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When Corporate Media Were Imperial Shills, or: Now and Always

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Message Dan Alba

There are certain standards of good journalism we should all expect and demand from major news agencies and wire services. For example, when a news service injects color into a report, it should be the opinion of the person or group being covered in the report, and attribution to the source of that opinion should be made evident by some form of citation, as in the emphasized part of the following example:

Israeli opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu is a maniacal sociopath who not only profited off the Sept. 11 attacks but also played a part, current and former boyfriends said.

The Associated Press usually sticks to that principle, but every once in a while they throw in an editorial opinion, or speculation stated as fact; when they do, it reads like it came from a State Department or Pentagon script (only it’s delivered more tepidly), as in the following introductory paragraph from an April 22 headline titled ”Suicide car bomber kills 2 US marines in Iraq”:

A bomb-rigged truck exploded at a checkpoint Tuesday near the western city of Ramadi, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding three others in an apparent strike by al-Qaida in Iraq in one of its former strongholds. [1]

First of all, there is overwhelming evidence that “al-Qaida” is simply a neocon concoction that doesn’t even exist—at least certainly not in the capacity we’re led to believe they do. [2]

But let’s just assume that the fantastic ”al-Qaida” does exist as advertised; here’s my question for the editor: How is it “apparent” that it was carried out by “al-Qaida,” when there are no quotations or paraphrases in the body of the report justifying the supposition? Sure, AP says that Ramadi was the former stomping grounds of “al-Qaida in Iraq”; but to assume it was the work of ”al-Qaida,” based on that U.S. government factoid, would still be speculation on the part of the AP editor. And when not accompanied by attribution to the source of the conjecture other than the editor’s personal deduction, it becomes journalistic quackery.

The current example of unethical journalism by the world’s most prolific and sought-after news agency is not an isolated occurrence: the empire’s Ministry of Misinformation manipulates the truth as a matter of course and self-preservation.

These corporate disinfo agents rely on creative editing to deliver the government line with subtlety. In reality, their propaganda falls on unsuspecting and untrained eyes and ears like Israeli terrorists in the West Bank fall on an opportunity to getaway with taking pop-shots with US-supplied M-16s at Palestinian children who were either throwing stones or just walking to school; like U.S. and Blackwater artillery and 2-ton bombs fall on Iraq and Afghanistan, razing mosques, hospitals, schools, neighborhoods, and priceless cultural treasures; and like possession of the loot thereafter falls so fluidly and discretely into the hands of the so-called civilized governments and corporations of the West.

It’s too easy for them. Corporate media peddle government fraud more effectively and prolifically than ever, and they profit handsomely for it. Billions of us are plugged in to their programming every day, and billions of us buy the products and services solicited over their airwaves and in their newspapers and periodicals by their sponsors (who are usually their parent and sister corporations).

Their captivated viewers and readers are easily led to believe that every Iraqi casualty was either an “al-Qaida,” a terrorist, an Iranian-sponsored insurgent, or a victim thereof. And it is never revealed how we know that those dead foreigners were what we said they were. They don’t carry ID badges and they don’t shout, “Al-Qaida rules!” or “Khomanei ownz!” before they’re killed, so how do we know their group or foreign state affiliation, if any?

And in the world of imperial corporate media, there are no such things as the Iraqi resistance (to the U.S. occupation), resistance fighters, or even a U.S. occupation; even if there are, the labels are made to appear too mild or otherwise inappropriate by a flurry of inflammatory quotes from “official sources,” or by immediately shifting the focus onto some negative act committed last week or even decades ago by the anti-occupation actors.

How convenient for the war profiteers that they never have to account for their crimes. Thanks to corporate media “coverage,” only we the occupiers liberators are defending ourselves; everyone else commits terrorism and encroaches on our Divine Right to violently frolic in their backyard. That’s the sick and backward mentality being plugged into the consciousness of captivated audiences the world over by mainstream media and think-tanks.

But the state-sponsored organized crime would not be possible without the support of disinfo cartels, like News Corp and AP—without agitprop labs, like The Israel Project, the American-Turkish Council (ATC), the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)—without the “intellectual holdings” of the empire, like Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Center for Security Policy, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Freedoms Watch, and Project for a New American Century (PNAC)—without the regime-change engineers and future junta staffers, like the National Council of the Resistance of Iran (NCRI)—and without the politicians on the payrolls of such entities.

We have to fight back. We have to pull the plug on their life-support mechanisms.

This constitutional Republic is almost but a memory. It’s urgent that we expose and correct the dangerous disinfo everywhere it surfaces; state-worshiping media certainly won’t do it for us.

Writing letters-to-the-editor and op-eds can be effective in getting the truth out to fellow readers, but they rarely if ever make an impact on the way editors report the news. I, personally, have sent dozens if not hundreds of correction requests backed up with mainstream sources, but to no avail: those editors and CEOs usually discard my supplications or just make minor, almost undetectable alterations. Online petitions and the like are usually powerless, no matter how many signatures are collected. People who want to fight back against the fraud need to stop doing business with as many corporate and private sponsors of the offending media and state propaganda mills as possible.

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The Associated Press and the U.S. Constitution: Enemies to the Death.
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