Propaganda Puppets

Monday, April 17, 2006

Propaganda Puppets

The press corps is largely ignorant of the fact that they are puppets of propaganda. If they do not become internally indoctrinated with the dogma of propaganda they soon see their careers coming to a crashing halt. Every once in a while you can catch journalists making remarks that unconsciously reveal their true biases. An exchange between Anderson Cooper of CNN and Bill Maher is a great example of this. This exchange between Bill Maher and CNN journalist Anderson Cooper took place in September of 2005 Real Time With Bill Maher.

Bill Maher: Back to what you said about a minute ago, if this is not the time to ask, when should we ask these questions. I think a lot of people are thinking, "Yeah, but that's what we said about 9/11. That's what we were saying about the war in Iraq. Where was the press then? Where was the press then to ask those kinds of questions? Where was the anger in the press corp? And maybe what we're seeing now is a little payback. On the part of our press corp with politicians who are feeling a little guilty that they didn't ask the tough questions on those other events.

Anderson Cooper:
You know, I hear the argument on the war in Iraq. Frankly I don't agree with that too much. I think people were asking about WMD in Iraq, but a certain point, though, when the entire government and the entire intelligence angencies and every president previous to this president says yes there are weapons here for sure. We know this for sure. W have the intelligence. At a certain point, there's only so much you can do. We couldn't travel in Iraq too freely under Saddam Hussein but there's only so many questions you can ask and if everyone is saying, "Yes there are these weapons there." There's only so much you can do. I'm not making excuses although it may sound like I am. I get though why it's different now. (my emphasis)

Mr. Cooper unwittingly shows his hand in this exchange in two ways. First he admits that they are simply a mouth piece for those in power. If they agree to lie to us, then it is his job to convey that lie to us. In his mind, and in most journalists minds, the idea to seek sources outside of power, sources that are not officials, is not even a thought. Secondly, he makes the most often argument "there are only so many questions you can ask." This from a press corp that goes 24 hours for weeks on something as insignificant as a runaway bride. How many hours did they cover legal "experts" speculating on the Michael Jackson trial as if it had any bearing on anybody but Mr. Jackson and his accusers.

Sadly, even Bill Maher was lost on why the change in the press. He surmises that perhaps it was a form of payback by a press that realized the error of its ways and sought to do right by the people. Nothing could be further from the truth. What did happen is testimoney for just how quickly even the indoctrinated can break from the ranks to do real news.

What ultimately happened in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area in general was we had a press corp that was cut off from its echo chamber. These reporters had little or no access to what other reporters were airing. Instead of playing follow the leader the way they usually do, they were each left on an island to cover the news according to journalistic principles, and it led to some really great coverage that was highly critical of government response.

When tipped off by Greg Palast's expose of voting fraud in Florida, the people at NBC called Jeb Bush's office and took his assurance that nothing illegal had happened and dumped the story. It's the equivelant of calling and asking O.J. if he murdered his wife and then determining whether or not to press charges on his response. "Nope, I didn't do it." Charges dropped.

The tragedy in Lousiana did open us up to what a functioning press corp might look like. Unfortunately it doesn't appear many of them learned the lesson. Or is it more of a case that they simply don't have the power to change things? According to Amy Goodman, less than 5% of the coverage of Vietnam was negative in this country, and yet by all accounts it was the "negative" press that drove that war effort to a halt. The importance of controlling the media has only grown more important since the days of Vietnam.

If you've ever wondered what a state-controlled media might look like, turn on your local news. The irony is, of course, is that we have a free press, even a liberal press. The media is by no means a monolithic propaganda machine, but the modes of indoctrination are so deep that coupled with the conforming trends of the echo chamber, it can be very difficult to ask the tough questions. As Mr. Cooper unwittingly reveals the possibility of even asking someone outside of officialdom to comment is not even a thought.

Published in: on April 19, 2006 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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