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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/19/14

George Will's Successful Career As a Propagandist

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(Article changed on February 19, 2014 at 12:41)

George Will, the Pulitzer-winning political commentator, has had a long and much-honored career, with Newsweek, Washington Post, National Review, NBC News, ABC News, and now Fox News. The Wall Street Journal in the 1980s called him "the most powerful journalist in America." Dr. Will has also taught at Michigan State University, the University of Toronto, and Harvard University. He is just about as Establishment a media and academic figure as exists. But he is an inveterate liar, so extreme that anyone who cites him as an authority on anything is thereby showing himself to be a sucker to authority, or even to fashionable fascism (where "fascism" is understood precisely in the way that Mussolini himself described fascism, as "corporationism"). This fact, of Will's inveterate lying, will now be documented, with a few recent examples of his dishonesty (other earlier ones were tracked at Wikipedia).

On Sunday, 16 February 2014, Will said, on Fox "News," that, regarding global warming or climate change, "I'm one of those who are called deniers. ... Of course the climate is changing, it's always changing," and he even said that not only does he not believe that the climate is getting warmer, but "Neither does science." However, 97+% of the world's climatologists aren't only saying that it's changing, but they do assert that it's getting dangerously hotter; and, furthermore, that it is doing so precisely because of the burning of fossil fuels (which, though no journalist is asking Dr. Will about this, are being produced and sold by Will's own financial backers, especially Big Oil). (On that same Fox "News" panel were also Fox "News" contributor Kirsten Powers; the Wall Street Journal' s columnist Kimberly Strassel; and editorial writer for the Washington Post Charles Lane. So as to provide a "fair and balanced" view, all of them seconded Dr. Will's string of lies there. Incidentally, the Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox "News.") This isn't just a falsehood; it's an intentional falsehood, repeated; and it's about a deadly serious matter: It's a lie, not just a falsehood.

As I previously have noted, Dr. Will's column in the Washington Post, on 1 January 2014, had used a bogus "quotation" from Winston Churchill, in order to argue that aristocracy is better than democracy. That "quotation" of Churchill expressed the view that actually had been endorsed by Adolf Hitler, and it was actually a view that was repeatedly condemned by Churchill. Will added support to Will's lying anti-democratic viewpoint there, by citing the work of a certain scholar whom Dr. Will failed to note was a far-rightist whose career is funded largely by the Kochs and other extremist conservative aristocrats -- the same conservative club that supports Will himself. That scholar (financed by the Kochs, and by the Harry and Lynde Bradley Foundation) was arguing in favor of what is often called the "race to the bottom" in nations' laws regarding consumer protections, labor rights, health, and safety -- in other words: against all regulations of international corporations, and all laws that would restrict international corporations. This was the fascist (now commonly called "libertarian") view that Will indicated that Winston Churchill would admire, but it was actually the view of Benito Mussolini and of Adolf Hitler, against whom Churchill had led Britain to war. The deception there, by Dr. Will, was just about as extreme and vile as can be imagined; and Churchill from his grave would reasonably hate him for perpetrating it against Churchill's own hard-earned great name, and historical memory. Churchill was a defender of democracy; not an attacker of it.

The fascist Harry and Lynde Bradley Foundation of Wisconsin has Dr. Will on its 11-person Board, along with people such as Art Pope, the billionaire Koch friend and operative who has moved his own native North Carolina's state house sharply to the right. Bradley's President, Michael Grebe, largely financed the career of Wisconsin's own far-right governor Scott Walker, who was elected in 2010 after the state became posted with billboards in Black neighborhoods saying "Voter Fraud Is a Felony," in order to scare away poor people. The Bradley Foundation secretly paid for those billboards. If the sign had been honest, it might have said instead "'Voter Fraud' Is Itself Fraudulent. Electoral Fraud Is Real." 

On 22 July 2012, Will denied that gun-control laws can have any effect to control the use of guns. He told ABC News's George Stephanopoulos that, regarding the murders of school children at Aurora Colorado, "How ever meticulously you draft whatever statute you wind up passing, the world is going to remain a broken place and things like this are going to happen." In other words: not only Big Oil and other Koch businesses shouldn't be regulated, but Big Ammo shouldn't, either.

Will had been a great supporter of George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq, but few people made note that he wrote in the Washington Post  on 12 October 2003, under the headline, "Don't Count on Oil Spoils," saying that Iraq's oil was only one of three "assets" that could enable this unfortunate nation to repay its debts and economically thrive after America's invasion of it. Will said: "Iraq's second asset, what [a university president who had recently visited Iraq, Peter] McPherson calls "an entrepreneurial spirit you can still feel,' is a rarity -- a pleasant postwar surprise. It exists partly because of an unpleasant aspect of prewar Iraq -- pandemic corruption. That was a hard school, always in session, teaching participants how to operate in the interstices" of the law.

Will was simply assuming there that "pandemic corruption" (the ancient method of the aristocracy) promotes democracy. (He wasn't going to tell his readers there that he actually favored aristocracy, not democracy; and that "pandemic corruption" is of great benefit to aristocrats, but hurts everybody else.) This conservative propaganda for aristocracy (and its method, corruption) is actually a vicious and blatant lie; it contradicts overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary. Iraq's corruption, and the Bush Administration's importing American corruption into their supposed "rebuilding" of that country, did not bode well for Iraq's economic future, but instead the exact opposite.

A nation whose people see economic success coming not from following the law, but instead from mastering "the interstices" of the law, is a nation that will become controlled by the sharpest crooks. This is not capitalism; it's fascism, rule by the in-group; and it produces not mass wealth, but mass poverty. Republicans and other conservatives lie, propagandizing to the contrary. But in November 2006, Raj M. Desai of the Brookings Institution headlined "How Cronyism Harms the Investment Climate," and he cited definitive World Bank research showing that the more corrupt a country is, the larger a percentage of the nation's resources go toward the least efficient firms. This is the exact opposite of what the lying George Will asserts.

Will has repeatedly praised the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 Republican majority Citizens United decision that treats corporations as being especially privileged to possess the right to make unlimited secret political donations, as "free speech." On 4 May 2012, he headlined that opposition to that decision was "Taking a Scythe to the Bill of Rights." On 30 May 2012, he headlined that "Montana Bucks the Court" when it seeks a state exemption from the decision, and he said that "Reasons for the Supreme Court to reconsider Citizens United are nonexistent." On 30 October 2013, he headlined, "The Judiciary and Free Speech," and said that, "Liberals who love the regulatory state loathe Citizens United. You can understand why." But actually, he hadn't even presented any clear connection between that ruling and the problem he was describing. The column was incoherent.

Only in a corrupt country can people such as George Will be successful, either in academia or in journalism -- and Will is successful in both.

No wonder, then, that he loves corruption. He didn't get where he is by advancing democracy, but by tearing it down, and serving the aristocracy instead.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 and of   CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .




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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that (more...)
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