Government Propagandists in Corporate Media

When independent journalists challenge US wars, government propagandists attack in the comments

By Carl Herman

February 04, 2010 "
LA County Nonpartisan Examiner" Feb. 03, 2010 -- The US Senate Church Committee disclosed in 1975 that more than over 400 government propagandists had infiltrated American corporate media to manipulate public opinion on key policies, including war. CIA Director William Colby testified that Operation Mockingbird had been operational since the late 1940s to control what was reported through American television, newspapers, and magazines. President Ford fired Colby after his testimony and replaced him with George H. W. Bush. Bush Sr. ended the CIA’s testimony, stating that there were no other programs of concern to disclose and promised that the CIA would no longer influence the media (for Bush Sr.’s lies to initiate the first war with Iraq, click here). 
We know in the present that government propagandists appeared over 4,500 times as “experts” in the PR run-up to the current war in Iraq, corporate media refuses to clearly communicate the essential news that ALL the claims for war were known to be false at the time they were told and US wars are “emperor has no clothes” obviously unlawful. The American public is recognizing the propaganda in corporate media by deserting them to embrace alternative sources.
 
Therefore, since we know that government-sponsored Operation Mockingbird propaganda is active today, and we know that people are abandoning corporate propaganda sources in favor of articles such as this one, put yourself in the shoes of Operation Mockingbird management and imagine your strategic responses to this type of article.
 
Well?
 
I imagine the first responses include paying propagandists to raid and pollute the comments sections with a full variety of their rhetorical fallacies. While I have no easy way to prove this is happening, I’d like to share with you a thread with one of the more sophisticated detractors from the factual topics of the article.
 
This is from my article: All 27 UK Foreign Affairs lawyers: Iraq war unlawful. Obama, politicians, US media: no response. Let's consider professional propagandist strategy. The article discloses stunning testimony that all the international law lawyers in the UK understood the Iraq war as unlawful.
 
To shill for continued war, propagandists would have to deflect this news by distraction or undermine the news' significance. One tactic is to obfuscate the meaning of the UN Charter law to prevent law; to essentially communicate that a law against war cannot actually stop a war because it's so vague to shift easily under interpretation. Another tactic is to argue that law has no meaning; that laws are not laws. Both Orwellian tactics are evident below. I invite you to see them for what they are: criminal complicity for unlawful war that has killed over a million, caused horrible suffering for multiples more, and done under our flag with trillions of our long-term tax dollars.
 
The comments are in order from first to last, and follow my “Comment policy” that is reprinted below that explicitly addresses the possibility of propaganda infiltration in the comments to discourage intelligent discussion of the facts.
 
I hope the following dialogue is helpful to improve your sophistication to recognize and crush propaganda.
 
 
Comments
 
wow says:
"The owners of the major news stations are defense contractors who have a conflict of interest when it comes to war."

Really?
Viacom (CBS), Disney (ABC), Rupert Murdoch (Fox), TimeWarner (CNN) are all big defense contractors? That would be news to their stockholders.

Only place that accusation has any merit is GE/NBC - and GE is about to sell off NBC.
February 1, 11:51 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
Attacking comments because you have nothing to say about the article’s topic (as usual)? Welcome back to my policy: either make your comments pertinent to the article topic or I’ll delete your comments.

You lie by omission by ignoring Operation Mockingbird whereby the Church Senate Committee disclosed the Department of Defense was in collusion with corporate media to propagandize for war. So yes, corporate media and War Department (removing the disinformation title of Defense) are conflicted in their interests. They will not report this story and hammer it to make clear that the war in Iraq is obviously unlawful.

If you want your voice heard, defend 1441 as a justification for war as legitimate criticism to the article’s topic, or justify why corporate media shouldn’t report to the American public the information in this article, or justify our duopolistic political silence. Why don’t the corporations you list demand Obama and Republican leadership’s response to this news?
February 1, 12:04 PM
 
wow says:
Get out of the '60s, Herman - the media world is a significantly different environment than what Church dug into.

Did the major media organizations stump for war in Iraq? Pretty much, yes, with notable exceptions like Knight Ridder's national bureau.

But was it because they were owned by defense contractors? No.

First, as I pointed out, most are not owned by defense contractors. Second, they jumped on a national bandwagon and ratings chase, especially the TV folks who were seduced by the prospect of embedded live TV crews.

They also were neatly suckered by the Rumsfeld's retired expert analysts, one of the more effective Pentagon PR (propaganda) campaigns in decades.

But dismissing it all as 'defense contractor ownership" completely misses the real problem.
February 1, 12:36 PM
 
wow says:
As for the meat of YOUR article, allow be to address an area in which I have some expertise: Your claime that "Concentrated US corporate media will not report the Chilcot inquiry “emperor has no clothes” facts and conclusion that the current US wars are unlawful."

Even a quick search of US news sources finds extensive coverage of Blair's testimony and British reactions by ABC, CNN, NPR, PBS, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and even the Voice of America.

So your claim is not supported by facts.
February 1, 12:39 PM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
I’m in 2010 pointing out concentrated corporate domination of “news.” Readers should read the link in "Comments policy" to confirm the Pentagon propagandists you point to as “effective” rather than shills for unlawful wars who should have chosen their oath of enlistment to defend the US Constitution rather than Wars of Aggression. Ratings chase? You throw away history confirmed in 1975 with ongoing evidence of continuance of a designed propaganda program through corporate media.

You fail, as usual, to address the topic: all 27 UK Foreign Office lawyers agree for the simple reasons I show in the article that the war in Iraq is an unlawful War of Aggression. In this case, you intentionally try to confuse corporate propaganda of vaguely reporting “an inquiry” with real reporting of US/UK criminal wars. Conflicted-in-interest corporate media obfuscate rather than explain what the UN Charter demands for lawful war and the obviously false claim that 1441 is legal justification.
February 1, 1:01 PM
 
wow says:
"conflicted-in-interest"???

Try "clueless and confused."

What you see as conspiracy (and ignore 35 years of history), those who have any knowledge of the American media recognize as a really bad combination of ineptness, ignorance, and tunnel vision compounded by pressures to 'feed the beast' and 'get the scoop.'

Broadcast media have problems seeing beyond the next 'top of the hour;' print media is focused on slowing the red ink.

And most media pros know that they are doing a crappy job these days - but can't figure out how to fix it.

But when you begin your criticisms by accusing them of blatant evil intent, without a clue as to what their real problems are, don't expect them to beat a path to your door with false 'mea culpas.'

On the other hand, if they were half as controlled as you claim, they already would have destroyed you publicly.

On the other point, don't confuse characterization of "effective" as an expression of approval.
February 1, 1:27 PM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
What you lie about as “clueless” is Operation Mockingbird and the other disclosures from the link in the Comment policy section above. Why don’t you acknowledge this history, wow? You lie that professional journalists who wanted a “scoop” wouldn’t just headline: “Iraq War unlawful; new Nuremberg Trials?”

The laws of the UN Charter are so easy to understand, the “excuse” of 1441 so tragic-comic, this is propaganda for everyone to see, and you, wow, are in the serious position of determining what your life’s expression is going to advocate: paper-thin propaganda for mass-murder or a better-late-than-never “Scrooge conversion.”

“Approval”??? nobody cares about your opinion, wow. The topic of this article is the war is unlawful. Show us you’re not a propagandist, wow: either state the obvious that the Iraq war is unlawful, orders pertaining to it must be refused, and government must arrest then prosecute (or Truth and Reconciliation), OR explain how it's lawful.

Well...??
February 1, 4:10 PM
 
wow says:
Herman, you slander me - I did acknowledge the history, but unlike you I also recognize things change over time: "...the media world is a significantly different environment than what Church dug into."

I also pointed out Rumsfeld's program of getting retired generals on air to promote his views. Of course, you ignore that it was that same "corporate media" that exposed the propaganda program.

As for the "laws" of the UN Charter, they have been repeatedly demonstrated as unenforceable - by your definition of "war of aggression," every one of the Permanent Members of the Security Council (the nations with veto power) have been in violation at one time or another. There's no one to Watch the Watchers.

Deal with reality: The US Government through self-deception got itself into a stupid, unnecessary war in Iraq and now has to find the best way out of the situation. It seems, finally, to be moving in that direction.
February 2, 6:36 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
You confirm Operation Mockingbird and the Pentagon’s allowed disinformation for the Iraq war lies. You then can’t explain why corporate media don’t headline, “Iraq War unlawful” while trying to make today’s corporate media sound different from propaganda control. Because Americans used to believe in a free press, effective propaganda must include minor revelation of truth to give the appearance of freedom. Corporate media ratings’ are plummeting and they don’t expose the huge story of unlawful war that would propel them to media leadership. Hmm, is that because they’re the propaganda arm for this unlawful war? Nah, wow must be right that this time they’re not lying, just ineffective!

You lie that laws are unenforceable. They can be, and are not. More…
February 2, 8:55 AM
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Cont: And you admit this current war is in violation of law! So it follows that all US government and military must immediately refuse orders, arrest those who issue them, and prosecute, right? That would cause the Watchers unlawful war to stop right now. But no, wow, you in your fascist world view slide right back to supporting a War of Aggression. And when the facts are clear that this war is in complete violation of law, you call it “self-deception” and pat the murderers on the back for now “moving in the best way out of the situation.”

If you were in any position of authority with your propaganda, you would be in danger of arrest for conspiracy for Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes Against Peace, and treason.

We’ll see if people like me who advocate Truth and Reconciliation are the stronger voice than those who prefer full prosecution, If you were such an official propagandist, wow, I’d consider my “Scrooge conversion” invitation seriously.
February 2, 8:54 AM
 
wow says:
Where did I "admit this current war is in violation of law"? I said it was stupid and unnecessary.

As for the media not trumpeting your "unlawful war" claims, how about because in general they don't believe your legal logic?

The Iraq operation was authorized by Congress; for most Americans, including most journalists, that AT MOST means the US Government has rejected the positions of other members of the UN. For many, it simply means the USA remains a sovereign nation.

Since then, there has been a lot of reporting about the inaccurate claims of WMDs, links to al Qaeda, and assorted other justifications for invading Iraq - in general, questioning why. You refuse to acknowledge that.

We all realize that you believe anyone who disagrees with you in any way must therefore be a fascist propagandist - but in the real world, it is possible to disagree about legal interpretations. (See numerous 5-4 Supreme Court decisions for example.)
February 2, 9:48 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were admitting the UN Security Council permanent members in violation; I misread you.

Congress authorized discretionary use of force, but limited by the UN Charter, you liar. All reasons for going to war with Iraq are now known as lies AS THEY WERE TOLD, you liar. You try to confuse obfuscating corporate reporting with this clear fact. Interested readers can read the documentation at “Are US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan well-intended mistakes? What we now know from the evidence”. More…
February 2, 10:15 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Cont: Ok wow: explain how UNSC Resolution 1441 justifies war. Do so now, or yes, I’ll stand with my propagandist assumption of your identity. The war in Iraq is as legal as if during the Super Bowl, a defensive lineman grabbed the ball while the offense was in their huddle, passed it to the free safety at the sidelines who then ran into the endzone. Because Americans know football rules and not the UN Charter, Americans could never be fooled by a propagandist announcer and “referees” that what occurred was a touchdown. We would know the game was rigged and what happened on the field was not even close to legal.

But regarding the mostly-unknown rules for lawful and unlawful war of the UN Charter, Americans’ faith in good government and honest media has been insidiously turned against them to manipulate their payment of taxes and enlistment to fight in wars that are as close to legal as our football example. More…
February 2, 10:15 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Cont: The UN Charter has been a public document for 65 years, is written in simple language, and was designed in letter and spirit to be crystal-clear in its provisions to forever end war as a foreign policy option. This fact, like a rule in football, is open to anyone’s verification. As in football when people have just a little experience in understanding the rule, egregious violations become impossible to commit without being caught. However, a well-designed law or rule is worthless if it’s not widely known, not honored, and not enforced.

Leges Sine Moribus Vanae
Laws without morals are in vane. – Horace, Book III, ode 24

Finally, wow: explain how UNSC Resolution 1441 justifies war. Do so now, or yes, I’ll stand with my propagandist assumption of your identity and delete your further comments as distracting from the main topic of this article: lawful or unlawful war in Iraq.
February 2, 10:15 AM
 
wow says:
I don't have to explain 1441; I haven't claimed it justified invading Iraq.

For that matter, you slanderous child of unmarried parents, I've never claimed invading Iraq was justified, period - something you repeatedly ignore in your lies and misrepresentations.

I'll state one final time: Any law that cannot be enforced is meaningless.

And nothing in the UN Charter is enforceable if any one of the Five Permanent Members exercises its veto. History has clearly demonstrated that the UN prohibition against war is toothless.

Now, demonstrate some intellectual honesty, integrity and courage and let this stand.

Or prove once again that you are a paranoid and delusional coward who cannot face anyone questioning your "expertise."
February 2, 10:45 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
Then you have no legal justification for war, as war is unlawful unless authorized by the UNSC or a narrow definition of self-defense until the UNSC rules. You throw away the victory of WW2 that my father, uncle and father-in-law fought, the unfulfilled promise of WW1 as a “war to end all wars” that both my grandfathers fought, and stand with following the dictates of an American leader (Fuhrer) because you insultingly whine “law CANNOT be enforced.” This, after insinuating in your last comment its possible to interpret the war is legal and then withdraw from supporting that ridiculous propaganda that is the topic of this article. More…
February 2, 11:22 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Cont: The UN Charter isn’t enforced because of people like you, wow, who refuse to demand its structure be honored. The US Constitution isn’t being enforced in many areas because of people like you, wow, who refuse to demand its structure be honored. Unalienable rights are the foundation of this country wow; they arose from the declaration of human beings for their recognition and are enforced or not at human beings’ will, not from their whines it cannot be done.

You refuse to acknowledge the Iraq war is as unlawful as my football analogy. Instead you argue that the world’s law to end the scourge of war is “meaningless.” You stand against the US Constitution and the US-initiated treaty of the UN Charter’s elimination of war as a foreign policy option. And then you call those of us standing for these American values against tyrants and propagandists as bastards, paranoid, delusional, and a coward unable to face these questions.

Good luck with that future of yours, wow.
February 2, 11:22 AM
 
wow says:
Of course "its (sic) possible to interpret the war is legal..." - that's exactly what the Bush and Blair administrations DID.

As a "professional educator," surely you can grasp the difference between advocating a position and describing one held by others.

I see political leaders who were already committed to a policy interpreting evidence in such a way as to support their positions, rather than basing positions on the evidence. So do most who study the run-up to war.

But you not only refuse to even consider whether that has merit, you immediately launch the very ad hominum attacks you claim to condemn.

The "legality" of the war in Iraq is a nice armchair debate - but those of us who are really interested in the welfare of this nation are more concerned with cleaning up the mess instead of pontificating. As would be your veteran ancestors, I suspect.

As for the insults, they were clearly directed solely at you; because, again, you lie about me.
February 2, 1:29 PM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
Bush and Blair SAID they had a legal interpretation, which is very different from actually having one in the Orwellian extreme of the war in Iraq and our football analogy. You SAY you see interpretations favorable to policy preferences, rather than Orwellian lies and refuse to state the legal argument as its placement in writing reveals that it’s as close to legal as our football example.

I trust the readers to discern between a mass-murderous War of Aggression and your BS to obfuscate the simple legal question. I trust readers to choose when the choice is clear between the US Constitution and illegality of war versus your fascist bandwagon of what you allege “most who study” do in emulation of your complete failure to even speak for the rule of US law in its most important life-and-death application of war. more…
February 2, 1:57 PM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Cont: No, wow: you really are un-American to reject rule under American law. This isn’t ad hominem; rejecting American law is what “un-American” means, as being American is a political distinction of law. And then you reject what it means to be American by upholding unalienable rights in law by calling mass-murderous Wars of Aggression that by American law must be refused and prosecuted as “armchair debate.” And then you dare to speak for my father after calling me a bastard, and my wife’s father who took seven bullets from Nazis to end Wars of Aggression like in Iraq. You put you final Orwellian touch by adding to your assessment of my character, scholarship and reporting of my being a bastard, paranoid, delusional, and a coward unable to face these questions, as also being a liar.

Thank you for your revealing comments, wow.
February 2, 1:57 PM
 
wow says:
"...your assessment of my character, scholarship and reporting of my being a bastard, paranoid, delusional, and a coward unable to face these questions, as also being a liar."

That pretty much sums it up. Glad we found something we can agree on.

One last try: I'd rather focus on fixing problems like marching off to war based on erroneous assumptions than rail on about legal issues that will never (and most likely can never) be ajudicated.

And while you rant your legal theories, good people are still dying and being maimed in Iraq.

So first, let's wrap up that mistake, get our people out of there and take care of the wounded. (There is, finally, a plan that appears rational.)

Then we go for systemic change that still recognizes the world as it exists.
February 2, 2:24 PM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
You can march off to fix problems while rejecting the American rule of law for our government and military to honor their Oath and immediately refuse orders for unlawful war, arrest, and prosecute. You are a traitor to the laws of your country.

You can focus on “fixing” the most vicious paper-thin propaganda to unlawfully invade weak nations sitting on oil as “erroneous assumptions” and saying our most important laws can never be enforced. You enable Wars of Aggression and propagandize for others to be confused rather than clear about the most important law to understand before a soldier engages in combat.

You can pretend about the dead and wounded and back the “plan” of the criminals who engage in unlawful war to kill and maim more Americans and more of our Brothers and Sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and perhaps soon Iran.

Yes, this is your last try. I'll delete any comment other than addressing the topic of the article: the legal status of the Iraq war.
February 2, 3:36 PM
 
wow says:
It's legal, under any applicable US law - the only laws that count, like it or not. No court case has found otherwise, and several have upheld the legality.

And you, Mr. Herman, are guilty of advocating that US military personnel violate their oath of office and effectively mutiny against their lawful orders.

If this government was one-tenth the fascist enterprise you claim, it already would have thrown your posterior into a black hole.

Fortunately, most members of the military have more integrity, honor and honesty than you do.

You are so convinced you are right? Go down to a recruiter, enlist, then refuse to serve in an 'illegal war' and take it to court.

Surprise everyone and demonstrate a little courage of your convictions.
February 3, 6:26 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Wow:
You lie. The applicable law authorizing discretionary use of force is explicitly limited by the UN Charter. You further lie about “several” court cases; there is one I know of that didn’t rule on the legality of war under the UN Charter but on the issue whether Congress can authorize presidential discretion for use of force.

I trust the military, government, and readers to determine for themselves the obvious illegality of the war and your loveless propaganda for more death, destruction, and misery in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and I’m sure you’ll also shill for Iranian deaths. More…
February 3, 6:57 AM
 
Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner) says:
Cont: Explain HOW the war is legal, wow. Explain the topic of this article: how are all 27 UK lawyers in international law wrong, along with the unanimous finding of the Dutch government? Explain how UNSC Res. 1441 could be “interpreted” for war with Iraq.

If it’s so legal, as you claim, you should be able to explain it. You haven’t done so after repeated requests. So we have my detailed and self-evident explanation why the war is illegal in Orwellian degree that’s as easy to understand as our football example versus your naked statement that it must be legal because the Fuhrer said so. Explain the legality, wow, if you dare put the inane reasoning into print for all to see.
February 3, 6:57 AM
 
Note: I deleted wow’s further comment below as he refuses to address the main topic of what the UN Charter says about war, how 1441 authorizes it, or even to document his non-existent court cases and then lie about the UN Charter’s treaty status equal in force to US law as explicitly written in the Constitution. I think he continued to post under “Yail,” who repeats the Orwellian argument that law is not law and the law that exists is so unclear as to allow the exact act it prohibits.
 
wow says:
As expected, all talk, no action. Try to persuade honorable men and women to throw away their honor and ruin their lives - but no guts to actually take a stand yourself.

You need to do a little more research into those court cases - but you won't, because you suffer from the same disease that affected the Bush administration: you decide, then look for evidence to support your decisions.

As for rest - others have dissected your flawed analogies, although few have escaped the delete key. You rely on an interpretation of UN resolutions being superior to US law that has never been upheld in court; the only relevant court cases to date have found to the contrary, in fact.

You are, in the end, worse than a distraction - you give aid and comfort to the warmongers by presenting an opposition that can be dismissed as conspiracy kooks, Israel haters and nutjobs who consider terrorist murderers to be more credible than their own government.
February 3, 8:21 AM
 
Yail says:
Really, the UN has no real legal distinction in the world. International law only has meaning with an enforcement mechanism and there is no world government. Unfortunately, states will never give up their sovereignty to make decisions regarding their security. The only time this happens is when a state is so weak that it must bandwagon. The reason the P5 have veto power at the UNSC is just so no legal niceties will get involved when a Great Power wishes to do what it wishes. The UN Charter is also not "crystal clear?" regarding when war is legitimate. It mentions self-defense. How we define that is not an easy thing. It was left vague precisely so the Great Powers could create their own definitions of self-defense. Without these compromises the UN would not exist. Likely it will have major problems as new powers rise that do not have effective representation at the UN. Why would India allow the UN to decide its national interest? Answer: it won't.


 

 

 

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