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General News    H4'ed 6/1/15

American Propaganda and the Mass Media

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Applebaum flogged the same anti-Russia and Putin demonization themes during the Munk debates in Canada in April of this year. In arguing on behalf of the position that the West should continue to keep Russia in the naughty corner and eschew engagement, Applebaum turned reality on its head. In regards to Putin's relations with the West, notably the U.S., she claims that the West bent over backwards to welcome Putin and Russia into its paradise of peace, prosperity and democracy only to have Putin cheat, steal and aggress on his neighbors - accusations that take particular temerity given the enriching schemes by the Legatum Institute's founder in the 1990's, an era that Applebaum thinks was better for Russia. The truth, as documented by Stephen F. Cohen (one of her opponents in the Munk debate), Jack Matlock, and Angus Roxburgh (among others) is that Putin made numerous attempts to have a mutually respectful and cooperative relationship with the U.S. and received little for his efforts except for several swift kicks to the shins in the form of NATO expansion, unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, provocations on his borders and interference in Russia's internal affairs on a level that would never be tolerated by the U.S. Despite Applebaum's gross distortions, her side swayed the audience and won the debate.

In addition to NED darlings like Applebaum, there is a possibility that the CIA has revived or never really shut down its Operation Mockingbird program. A recent book by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the former editor of a major German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has stated that numerous journalists and editors in the German -- as well as other European - mass media are on the payroll of the CIA. He describes how he put his name to and published articles that were actually penned by the CIA, articles that pushed whatever militarist narrative the U.S. political elites and security apparatus wanted. The book, Bought Journalists, has been a best-seller on Amazon but the mass media in both the US and Western Europe have dummied up instead of reporting on the book or its allegations. One is left to look to the independent and non-western media to learn about its existence.

Corporate Elites

"Marketing is a battle of perception, not products. The truth has no bearing on the issue. The role of public relations is to deliver the exact same thing as advertising."

-Jack Trout, advertising executive

In terms of the separate but often related interests of corporate elites, Investigative journalists John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, in their book Trust Us, We're Experts, discuss what could best be described as corporate prostitutes serving as experts and the methods they use in framing Americans' understanding of a range of issues affecting their health, finances and public policy.

Corporations and the PR firms they hire make abundant use of the "third party technique" pioneered by Bernays. One of the most common tactics is the use of astroturf organizations that confuse the public with names that sound like they represent the public interest but are actually front groups for corporations. These front organizations often do their work with the assistance of mass media outlets that disseminate their propaganda by citing their biased and bogus data, without always disclosing that corporations are really behind the groups.

Chemical unit holds wartime decontamination exercise
Chemical unit holds wartime decontamination exercise
(Image by Aberdeen Proving Ground)
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One of the earliest examples of this type of entity was the Air Hygiene Foundation (later known as the Industrial Hygiene Foundation and then the Industrial Health Foundation). The foundation was initiated in 1935 by Andrew and Richard Mellon in the aftermath of the Hawk's Nest scandal to counter the exposure of the deadly effects of silicosis on the health of workers and the potential for financial accountability in the form of lawsuits and regulatory changes. Leading scientists and public officials were recruited as members and trustees of the foundation and were quoted in trade publications and the media, lending a veneer of legitimacy to their agenda.

The Hawk's Nest scandal saw the death of up to 2,000 poor black workers from silicosis through the reckless working conditions of Union Carbide in a West Virginia project involving the digging of a tunnel through a mountain that was almost pure silica. The negligence was compounded by the company doctors' refusal to disclose what ailment the workers had contracted after the development of symptoms. The dangers were well known to the company as engineers and managers regularly took precautions while in the tunnels, such as wearing masks or respirators.

During Roosevelt's administration, the court system had finally begun to shift away from its early bias by which employees were rarely able to effectively hold their employers legally accountable, even for the most egregious abuses. The industry begrudgingly began to limit some of the worst abuses. As Stauber and Sheldon state:

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Natylie Baldwin is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated, available from Tayen Lane Publishing. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various publications including Sun Monthly, Dissident Voice, (more...)
 

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