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Enabling national deceptions and perpetual warfare

Failing to recognize their own unprecedented actions, partisan appendages of the mainstream American free press shamelessly double down on deceptive political coverage, thereby seizing reality, empowering elitist hypocrisy and worsening a largely manufactured national division.

Discrediting President Joe Biden’s internationally published mid-April announcement to withdraw all U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, an explosive article from Max Blumenthal’s bold independent newsgathering organization, The Gray Zone, indicates the war is not ending but simply getting a soft reboot. 

“As of January, more than 18,000 contractors remained in Afghanistan, according to a Defense Department report, when official troop totals had been reduced to 2,500. These totals reflect the U.S. government’s strategy of outsourcing war to the benefit of private mercenary corporations, and as a means of distancing the war from the public and averting dissent,” according to the recently published article.  

Made public in January 2021, the aforementioned Defense Department report highlights many unpleasant realities, all of which deprive the president’s ambitiously progressive announcement of its true weight in meaning. Even if all troops are formally withdrawn from Afghanistan, the U.S. presence in the region will remain fairly unaltered, considering what a recently published  New York Times article described as a “shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations Forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives” left in place.

Currently, the Pentagon employs seven contractors for every service member stationed in Afghanistan. According to the same Gray Zone article, “Most of the mercenaries are ex-military veterans, though a percentage of them are third-country nationals who are paid meager wages to perform menial duties for the military.” 

Shocking many after a controversial appearance on MSNBC’s political talk show, “Morning Joe,” in 2018, Columbia University Professor Jeffery Sachs shed some invaluable light on the unpleasant reality of America’s Middle Eastern war on terror. 

“I think we need to step back and not put this in partisan terms,” Sachs said on-air. “This is a U.S. mistake that started seven years ago. … What we should do now is get out, and not continue to throw missiles. Not have a confrontation with Russia. Seven years has been a disaster, under Obama and continued under Trump. This is what I would call the ‘Permanent State.’ This is the CIA, this is the Pentagon wanting to keep Iran and Russia out of Syria, but we have no way to do that. And so we have made a proxy war in Syria. It has killed 500,000 people, displaced ten million. …  And so what I would plead to President Trump is: Get out, like your instinct told you, by the way. That was his instinct. But then all the establishment, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Pentagon said no, no that’s irresponsible.”

Recently accepting an invitation to appear on BBC’s live political talk show, “Newsnight,” Sachs was led to believe the on-air discussion would mainly entail the Biden administration’s actions on climate change, but instead began with a nearly five-minute-long video emphasizing China’s human rights abuses. After asking if the U.S.’s executive decision on working with China is an effective Biden admin strategy, the interviewer unknowingly spawned a reaction from the economist similar to the one on “Morning Joe,” over three years ago. 

Caught off guard, Sachs candidly responded, saying “I’m not sure why BBC started with listing only China’s human rights abuses. What about America’s human rights abuses? The Iraq war, (fought) together with the U.K., completely illegal and under false pretenses.” 

Sachs subsequently mentioned the wars in Syria and Libya, the continued sanctions against civilian populations in Venezuela and Iran, as well as unilateral trade actions that have been deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization.

Later in the interview, Sachs unapologetically stated on live television, “I find this discussion absolutely bizarre. Shall we talk about the U.S. dropping bombs and flying U.S. warplanes over Yemen, creating mass destruction right now? Shall we talk about how many have died in Iraq, because of the U.S.’ illegal actions? … This is such a strange framing, of course, China abides by treaties. The United States walked out of most of the treaties recently.” 

First airing on April 16, 2021, this interview is the subject of virtually no attention in the mainstream U.S. news cycle. Formal dissent against the U.S. and its ongoing abuse of powers at home or abroad is often absent from national news publications and broadcasts, a move that is entirely by design and worse, indicative of an intentionally dishonest free press.

During a March 2002 interview conducted by Harry Kreisler at UC Berkeley, pioneering linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky discusses this common industry practice, which he and Edward Herman more extensively cover in their co-authored book, “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.” In the interview, Chomsky breaks down the structure of the news production system, which he argues, deprives one’s ability to produce any form of substantial evidence. This common practice even possesses an industry-standard name, one the scholar claims he learned from Jeff Greenfield, the former producer of ‘Nightline.’ 

Recalling an obscure interview with Greenfield, from years prior, Chomsky says, “It’s called ‘concision.’ He was asked in an interview somewhere why they didn’t have me on ‘Nightline,’ and his answer was … ‘He lacks concision.’  Expressing personal agreement with the producer’s statement, the linguist explains, “The kinds of things that I would say on ‘Nightline,’ you can’t say in one sentence because they depart from standard religion. If you want to repeat the religion, you can get away with it between two commercials. If you want to say something that questions the religion, you’re expected to give evidence, and that you can’t do between two commercials. So, therefore, you lack concision, so therefore, you can’t talk.” Concluding the interview’s focus on American media’s political concision, Chomsky asserts, “I think that’s a terrific technique of propaganda. To impose concision is a way of virtually guaranteeing that the party line gets repeated over and over again, and that nothing else is heard.”

Initially published by the New York Times in June 2020, a shocking story alleging that former President Donald Trump willingly allowed U.S. bloodshed, as members of the Taliban capitalized on Russian bounties placed on the lives of U.S. troops. This story was endlessly echoed as a factual bombshell, throughout numerous major bodies of U.S. journalism. Dismissing the story as “fake news,” Trump still faced crucial attacks from then-candidate Biden, while on the campaign trail.

“It’s a truly shocking revelation that if the Times report is true, I emphasize again, is that President Trump, the Commander-In-Chief of American troops serving in a dangerous theater of war, has known about this for months, according to the times and done nothing. … His entire presidency is a gift to Putin,” Biden told those watching his virtual town hall, on July 27, 2020. 

Backtracking the bold intelligence claims, which CNN’s Brian Stelter previously called “stunning,” White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki told reporters at a recent press briefing that the intelligence community determined it possessed “low to moderate confidence” in the bombshell claims. Now, Biden plans on keeping Trump’s appointed ambassador to Russia, which along with the mind-numbing Russian collusion narrative, serve as testaments to the unpleasant reality of American journalism’s ongoing decay and corporate enslavement. Like most institutions, the free press suffers from the decaying effects of age, economy and ownership, tragically allowing corporate, or, pro-power interests to infest and gradually consume many of the once venerated bodies of news. 

Despite a prevailing disdain for the previous Trump administration, the brash former president was entirely correct in predicting mainstream media’s decline following his White House vacancy. “Another reason I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not here, because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes,” the former president said during an intimate interview with The New York Times, conducted at his West Palm Beach golf club, in 2017. According to a recent article from Forbes, “In the key demo, Fox News had the largest primetime audience, 368,000 viewers – 45% from one year ago. CNN took second-place in prime, with 276,000 viewers but had the largest year-over-year decline, down 52%. MSNBC finished third with 227,000 viewers, down 32%.”

Moving forward, Americans must recognize the severity of corrupted national journalism before proving too late. Asking how elites control a news corporation like the Washington Post, ABC, MSNBC or CNN is no different than asking how they control Amazon, Disney, General Electric or AT&T. These are some of the world’s most powerful multinational corporations and like other companies, large or small, their primary aim is maximizing profitability. 

Streaming live from Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics on October 14, 2016, Lois Romero, a longtime political correspondent for the Washington Post, interviewed Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN. Romero bluntly asked Zucker “Did you put the (Trump) rallies on because they were of news value, or because they were driving ratings?” After two “uh’s” and almost twenty seconds later, following some laughter from the audience, Zucker responded, claiming, “There wasn’t a mandate that said, ‘hey put this on, because it’s going to get the rating. It was much more, ‘Hey, we should cover that, because who knows what he’s going to do this time, or who knows what he’s going to say?’ Now, the fact that it attracted audiences and ratings, certainly didn’t hurt the thinking.” 

Independent media outlets such as, “The Daily Wire,” “Breitbart,” or “Secular Talk,” as well as a mounting number of others are slowly, but surely slicing away at traditional news media. Several of these networks are, however, proving equally, if not more partisan in their political coverage than current reigning cable news champions. Some independent news organizations are even financed by political parties, or increasingly politically-inclined corporate powerhouses, like Google, or Amazon. For instance, “The Young Turks” is one of the largest distributors of Progressive content on YouTube and according to a 2020 report from Axios, “is receiving funding from Google-owned, YouTube.” 

Nonetheless, many more simply operate as independent voices, each offering up their own political commentary to the world. Impending threats of censorship are becoming less and less hypothetical, consequently jeopardizing these individual voices and their reach of broadcast. In a recent countermeasure taken against “dislike mobs”, YouTube announced that it’s currently experimenting with hiding the platform’s publically displayed number of dislikes, according to an article from THE VERGE.

Speaking decisively at the recently held World Economic Forum Global Technology Governance Summit, YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki discussed the platforms’ currently functioning algorithms and censorship. “Unfortunately,” Wojcicki said, “It’s much easier to just make up content and post it from your basement than it is to actually go to the site and have high quality journalistic reporting. … So, we want to enable ‘citizen journalism’ to be able to report and other people to be able to share information and new channels, but when we’re dealing with a sensitive topic, we have to have that information coming from authoritative sources, so that the right and accurate information is viewed by our users first.”

Americans can’t expect honesty, decency, or even adequacy from their elected officials until the free press tasked with relaying factual accounts of national issues pertaining to the public, are effectively held to the same demanding set of enforceable standards. Propaganda’s role in American politics will only worsen unless the masses of the governed effectively confront today’s increasingly capable minority of elites and their expanding set of monopolies on search, privacy and truth.

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