Months of fixation by the mainstream media on the invented Russian election interference says much about the West’s intellectual culture. It has reached a point whereby a brief meeting between a Russian adoption lawyer and the American president’s son makes bumper headline news. What’s particularly striking, is that no proof of Russian interference in the 2016 American election has been unearthed. Nor will it ever be, one can safely assume by now.
One of the traditional components of journalism is meant to be based on discovery of evidence, then analysing and reporting on that evidence. Yet even this may be a fanciful assumption. Noam Chomsky, in his forgotten book Necessary Illusions, revealed some interesting things about the corporate media in the United States. Chomsky focused primarily on the New York Times, as it is the standard bearer for American newspapers with the rest rarely deviating.
Chomsky analysed the New York Times’ coverage of US President Ronald Reagan’s brutal terrorist wars in Central America. He provided streams of evidence of the following: the exact opposite was occurring on the ground to what the Times had been reporting to the public. The American people were oblivious to the murder of thousands of people by US-backed forces, and so the slaughter could continue in secret. One of the leading murderers, General Vides Casanova of US-backed El Salvador, was described by the Times as “a soft-spoken, amiable man who has a reputation as an excellent administrator”. General Casanova, former El Salvadoran defence minister, is today known as a notorious war criminal.
In the meantime, the Free Press have been trying to deflect attention from their disastrous backing of Hillary Clinton from the get-go. The establishment hugely supported Clinton, firstly as she controversially wrested the Democratic Party nomination from Bernie Sanders – a respected candidate who would likely have defeated Donald Trump in the stand-off. On the eve of the election, Clinton remained odds-on favourite over Trump, within hours a ticking time-bomb had exploded under the establishment base.
The leading newspapers have long since aligned themselves with the power centres. President Woodrow Wilson’s Red Scare (1917-1921) was one of the greatest witch-hunts in American history. The campaign’s sinister workings – led by J. Edgar Hoover – were strongly backed by the New York Times and Washington Post, with “stories of Communist atrocities fill[ing] column after column in American newspapers”. Hundreds were deported, most for imaginary reasons, and unions were smashed.
It’s a classic tactic of the press: concoct invented enemies like hordes of Communists or “Russian hackers” trying to take over the country. It serves to keep the population in line through a campaign of manipulation and fear. The Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was a master of control, and said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such a time as the State can shield people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” Goebbels was one of the more extreme Nazi criminals, but was noted for his intelligence.
There have been few bigger lies in history than Russia hacking the American election, or indeed, the French election, or any other election. When Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were sitting together at the G20 summit last month, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was positioned slightly closer to the cameras. A mainstream journalist was heard shouting a question on “Russian hackers”, and Lavrov could not contain his laughter. For it is exactly that: laughable. The Russian leaders are fully aware of US interference in dozens of elections since 1945, nor were they using computers either.
The selective reporting of the Western media is notable. Three days before the French election, Barack Obama openly endorsed eventual winner Emmanuel Macron in a video. Obama said: “I’m not planning to get involved in many elections now that I don’t have to run for office again. But the French election is very important to the future of France…” Yet this is not reported as American interference in an election. The double standards are remarkable. Here an ex-US president admitted he interfered in elections while sitting in office, and afterwards continues to do so. How would the West have reacted if, for example, Putin had publicly backed the French leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon?
Among the thousands of articles on “Russian hacking”, there has been little attempt to provide balance and perspective by also including American foreign policy. That would serve the public interest by providing a proper context, but they are being deliberately misled to meet the requirements of corporate media.
Rather than focusing primarily on Trump administration policy, the press are concerned with trying to restore their battered reputation. Trump’s desire to eliminate regulations will further enrich the powerful few, likely leading to another financial crash. That is of little concern to the super-wealthy, as the general population would again be called on to rescue the financial institutions.