If ever sanity returns to public discourse in whatever then remains of the United States, or when inevitably a competent historian from another country examines the decline and fall of our country, the media will be exposed in all their villainy.
Evidence of their betrayal of democracy is readily available even now, if you look beyond corporate-controlled outlets and seek out the testimony of whistle-blowers, honest analysts and a few other truth-tellers.
Our London correspondent, the distinguished author and ex-patriate onetime American journalist Gerald Mayer, recently observed: "When I was a youngster I thought myself unbelievably blessed to have found a place for myself in the newspaper game, where the mission was 'to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.' Today I don't think I would consider it as a possible career. Gone gone gone."
'Tis a ubiquitous sentiment among fellow formerjournalists of my generation, whose number of distinguished contemporary comforters and afflicters is far too great to list here. Why their kind of journalism is gone gone gone probably begins at the top. From Punch Sulzberger to Pinch. From Kay Graham to Donnie Graham. From Otis Chandler to Corn Flakes. From Jack Knight to Tony Ridder to oblivion. From Joe Pulitzer to Joe Bftsplk. From CBS News to Fox Fiction. Rupert Murdoch rupert murdoch rupert murdoch.
With rare and sometimes dramatic exceptions, today's media barons have oiled their way across the spectrum from comforters of the afflicted and afflicters of the comfortable to unmitigated Unholy Alliance with the Complex of Greed, Wealth and Power that now governs what once were the great English-speaking democracies. One hardly expects that evil will be exposed by those who are party to it and profit from it.
Dan Rather, who was White House correspondent for CBS News when it still honored the legacy of Fred Friendly and Edward R. Murrow, got sucked up to higher ground just as CBS was moving into the Great Ruling Corporatocracy. The unworthy heir to Walter Cronkite gave us a frightening metaphor for what happens to those who still try to practice the old time religion in today's version of journalism: they get "necklaced" with gasoline-filled burning tires.
Where once, for example, we had the likes of Meyer Berger and Harrison Salisbury, we have more recently been handed the likes of Jayson Blair and Judith Miller. Bill Keller, like Rather, was once an able reporter but was anointed to power in the New Era; hence his Iscariotan betrayal of Julian Assange, but only after his tenure as editor had reached its journalistic apogee thanks to WikiLeaks. This, alas, at a place supposed to be the paragon of our media!
No wonder there is no place in the mainstream any longer for such as Chris Hedges and Sy Hersh. Better to pass off the likes of Ross Douthat, Charles Gibson and Bill O'Reilly as journalists, instead.
One of the real journalists of my generation alerted me today to the fact that an important documentary film is now available on the World Wide Web. The War You Don't See, produced and directed by John Pilger, was effectively banned from United States theaters and television last year.
Now, if you hurry to http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/war-you-dont-see/ before it's censored again, you can view this deft and chilling indictment of the propaganda role the British and U.S. media played in cheerleading the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It includes a series of interviews in which Pilger confronts British and American journalists (including Dan Rather) and news executives regarding their failure to give air time to weapons inspectors and intelligence analysts who were publicly challenging the excuses for these wars.
Viewing the film may convince you, as it did me and many others, that the real reason it was banned here is Pilger's sympathetic treatment of Assange. In a brief interview with Pilger, Assange condemns the failure of democratic governments to even attempt to control what Dwight David Eisenhower called the military industrial complex. Assange says the "complex" is a network of thousands of players (government employees and contractors and defense lobbyists) who make major policy decisions in their own self-interest sort of in loco parentis for government.
I call it a corporatocracy that really is government. But that's epistemological quibbling.
Truth sets us free; lies enslave us. Given the present state of American media, we are compelled to seek and sift most resolutely for truth, and cherish it where we find it: