Blogging friend Neo-Neocon always brings both keen insight and a striking honesty about her personal experience to her posts. She has a post up that I just had to comment on. Now, I am usually so spent from The Day Job, The Kids, The Blog and The development of Second Draft that I don’t have the time or energy to comment on other blogs. That’s not a policy, but for the most part it works out that way. This post of Neo-Neocon’s, though, grabbed me. For one thing, it is part of her extended personal story of awakening- what might well be the longest, best written and most deeply considered of what I would call “First Encounter With The Beast” stories. First Encounter Stories are the reason I started Breath of the Beast, so she had me right there. But beyond that she was talking about what my Friend and Mentor (Hereinafter known as FaM) Richard Landes and I have identified as the greatest single obstacle that we all face in understanding the nature of the threats we face, The Mass Media and its warped, inaccurate presentation of events and ideas.
If you haven’t read her post I encourage you to.
She writes compellingly about how she, after all these years, has recently become aware that the two most compelling visual images from the Viet Nam war were not what they had been represented to be back in the seventies when they played a conspicuous part in changing the course of history. She feels betrayed. She describes the shock of learning that the summary execution of the forlorn looking man in the plaid shirt and the desperate fright and pain of the naked little girl were not proof of anything so simple and brutal as a bestial war prosecuted on an innocent people. The
background of the two pictures was much more complicated. They were presented and, therefore, perceived by most people in such a biased and essentially untruthful way as to have been pure propaganda published under the guise of “News”.
But this happens all the time history is filled with examples. I have been reading a book- Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting by Peter Brock Its a real eye-opener on how we were all manipulated to the point of tragedy in Yugoslavia. But then, the same charlatans are out there doing the same things to us today.
FaM Landes has been exposing specific examples of this for years. He started the Second Draft web site in order to have a platform to rebut the pernicious misuse of media power- to expose the media’s betrayal of their own best principals of honesty and responsibility.
And it’s not just quitting in Vietnam, or abandoning Israel to the bloody intentions of the Caliphatist Jihad, nor is it only the cover-up of the Media Pack’s betrayal of truth and responsibility in Yugoslavia, the Media Swarm of leftist activists led by the sacrosanct Public Broadcasting System always push their agenda. I heard this interview on PBS a week ago and couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Its a great example of NPR’s monster machine. It is a short interview in which a scientist teaches a reporter a lesson in objectivity and responsible reporting. Listen to it- If it wasn’t so pathetic it would be funny. Clearly the lefties want to make Myanmar into a pariah state just as they have tried to do with Israel on little to no evidence.
Here’s the crucial exchange between the “concerned” Alex Chadwick and tiger researcher Alan Rabinowitz:
CHADWICK: What did you think when you saw the recent demonstrations by the monks there in Myanmar, demonstrations that were put down quite severely by the military with the imprisonment of, well, reports of thousands?
Mr. RABINOWITZ: Well, I wasn’t there so I really didn’t see anything firsthand. How it was handled by the government is something I actually can’t speak to because I’ve heard different reports. My own people in Yangon tell me that the crowds were not nearly as large as the media reported, that the shooting was not nearly as intense. But I don’t know what’s true and what’s not true.
CHADWICK: You know, Alan, some people listening to this would say right there Alan Rabinowitz is crossing the line.
Mr. RABINOWITZ: I know. I thought that as I was saying it.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CHADWICK: He is saying I don’t know what’s going on there when we have reports and videotape of people being shot and we have many reports of people being imprisoned, and how can you not know?
Mr. RABINOWITZ: How can I not know - you do not have videotape of many people being shot. There’s no videotape of many people getting shot there. There’s videotape of a Japanese reporter getting shot. This is what I get very disturbed about, is that when it comes to Myanmar, people seem to want to deal in a lot of rhetoric, in a lot of pre-conceived notions rather than pure facts.
Yes, this government is not the nicest government in the world, but what I have seen in that country doesn’t match up with what the media tries to portray is happening in that country. And I don’t quite understand why people love to hate Myanmar. I’m not an apologist for them. If anybody reads my books, they see that I talk very strongly about some of the bad things which are occurring in that country. But I balance everything. We’re talking about what - what’s happening that’s good and what’s happening that’s bad. And the government seems to respect that kind of balanced honesty.
CHADWICK: Alan Rabinowitz of the Wildlife Conservation Society based in New York. He's the author of "Life in the Valley of Death."
Alan, thank you.
Mr. RABINOWITZ: Thank you, Alex.
I haven’t cut this or changed anything. This is clipped directly from NPR’s transcript of the interview. I’m just surprised that they still have it available online. I would not have been surprised if they had “disappeared” it the same way France 2 has disappeared several minutes of the rushes in the al Durah affair. Chadwick has no answers, no facts, and no further discussion. NPR wants you to believe that they are the ones who know The Truth but you have to just believe it. When his assertions fail to bully Rabinowitz into agreeing that Myanmar should be a pariah to the extent that even the tigers should suffer, the interview is over.
Some might argue, “What’s the difference?” we know that Myanmar’s government is a dictatorship, why should what Alex Chadwick says in this interview concern us?” To them I would say:
Look at the history of what this kind of journalism has done in recent years. Look at the one-sided lies, misrepresentations and hysteria whipped up against the Serbs (not that the Serbs were angels- but they were no worse than the KLA) and the resulting bombings and military actions.
Consider the abandonment of Vietnam and Cambodia to chaos and mass murder in the wake of the discrediting of the Vietnam War.
Most of all, think about the harm still being done today by the tidal wave of blood loosed by the al Durah affair.
These are all cases in which the media has sacrificed honesty and responsibility for activist aims. They have all ended in vastly increased suffering and tragedy.
Printing or broadcasting news that is not factual in pursuit of activist goals is a particular hallmark of the leftist media. Back in September I wrote this :
Yellow Press was born as an outgrowth of Joseph Pulitzer’s vision as a publisher that, in contrast to the generally accepted ideal of impartial journalistic integrity, journalism should be used to as a vehicle of social change. As Wikipedia has it “Pulitzer believed that newspapers were public institutions with a duty to improve society, and he put (his newspaper) The World in the service of social reform.” Of course social reform is one of the early code words for what we today call progressivism and which is, in reality prototypical socialism. Pulitzer was then, as the newspaper establishment in the U.S. is still (with some exceptions) a left-leaning, self-righteous band of socialistic sympathizers.
It is interesting that the film Network identified this danger but didn’t get the source of the threat quite right.
Here is a clip of the “other” (other than “I’m mad as hell..”, that is) great rant in that film.
It’s not the corporations that are the threat, it is the people who think they know the truth. The reporters and the faceless editors and directors who, when they “present” and repackage reality so that it will “improve society”, are presuming to help us. They are elitists and tyrants of the worst kind.
Neo ends her post with this:
“A bunch of unrelated pieces of information that had previously seemed disconnected and chaotic had suddenly fallen into place like the pieces of a puzzle and formed an image I could now read.
This image said: beware the press with an agenda. Some elements of the press seem to have had one then. Perhaps they had one now, as well.
And I found, to my surprise, that the agenda appeared to be substantially the same: to magnify our wrongdoings and those of our allies, to downplay those of the enemy, to simplify matters that were really complex, and to sensationalize.”
The bottom line is that when honesty and responsibility are sacrificed, only the worst elements win. It never serves the purposes of what is right to lie and deceive. Transparent, honest and responsible media would not behave this way.
If we can't have transparent media, we have to find a way to see through the media we have. The first step is to learn to see the way they bully and manipulate us as Neo has here- but there is more.
In my next post, I will go beyond this realization. We have to free our language of false politeness; we can no longer mince words. We have to unshackle our minds from the bonds of Political Correctness and find our voice and our defense before it is too late.