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Fox News and Terrorist Propaganda


Comedian and movie star Russell Brand recently posted a video in which he played a segment by Fox News host Jeanine Pirro about the rise in Iraq of the terrorist group ISIS, and periodically interrupted the segment to respond to her remarks.

Pirro’s segment was a fear-mongering, wardrum-beating diatribe. Emphasizing each instance of the word “bomb” with a finger jab, she boomed:
“My resolution? Air strikes. Bomb them! Bomb them… Keep bombing them. Bomb then again and again!”
When she later referred to ISIS as a “fanatical terrorist organization,” Brand turned the accusation back on Pirro and Fox News, which he said is itself “a fanatical terrorist-propagandist organization,” more dangerous than even ISIS.
“That — I’m not being sensational — that is more dangerous than ISIS. That’s attitude. That’s far-reaching. That’s affecting millions and millions of people.”
Pundits like Pirro do play a big role in whipping up a war frenzy in portions of the public.
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The Orwellian Daily Mail


Many people have an instinctive feeling that the mainstream media do not tell them the whole story.

But few people realise quite to what extent the media are manipulated to send out a particular political message.  This problem is especially acute with foreign stories because by definition readers know less about far away countries than about their own.  They are therefore much more susceptible to a story being "spun" in one direction or another, especially if moral condemnation is involved: everyone enjoys the sense of being morally superior and interventionist media encourage this sentiment to justify interventionism.

A recent flagrant example was provided by a report in the Daily Mail on the Sunni Islamist insurgency in Iraq which has taken Mosul and now threatens Baghdad itself.

On 16 June 2014, the Mail carried an excited report which enthused about how even teenagers and young boys were taking up arms to defend the capital city against the Sunni militants of ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
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Western Media Coverage of the Ukraine Crisis Is as Distorted as Soviet Propaganda


Growing up in the Soviet Union, I used to approach words like “Voice of America” (Golos Ameriki), BBC, Deutche Welle (Nemetskaia volna) with a certain reverence: they meant hidden, clandestine and therefore precious truth. Truth and news were not found in Pravda or Izvestia, regardless of the explicit claims of these newspapers’ titles; truth and news dwelled in the little short-wave radio, which would tell its eager audience what was really happening in the world.

Official Soviet press was notorious for its manipulation of facts, and even more so for its tendency to ignore particular issues altogether. Dissident activity, Israel, unrest in socialist countries—these stories were off-limit, unless the most vicious vitriol was thrown at them. This policy bordered on the ridiculous.

I learned since then that these radio stations were government-sponsored, that they rarely reported “the whole truth,” but still, the facts that they reported were sufficient to break through the all-encompassing fantasies created by the Soviet media.
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Another NYT ‘Sort of’ Retraction on Ukraine

NYT Russia Militia 12 40 03

The New York Times, which has asserted for weeks that the Russian government is behind the unrest in Ukraine’s east, finally sent some reporters to the region to dig up the proof, but all they found were eastern Ukrainians upset by the coup regime in Kiev that replaced President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Times, which has been an unapologetic promoter of the “pro-democracy” uprising that ousted the democratically elected president through violent extra-constitutional means, has recently been promoting the “theme” that Ukrainians would be happy with their new unelected government if only the Russians weren’t “destabilizing eastern Ukraine.” 

Times’ editors thought they had the goods two weeks ago with a front-page scoop featuring photographs supposedly proving the presence of Russian special forces troops. According to the Times, the photos “clearly” showed Russian special forces in Russia and then the same soldiers in eastern Ukraine.
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The Danger of False Narrative


The American people got a nasty taste of the danger that can come with false narrative when they were suckered into the Iraq War based on bogus claims that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction that he planned to share with al-Qaeda.

Nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers died in the conflict along with hundreds thousands of Iraqis. The war’s total financial cost probably exceeded $1 trillion, a vast sum that siphoned off America’s economic vitality and forced cutbacks in everything from education to road repair. Plus, the war ended up creating an Iraqi base for al-Qaeda terrorists that had not existed before.

But perhaps an even more dangerous problem coming out of the Iraq War was that almost no one in Official Washington who pushed the false narrative – whether in politics or in the press – was held accountable in any meaningful way. Many of the same pols and pundits remain in place today, pushing similar false narratives on new crises, from Ukraine to Syria to Iran.

Those false narratives – and their cumulative effect on policymaking – now represent a clear and present danger to the Republic and, indeed, to the world. The United States, after all, is the preeminent superpower with unprecedented means for delivering death and destruction. But almost nothing is being done to address this enduring American crisis of deception.
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Ukraine and the Deferential Press


One of the distinguishing characteristics between libertarian commentators and the mainstream statist press is, once again, on display in the latest crisis, this one between President Obama and Russian President Putin. You see the standard knee-jerk rally to the government on the part of the mainstream press  while, at the same time, you see independent, critical analysis on the part of the libertarian movement, mostly on the Internet.

When a controversy like this erupts, the mainstreamers immediately mold their mind to whatever position the US government takes in the controversy. The mainstreamers view the matter as Team America versus Team Russia. It is incumbent on Americans to come to the defense of their team, the mainstreamers feel. Anyone who fails to do so is clearly not a patriot and might even be a fifth columnist, one who needs to be watched.

In the process, there is immediate and complete deference to authority. “It’s all Putin’s fault. We were just minding our business. We’re innocent. We’re peace-loving. We love democracy. We just want to be friends. Can’t we just get along here? Putin has become assertive, aggressive, and independent. The crisis has been forced upon us. We have no choice but to respond and punish Russia until Putin recants and submits.”
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