Elites and Media Minimize Dissent and Bury Truth
By Paul Craig Roberts
May 12, 2013
- Over the
last several years I have watched the rise of an important new
intellect on the American scene. Ron Unz, publisher of The
American Conservative, has demonstrated time and again the
extraordinary ability to reexamine settled issues and show that
the accepted conclusion was incorrect.
One of his early achievements was to dispose of the myth of
immigrant crime by demonstrating that “Hispanics have
approximately the same crime rates as whites of the same age and
gender.” You can imagine the uproar, but Unz won the debate.
Unz provoked and prevailed in another controversy when he
concluded that Mexican-Americans have approximately the same
innate intelligence as whites, with their lower IQs being due to
transitory socio-economic deprivation.
He next surprised by showing the connection between the
declining real value of the minimum wage (about one-third less
than in the 1960s) and immigration. Americans cannot survive on
one-third less minimum income than four decades ago, and the
unfilled jobs are taken by Hispanics who live many to the room.
A higher minimum wage, Unz pointed out, would cure the illegal
immigration problem as American citizens would fill the jobs.
I wrote about some of Unz’s remarkable findings. One of my
favorites is his comparison of the responsiveness of the Chinese
and US governments to their publics. I found his conclusion
convincing that the authoritarian one-party Chinese government
was more responsive to the Chinese people than democratic
two-party Washington is to the American people.
The person is rare who can take on such controversial issues in
such a professional way that he wins the admiration even of his
critics. In my opinion, Ron Unz is a national resource. He has
established online libraries of important periodicals and
magazines from the pre-Internet era, information that otherwise
essentially would be lost. I have not met him, but he donates to
this site and is an independent thinker free of The Matrix.
Unz’s latest article, “Our American Pravda,”
is a striking account of the failure of media, regulatory, and
national security organizations and subsequent coverups that
leave the public deceived. Unz uses the Iraq war as one example:
“The circumstances surrounding our Iraq War demonstrate this,
certainly ranking it among the strangest military conflicts of
modern times. The 2001 attacks in America were quickly ascribed
to the radical Islamists of al-Qaeda, whose bitterest enemy in
the Middle East had always been Saddam Hussein’s secular
Baathist regime in Iraq. Yet through misleading public
statements, false press leaks, and even forged evidence such as
the “yellowcake” documents, the Bush administration and its
neoconservative allies utilized the compliant American media to
persuade our citizens that Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs posed a
deadly national threat and required elimination by war and
invasion. Indeed, for several years national polls showed that a
large majority of conservatives and Republicans actually
believed that Saddam was the mastermind behind 9/11 and the Iraq
War was being fought as retribution. Consider how bizarre the
history of the 1940s would seem if America had attacked China in
retaliation for Pearl Harbor.
“True facts were easily available to anyone paying attention in
the years after 2001, but most Americans do not bother and
simply draw their understanding of the world from what they are
told by the major media, which overwhelmingly—almost
uniformly—backed the case for war with Iraq; the talking heads
on TV created our reality. Prominent journalists across the
liberal and conservative spectrum eagerly published the most
ridiculous lies and distortions passed on to them by anonymous
sources, and stampeded Congress down the path to war.
“The result was what my late friend Lt. Gen. Bill Odom rightly
called the “greatest strategic disaster in United States
history.” American forces suffered tens of thousands of needless
deaths and injuries, while our country took a huge step toward
national bankruptcy [and a police state]. Economics Nobel
Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and others have estimated that with
interest the total long-term cost of our two recent wars may
reach as high as $5 or $6 trillion, or as much as $50,000 per
American household, mostly still unpaid. Meanwhile, economist
Edward Wolff has calculated that the Great Recession and its
aftermath cut the personal net worth of the median American
household to $57,000 in 2010 from a figure nearly twice as high
three years earlier. Comparing these assets and liabilities, we
see that the American middle class now hovers on the brink of
insolvency, with the cost of our foreign wars being a leading
“But no one involved in the debacle ultimately suffered any
serious consequences, and most of the same prominent politicians
and highly paid media figures who were responsible remain just
as prominent and highly paid today. For most Americans, reality
is whatever our media organs tell us, and since these have
largely ignored the facts and adverse consequences of our wars
in recent years, the American people have similarly forgotten.
Recent polls show that only half the public today believes that
the Iraq War was a mistake.”
Unz covers a number of cases of criminality, treason, and
coverups at high levels of government and points out that “these
dramatic, well-documented accounts have been ignored by our
national media.” One reason for “this wall of uninterest” is
that both parties are complicit and thus equally eager to bury
Unz is raising the question of the efficacy of democracy. Does
the way democracy works in America provide any more self-rule
than in undemocratic regimes? He offers this example:
“Most of the Americans who elected Barack Obama in 2008 intended
their vote as a total repudiation of the policies and personnel
of the preceding George W. Bush administration. Yet once in
office, Obama’s crucial selections—Robert Gates at Defense,
Timothy Geither at Treasury, and Ben Bernake at the Federal
Reserve—were all top Bush officials, and they seamlessly
continued the unpopular financial bailouts and foreign wars
begun by his predecessor, producing what amounted to a third
In an article not long ago, I raised the issue whether Americans
live in The Matrix with their perceptions and thoughts
controlled by disinformation as in George Orwell’s 1984.
Unz adds to this perspective. He tells the story of Russian
oligarch Boris Berezovsky’s plan to transform Russia into a
make-believe two-party state complete with heated battles fought
on divisive and symbolic issues. Behind the scenes the political
elites would orchestrate the political battles between the
parties with the purpose of keeping the population divided and
funneling popular dissatisfaction into meaningless dead-end
issues. In such a system, self-serving power prevails. After
describing Berezovsky’s plot, Unz asks if Berezovsky got his
idea from observing the American political scene.
Thinking further about the propagandistic nature of the US
media, Unz writes:
“Individuals from less trusting societies are often surprised at
the extent to which so many educated Americans tend to believe
whatever the media tells them and ignore whatever it does not,
placing few constraints on even the most ridiculous propaganda.
For example, a commentator on my article described the East
German media propaganda he had experienced prior to
Reunification as being in many respects more factual and less
totally ridiculous than what he now saw on American cable news
shows. One obvious difference was that Western media was so
globally dominant during that era that the inhabitants of the
German Democratic Republic inevitably had reasonable access to a
contrasting second source of information, forcing their media to
be much more cautious in its dishonesty, while today almost any
nonsense uniformly supported by the MSNBC-to-FoxNews spectrum of
acceptable opinion remains almost totally unquestioned by most
Unz’s view of the US media as propagandists for power is
consistent with that of John Pilger, one of the last remaining
real journalists who refuses to serve power, and with Gerald
Celente, who sums up the sordid American media in one word--”presstitutes.”
I know from my own media experience that an independent print
and TV media no longer exists in the West. The American media is
a tightly controlled disinformation ministry.
Those few Americans who are free of the constraints imposed by
dogmas on their ability to think and to process information have
a huge responsibility for their small number. The assault on the
rule of law began in the last years of the Clinton regime, but
the real destruction of the US Constitution, the basis for the
United States, was achieved by the neoconservative George W.
Bush and Obama regimes. Wars without declarations by Congress,
torture in violation of both US and international law, war
crimes in violation of the Nuremberg standard, indefinite
detention and assassination of US citizens without due process
of law, universal spying on US citizens without warrants,
federalization of state and local police now armed with military
weapons and uniforms, detention centers, “your papers, please”
(without the Gestapo “please”) not only at airports but also on
highways, streets, bus terminals, train stations, and at
On May 5 Obama gave the commencement address at Ohio State
University. No doubt that the graduates thought that they were
being honored by being addressed by the world’s greatest tyrant.
Obama told the graduating class, to applause, that their
obligation as citizens is to trust the government. Outdoing
George Orwell’s Big Brother, Obama said in public to a
graduating class of a great university without shame: “You have
grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as .
. . some sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems;
some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the
works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around
the corner. You should reject these voices.”
Listen to my propaganda, not to those constitutional experts,
legal authorities, and critics of me, the First Black President,
who tell you to beware of unaccountable government. Due process
is decided by the demands of the war on terror. If there is a
war on terror, do you want a fair trial or do you want to be
safe? I am going to make you safe by not giving defendants
accused of terrorism, who some liberal-pinko-commie judge would
set free, a fair trial.
Making you safe by enveloping you in a police state is a
nonpartisan undertaking. Just listen to Lindsay Graham and Peter
King and John McCain. These Republican leaders are demanding the
police state that I am providing.
As my own legal department, The US Department Of Justice,
decided, the Dictator, I mean, elected president, has the power
to save the country from domestic and foreign terrorists by
abrogating the US Constitution, an out-of-date document that
binds our hands and prevents us from keeping you, our serfs and
minions, I mean our cherished citizens, safe.
Trust me. That is your obligation as a US citizen. Trust me and
I will make you free, happy, employed sometime later in this
century when the Amerikan Empire controls the world.
The US Constitution was written by people who opposed Empire.
These people were misguided, just like the Roman Republicans who
did not understand the need for a Caesar. The American Empire,
as the neoconservatives have made clear, is what keeps you free
from terrorism. We have to kill them over there before they come
over here. And those who are over here will be killed too. We
tolerate no dissent. That part of the Constitution is gone,
along with the rest of it.
Now give me my honorary doctorate, another sign of approval of
Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for
Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.
He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service,
and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments.
His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His
The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution
of the West is now available.
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