From Consortium News
By Dennis J Bernstein and Randy Credico
Emmy award-winning filmmaker John Pilger is among the most important political filmmakers of the 20th and 21st century. From Vietnam to Palestine to atomic war, Pilger's work has been on the cutting edge, and his stinging critique of western media has always been revelatory. And, no doubt, his biting analysis is more relevant and important now than ever. His latest film, "The Coming War on China" powerfully presages the growing potential for war between the US and China.
Randy Credico and Dennis J Bernstein spoke with Pilger on January 18 about the multiple failures of the corporate press in fanning the phony flames of Russiagate, and turning its back on Julian Assange -- acting more like prosecutors than journalists, whose responsibility it is to monitor the centers of power and report back to the people.
They also spoke with Pilger about the recent decision by the British Library to acquire his substantial works and invaluable archives and make them readily available to a much wider audience
Dennis Bernstein: Congratulations, John. Your work has now been made a part of the collection at the British Library.
John Pilger: To see all my written work over the years go onto a single hard drive was a sobering experience. I am pleased, however, because now in the digital age people can access all of my work and I myself can access information I may have forgotten.
Dennis Bernstein: I would like to read a little of what they said on the record when they welcomed your material into the library. They write, "Throughout his career, John Pilger has demonstrated the power and significance of investigative journalism in uncovering stories of people who have been ignored by the mainstream media or left otherwise without voice. His groundbreaking work in Cambodia revealed the devastation caused by the Khmer Rouge and his film Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia has subsequently been described as one of the 10 most influential documentaries of the twentieth century."
I would like to read now a little of the statement that you sent to the World's Socialist Conference where they were discussing the deep nature of censorship. You wrote, "Something has changed. Although the media was always a loose extension of capital power, it is now almost fully integrated. Dissent, once tolerated in the mainstream, has now regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves toward a form of corporate dictatorship." And it is getting worse at an exponential rate, wouldn't you say?
John Pilger: Yes. Chris Hedges is an example of that. He was right in the mainstream at The New York Times and now finds himself outside it. Another example is America's most celebrated investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, who it appears now can only get published in Germany. Hersh has effectively been ejected from the mainstream in the United States.
In my own case, I navigated my way through the mainstream. My films are still shown on commercial TV in Britain. My written journalism, however, is no longer welcome. Its last home was The Guardian, which three years ago got rid of people like me and others in a kind of purge of those who were saying what The Guardian no longer says anymore.
That has happened right across the liberal media. The Washington Post -- which is at the moment going through a period of self-aggrandizement with the release of the film The Post -- is also the notorious source of a site which listed some of the most distinguished dissenting sites in the United States, including Consortiumnews, Black Agenda Report, Counterpunch and others, as sources of Russian propaganda. It is forcing all of us into this margin, when really the mainstream is in the margin and the margin is in the mainstream.
Dennis Bernstein: Could you talk about the work of Julian Assange in the context of this corporate censorship machine?
John Pilger: Julian Assange has personally borne the brunt of much of this historic shift. He and Wikileaks have exposed so much, and that is unforgivable. There is no doubt that what Wikileaks has done is the most important disclosure journalism of my lifetime. Around the world, politicians who have been deceiving the public have been caught out by the revelations of Wikileaks. It is quite an epic achievement.