Published on Mar 6, 2014
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As Seen on Cenk Uygur's The Young Turks
A short commentary by Patrice Greanville
Before getting too deep into this discussion and taking any firm sides, a few points of clarification are in order. First, though charismatic, beautiful and normally well informed, Abby Martin is wrong.
She's wrong that stepping on the advertisers' toes--while definitely a no-no-- is the chief problem for the average reporter or television host working in the American system of mainstream communications.
The problem is much deeper and broader and concerns subterranean ideology: any attack or hostile mention on the capitalist system or American foreign policy is to be severely punished. While this is an unwritten rule, for obvious reasons of pervasive mendacity, it is widely observed and internalized. It's also an old rule, dating back to the beginning of the modern system of mass "professional" journalism in the United States, at the turn of the 20th century, and while pretty bad for most of this time--after all, a really truthful press would have nipped in the bud the Korean and Vietnam wars, just to name two major US crimes--it's been getting progressively worse, far worse.
Today, it's a Damoclean sword hanging over the career of any and all working journalists in the Western world, and especially throughout the American media, the most regimented of all, a career trap enforced by owners, editors and publishers everywhere in the corporate world, all of which makes a mockery of their much vaunted "freedom of the press." That so many professional journos never seem to have an ethical problem with such underhanded policy is a sad commentary on the corruptibility and opportunism of so many people, and/or the pervasive brainwash that makes them unquestioning cogs in the machinery of American propaganda.
Second, even if we demonstrate that there is a rough parallelism in the way the American media censors itself and abjectly acts as an instrument of the American state (which, let us say it again, is itself an instrument of the global plutocracy), and the way RT covers the news and toes Moscow's line, that does not make them equal in historical or moral outcomes. This only shows there is a similarity in instrumentalities of opinion manipulation, weaponry, not an equivalence between the ideologies and truth behind them. Such false equations, besides being useless, hide more than they reveal. For while propaganda is by definition stained by intent to convince, it is not true that all propaganda serves evil ends. Propaganda in the service of fascism is not the same as propaganda in the service of AUTHENTIC democracy or communism. Nor is propaganda fueling war of conquest the same as counter propaganda defending peace. The examples are numerous and we could go on but the point is clear.
Lastly, although Abby's colleague Liz Wahl 's motives, , are highly questionable and probably stem from an opportunistic desire to make the jump to one of the better paid, larger engines of American disinformation, Abby's denunciation of Putin's policies in Ukraine and Crimea is myopic and sophomoric. She clearly does not understand the context here, particularly the historical context that goes back hundreds of years, to the formation of the Russian cultural identity, nor the perfectly understandable Russian repugnance at the notion of having an active capitalist/fascistoid regime at her doorstep, after losing 26 million people in WW2 to turn back that kind of horde. Americans--which Abby of course is, are too frequently oblivious to such enormously important considerations, hence their empathy and generosity in interpreting events in the case of foreign rulers is severely constrained.
Below, the show's official description.
Media and cultural critic Patrice Greanville is The Greanville Post's founding editor.
*While two RT anchors spoke out against network editorial policy this week, one of them stayed at her job. Abby Martin joined Piers Morgan Wednesday night after delivering an off-script commentary about Ukraine, and ended up going on several tangents about the "corporate media" complex and the self-censorship that exists at American networks "beholden to advertisers." Martin told Morgan, "I knew going into that that I could put my job on the line, considering how the corporate media has fired multiple anchors for simply speaking out against the Iraq War." She insisted that her bosses give her "complete editorial freedom," and when Morgan asked about other parts of the programming, she shot back...* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
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