The Guardian is currently providing us with a good example of what is often called the “problem-reaction-solution” method of controlling public discourse.
Step One: Find, create, emphasise, or de-contextualise a problem
In this case, the “refugee crisis”, currently screaming from the front pages of most mainstream media outlets. The unanimity and hysteria should immediately alert us to a potential agenda. Yes, of course there are thousands of refugees and their plight is appalling. Yes the way they are being received by the EU is predictably callous and racist. But this is what happens when you start imperialist wars, and even the Guardian admits it’s not new. The MSM has been content to ignore the plight of displaced Libyans since 2011, displaced Iraqis since 2003, displaced Syrians and Ukrainian since 2014.
So we need to ask why the western media are suddenly headlining this ongoing human tragedy? Why the blatant attempts to create mass hysteria through manipulation of basic human emotions – fear (of the alleged incoming hordes of displaced people) and outrage (for their plight)?
Is it because the media and its masters are suddenly discovering their humanity and conscience? Well, it’s always possible, but I think we’d be unwise to make that a first assumption. And in fact, a more likely answer presents itself in the Guardian’s response to the crisis it has chosen this moment to define…
Step 2: Reaction
First thing to note is how, in the media narrative, the plight of these displaced people is entirely removed from any real geopolitical context. Note that nowhere in its prurient and emotive rolling coverage of overturning dinghies, private funerals, mass-marches, tent-camps in shopping malls, endless “personal stories” from unsourced individuals, does the Guardian refer to the fact that western war mongering created this crisis in its entirety.
Likewise, in the latest “Guardian View“, the anonymous author offers only elision, flimsy images of unspecified ‘conflicts’ and ‘repressive and failed states’…
There is a wide arc of conflict-ridden, repressive and failed states running from the Middle East, round the Horn of Africa and along the southern Mediterranean coast. There are tens of millions of people living in that region who might reasonably decide that the only future for them and their families lies in Europe….
He mentions Libya has “unravelled” but avoids discussion of how and why. He implies – without compromising himself enough to actually state – that the Syrian refugees are fleeing Assad, not “coalition” bombs….
The optimism of the Arab spring is spent. Colonel Gaddafi was a tyrant, yet Libya has unravelled violently in the aftermath of his removal. The refusal to intervene against Bashar al-Assad gave the Syrian president permission to continue murdering his people
Apparently in New Guardianspeak drone attacks, air strikes and the funding of insane jihadists = “reluctance to intervene”, and it’s our wimpy pacifism that’s causing all the problems out there – not our bombs, drones and lunatic jihadists.
(Not just in Guardianspeak either – in fact a disturbingly similar “this is because we did nothing” meme is being sold by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph. This ‘coincidence’ of opinion pieces is even more suggestive of a pre-planned agenda rollout).
Which neat bit of reality-inversion leads us nicely on to….
Step 3: Solution
“Much more must be done,” screams the Guardian’s headline. But what does this “more” actually mean? The anonymous author – assigned the task of selling this ‘solution’ to the Guardian’s core readership – sets it out obliquely, but obviously enough.
Although it is essential in discussion of the current crisis to remember the legal distinction between refugees – seeking sanctuary from imminent danger – and the wider category of people who migrate in search of a better future for themselves and their families, it is also important to acknowledge that, in places where economic activity, law and order are breaking down, the line between the two categories is technically and ethically hard to draw.
Translation: the problem isn’t going away until we fix the failed states that the refugees/migrants are fleeing from, and of course…
Since Syria’s plight is the most immediate moral and strategic problem, that is where Europe must begin the search for solutions.
Ah, and what might the ‘solutions’ entail, oh non-agenda-driven anonymous Guardian sage?
The increase in refugee numbers heading for the EU describes a collapse of hope among millions of Syrians, many displaced in neighbouring countries, that their home will be safe again in their lifetime. To begin restoring that hope will inevitably mean international intervention of some kind.
“Intervention of some kind”? By western armed forces you mean? Yes indeed he does…
The establishment of credible safe havens and the implementation of a no-fly zone must be on the table for serious consideration. Russia, as the state with most influence over Assad, must somehow be convinced to rein him in. EU powers must be prepared to spend more of their efforts and resources fostering the conditions for ceasefire.
“Implementing a no-fly zone” in a foreign country is basically a declaration of war against that country. So, by amazing coincidence, the solution to the current refugee crisis being so mercilessly hyped in the media, is the very same war with Syria that the PTB have been trying to sell to the masses since 2012. Incredible isn’t it! And about as convincing as a snake oil salesman turning up at your door day after day touting the same cure for different diseases. Want to save the Kurds? Bomb Syria! Want to stop ISIS? Bomb Syria! Want to save the helpless refugees?…
But this time they are hoping we’ll forget our earlier scepticism and buy it, because we’ll be so scared the ‘disposessed’ hordes will get us…
The need for Europe to develop a coherent account of its place in the wider world has often been discussed as the goal once internal matters are settled, but that moment keeps being deferred. Yet the rest of the world is not waiting. Its fearful dispossessed are rattling Europe’s gates.
Right there is the heart of the message. ‘The EU has to get behind the US agenda, support and even assist with an invasion of Syria, maybe also implement other as yet unspecified legislation to bring us inline with the US – or be swamped by the ‘fearful dispossessed’.’
Fear porn in other words, but carefully laced with faux compassion. Everything else you read or see in the MSM is about planting this idea the collective mind. They are trying to create the meme that the refugee crisis is suddenly (and inexplicably, but never mind that), so huge and so impossible to manage, so threatening to European security, to domestic economies and everything else we care about that bombing Assad and thereby starting a proxy war with Russia actually looks like the better alternative.
This – and not any kind of compassion – is why the MSM is wall-to-wall with increasingly implausible, hysterical and unexamined refugee stories. This is why pictures of a little boy’s funeral “emerge” inexplicably on to the pages of the Guardian. The fact his family were not fleeing from Syria, but from Turkey – a NATO member, currently brutalising its own Kurdish population – is not going to make any difference at all.
It’s not a well-deserved crisis of conscience over displaced people, however much we might like to think it is. It’s the final push to get us to approve the Empire’s longstanding bid to wipe out yet another centre of opposition to its hegemony.