No Accountability by the Press
The Press or the popular media have a critical role to play in a democracy, to hold the political leaders accountable for their actions. During the election cycle, the press should hold the candidates accountable for their claims or goals, to help reveal lies or misdeeds so only the most ethical candidates get into office, so the representatives are responsive to their citizens and are responsible for their actions. At this time (2015) the popular media no longer fulfill that role. The mainstream media now just repeat the government story lines, rather than holding the government accountable to the citizens, and the outlets no longer do investigative journalism. There is a term commonly used for the mainstream press: the presstitute media.
There are a number of very appalling recent examples of the press parroting the government line.
America recently witnessed the show trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of the bombing at the end of the Boston Marathon in 2014. Though Dzhokhar pleaded not guilty to all charges and did not speak during the trial, the defense at the start of the trail claimed he was guilty and he was under the influence of his brother. The defense never challenged any of the claims or evidence of the prosecution - the trial was just for a show, to complete the story defined by the government. On one very simple piece of evidence, the case should have been thrown out before going to trial. The FBI had the clear evidence that the terrorist's backpack, to carry the pressure cooker bomb, was large, heavy, and dark colored. Neither of the Tsarneav brothers were carrying such a backpack; their packs were lighter in color and too small to carry this pressure cooker. However there are pictures of at least one person from Craft International, a private paramilitary security contractor spotted at the scene, carrying a large dark backpack just as described by the FBI. As the brothers were carrying the wrong backpack there should have been sufficient doubt in the claims by the prosecution - but the defense attorney provided absolutely no defense. Many reported a bomb drill was being conducted at the very time of the actual bombing - but this coincidence was never mentioned in the trial. There were stories of the older Tsarnaev brother being an FBI informant - and again this was never mentioned in the trial.
Perhaps Judy Clarke was not inclined to pursue a strong defense having noted the earlier prosecution of Lynne Stewart for providing a strong defense for a person charged with a terrorism charge - Lynne was herself charged and sentenced to jail. This Stewart case was taken as a clear sign the US government did not want lawyers to provide a good defense for anyone charged with something claimed to be related to terrorism.
Not only was there no analysis of the evidence during the Tsarnaev trial, but there was no analysis provided by the popular media either. The press just repeated the government line that Tsarnaev was guilty, even though the critical proof was lacking.
The web site whowhatwhy has provided much analysis of this important case, but the main media outlets will not.
Dzhokhar's brother Tamerlan was killed by police after a chase. Ibrahim Todashev, a friend of Tamerlan, was also killed while in FBI custody. Dzhokhar was also shot but survived - when 126 shots fired into the boat he was in somehow failed to kill him. These incidents make it appear as though all involved in the government storyline were intended to die shortly after the bombing (just like happened to Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963?).
During the search for Dzhokhar, part of the Boston area was put under martial law, with the local citizens terrorized by military personnel. This tactic should not be allowed in a free society, but now it is quite clear Americans live in a culture dominated by police (well armed, with training to deal with citizens under a military occupation) suppressing dissent and harassing minorities.
A mechanism of accountability allows abuses to be confronted and then with that critical review those abuses can be prevented from happening again. Just as a murderer is sought to prevent more murders, government abuse must also be confronted. In the case of this show trial, the popular press has abdicated its role of overview. The government is not held accountable for such a travesty of justice.
Another case of no oversight by the press is the recent aircraft (2014) downing in Ukraine. Independent journalists have found there were bullet holes in the side of the fuselage at the pilot, so the plane was brought down by a Ukraine fighter jet. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed he had an 'enormous array of facts' proving Russian supported rebels brought down the plane. Unfortunately the popular press never held Kerry accountable for such claims. No such proof has ever been provided by Kerry (just as with earlier wrong claims in Syria) and yet the press continues to maintain the US government line that Russia was somehow involved in this plane crash despite there being no evidence of that claim.
The current presidential campaign has another appalling story dominated by propaganda. Putin is often maligned in the press for Russia's interference in Ukraine even though Americans overthrew its elected government and replaced it with a group dominated by neo-Nazis, to take advantage of their hatred of Russians to disrupt the context for the Ukraine-Russian relations, with an additional goal in the removal of the Russian naval port on the Black Sea but this last goal was thwarted when the local population of mostly ethnic Russians chose to secede from Ukraine rather than being governed by the neo-Nazi anti-Russian regime.
The government line in the past year has been to push fear mongering stories about ISIS, even using the same headlines and story lines as used for the fear mongering about Al Qaeda only a few years ago. Americans created Al Qaeda (used for disrupting the Russians in Afghanistan, then for regime change in Libya) and then Americans rebranded the group as ISIS to bring about the regime change in Syria. American claims about its attacks on ISIS are usually attacks on Syrian targets. Turkish claims about its attacks on ISIS are usually attacks on Kurkish targets. ISIS is being used as the cover for bringing about the destruction of the Syrian state, and to remove the Russian naval port in Syria, as America seeks to destabilize yet another country that does not succumb to the political demands of America, like the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hussein in Iraq, Qaddafi in Libya (or Hernandez in Honduras, or Aristide in Haiti). The mainstream media never publicly question these government claims and actions.
Iran is another prominent issue in the Presidential campaign. In fact, Iran has no nuclear weapons and lacks even a nuclear weapons program. Perhaps it should have them given Israel already has quite a stockpile of such weapons, in addition to the many other sophisticated weapon systems provided by America.
However, fear mongering about the threat of Iran in the Middle East is continuous in this campaign, and many of the Republican candidates are quite vocal about their intent to be very aggressive toward Iran, frequently with comments about the (nonexistent) Iran nuclear weapons program deceit, where Walker is ready to attack Iran right after being elected President. Those seeking the leadership of the American global empire apparently need to demonstrate their lack of morals, to show their match for the position.
The press never calls out these candidates for their lies about Iran. War is the primary foreign policy mechanism in the current political play book and the press is not willing to deter those candidates following that plan.
On September 20, 2001, just 9 days after the terror on 9/11, a letter was sent to President Bush directing him to put pressure on Iran and Syria from providing any help to any groups opposing Israel (which is forever busy in its genocide of the Palestinians). If Iran and Syria do not cooperate then 'appropriate measures of retaliation' should be taken. That expressed goal for Middle East policy in 2001 still seems to drive our military ambitions in the region. America has had plans for many years to destabilize a number of countries in the Middle East. Clearly Iran and Syria are the immediate targets for this disruption.
The relentless propaganda about the dangers of ISIS has worn down Americans reluctant to oppose military action. A number of recent polls (here, here, here) find a majority of Americans in favor of military action against ISIS. Even though everyone should recognize these are the same outrageous claims as for Al Qaeda just a few years ago, the big lie tactic is still effective, 90 years later.
The American public, when relying on the major media outlets, is never being told the truth about American support for ISIS so their opinions on how American leaders should deal with ISIS are based on that misinformation. Based on these polls, the US government could claim their military aggression in the Middle East has the backing of the majority of Americans, even though such aggression is counter to the Nuremburg judgment principles.
From the Nuremburg judgment in 1946 (page 25 of the pdf):
War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent States alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
It is profoundly disturbing to have a number of political leaders publicly express their wish to attack Iran, though Iran poses no threat to American citizens. The heinous crime Iran is charged with is its reluctance to conform to American political demands. These candidates for the Presidency are clearly stating their determination to commit a war crime (by waging an unprovoked war of aggression), and the mainstream press will not reveal that detail.
Only 6 corporations control 90% of the media in America. Whenever there is such concentration of power, abuses of that power will typically follow. (Absolute power corrupts absolutely.)
For many years and even now, the CIA is actively involved in the major media, dating back to Operation Mockingbird begun shortly after WW2. A number of articles are available online about this relationship (here, here).
The American popular media outlets do not hold the political leaders nor the American government agencies accountable for their bad actions and behaviors. In this vacuum, it is impossible for the electorate to hold their elected leaders accountable when they do not behave in the interests of the American public.
The American political system has degraded into an oligarchy, with policy outcomes driven by the interests of the economic elites, not by the majority of Americans. The American economic system is now dominated by corporatism, even though pundits like to claim different political reforms reek of socialism, as if the smear immediately makes such political reforms ridiculous, and therefore the proposed reforms should be ignored. Corporatism can be simply defined as the union of big government with big business, to the detriment of most citizens.
Our presstitute media no longer serves the public but instead is just a mechanism for the distribution of propaganda. This situation is bad for American citizens, who are uninformed about their corrupt political and economic system. This is also very bad for the world as the American global military empire (over 700 military bases spread among more than 60 countries; American special forces active in over 60 countries) is capable of disrupting so many countries over the world just at the whim of American leaders.
Unfortunately the hubris in the ruling elite means the corruption within this American empire will not collapse elegantly - but rather its decline appears destined to bring much misery on the rest of the world. Instead of an active Fourth Estate performing its critical role in a democracy, Americans must rely on independent media to seek the truth behind current events, an exercise not easy with the wealth of misinformation promulgated on the internet.
America needs active investigative journalists to provide public accountability on the government actions and agencies, and on the political candidates. The mainstream media, those outlets directly available to most citizens, will not provide that mechanism. This lack of accountability means our democratic form of government is not effective for most citizens.
created - September 4, 2015
last change - 09/05/2015
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