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General News

Brian Williams--Just the Tip of the Iceberg

By       Message Bob Kosuth     Permalink
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You really have to sympathize with Brian Williams to a certain extent for letting his imagination run away with him. Like Barak Obama saluting as he gets off the White House helicopter or talking to "the troops," Brian just wanted to be one of the guys and immerse himself in the sea of mindless nationalism and militarism so rampant in US society today. So he lied or at least got a bit too creative in his reporting. After all, he has to compete with Fox News, doesn't he?

But Brian and all the media have committed even bigger sins. When I was a kid in Catholic school, we called these sins of omission. In the media it is called self-censorship.

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The media--including NPR and PBS no less that their corporate siblings--are loath to call attention to the many elephants that inhabit their newsrooms because doing so would undermine the many myths that they need to perpetuate in order to maintain their legitimacy with the elite powers that rule behind the scenes, not to mention that bringing up unpleasant realities would seriously affect ratings. Let's tick off just a few.

Barak Obama's constant refrain that America is "the greatest nation on earth." This, of course, is laughable on the face of it. America is just one more nation state run by privileged elites trying to stay on top by stepping on others. But don't look for any follow-ups on this at presidential press conferences when these words next slide out of the president's mouth.

Capitalism equals democracy because we have so many choices at the mall in our ownership society. Any small shortcomings can easily be cleared up by providing appropriate market incentives. Rapacious capitalism--the only kind there is--is the ultimate cause of our not being able to curb global warming and solve many other world problems. It needs to be replaced but you won't read about it in the New York Times.

The US Constitution came down on the back of Moses' tablets. In fact, no. The US Constitution well served the needs of the land-owing, slave-owning elites who wrote it back in the 18th century and continues to best serve the privileged today. But all we will ever hear from media pundits is "getting back to the Constitution" instead of radically reforming it or better yet scrapping it and starting over.

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Recipients of US aid are the objects of American generosity. Actually, they get it because they do the bidding of the US, the spider in the web. First on the list is Israel, not "the only democracy in the Middle East" but an apartheid state worse than South Africa, another thing you won't see on TV or hear about on NPR.

Vladimir Putin is solely and personally responsible for the problems in Ukraine, which the US and the EU are struggling to save from this new Hitler/Stalin/Saddam Hussein/Kim Jung-Un. Long gone into the memory holes are the facts of the US role in the destabilization of the legitimately elected government that preceded all the chaos and death that Ukraine is now facing. But history is complicated and telling it would cut back on time for commercials.

"Support the troops" is a movement to show gratitude for "service" of a kind that wasn't offered to Viet Nam war draftees like me. It also turns out to be a very effective way to suppress dissent. What I learned from my experience is that my "service" was not to my fellow citizens but to the geopolitical chess players and business interests that profited from the war. Apparently the media and the politicians haven't learned this yet...or are more likely just indulging in good old self-censorship.

Brian Williams has lots to reflect on during his unpaid leave in the upcoming six months. So do we all.

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Retired from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Former director of international programs office and Superior English as a Second Language Institute. Ph.D., University of Minnesota. M.A. degrees in linguistics and East Asian Studies from the (more...)

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