The archive is catalogued by 'Politics', 'Economics', 'Mockery', 'In other news' and 'On other things' 


"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

On the integrity of journalism

Yesterday, the FT presented a piece by Courtney Weaver entitled Clinton’s long campaign reveals both her discipline and her flaws’

If you take it a face value, it is a collection of contrasting observations about the strengths and weaknesses of Hillary Clinton. If you pay attention to the language and the juxtaposition of ideas, it is a sales pitch. For example:

“Should Mrs. Clinton win Tuesday’s election, it will be no thanks to her instincts for privacy, something she has clung to through her years as first lady, senator and secretary of state, and something that explains some of the biggest miss-steps she has made in her current run for office” – Courtney Weaver

Here the suggestion is that Mrs Clinton’s deletion of 30,000 emails is a reflection of her ‘instincts for privacy’. Similarly, her decision to conduct State Department business on a private server is presented as one of her ‘miss-steps’.  At no point is her integrity called into question.  Here is my comment to the article:

"Poor Hills, so cute, so forgetful, so misunderstood…all she wanted was a bit of privacy to discuss wedding dresses…if only she hadn’t been so absent-minded and conducted state department business on her personal server…if only she hadn’t got so mixed up about what she’d done, when she’d done it, and why …if only she hadn’t hired people who mistakenly deleted 30,000 emails just after Congress had asked for them...none of this would have happened…

It’s tragic that someone who learns so well from experience has had such repeated misfortune down the years. You’d have thought that after 25 years of rotten luck that Lady Luck would have given her a break by now. It’s a blessing that we’ve got such an understanding media…people who can see past these little drawbacks and recognize them as the sad coincidences that they are…

Well done FT for reminding us of the inherent virtue of this tireless, and utterly selfless public servant...I do believe I need a tissue" - MarkGB

Sarcasm aside, and just to be clear on my own language and juxtaposition, this is what I am suggesting to you:

1.     Hillary Clinton is a thoroughly dishonest human being, whose political and financial activities place her firmly ‘in hock’ to vested interests on Wall Street and Saudi Arabia, amongst others

2.     Her election is vital to the interests of these people, since they do not control her opponent

3.     The mainstream media is fully on board with the effort to put Hillary into the Oval Office, and…in a battle between a baboon and a snake, seeks to portray the snake as a teddy bear

Many of you will be familiar with the writing of the Australian investigative journalist John Pilger. In a 2006 speech to the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University, Pilger said this:

“During the Cold War, a group of Russian journalists toured the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by their hosts for their impressions. “I have to tell you,” said their spokesman, “that we were astonished to find, after reading all the newspapers and watching TV, that all the opinions on all the vital issues were, by and large, the same. To get that result in our country, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here, you don't have that. What's the secret? How do you do it?”

What is the secret? It's a question now urgently asked of those whose job is to keep the record straight: who in this country have extraordinary constitutional freedom. I refer to journalists, of course, a small group who hold privileged sway over the way we think, even the way we use language.

I have been a journalist for more than 40 years. Although I am based in London, I have worked all over the world, including the United States, and I have reported America's wars. My experience is that what the Russian journalists were referring to is censorship by omission, the product of a parallel world of unspoken truth and public myths and lies: in other words, censorship by journalism, which today has become war by journalism.

For me, this is the most virulent and powerful form of censorship, fuelling an indoctrination that runs deep in western societies, deeper than many journalists themselves understand or will admit to. Its power is such that it can mean the difference between life and death for untold numbers of people in faraway countries, like Iraq.

During the 1970s, I filmed secretly in Czechoslovakia, then a Stalinist dictatorship. I interviewed members of the dissident group, Charter 77. One of them, the novelist Zdener Urbanek, told me, “We are more fortunate than you in the West, in one respect. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and watch on television, nothing of the official truth. unlike you, we have learned to read between the lines of the media. unlike you, we know that that real truth is always subversive.” By subversive, he meant that truth comes from the ground up, almost never from the top down. (Vandana Shiva has called this 'subjugated knowledge').

A venerable cliché is that truth is the first casualty in wartime. I disagree. Journalism is the first casualty. The first American war I reported was Vietnam. I went there from 1966 to the last day. When it was all over, the magazine Encounter published an article by Robert Elegant, another correspondent who covered Vietnam. “For the first time in modern history,” he wrote, “the outcome of a war was determined not on the battlefield but on the printed page and, above all, on the television screen.” He was accusing journalists of losing the war by opposing it in their work…

What should journalists do? I mean, journalists who give a damn? They need to act now. Governments fear good journalists. The reason the Pentagon spends millions of dollars on PR, or “perception management” companies that try to bend the news is because it fears truth tellers, just as Stalinist governments feared them. There is no difference. Look back at the great American journalists: Upton Sinclair, Edward R Murrow, Martha Gellhorn, I. F.Stone, Seymour Hersh. All were mavericks. None embraced the corporate world of journalism and its modern supplier: the media college…

It is said the Internet is an alternative; and what is wonderful about the rebellious spirits on the World Wide Web is that they often report as journalists should. They are mavericks in the tradition of the great muckrakers: those like the Irish journalist Claud Cockburn, who said: "Never believe anything until it is officially denied."… 

…the right to know ought to be universal. That other great muckraker, Tom Paine, warned that if the majority of the people were denied the truth and ideas of truth, it was time to storm what he called the "Bastille of words". That time is now." – John Pilger

The full text is here:

This week John Pilger interviewed another ‘great muckraker’ in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London – I speak of course of his fellow Australian, Julian Assange. That interview is due to be aired on RT today.

Of course, RT is a filthy Russian plot to undermine western democracy; the Rooskies are behind the hacking, and Putin is Satan…on the other hand CNN may not be terribly keen to cover it…and I want to hear what the guy has to say.

Have a good weekend…MarkGB

On the visibility of termites

Enough already