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The Difficulty of Being an Informed American

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The American print and TV media has never been very good. These days it is horrible. If a person intends to be informed, he must turn to foreign news broadcasts, to Internet sites, to foreign newspapers available on the Internet, or to alternative newspapers that are springing up in various cities. A person who sits in front of Murdoch’s Fox "News" or CNN or who reads the New York Times is simply being brainwashed with propaganda.

Before conservatives nod their heads in agreement, I’m not referring to "the liberal media." I mean the propaganda that issues from the US government and the Israel Lobby.

It was neoconservative Bush regime propaganda fed to America through Judith Miller and the New York Times and through Murdoch’s Fox "News" that convinced Americans that they were in danger from a small secular Arab country half way around the globe called Iraq. It was the American media that convinced Americans that getting rid of dangerous "weapons of mass destruction," weapons that did not exist in Iraq, would be a cakewalk paid for by Iraqi oil revenues.

It is the same propagandistic American print and TV media that has rationalized Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan based on seven years of lies and deception.

It is the same media that today provides only Israeli propaganda as "coverage" of the Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

It was the New York Times that spiked for one year the leaked information from the National Security Agency that the Bush regime, in violation of US law, was illegally spying on Americans without warrants. The "liberal" New York Times agreed to suppress the story so that Bush would not face reelection under the cloud of his outlaw behavior.

Conservatives think the Washington Post is "liberal media" despite the fact that the editorial and commentary pages are controlled by neocons and their sympathizers.

During the run-up to wars and during wars, the American media has always been a propagandist for the government. The only exceptions occurred during the Vietnam war and the Contra-Sandinista conflict in Central America. Karen de Young and some others tried to honestly cover the Contras and Sandinistas and were demonized by "patriots" taken in by the government’s lies.

Conservatives still blame the "liberal" media for losing the Vietnam War, when in fact all the media did was to provide some truthful reports that opened some American eyes.

When the truth cuts against the position of the US government, conservatives see it as "liberal."

When propaganda supports the government’s lies, conservatives see it as "patriotic."

However, any resemblance to independent reporting disappeared from the American media when the Democratic regime of President Clinton allowed Murdoch and a small handful of moguls to concentrate the American media in a few corporate hands. That was the end of American reporting.

Journalists disappeared from media management and were replaced by corporate advertising executives with an eye not to offend any source of advertising revenue, and certainly not to offend the government, which controls the broadcast licenses that comprise the value of the mega-companies. Today reporters write the stories that their masters want to hear, or they are out. The function of editors is to make certain that no uncomfortable information reaches the public.

The public is slowly catching on, and the print media is slowly dying. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times are all on the ropes to one extent or the other.

Americans are still subjected to Fox "News" and CNN propaganda piped into airport waiting rooms, doctors’ offices, and exercise centers. It is very much the situation that George Orwell describes in 1984.

People ask me where they can get reliable information. I tell them that their goal cannot be reached without their commitment of time.

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Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

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... is the Internet and they're working overti... by Mr M on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 4:56:27 PM
is my hero.  Dr. Roberts has been so generous... by Sherry Mann on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 5:21:31 PM
thanks for bringing PCR's article to my attent... by Rady Ananda on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 5:45:44 PM
I don't think any of it can be disputed, but w... by Richard Mynick on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 6:37:59 PM
Typically, I listen to Aljazeera while reading Haa... by Jason Paz on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 6:48:18 PM
The media reached its nadir in the 90s, when it be... by Perry Logan on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 5:16:50 AM
about a fundamental & thoroughly corrupt dysfu... by Richard Mynick on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 11:52:20 AM
Both the article and the comments fall into the sa... by Richard Hirschhorn on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 10:31:59 AM
Is this a joke?  Satire?... by paul craig roberts on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 10:51:50 AM
"you criticize the media because you can'... by William Whitten on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 11:05:21 AM
"When they are confronted by reality they see... by Michael Fury on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 12:40:26 PM
Crook media conceals.  Instead of Soviet ... by John Hanks on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 10:54:32 AM
It is interesting how "public spaces" (i... by Michael Fury on Saturday, Jan 10, 2009 at 12:33:08 PM
Our founding fathers established a free press so t... by Pulladigm on Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 3:13:33 PM