“Media, drones and rank propaganda
As usual, the leading spokespeople for government policies are disguised as the nation’s Adversarial Watchdog Press
Several items today relate to the issue of gross U.S. media propaganda and Obama’s national security policies:
(1) I have an Op-Ed in The Guardian today on how the American media has been repeatedly and willingly coopted in the Obama administration’s propagandistic abuse of its secrecy powers, with a focus on the recent high-profile, Obama-flattering national security scoops from The New York Times.
(2) In yesterday’s Guardian, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer and Nathan Wessler have a superb Op-Ed on how the Obama administration — by simultaneously shielding its conduct from scurinty through broad secrecy claims and then selectively leaking — is deliberately distorting the public understanding of its drone attacks (“First the ‘targeted killing’ campaign, then the targeted propaganda campaign”).
(3) This morning, I witnessed one of the most flagrant and repellent examples of rank government propaganda masquerading as objective journalism that I have ever seen, when I saw on Andrew Sullivan’s blog this four-minute, sleek video produced by Newsweek and The Daily Beast, starring Newsweek reporter (and its former Managing Editor) Daniel Klaidman. It’s literally painful to watch, but please do your best to endure the full four minutes, as I have a few points and questions about it afterward:
Did I exaggerate, or was that every bit as manipulative and repulsive as I suggested? How is it remotely justifiable — using the standards of “objective journalism” that these media outlets incessantly invoke — for Newsweek to produce a video that has little purpose other than to justify, glorify, and defend Obama’s drone attacks on other countries? Is this not one of the most glaring examples ever demonstrating that “objective journalists” like Newsweek‘s Daniel Klaidman are barred from expressing opinions — unless the opinion expressed is that the actions of the U.S. Government are justified and noble? That’s why Chris Hedges was forced out of The New York Times for opposing the attack on Iraq while John Burns was venerated and made the chief war correspondent after he supported that attack: opinions are perfectly permissible from American journalists only to the extent that they defend official actions. In what conceivable way is it the proper role of Newsweek and its national security “reporters” to produce melodramatic agitprop which vigorously takes the U.S. Government’s side in ongoing, highly divisive political controversies?”