In response to former White House press secretary’s Scott McClellan’s revelations, veteran news anchor Tom Brokaw said “all wars are based on propaganda”.
Is he right?
Well, veteran reporter Bill Moyers criticized the corporate media for parroting the obviously false link between 9/11 and Iraq (and the false claims that Iraq possessed WMDs) which the administration made in the run up to the Iraq war, and concluded that the false information was not challenged because:
Indeed, the government actually pays off reporters to spread disinformation. Indeed, an expert on propaganda testified under oath during trial that the CIA employs THOUSANDS of reporters and OWNS its own media organizations (the expert has an impressive background). And famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein says the CIA has already bought and paid for many successful journalists. See also this New York Times piece, this essay by the Independent, this speech by one of the premier writers on journalism, and this and this roundup.
Brokaw even hinted that WWII was based on propaganda. What is he talking about?
Well, the mainstream media also played footsie with the U.S. government right before Pearl Harbor. Specifically, a highly-praised historian has documented that the Army’s Chief of Staff informed the Washington bureau chiefs of the major newspapers and magazines of the impending Pearl Harbor attack BEFORE IT OCCURRED, and swore them to an oath of secrecy, which the media honored (page 361) . Also listen to this interview.
And an official summary of America’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Iran in the 1950’s states, “In cooperation with the Department of State, CIA had several articles planted in major American newspapers and magazines which, when reproduced in Iran, had the desired psychological effect in Iran and contributed to the war of nerves against Mossadeq.” (page x)
In fact, the large media companies have drummed up support for all previous wars. For example, Hearst with the Spanish-American War. And the military-media alliance has continued without a break (as a highly-respected journalist says, “viewers may be taken aback to see the grotesque extent to which US presidents and American news media have jointly shouldered key propaganda chores for war launches during the last five decades.”)
And the media support isn’t just for war: it is also for conspiracies by the powerful. For example, a BBC documentary shows that
there was “a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen . . . . The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.”
Have you ever heard of this conspiracy before? It was certainly a very large one. And if the conspirators controlled the newspapers then, how much worse is it today with media consolidation?
Dan Rather sums up the American media: “What you have is a miniature version of what you have in totalitarian states”.