Friday, February 26, 2010

Do You Have to Be Jewish to Report on Israel for NYT?

Do You Have to Be Jewish to Report on Israel for NYT? by Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook asks a very good question, and provides some very good insight into it's answer.

This article speaks to the matter of foreign policy influence, but it also scratches the surface of an influence machine that should cause the reader to wonder about influence in other areas, such as Congress, Wall Street, law, medicine and other matters that are important to Americans.

Update: see All in the Family By ALISON WEIR

And Chris Hedges on ‘The Death and Life of American Journalism’

"Corporations, which have hijacked the state, are delighted with the demise of journalism. And the mass communications systems they control pump out endless streams of gossip, trivia and filth in lieu of news."


“The real problem with professional journalism becomes evident when political elites do not debate an issue and march in virtual lockstep,” the authors write. “In such a case professional journalism is, at best, ineffectual, and, at worst, propagandistic. This has often been the case in U.S. foreign policy, where both parties are beholden to an enormous global military complex, and accept the right of the United States, and the United States alone, to invade countries when it suits U.S. interests. In matters of war and foreign policy, journalists who question the basic assumptions and policy objectives and who attempt to raise issues no one in either party wishes to debate are considered ‘ideological’ and ‘unprofessional.’ This has a powerful disciplinary effect upon journalists.” "

Chris evidentially - studiously - avoids the power of the Israel lobby over American foreign policy, instead referring to it as the 'right'. While he is absolutely correct about the right wing war machine, he leaves peeling the rest of the onion to the reader. Perhaps he is victim to the very powers he writes so well about, in the sense that he gets right up to it, face to face, and then backs off from calling the spade a spade. Yes, we have a right wing war machine, the MIC, and we have big money oil interests, and a lot of people have made a lot of money and gained a lot of power over America's behaviour in the ME, but there is no way that the MIC and Big Oil would/could have actually launched a military invasion. That was done because the largely pro-Israel media cum propaganda machine sold it to the American public (or should I more properly say "duped America into launching that invasion").

Why is it so important that we see this problem for what it is? Or, perhaps more importantly, who is in a position to do anything about it?

Maybe the answer is to be found, although obliquely, in Chris's paper: the Internet will replace the media. He says people are moving from print to image based reporting, and he generally says people just aren't interested in real news. I think he's wrong, that people do thirst for good information, but have walked away from print because mainstream print is propaganda, and over the years they have come to see that, and for that reason they abandon it. It's not because they are more interested in image news then print, but that print is so unsatisfying for what it is intended to do, that people opt for the image instead, because at the least the image is entertaining and gives them drama in otherwise very boring lives (cops will get you now for just not wearing a seat belt, if not roadblocks, so you better not go out to the bar and have a few drinks with your buddies and discussing world events. Those days are gone - sold to the public for their protection!).

What people need, and want, whether they say it or not, is good information. They are sick and tired of the propaganda machine that first duped them and now continues as if it never happened. It did happen - just look all around you for the consequences.

I think what's happening is that Americans are psychologically reacting to the propaganda machine, by moving away from it into another direction (the Internet has given birth to at least 20 excellent information resources that I'm aware of so far, not to mention blogs and discussion groups, etc) without necessarily saying or even knowing the reason. What they do know is that they are sick of the propaganda machine. After all these years, all that killing and destruction, all that money wasted, a terrible future for this country as we continue the decline they set in motion - and, today, they are still reporting the "news" with no regard, more less mention, of their own complicity in the greatest duping the world has ever seen.

It's an incredible story, really. It's a huge challenge for a team like Walt and Mersheimer to step up to, but I trust that it will be done. Why? Because truth has a way of getting out, sometimes it just takes longer. The fact is that we have been duped, big time, live-destroying time, and we need to understand that because we can't fix what we don't understand. Too many Americans today are simply unaware of even the presence of this influence machine. Even though they feel the effects, they don't know what it is.

For the moment, let's see it as the challenge before us: to actually put an end the propaganda machine using a combination of print and imagery, the Internet gives us both - and more.

Right now, as we speak, you can bet the handful of people at the top of the machine, who dictate editorial policies over our information supply - are working overtime to harness the power of the Internet for their exploitation, while at the same time implementing ways to stop anyone who gets in their way. You can bet they will be very clever about it - that's what they do - they cleverly dupe people to do their bidding. Again, just look around you and ask yourself if you've been - and are being - duped.

I'm eternally hopeful this will happen, that a "new breed of editors" will emerge using the Internet. As you can see, this is what I'm doing with this blog, albeit in a very minor way. What I'm saying to anyone who will listen is that if 300 million people protested as loud as I am, this mess would be cleaned up within a year or so. Bush and the hardcore Neocon leadership would be on trial for war crimes, the crooks in Wall Street would be on trial, we'd be turning guns into plows, feeding ourselves the world, looking to space for our future, expanding our freedoms and our lot in general.

Some 15 ago, working at Prodigy, I tried to champion a cause: to nurture a "new breed of editors" to replace the American information machine. The bosses rejected the idea and told me to shut up. Now, with the benefit of this many years hindsight, the status quo, and now what is emerging to be the right direction: they really should have listened.



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