have cost Ukraine $160 billion — a cost that was never reported in the U.S. press), but was instead a bloody barbaric coup which Obama’s team had started planning way back in 2011? Did America’s (and ’The West’s’) ’news’ media report this U.S. coup in Ukraine — or even that it WAS a “coup” (or even that it had been one) and that it was (as the head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor called it when speaking only to a non-U.S. audience) “the most blatant coup in history”? None of them reported any of that. But now the hostilities against Russia — including the sanctions, and the NATO buildup — are based upon those lies, those potentially WW-III-generating libels, against Russia.
Did they report that the economic sanctions and NATO buildup against Russia that the Obama regime ‘justified’ by ‘Putin’s conquest’ of Crimea was actually forced upon Russia, because it’s next door to Ukraine — forced by Obama’s land-grab of Ukraine via a U.S.-imposed coup in Ukraine (as a hoped-for U.S. missile-base against Russia, a mere five minutes missile-flight to Moscow)? And did they report that this aggressive coup overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President, whom 75% of Crimeans had voted for? And did they report that Crimea had been a state in Russia until 1954 when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine? Obama insisted that Nikita Khrushchev’s imposed transfer of Crimea to Ukraine remain permanently — that Crimea remain as a state in Ukraine, no matter what the Crimean people wanted. What would your own local state do if the federal government were taken over by a bloody coup from an enemy power, and threw out the President whom 75% of the people in your state had voted? Obama was opposed to the right of self-determination of peoples when it referred to Crimeans, but not when it referred to the Scotch, or to the Catalans. And he also opposed democracy in Syria. Was any of that reported in the U.S. ’news’ media? Or will Americans first learn about it in the history books — if even then?
Did the ‘news’ media report that the Obama-gang’s entire case against Russia is based upon lies (even if some of the things that Russia’s Vladimir Putin has said have also been lies)? Did they report that Obama’s charges that Russia is the world’s #1 ‘aggressor’-nation are rabid lies from the world’s actual #1-aggressor-nation?
Volunteer journalists (such as “bloggers”) can report these things; well-paid ‘journalists’ cannot and do not. In true George Orwell 1984 fashion, reporting these things is called ‘fake news’, by the actual fake-news masters — and unfortunately suckers believe them. Even on serious domestic-policy news, the prestigious ‘news’ media pump the aristocracy’s lies, and inculcate the desired (by the super-wealthy) misconceptions.
As for the consumers of journalism, there is no substitute for a reader’s demanding that every news-report include mentioning each of its sources, and that those sources are 100% reliable ones on the matter alleged, and that the report link directly to the root-source and not to any mere paraphrase of what it allegedly says. In a democracy, the public don’t trust the mere allegations from ‘authority’. Because, to trust ‘authority’ (note: this refers to fake authorities, not to methodologically careful scientific research) is to invite fascist rule, aggressive wars, and mass-exploitation. (Only a few investigative journalists with a long record of proven-accuracy, such as Seymour Hersh, are exceptions, whom a reader can reasonably accept upon the basis of unnamed, private, sources. Such veteran, proven, journalists are rare.)
Getting to the truth, and staying with it, requires constant vigilance and a constantly open mind to the possibility that there are falsehoods in one’s own beliefs. If a person isn’t skeptical of his own beliefs, then he becomes a waste-dump of falsehoods, instead of an accumulator of truths — a truly (i.e., truthfully) educated person. Even today, Republicans approve of George W. Bush, and Democrats approve of Barack Obama. Democracy is thus virtually impossible in America, because both sides are polluted by the same aristocracy. The aristocracy controls both Parties. And the government. And the press.
What can be done to solve this problem that the press hide from the public? Might there be a way for some members of the press to become part of the solution, and no longer part of the problem? Would that even be possible? If not, then how can the public ever come to understand what the problem is?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.