Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999.
Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a war of independence. So we have history being rewritten. This is in an Associated Press article by AP reporter Nebi Qena.
Moreover, a standard brainwashing paragraph must appear in every news account from Kosovo. The new brainwashing paragraph is: Kosovo is recognized by such and such number of countries including the US. Is this something out of George Orwell’s 1984 (1949)? It is much more subtle and sophisticated than anything in 1984.
The media is not merely changing the wording or engaging in semantics. InLibya, a humanitarian no-fly zone ostensibly to protect civilians becomes a military overthrow of a legal and legitimate government, a regime change. In Yugoslaviain 1999, a humanitarian intervention to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing becomes a war of independence. This is not just changing the wording. This is a total and complete rewriting of history. Like in psychology, in journalism there are no accidents or mistakes. These accidents are systematic, planned, and organized. The media are not incompetent. They are well-paid, well-organized, and knowledgeable.
The way this systemic pattern of spin or manipulation evades analysis is because the assumption is that in Western democracies, there is a “free press”, there is a neutral, independent, unbiased media. Propaganda and state-run and state-controlled media, however, have always been a hallmark of Western journalism. In 1984, George Orwell wrote a satire and parody of the British Ministry of Information (MOI) in 1948 based on his experiences as a broadcaster working for the BBC during World War II. The Ministry of Information became the Ministry of Truth in 1984. Most people think he was writing about the future or about the USSR but he was writing about British propaganda and the British government’s control of the media during World War II. To be sure Orwell was satirizing the Soviet system, but what most miss is that he was also satirizing British or Western media. British propaganda is similar to American or Western propaganda in general.
On December 12, 2010, a report by Dick Marty to the Council of Europe was released to the media that accused Hacim Thaci of being the leader of a group that harvested the organs from Serbian prisoners during the Albanian secessionist war in 1999. The report made headlines across the world but was suppressed and censored in the United States. The report received scant if any attention in the U.S. But if the media role in the U.S. and the West is to report on vital and major news, why was this major story suppressed and ignored? This presented a vital humanitarian issue. Serbian civilians were abducted, held captive, and then murdered for their organs, which were harvested and sent to customers in Istanbul, Turkey. This is a bombshell. This is a major story. But it was suppressed in the U.S. Why?
The media in the U.S. reports what the U.S. government tells it to report, or allows it to report. This is especially true with regard to foreign policy issues. In foreign policy matters, the U.S. media only reports what the U.S. government tells it to report. With regard to Kosovo, any news reporting is meticulously controlled and filtered by the U.S. government. The media did not report on the organ harvesting story because the U.S. government did not want them to. The U.S. media, and so-called Western media in general, is not very different from state-controlled or state-run media that the U.S. government always rails against. The U.S. State Department tells the media what to report and when and how often. It is as simple as that. Even bombshells and major news stories that shatter our perceptions and assumptions are reported only if the U.S. government wants them to be covered. And the Kosovo organ harvesting story was one the U.S. government wanted suppressed and not given any media coverage. That is the end of the story.
The biggest fallacy is that the media are incompetent and that they make mistakes and cannot understand the news. The opposite is true. One need only analyze the US and Western media coverage of Kosovo. It is easy to notice that a brainwashing paragraph occurs in every news account from Kosovo. Such and such number of countries have recognized Kosovo. That is hardly an accident or factual mistake or incompetence. And, moreover, the whole conceptual framework of the 1999 Kosovo conflict is changed. Now it is merely a war of independence, a secessionist conflict. Far from being accidental, the media goal here is to control how and what you think.
Libya is about “regime change”, overthrowing the government of a sovereign country. The issue here is international law and sovereignty. Britain, France, and the US are violating international law and the sovereignty of a UN member state. These are acts of war. Libya is not about humanitarianism or human rights. Libya is about overthrowing a legal government and installing a new one by force, by military means, by war. That is called “regime change” in the US foreign policy lexicon.
The US and Western media, however, will not reveal that Libya is not about “humanitarian intervention” but about “regime change”. Why are Britain, France, and the US violating international law and Libyan sovereignty?
There is a cost or price. One casualty is the US economy. Another casualty is societal, the dehumanization and desensitization of the American people, who become mindless, amoral, robotic autobots watching the mass murder of civilians as video game entertainment. The media will not show what is happening. There is a self-imposed censorship. We are basically choosing to delude ourselves and brainwash ourselves. No one is forcing us. We acquiesce. We agree to be self-deluded and brainwashed. Assassinating foreign leaders becomes a form of entertainment. Overthrowing legal governments becomes a sport.
Muammar Gaddafi has been the legitimate and legal leader of Libya for 41 years, since 1969. Gaddafi overthrew and abolished a monarchy in 1969 and established a secular republic. The new Libyan rebel regime, by contrast, seeks to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law. Many of the Libyan rebel leaders are linked to Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorist groups. Why overthrow him now, in 2011? Why do “regime change” now? Did Gaddafi not guarantee certain rights for his people only now? Or did the US and NATO see an opportunity for regime change now?
Every government has the inherent right to prevent its overthrow and to punish treason. The Libyan conflict is about overthrowing Gaddafi because the US wants a more pliant and servile regime. NATO and US bombing has killed more Libyan civilians than Gaddafi did. This is classic US “regime change”. It is the overthrow of a legal and legitimate government based on a bogus humanitarian rationale.
In media reporting on the Serbian majority area of Kosovska Mitrovica, the media avoid the obvious term Serbian “majority”. They have to come up with rather awkward and tortured terminology such as “Serb-populated” and “Serb-dominated” northern Kosovo. Why not just use the more obvious and more natural terms here? Why not say that northern Kosovo is a Serbian “majority” region or district?
In the “free world”, the media and the press are all corporate actors. In other words, they are businesses. The objective is not to be objective and balanced and factual, but to make money. They look to a profit margin. The bottom line is: The media is in it to make money. They report the “news” in a way that ensures that they maximize their profits. It makes perfect business sense.
Who controls the media? There are many news agencies and services in the world. But the “Big Four” news agencies—United Press International, Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse—provide over 90 per cent of foreign news printed by the world’s newspapers. AFP is French and based in Paris. Reuters is British and based in London. AP and UPI are American and based in New York. What is remarkable is that each has areas that they cover that correspond to spheres of influence, regions that were former imperial or colonial spheres of domination. AFP is dominant throughout French speaking Africain former colonial possessions. Likewise, British Reuters is dominant in the English-speaking Commonwealth countries, countries which were colonies of Great Britain. US agencies AP and UPI dominate in Latin America and in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, former US colonies and occupied areas of Asia under US control in the post World War II period.
What are some of the ways in which news agencies control the news? Embeds are editorial sentences or paragraphs that appear in every news account during a conflict. Embeds are brainwashing editorials that tell the reader how they must think about an issue. Embeds are a technique of mind-control, thought-control, government-control of public perception, a subtle form of persuasion or spin. Embed “messages” appeared gratuitously, consistently, systematically, and uniformly in all news accounts during the Kosovo conflict and after. Embeds are the government watching over your shoulder to see that you are thinking the correct thoughts, that you think like everyone else does or should in the Western democracies, the “free world”.
Who is the hidden persuader behind the embeds? Embeds are created by governments: In the Kosovo scenario, the US government, the British and French governments, and the other NATO governments. But how do they get in the media?
News is a business. A news agency is an organization that gathers and disseminates information or news for clients, subscribers, news networks, banks, governments, newspapers, and magazines. There are hundreds of news agencies in the world, but over 90% of all the news is by the Big Four. This is why there is no diversity of views in the news, why there is no marketplace of ideas, no debate. There is monopolistic control of the media.
The governments, economic and financial institutions, media outlets, political institutions of the three countries where the agencies are based, are intertwined and overlap in a symbiotic relationship. All are members of NATO. All are members of the same international economic, political, military, social organizations, groups, and alliances. For all practical purposes, their interests are the same.
Moreover, AFP is essentially government-run and government-controlled media, state-run media. The French government subsidizes AFP and representatives of the French government make policy decisions in the agency. AFP functions exactly like TASS, the former Soviet news agency, both being state-run media. The only difference is that very few people who read AFP realize this fact. AFP is part of the “free world” or the “West” so the automatic assumption is that it is independent.
Similarly, US media can function as state-run or government-controlled media. During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, for example, Pentagon psyop specialists routinely worked on the staffs of major news outlets, such as CNN. The AP and Reuters are publicly owned corporate conglomerates with a monopoly on information dissemination. AP and Reuters are part of the capitalist or globalist economy and “free” market system, they are corporate actors in the marketplace themselves. There is a conflict of interest. This is, however, never revealed.
AP and Reuters thus have an economic or financial stake in the information being disseminated. They will always spin doctor or manipulate the news to advance their own economic or financial interests. How is this done?
AFP, AP, and Reuters invariably manipulate information to benefit their respective parent governments. This fact is essential in understanding the media role in Kosovo, Bosnia, Krajina, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now in Libya, and potentially new conflicts in the future. Their subsidiary role is to maintain and foster information favorable to capitalist or globalist corporate interests, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), “humanitarian” and “human rights” front groups for the respective governments, the Open Society Institutes of George Soros, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and other Western corporate conglomerates, organizations, and groups. But the primary role of the news agencies, AFP, Reuters, AP, UPI, is to support and foster the foreign policies and interventionist agendas of their respective governments. For all intents and purposes, the Western news media are government-run and government-controlled. The interests of the media and their governments are the same, the relationship is a symbiotic one, where each benefits from the other.
The Big Four are a monopoly. This explains why the news is uniform, monolithic, consistent, presenting a single propaganda or Party line not much different than Soviet-style media. The four major news agencies are market actors, part of the economic, financial, and political framework of globalist or capitalist free market systems. They have an interest and stake in the market. They cannot be unbiased and neutral actors. This would amount to economic suicide and bankruptcy. This is why news reports contain embeds, planting, oversimplification techniques, and inclusion/exclusion techniques of condensation/abridgement. This is why there is systematic and planned bias, advocacy journalism, and handout journalism. The news agencies are businesses, corporate actors that have a stake in the market and symbiotic relationships with their respective governments.
Originally published on 2011-09-13
Author: Carl Savich
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