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Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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CONTENTS
OF THIS SECTION
Last updated
18/09/07

Censorship, Disinformation & Murder of Journalists by Sri Lanka

Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media (1993) on DVD " Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar made this penetrating documentary about the career and views of linguist and media critic Noam Chomsky. While the man is the subject of the movie, the filmmakers wisely and carefully choose not to make Chomsky more important than his insights into the way print and electronic journalism tacitly and often willingly further the agendas of the powerful..."
Studying the Media: What makes Mainstream Media Mainstream  - Noam Chomsky, 1997
Manufacturing Consent  - Noam Chomsky and the Media (1993) on DVD

Media &War

Clausewitz in the Age of Al-Jazeera:
Rethinking the Military-Media Relationship, Robin Brown, Leeds University, 2002

"The expansion of the number of news outlets over the past 20 years ensures that military action by Western countries is accompanied by massive continuous coverage and commentary. Most analysis of the relationship between war and the media focuses either on the contentious nature of the relationship between journalists and armed forces or on the disruptive impact of news coverage on military operations. This paper argues that the relationship between developments in the media and the military should be conceptualized in a more comprehensive way. Such an approach suggests that the impact of media developments on the conduct of military operations is more radical and than is normally suggested. The theoretical core of the paper is drawn from Clausewitz's argument that war is the continuation of politics. His analysis suggested that war must be understood as a process where the political environment within which conflict takes place shapes the dynamics of military action and where the consequences of that action affect the political environment. In consequence political change reshapes the nature of conflict. Evidence drawn from the Kosovo Campaign and the War on Terrorism is used to explore these relationships in action."

The CNN Effect: Strategic Enabler or Operational Risk? - Margret H. Belknap, Parameters, Autumn 2002
Clarifying the CNN Effect: An Examination of Media Effects According to Type of Military Intervention by Steven Livingston - Harvard University Public Policy Papers 1997

Related Sites

 Yellow Times
Znet Magazine
New Standard News
Media Lens
New Internationalist
Monthly Review 
- Harry Magdoff,  Paul Sweezy et al
The Independent Media Center
Institute of Public Accuracy
What Really Happened
Consortium News
Left Curve "When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness."
Counter Punch ".. we have many friends and all the right enemies.."

Viewpoint Newsletter Archive

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
Robert Fisk - winner of the Amnesty International UK Press Awards in 1998 for reports from Algeria and in 2000 for articles on NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
MGG Pillai, Malaysia
How to build support for war – Columbia Journalism Review
How to Create a War  -  J. Orlin Grabbe
Lies Damn Lies and the PR Industry


 

 

International Relations
in an Emerging Multi Lateral World

Manufacturing Consent

"Whatever may be said, whosoever may say it - 
to determine the truth of it, is wisdom" - Thirukural

"There can be no more urgent task than
to speak truth about power" - Noam Chomsky


1."Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because ..." Michael Rivero
2. “One man does not assert the truth which he knows, because he feels himself bound to the people with whom he is engaged; another... " Leo Tolstoy
3. "..The problem with telling the truth is that much of what happens in the world is made possible by lies..." David Edwards
4. "...Society has varying and conflicting interests; what is called objectivity is the disguise of one of these interests..."  Howard Zinn
5. "Unsavoury regimes these days hire the best talent available to spruce up their international image.." Richard Swift
6." The notion of a “liberal” national news media is one of the most enduring and influential political myths ..." Robert Parry
7. "In most cases...the dominated are encouraged to see the world as the powerful do..." John Harrington
8. "' Media 'neutrality' is a deception that often serves to hide systematic pro-establishment bias..." Media Lens
9."In sum, a propaganda approach to media coverage suggests a.. news coverage based on serviceability to important domestic power interests..." Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
10. "...U.S. media are an integral part of a beautifully working war machine..." Edward Herman
11.".. Propaganda is a means to an end.... Its moral value is determined by the goals it seeks.." Hitler & Goebbels
12 "..They assumed that the person in authority had a worthy goal in mind ..." Robert Milgram
13. " The international media ... play a direct role in international terrorism.." Geneva Declaration on the Question of Terrorism
14. "..We live in an era of media concentration.. Popular movements are the hope for a decent future. " Noam Chomsky
15. "YouTube and its ilk mean that today anyone can tell human rights stories...YouTube goes where the mainstream media can't or won't go... " Andrew K. Woods
16. "Truth & Propaganda ... We serve 'victory' by serving truth - and not the other way around " Nadesan Satyendra
1. Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because...
"Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he or she lives is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all." Michael Rivero in What Really Happened
2. One man does not assert the truth which he knows, because he feels himself bound to the people with whom he is engaged...

“One man does not assert the truth which he knows, because he feels himself bound to the people with whom he is engaged;

- another, because the truth might deprive him of the profitable position by which he maintains his family;

- a third, because he desires to attain reputation and authority, and then use them in the service of mankind;

- a fourth, because he does not wish to destroy old sacred traditions;

- a fifth, because he has no desire to offend people;

- a sixth, because the expression of the truth would arouse persecution, and disturb the excellent social activity to which he has devoted himself...” Leo Tolstoy  on Truth

3 The problem with telling the truth is that much of what happens in the world is made possible by lies...
"...The problem with telling the truth is that much of what happens in the world is made possible by lies, and so much of the world is actively opposed to truth. We might respond to this with the great ‘So what!’ of modern culture: maybe the world doesn’t need truth, maybe the world is just fine as it is....All too often, those who edit our media – our ‘alternative’ media included - are happy to bow down to the ignoble, the complacent, the comfortable, the wealthy and uncompassionate - those who do not wish to be reminded of bad smells and unpleasant truths... It is not virtuous, or even amoral, to remain silent while terrible crimes are perpetrated in our name – sometimes to be silent is to lie. Ultimately, as Zinn tells us, we have to make a choice: “There are victims, there are executioners, and there are bystanders... Unless we wrench free from being what we like to call ‘objective’, we are closer psychologically, whether we like to admit it or not, to the executioner than to the victim.” David Edwards in 'The Difficult Art of Telling the Truth
4. Society has varying and conflicting interests; what is called objectivity is the disguise of one of these interests...
"...Society has varying and conflicting interests; what is called objectivity is the disguise of one of these interests - that of neutrality. But neutrality is a fiction in an unneutral world. There are victims, there are executioners, and there are bystanders...and the 'objectivity' of the bystander calls for inaction while other heads fall. Unless we wrench free from being what we like to call ‘objective’, we are closer psychologically, whether we like to admit it or not, to the executioner than to the victim...  ." Howard Zinn in What is radical history
5 Unsavoury regimes these days hire the best talent available to spruce up their international image...
"Unsavoury regimes these days hire the best talent available to spruce up their international image... The PR technique is simple enough: minimise the human rights abuses, talk about it as a 'complex' two sided story, play up efforts at reform... If possible, it is best to put these words in the mouth of some apparently 'neutral' group of 'concerned citizens', or a lofty institute with academic credentials."  Richard Swift, New Internationalist, in Mind Games, July 1999
6  The notion of a “liberal” national news media is one of the most enduring and influential political myths..

"The notion of a “liberal” national news media is one of the most enduring and influential political myths...the larger fallacy of the “liberal media” argument is the idea that reporters and mid-level editors set the editorial agenda at their news organizations. In reality, most journalists have about as much say over what is presented by newspapers and TV news programs as factory workers and foremen have over what a factory manufactures. That is not to say factory workers have no input in their company’s product: they can make suggestions and ensure the product is professionally built. But top executives have a much bigger say in what gets produced and how. The news business is essentially the same.

News organizations are hierarchical institutions often run by strong-willed men who insist that their editorial vision be dominant within their news companies. Some concessions are made to the broader professional standards of journalism, such as the principles of objectivity and fairness. But media owners historically have enforced their political views and other preferences by installing senior editors whose careers depend on delivering a news product that fits with the owner’s prejudices. Mid-level editors and reporters who stray too far from the prescribed path can expect to be demoted or fired. Editorial employees intuitively understand the career risks of going beyond the boundaries..." Robert Parry in Price of the 'Liberal Media' Myth, 2003

7. The dominated are encouraged to see the world as the powerful do...
".... in most cases the media present news and events in a manner that not only agrees with the views of the powerful, but actually supports their domination.... the maintenance of order is the key idea... in earlier times violence and the threat of physical force was used to maintain order. But today control is pursued  most effectively through ‘controlling the common sense’....the dominated are encouraged to see the world as the powerful do ... (by articulating) different visions of the world in such a way that their potential antagonism (to the dominant view) is neutralised...."  John Harrington in Media, Framing, and the Internet: Dominant Ideologies Persist, 1998 
8. ' Media 'neutrality' is a deception that often serves to hide systematic pro-establishment bias...
"...' media 'neutrality' is a deception that often serves to hide systematic pro-corporate bias. 'Neutrality' most often involves 'impartially' reporting dominant establishment views, while ignoring all non-establishment views. In reality it is not possible for journalists to be neutral - regardless of whether we do or do not overtly give our personal opinion, that opinion is always reflected in the facts we choose to highlight or ignore.... We do not believe that passively observing human misery without attempting to intervene constitutes 'neutrality'. We do not believe that 'neutrality' can ever be deemed more important than doing all in our power to help others. We accept the Buddhist assertion that while greed and hatred distort reason, compassion empowers it. Our aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion, and to decrease greed, hatred and ignorance..."- Media Lens
9.  In sum, a propaganda approach to media coverage suggests a.. news coverage based on serviceability to important domestic power interests...

  "In sum, a propaganda approach to media coverage suggests a systematic and highly political dichotomization in news coverage based on serviceability to important domestic power interests...The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda...." Manufacturing  Consent:A Propaganda Model - excerpted from the book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, 1988

10 The U.S. media are an integral part of a beautifully working war machine...
" It is well-known that Egypt had a multi-billion dollar debt forgiven for supporting the first Bush, while Yemen, refusing to go along on a Persian Gulf war vote, was told by a U.S. official that this would be "the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast," followed shortly thereafter by its loss of a $70 million aid package. Currently, Pakistan has been given substantial payments for servicing the U.S. war, and Russia, Uzbekistan, and others as well are being paid off. The U.S. mainstream media, however, speak of the emergence of these coalitions as a wondrous upsurge of support from the world community based on moral solidarity, not fear of retaliation, threats, or bribery. That these coalitions represent and support extreme super bullying by the Great Powers is never hinted at - these are always moral ventures and just causes. That the public in many of these countries are unsympathetic to the war, not having been bought or coerced as their elite leaderships, is rarely mentioned. In short, the U.S. media are an integral part of a beautifully working war machine, serving their state with at least as much bias and enthusiasm as Serb broadcasting served its state, before it was bombed out of existence by NATO for war service..." Edward Herman - Coalitions Of The Willing, Coerced, And Bribed, 2001
11. Propaganda is a means to an end.... Its moral value is determined by the goals it seeks...
 “...the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious...The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly... it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.... Propaganda is a means to an end. Its purpose is to lead the people to an understanding that will allow them to willingly and without internal resistance devote themselves to the tasks and goals of a superior leadership. If propaganda is to succeed, it must know what it wants. It must keep a clear and firm goal in mind, and seek the appropriate means and methods to reach that goal. Propaganda as such is neither good nor evil. Its moral value is determined by the goals it seeks."  Goebbels on Propaganda
12. They assumed that the person in authority had a worthy goal in mind ...
 "...Milgram's book summarizes his now famous laboratory studies of the early 1960s. The situation involves a naive subject who is placed in the position of teacher and is commanded to administer severe electric shocks to a "learner." In effect, the teacher is commanded to carry out an experiment even though great harm is done to the learner. The "teachers" proved to be obedient far beyond the expectations of experts. Indeed, a large proportion of teachers applied such severe shocks that they thought that the learner had died as a result. The subjects did not shock the learner because they were sadistic or inhumane. Almost all of the subjects were upset at what they were doing – yet they did it. They did it because they believed they were required to do so in their role as a teacher. They assumed that the person in authority had a worthy goal in mind and they wanted to help the authority figure. In a sense, they did harm by trying to do good. They were obedient..." Stanley Milgram on Obedience to Authority
 13. The international media ... play a direct role in international terrorism...
 "The international media ... play a direct role in international terrorism when they uncritically disseminate disinformation from "official sources" that creates public support for the use of deadly force or other forms of economic and political violence against another state. The international media also play an indirect role in terrorism through a pattern of selective definition and coverage. The media specifically ignores or understates institutional forms of terrorism, preserving the term instead for national liberation movements and their supporters. In such ways the media become agents of ideological control, advancing an inverted standard of terrorism..." The Geneva Declaration on the Question of Terrorism, 1987 - UN General Assembly Doc. A/42/307, 29 May 1987
14. We live in an era of media concentration.. Popular movements are the hope for a decent future...
 "Popular movements are the hope for a decent future. They of course have to have access to information and modes of interaction. In addition to alternative print and video, to a very large extent they have relied on the internet, which allows people to escape from the constraints of the doctrinal systems, to explore and investigate and discuss crucial issues with one another, to plan and organize...another world is indeed possible..." Another World is indeed Possible" Noam Chomsky Appeal for Z-net, September 2004
15.  YouTube and its ilk mean that today anyone can tell human rights stories...
 "..YouTube and its ilk mean that today anyone can tell human rights stories. And as Hamad's video shows, if the stories are told with enough brio and skill, the public will pay attention, and the government may be more likely to respond. Critics pooh-pooh the importance of all of this by pointing to the fact that civil rights advocates have traditionally had a friend in the press. But they're missing the point: YouTube goes where the mainstream media can't or won't go. It's visceral. It's story first, message second. And it gives advocates instant access to an audience in a way that press releases and op-eds never can...." Andrew K. Woods, Slate.com on You Tube & the Media, 28 March, 2007
16.Truth & Propaganda ... We serve 'victory' by serving truth - and not the other way around...
"Some 70 years ago, Jiddu Krishnamurthy declared that truth was a pathless land.   But to Hitler's propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, truth had a rather more directed content. He said in the 1930s: "We serve truth by serving a German victory. Propaganda does not have anything to do with truth..."

Those who subscribe to the Goebbelsian  view, say with a disarming 'realism' that that, after all, is the way it is. Get real, they say. In a war, we cannot afford the luxury of speaking the truth at all times.  An armed conflict is no afternoon tea party, they say. We serve truth by serving the victory of 'our side'. But, perhaps, the fate eventually suffered by both Hitler and Goebbels may  also point to a lesson that we may  usefully absorb.

Where propaganda 'does not have anything to do with truth', that which you propagate  may lose credibility and you may cease to influence. Where you seek blind support, you may end only with blind supporters. The so called pragmatic approach may lead to a sliding slippery slope of opportunism, without knowing when and how to stop.

You may then fail  to mobilise the reasoned support that you need to achieve  your goal - even though the goal that you seek may be patently just. The result may be an increasing cynicism,  a lack of coherence and,  in the end, a failure to secure the very  'victory' which was so eagerly sought. It is only when word and deed coincide, that principle emerges with  power to bring about change. We serve 'victory' by serving truth - and not the other way around.  Truth & Propaganda - Nadesan Satyendra, 1998

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