Thursday, December 01, 2005

The free press and imperialism.

"U.S. Army officers have been secretly paying Iraqi journalists to produce upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about American military operations and the conduct of the war in Iraq."

"The military's effort to disseminate propaganda in the Iraqi media is taking place even as U.S. officials are pledging to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech in a country emerging from decades of dictatorship and corruption. It comes as the State Department is training Iraqi reporters in basic journalism skills and Western media ethics, including one workshop titled "The Role of Press in a Democratic Society." Standards vary widely at Iraqi newspapers, many of which are shoestring operations"

The banal but horrifying truth, that this imperialist adventure would engage in deceit and lies, that it would seek to pacify an occupied country through the media (as useful an unconventional weapon as white phosphorus) of course must be framed in the ‘free’ press as some sort of contradiction: the press in Iraq is being ‘perverted’ by the military. Cue outrage.

Of course, there is every reason to be outraged by this, to be angered by this vicous bamboozle, to print it on pages, on screens, to talk about of how fucking despicable our institutions of occupation are. But what does this narrative about these press articles, this story about a story, tell us as consumers of the ‘free’ press, consumers safely inside the borderlands of empire? That we are outiside of the information being shaped by imperialist interest? What agendas are met by reporting this as some sort of perversion, of pretending this present order is just a momentary corruption of a just system as it overextends itself?

“Freedom of the press” is another of the principal slogans of “pure democracy”. And here, too, the workers know — and Socialists everywhere have explained millions of times —that this freedom is a deception because the best printing presses and the biggest stocks of paper are appropriated by the capitalists, and while capitalist rule over the press remains—a rule that is manifested throughout the whole world all the more strikingly, sharply and cynically—the more democracy and the republican system are developed, as in America for example. The first thing to do to win really equality and genuine democracy for the working people, for the workers and peasants, is to deprive capital of the possibility of hiring writers, buying publishing houses and bribing newspapers. And to do that the capitalists and exploiters have to be overthrown and their resistance oppressed. The capitalists have always use the term “freedom” to mean freedom for the rich to get richer and for the workers to starve to death. And capitalist usage, freedom of the press means freedom of the rich to bribe the press, freedom to use their wealth to shape and fabricate so-called public opinion. In this respect, too, the defenders of “pure democracy” prove to be defenders of an utterly foul and venal system that gives the rich control over the mass media. They prove to be deceivers of the people, who, with the aid of plausible, fine-sounding, but thoroughly false phrases, divert them from the concrete historical task of liberating the press from capitalist enslavement."


Canadian journalists 'train' Haitians in the midst of massacres they don't report.

Fifteen years after the Oka Crisis, Canadian colonialism continues in Kanesetake.

Defenders of a free press and war criminals:


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