The “crooked mile” from the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes (There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile etc) is Fleet Street, which is well known to London journalists. So I was told when I joined the BBC at Bush House, at the very end of Fleet Street. Not only is the street itself crooked, but so are many of its occupants. Crookedness is a professional problem for the media.
However, in older times (let us drop a hint of nostalgia) a journalist had a choice. He could work in a newspaper supporting Tories or Labour or Liberals. Now there is no difference: all British newspapers including the Guardian hate Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. In the US, all the media hates Trump. There is simply no choice for a reader or a writer!
The only-one-opinion media is the worst thing you can find. Look at what it did to the Russians! I do not mean now, when they have the whole supermarket of ideas, but in 1991.
Exactly 25 years ago, in August 1991, I witnessed Russia’s Mother of All Colour Revolutions, as an Arab poet might call it. It lasted for three days. The Media Masters produced and broadcast a wonderful show of people rising against their tyrants, braving tanks and kicking down a statue or two of their oppressors. You’ve seen such shows broadcast by the same team from Kiev’s Maidan or Cairo’s Tahrir or indeed Baghdad. The results were equally dismal.
The revolution was so much hot air. The old regime collapsed like a house of cards; not a single shot was fired in its defence. There was a collusion between the old Soviet elites and the Masters of Discourse, between the KGB and CNN.
An Emergency Committee established by the last defenders of the regime, acted out a bad old wolf; they called upon the army to bring tanks into Moscow, but did not dare to arrest Yeltsin. The tanks did not move against the rebels and served as a props in this great show.
Moscow folk poured out in their thousands to greet Yeltsin, braving the perfectly innocuous tanks and the tame KGB. There was practically no resistance: Communist Party members in their millions accepted capitalism; the once-mighty KGB fell on its back like a puppy eager to be petted; the army obeyed the new rulers.
There were no victims (except for three boys who got under a reversing armoured vehicle and were given the title of Great Heroes of the Revolution and a state funeral).
The show of liberation and glory has been just a show; the reality was grim. This is always the case with those immensely satisfying productions: they look good, but there is a hell to pay for. It was nice to see jubilant crowds overturn the statue of Felix Dzierżyński in Moscow (just like Saddam Hussein’s in Baghdad), but the modest, safe, productive life of Russians was over. The vast wealth of the Soviets, accumulated by the intensive work of generations, has been divided and shared by a few (mainly Jewish) oligarchs. The rich became obscenely rich, while the middle class perished.
Russian men’s life expectancy dropped down to 58; fifteen million men and women died of this rapid change for the worse. The population’s steady growth has been reversed into fast decline. There were 150 million Russians before the ’91 revolution, the number dropped to 142 and only now has reached 146 million, still much less than in the Soviet days. If we deduct immigrants (and Russia has the world’s 2nd largest number of immigrants, about 12 million, after the US), we’d get even worse figures. Industry has been destroyed. Science, arts, cinema, theatre, media were ruined – unless these were of immediate use for the oligarchs.
Only ten years later, with ascent of Putin, Russia began its long climb back. Just recently she managed to regain her pre-1991 level.
Why did well educated, literate Russians allow themselves to be tricked in such a way? Soviet society was highly centralised, there were few checks and balances, no opposition, no free political media. Mikhail Gorbachev had held the supreme powers of a Tsar. Such a structure is highly susceptible to betrayal or even to a gross miscalculation. As Gorbachev decided to submit to the West, he passed control over the media and cadres to a fully paid and owned Western spy Mr Alexander N Yakovlev. In a few years, the Soviet media made a full turn around, and now it beamed a simple, single message: Communism was a mistake, or worse: a crime, Americans are our friends; accept their guidance; and you will live like the Swiss (?!) do.
The Russians were very naïve. They did not trust their old media, but they yet had no immunity against the new one. Their new media was as totalitarian as the old one, just its bias has been changed. The Russians discovered that their Pravda lied to them, and they made the wrong conclusion that the New York Times would tell them truth.
They did not know that nursery rhyme about a crooked man who walked a crooked mile and lived in a crooked house is a good description of mass media. They accepted the changes that pauperised them. Thus I learned that media can convince people to act against their own interests.
A similar process is now going on, 25 years later, in the US. The totalitarian, united mainstream mass media, concentrated in a few (mainly Jewish) hands may yet lead the Americans to perdition. Ostensibly, Americans, sturdy individualists as they are, should understand that they are likely to lose their country. That the Coalition of Minorities will empower the Iron Heel of bankers, military and spooks. The experience of 1991 taught me that it is as difficult to fight the Masters of Discourse as it was for the children of Hameln to disregard their Piper. Still, this time the Crooked Men may yet lose just because they discarded the cloak of impartiality.
Michael Goodwin wrote: “The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America. The largest broadcast networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — and major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post have jettisoned all pretence of fair play. Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent. Indeed, no foreign enemy, no terror group, no native criminal gang suffers the daily beating that Trump does. The mad mullahs of Iran, who call America the Great Satan and vow to wipe Israel off the map, are treated gently by comparison.”
“The U.S. media is essentially 100 per cent united, vehemently, against Trump, and preventing him from being elected president.” – said Glenn Greenwald, and he noted that it will not help them. People who vote for Trump will not care about media spin, like the people who voted for Brexit did not care about arrogant British elites and their media spin masters. They prophesied but their prophecies failed.
Indeed, a false prophesy is the oldest trick in the book. Whenever they say that Trump is doomed to lose, that their polls and their analysis determine his failure is unavoidable, remember: they lie. Sputnik News Agency, one of a very few outlets still independent from the Spin Masters United, revealed: Donald Trump has made a political comeback for the ages, but the media has gone silent about a major new poll that shows that Trump now holds a two point lead over Clinton, nationally.
Not that it matters too much. The polls are just a device to convince you to support their candidate. Nobody knows the result unless one intends to rig the elections. And this is a real danger that should be met, not discounted.
Michael Moore added another ploy saying that Trump does not want to win. Some people in the Counterpunch, including Jeff St Clair, picked it up. What they actually mean is that they would say different things or they would use another strategy. For instance, Trump did not use the \$400 million transfer to Iran as a peg to attack the administration. Doesn’t it mean he does not want to win?
Not at all: this was a wise and principled decision not to rock the nuclear agreement with Iran. This agreement is a good deal, and it is better to keep in place. Perhaps Trump paid attention to Ron Unz’s story of American POWs who were left to die in Vietnam because the US administration preferred to renege on the promised payment to Hanoi. The US owed more than \$400 million to Teheran; this transfer had to be done, and a responsible statesman would avoid attacking it even if it was a good opportunity to goad Obama.
It seems that Trump is doing well, and if his nerves wouldn’t fail him and his supporters he’ll make the historic change of regaining America for Americans. And letting other countries to live their own way – something the Masters of Discourse can’t tolerate.
This does not mean all Trump’s strategies are perfect. His harping on the Muslim theme appears to be useless. Mind you, I am always against mass immigration, Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist, and if the US – and other countries – will stop this modern slavery trade, I’d say Amen. But the US has no Muslim problem, and a very few Muslims at all. Obama regime did not allow Iraqi or Syrian refugees to come to its shores in substantial quantities. Ten thousand a year: why, that’s what Greece gets in a day!
Perhaps Trump hoped the Jewish supporters will flock to him, as American Jews embrace and finance every bloody-minded European anti-Muslim nationalist of Netherlands, Denmark or England. But this scheme misfired. Anti-Muslim Jews are plentiful in the US, but they cold-shouldered Trump, as Kevin MacDonald established. They want to spread distrust and hatred between the natives and the Muslims of Europe, but in the US? This is too close to home. Once your natives are made aware of a difference between a Muslim and a Christian, they can discover a difference between a Christian and a Jew. So, if Trump thought he will get Jewish support in exchange for anti-Muslim policies, he miscalculated.
While Trump’s anti-Muslim campaign bore no fruits, he became the standard-bearer for freedom of mind versus Masters of Discourse. “I’m not running against Crooked Hillary,” he told a crowd. “I’m running against the Crooked Media.” And this is the most important message of the campaign.
Now there are better chances to defeat the Crooked Men than ever before, as the MSM loses its position versus social networks and free internet. The social networks are also biased and manipulated; still, they are more free and less centralised. However, the MSM should be broken, democratised and de-monopolised. The US managed to break up the mighty Standard Oil in 1911; it should be possible to break media into small independent companies in 2017. Otherwise, we shall always be fed with propaganda.
The Masters of Discourse love to create a media event and spin it until it occupies the whole of the world agenda. Do you remember a poor little Syrian kid who was found drowned on the Mediterranean shore? This very sad, very tragic, but hardly exceptional event has been spinned and beamed until the German chancellor proclaimed she will accept all Syrian refugees. This is exactly what the spin masters wanted: to overflow Europe with refugees, to create there another Coalition of Minorities, to overburden the welfare state and to cause collapse of Europe as an independent entity.
Now they choose another baby picture in Aleppo, Syria as a trigger for military intervention. This death is a tragic event, as deaths of another hundred thousand of Syrian children is. If Hillary Clinton would not ship mountains of weapons to the islamist extremists in Syria, these children would be alive. Would an armed intervention by the West return them to life? No, the best way out is pacification of Aleppo and of the whole Syria. The armed rebels may leave Aleppo safely, while the civilians will remain in their homes, at peace.
I do not believe these tragic pictures are being shown in good faith. So many Palestinian children were killed by Israelis, but their pictures never stopped the endless flow of American military aid to Israel. Palestinians tried to publish photos, and made zero impact. They were condemned for publishing “war porno”. So these dog-whistle words and pictures are supposed to act only when the spin masters use them. It is manipulation, not compassion.
If we want peace and prosperity, justice and mercy, we should break the spell of the crooked media upon people. The crooked should be made straight, in words of the Bible. This is the most important message of these times, and the late August is a good time to act upon it.
This article was first published in The Unz Review.
Israel Shamir can be reached at [email protected]