Monthly Archives: August 2012
In a recent article the influential Council on Foreign Relations declares Americans are “appalled by the depredations of the [Bashar al-]Assad regime and seek its removal from power.” Short of committing troops, the US “[p]ublic wants tough action … including the imposition of tougher sanctions, and the creation of safe havens to protect civilians,” the CFR’s Stewart M. Patrick writes.
There are two underlying problems with this claim. First, the CFR is furtively exerting its own policy objectives by pointing to opinion polls the body has had a direct hand in creating. Second, the CFR is gauging the sentiment of a vastly disinformed public on a Syrian destabilization policy the organization vigorously advocates.
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance-it is the illusion of knowledge.”-Daniel Boorstin
In George Orwell’s 1984 the Outer Party comprised a mere thirteen percent of the population and was subject to the ideological filters in play at the Ministry of Truth and the broader bureaucratic structure. A specific language and way of thinking were closely adhered to. Given their political import, Outer Party members were the most heavily indoctrinated and controlled inhabitants of Oceania. The majority Proles who constituted the remainder of the population was of little consequence so long as their political awareness remained underdeveloped.
While its members withstood more austere conditions, 1984‘s Outer Party is roughly tantamount to those who in our society are the well-informed, college-educated professionals; those whose duty it is to adhere to the ready-made opinion available in the major agenda setting journalistic outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio, where news is carefully selected, crafted, and presented. Such information is then disseminated to the masses via actors in summary capsule form on cable and broadcast television platforms.
Mystified by its own credentials, surrounded by peers who conceive of reality along similar lines, and underscored by the corporate media’s overwhelming tide of disinformation, much of today’s professional class is impervious to “rumors” and “conspiracy theories” that all too often captivate the sordid masses—from unreasonable suspicion over mysterious terrorist attacks to the poorly-informed questions surrounding their leader’s hidden background. Much like the expert officials and agenda setting outlets they look to for prepared interpretations of the world, the opinion leading class’ constituents understand themselves as above all well informed, similarly disinterested and unmoved by groundless passion.
In fact, the programming necessary to attain such a degree of self-assuredness often tends to distance one from reality. For example, revulsion towards war in the United States has historically tended to run strongest among those who have escaped the heavy indoctrination of the professional class—those members of the non-or semi-skilled, working class majority. As historian Howard Zinn observes,
“[I]n surveys of public opinion during the [Vietnam War], it was inevitably shown that people with the highest education—college graduates—were the most supportive of the war. People who had not graduated from high school were the ones most against the war. This is a surprising figure because most people thought the anti-war movement consisted of intellectuals and students and college professors. While those people were most visible in the anti-war movement, public opinion against the war was concentrated in the least educated classes.”
Recent public opinion indicators point to the enduring nature of antiwar sentiment. For example, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press shows that on March 19, 2011, one week before President Obama announced the NATO bombing of Libya, 77% of the US public opposed the destruction of the country’s air defenses. Polling one year later revealed a 62% majority against NATO “bombing Syrian military forces to protect anti-government groups in Syria,” even though almost the same percentage (64%) admitted to having heard “little” or “nothing at all” on “recent political violence in Syria.”
May we thus safely conclude that a majority of the population despite ceaseless propaganda still recognizes how war remains the supreme crime and the greatest demarcation between master and slave? “If there was hope, it must lie in the Proles,” Orwell wrote, “because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated.”
Republished at GlobalResearch.ca on August 26, 2012.
If anyone needs additional proof of the tremendous censorial control wielded over corporate and alleged “independent” media regarding Western powers’ imperialist projects they need look no further than the thorough news blackout of the August 9 Tehran Consultative Conference on Syria. As this censorship ensued, “progressive” news outlets continued their barrage of dubious and misleading information on the continuing turmoil within Syrian.
The news media’s readiness to accept official pronouncements and failure to more vigorously analyze and question government authorities in the wake of “domestic terrorist” incidents contributes to the American public’s already acute case of collective historical amnesia, while it further rationalizes the twenty-first century police state and continued demise of civil society.
Since the early 2000s US-based “left-progressive” media that purport to be independent have received tens of millions in grants and contributions while they have ignored some of the most important news stories of our time. History suggests a relationship between elite philanthropic sponsorship of such outlets and self-censorship toward pressing events and issues while concurrently maintaining a public semblance of issue-oriented rebellion and dissent.