We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Most Syrians back President Assad, but you'd never know from western media

Click here to access article by Jonathan Steele from The Guardian. 
When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll on Syria commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation. Qatar's royal family has taken one of the most hawkish lines against Assad – the emir has just called for Arab troops to intervene – so it was good that The Doha Debates published the poll on its website. The pity is that it was ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country whose government has called for Assad to go.
I first became aware of managed news and propaganda in the US when I was in military service in the late 1950s . I became acquainted with a soldier who was born and mostly raised in Cuba, after which his family emigrated to the US. From him I learned about all the US based organized crime that had essentially governed Cuba for many years. Following my discharge from the service in 1959, I decided to follow up by accessing news about Cuba. This, of course, was during the time immediately after the Cuba revolution. I was astonished by the blatant anti-Cuba propaganda that I was seeing everywhere in mainstream news coverage. I lived near a large university and thus was able to access a lot of news and information contained in more obscure publications. I was thoroughly astonished at the contrast in coverage. 

That experience continued over the years through the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, throughout the cold war, and the various political events in Latin America where US operatives were manipulating events from behind the scenes. Also, after becoming an adult I reviewed the Korean War, and discovered so many truths that had been hidden from me as a teenager. (Read at least volume 1 of The Origins of the Korean War by Bruce Cumings.) This experience is currently repeating itself in the coverage of events in Syria.

I am a bit fascinated as to how the operatives of the ruling class are able to control the coverage so well. Yes, I know that control and ownership of most media is concentrated in large corporations, but still it is very much as if there were an Orwellian Ministry of Information somewhere than was controlling the coverage. The fact that they have been able to accomplish the same control while maintaining, in the minds of many citizens of the US, the image of a free and independent media is mind-boggling.