Sometime in the last two years a strange patern of behaviour has repeated and repeated and repeated in the mainstream media. It’s possible it has been going on longer than that, but the recent international entanglements have brought into the spotlight. It is a peculiar obsession: The re-arranging of the priorities of journalism, the need to preserve a story over presenting the facts. It is a practise that reeks of a growing sense of powerlessness.
The Guardian, our go-to source, our perfect little microcosm of the media and the people they claim to work for, provides clear examples.
The United Nations and Syria
Jonathan Jones’ latest bilious out-pouring is classic recipe. Hatred, dishonesty and emotive language. It is the man’s forte. The Guardian wheel him out to write objectionable pieces, militant in his moral superiority and able to lie with the ease with which most of us breathe. Never really questioning why an arts correspondent is anyway qualified to discuss geopolitics.
When the man claims that Blairites are the moral center of the labour party, and that Corbyn’s socialist policies are at best mis-guided and worst hypocritical and evil…he really believes it. When he says we shouldn’t laugh at Putin, despite him being inside a submarine, because “people used to laugh at Hitler, and look how that turned out” he expects to be taken seriously.
His piece on the UN starts out in a much gentler vein. Putin is the Devil. When you read that opening line you have to take a breath and really focus….because you realise you’re about to read an astute, balanced and educated take on current events.
In essence it is a retreat, one identical in tone to pieces appearing all over the MSM lately. A reversal of policy disguised as a moral victory. Doublethink mode engaged. We have always been at war with…wherever.
The truth is that the NATO countries have been using ISIS et al to destabilise Syria for years, and it has not worked as well as they would like. The truth is that this “civil war” was started in much the same way as the Afghan civil war in 1979 – from the outside, with Western money and western weapons. And the truth is that, no matter how many “chemical attacks” they invent, or how many “barrel bombs” Assad uses…nobody wants a war with Syria. And the truth is now the Russians are coming.
Russia, Iran, and China – who all took their fair share of shots at the US during their UN speeches – have gamed the system here. They say “Oh no, there are terrorists in Syria – we should fight them”, and America, and their Saudi friends, can do nothing but grit their teeth, unable to object without revealing the real agenda.
None of this is in Jones’ column.
Obama’s UN speech, where he calls for the removal of a head of state – with no elections or negotiations – is, for Jones, a defence of “democratic values”. Whereas Putin’s insistence on working with the legitimate Syrian government to defeat ISIS is dismissed by the simple trick of putting the word “legitimate” in “sarcastic quotes”.
Putin is indeed a scary guy to shake hands with. He is cheerfully post-democratic, and at the UN argued that only by straightforwardly supporting Syria’s “legitimate” governmentJonathan Jones – The Guardian
Vladimir Putin, winner of three presidential elections in one of the most diverse democracies on the planet, and currently the most popular leader in the world – is brushed aside as “cheerfully post-democratic”, because he defends the rule of law. Perhaps no word in the modern world has so reversed its meaning as “democratic”. Now it means “obedient to western interests”.
Putin is described as “ruthless”, “sinister” and “disturbing” – which, to be fair is a reasonable description of Satan. There is no mention, of course, that if one were to put a death toll counter beneath the awkward hand-shake photo of Obama and Putin, that Obama’s score would dwarf Putin’s by a factor of ten.
Jones’ attempts to shape the world around a flattering story go further:
Then the Arab spring began in 2010, and it turned out that people across North Africa and the Middle East wanted democracy and human rights – the great western values. At once keen to support the liberal ideals the Arab spring sought to universalise, and paralysed by the bad conscience of the Iraq war, western foreign policy is totally confused and ineffectual.
This – to put it bluntly – is a lie. Heinous and vain and pathetic. Iraq and Libya are only declared failures becauce of the dishonesty of the avowed intent. Libya is chaos. Iraq is murder. These are twin success stories. War makes people money. Cheap oil bought from local war-lords makes people even MORE money.
The policy in the middle-east is turn it into a mosaic of paranoid, militant mini-states. All exchanging oil for American made weapons and nobody – NOBODY – even considering leaving the petro dollar.
Western foreign policy is not “confused” on Syria.They want to make it “democratic”.
They want to remove Assad. They need to remove him. All other priorities are secondary.
Obama’s foreign policy is rich in liberal rhetoric, weak on actually helping anyone.
“Help” is another sly bit of Newspeak. We all know what to really means. The myth of amiable American impotence is always deployed at times like these. It was plastered all over Fox and MSNBC last year during the Ukraine crisis. It was flying around in the air during the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. And it’s coming back for an encore here. America is the well-meaning, straight talking, reticent hero. The only country with the guts to tell the world how to sort itself out, and yet always held in check by modesty and doubt. It is, frankly, laughable.
No rational, human being could look over the history of late 20th and early 21st century and say to themselves “The problem here, is that America didn’t bomb enough places.” And yet this is the narrative that we’re expected to lap up, as odious hypocrites like Mr Jones dole it out on plates before us.
The Ukrainian War
The Syria situation is neatly mirrored in the current Guardian piece on Ukraine. Shaun Walker, fresh from juvenile and ridiculous twitter coverage of the UN, has thumped his keyboard with his forehead a few times and come out with this turkey-dropping of an article: As Russia enters war in Syria, conflict in Ukraine begins to wind down
Welcome to Walker-World. Truth is passé. Reality inconvenient. Reason a long forgotten concept, like the four humours or alchemy. The mechanism is very simple – simply pretend the world is different from the perceivable reality of the situation.
You see – according to Walker at least – Kiev’s forces have finally stopped shelling Donetsk. And this is because of Moscow’s involvement in Syria. The lunacy knows almost no bounds in this piece. First off he readily admits that the rebels are on the receiving end of the bombardment:
At a highly fortified separatist position near the village of Peski outside Donetsk, the pro-Russia fighters have been getting used to an unusual sound in recent weeks: silence.
But then he tacks on this rhetorical trick:
As Russia ratchets up military action in Syria, the fighting in east Ukraine is winding down.
It’s almost brilliant in it’s simplicity – he doesn’t outright claim they are directly connected, because that would be absurd – but he leaves the statements there, next to each other, for the readers to do the rest.
For months now the only obstacle to peaceful settlement has been the government in Kiev. They are between a rock and a hard place. They can’t/won’t give autonomy to the rebel states, as they promised in Minsk II, without displeasing the Nuland faction in Washington and/or running the risk of a Nazi – sorry, “ultra nationalist” – throwing a grenade threw their window or dropping them off a building. And they can’t keep on fighting without raising the ire of Mama Merkel and risking all out protest from western civilians as well.
Simply put, if they stop shelling Donbass it’s because they are being forced by economic and political circumstance to finally start implementing all the agreements they signed months ago, and had every intention of ignoring forever. It would be, from the Kiev/US/UK point of view, a total failure. The only possible response is to pretend you’ve won. To claim victory and flee the field.
So here we have it:
In Moscow, too, there are rumblings that the “Novorossia project” to carve out a pro-Russian statelet in east Ukraine has been well and truly closed down.
Do you see now? In halting the fighting and granting Donetsk and Luhansk increased autonomy and (possibly) federal status – Kiev would not be capitulating. They would not be giving the civilian protesters what they asked for 18 months ago. They would not be doing what Russia have been suggesting since last summer. They would not be doing what so many of us got banned from CiF for even talking about. They would actually be winning.
Ukraine wants us to believe they have defeated Russia’s “novorossia project”, which was totally real and they didn’t just make it up. Shame on you for thinking it. Russia were planning on using the civilian protesters Kiev shot at as an excuse to invade Ukraine (possibly dozens of times) and build a land-bridge to Crimea whilst adding a new state to the federation that stretches from the Black Sea to Kharkov.
Now, you maybe forgiven for wondering why – if Russia’s plan was to capture Ukrainian land – they steadfastly refused to accept Donetsk and Luhansk into the Russian Federation. But that’s because you’re a Putinbot and/or useful idiot.
If Kiev end up granting the people of Eastern Ukraine every single one of their demands, this will be them defeating Russia. Welcome to Walker-world.
The Guardian – and the other heads of the media hydra – think they can simply say something, and make it the truth. That, through the pummelling of the message and the right sad photos, you can change the meaning of words. Just repeat and repeat and repeat the propaganda.
“Russia is internationally isolated” – they repeat it all the time. No matter how ridiculous a statement it is. “We are supporting the moderate Syrian rebels”, repeated everywhere despite it being totally untrue. We have to start a war to stop the refugee crisis. We have to ban comments to preserve freedom.
Fighting ISIS will help Assad. Russia is non-democratic. Assad kills his own people. Israel is just defending itself. Ignorance is strength. Corbyn is an anti-semite. The west is pro-democracy. We have an independent media. Giving up is victory. War is humane. Freedom is slavery.
For direct-transfer bank details click here.
Satan is losing his grip, therefore, expect his minions to up their game.
It is known to some that Satan presented himself before God recently, and fully knowing his destruction is near requested 100 years of power. This was granted. His time is nearly finished!
Stay strong, the end of his reign is near!
I was reading the guardian back in the 1990s, and I liked it.
Last year, when the Ukrainian conflict escalated, I began reading them again, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Yes, Shaun Walker, and all the rest of it. Utterly Orwellian. I started commenting there, pointing out to their most outrageous lies – and they banned me.
And obviously it’s not just the guardian. What the hell is happening with the media? It appears that some sort of concentration and consolidation of power has happened in the west, so that pretty much all channels of information are under a central control.
Reblogged this on Dogma and Geopolitics.
They are particularly bad with foreign policy which is when the full neo-con tin hat comes on — they started with the blogger in damascus who got arrested. She was, claimed the guardian ( its the color that always betrays them) a lesbian and she got arrested with her cat —turned out he was a so called student from scotland who had studied at various strange places adjacent to war zones and who for a student seemed both rather old and rather well endowed financially — they got called on that one but its been similar ever since.. The current crew really have ruined a great newspaper. For pointing this out I got banned from CiF — then when I called out brown moses during the Libyan nonsense I got banned entirely — Brown moses was a nasty piece of work an ex intel guy who was posting non stop between 8am to 4 pm and then clocked off – of course the guardian took him seriously and even tried to bolster his credentials with a puff piece… finally, ladies and gentleman we have Mr Paul Conroy about whom I am sure you are well aware….. yes indeed
Interesting. Have to say, if Brown Moses is ex-MI5 he must have been doing the coffee and donut runs and manning the photocopier. The guy is an incompetent boob, with barely enough intelligence to run a coherent Twitter account.
Yes, Eliot, we mean you. 🙂
Brown Moses is a college dropout and house Husband to his child. He started studying weapons that were being used by the Syrian opposition, simply by taking down the codes and serial numbers on said weapons systems ,identifying which country they originated from ect and that’s it A pie man made famous by you tube he’s an idiot totally out of his depth when confronted by anybody with half a brain
any idea of which interests hide behind this anti-Russian strategy in The Guardian? i was reading it a few years before the Ukranian crisis and they had very different attitudes regarding the fascists in Ukraine and NATO strategy in the Middle East… why did they change so much?
[…] article originally appeared at […]
Thank you for this article which captures the nonsense that passes for journalism these days. The language of Orwell’s 1984 is, indeed, the best way to encapsulate this. I have been a reader of the Guardian since the early 90’s and it has been upsetting to see the devolution from a trusted source of good journalism to war-mongering, Russophobic, Putin-baiting propaganda.
It seems that some of the more intelligent people who inhabited the letters to the editor and now the comments section have migrated to this excellent publication.
The decline in the Guardian cannot be denied; it has sunk to the level really of the Murdoch press which made no pretence of being a newspaper – it’s always been its owners propaganda sheet.
The nature and tone of the guardian today actually makes me sad as if ever we needed in the world today a strong decent voice it is now. There articles on corbyn and putin brings to mind these words
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
– Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Finding this site is a huge relief! I was questioning whether I was going completely insane seeing the decline of the Guardian in the last few years.
I wonder if they get their scripts written in Hollywood. Talk about propaganda. Within minutes of the first air strikes by the Russian airforce , I heard a news broadcast on Rai 1 Italian national broadcaster that the french and Usa defence departments were complaining that the Russian airstrikes were not against Daesh but so called moderates in Idlib and Aleppo. I think the MSM did not really understand what the Russians had said . They have been invited by the sovereign country of Syria to help with the ongoing destabilisation of their sovereignty. Putin /Russians have called the west the MSM and GCC of their duplicitous game and their culpability with the rise of Daesh and the refugee crisis. The refugee crisis is all caused by the proxy war financed and backed by GCC and the western secret services along with the Turks. They wonder why Fox news and CNN has lost up to 40 % viewers since the Ukraine crisis. People in the west are waking up to the duplicity in the MSM and their respective governments. The corporate state in the western hemisphere is what is in danger here and they will do everything possible to stop it. The Israeli regime went straight to the Kremlin to see what it was al about . My take is Putin warned Israel that u will be fired on and will be exposed if u keep flying sorti’s in Syrian air space. The Russians have virtually made Syria a no fly zone for the benefit of the Assad regime Iran and Iraq governments are all on board it appears that the west and GCC along with the neo-cons in USA have lost their rooks and knights and that their chess board is getting smaller. Putin is a desciple of the soviet school of world diplomacy of the likes of Bukharin and Kruschev. I note MSM never mention the wholesale slaughter of the Yemeni’s , but they do not possess any potential Petro-Dollars. Yesterdays news gets wrapped in todays fish. I might add after the blatant bombings by the western cabals in China be it in the port of a month ago and the ones they are experiencing via their mail services of the past few days , a Chinese aircraft carrier is heading towards the base in TARTUS. Russian and Chinese Bear 3- the USA/west/GCC/Turk 0. As the western narrative reveals their hand it only furthers demonstrates how morally and intellectually bankrupt they are.
Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin.
Another bull’s eye from CJCL!
“… it turned out that people across North Africa and the Middle East wanted democracy and human rights …”
It also turned out that the Muslim Brotherhood wanted theocracy and Shari’a.
“The policy in the middle-east is turn it into a mosaic of paranoid, militant mini-states. All exchanging oil for American made weapons and nobody – NOBODY – even considering leaving the petro dollar.”
Yup. I call their strategy Sykes/Picot II.
“The myth of amiable American impotence is always deployed at times like these.”
Yeah. The ‘humble giant’–remember that one?
Propaganda is both fascinating and frightening. I first heard the term before I understood what it meant. My father used it a lot, this probably had something to do with his time as prisoner of war in one of Stalin’s camps above the Artic Circle, where, paradoxically he received his ‘political education’, well, they had to do something to while away the time in the long evenings when they returned exhausted from the forests.
The first time I ever used the term ‘propaganda’ myself, was at school. I still didn’t really know what it meant, but by sheer luck I used it in the right place, though nobody appeared to know what I meant. It was in relation to the American bombing of Laos and Cambodia.
Anyway, propaganda really means attempting to get people to ‘believe’ what they know isn’t true, not really. Propaganda rehabilitates lies and falsehoods, and is intimately linked to the great narratives of the state and corporations, which are intertwined in our modern version of fascism with a human face, or, as it’s also known, western democracy in it’s newest incarnation.
The problem I have with Jones is that he’s terrible at propaganda, really quite awful, crass, in fact. It’s so brutally brazenly rubbish what he writes. His abuse of the english language so profound that his prose is twisted in pulsating neon screaming Propaganda, Propaganda, Propaganda! The best propagandists are far more subtle than Jones, who seems to have taken a crash-course in propaganda 101, but failed to grasp the central points and skills required.
I am not sure what I find more bewildering and terrifying, the thought that Jonathan Jones and the like actually believe (as you say) their own inversions, or the notion that they are knowing, lying propagandists.
Either way, things seem to be getting extreme.
Great writing, and heartening to read in the sense that sanity has to be some kind of collective enterprise.
The first time I was banned by the Guardian’s CIF was over their dreadful coverage of the Assange affair. Having lived in Sweden and being fluent in the Swedish language, I simply couldn’t believe how biased and bad their reporting was, getting really simply facts completely wrong. They seemed to have gained their knowledge of Sweden from listening to too many songs by ABBA, though, to be fair on ABBA, their songs are really rather revealing about aspects of Sweden. That’s if one bothers to listen to the lyrics.
The second time was over Ukraine. As my family used to own an estate there, carved out by an Austrian knight with a very big sword almost a thousand years ago, I imagined my perspective would be welcomed, as I, in contrast to the Guardian’s journalists, actually knew something about the place. But, no, they really didn’t like me interfering in their cosy propaganda fest.
I think the Guardian is rotting from the inside like a giant whale that’s lying beached on the shoreline. Appologies to whales. The Guardian is racing away from journalism and embracing state propaganda which is almost totally detached from reality. In fiction this doesn’t matter. It’s expected. But in journalism this is a disaster, because so many people live in the real world and increasingly see that the Guardian’s version of events, both and home and abroad, simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Have you read many editorials and other reporting on “Russian aggression’ in Dagens Nyheter (roughly equivalent to the Guardian). They run more russophobic rubbish than even the Guardian in hysterical attempts to scare Swedes into agreeing to join Nato. DN has also cut back on allowing comments on these, as many people refuse to be fooled by naked propaganda.
if you want to post a few examples of their editorial tone that would be informative!
It is on my to do list!
Apart from exposing the dreadful writing and ill informed comment of these fools, this piece shows how far the rot has set in throughout the Guardian. I am so pleased that OFfG is on top of this type of hyperbolic crap and providing us with some pretty damn good analysis and writing. (Guardian please note). However this malaise is not confined to the Guardian and in recent months the behaviour of MSM has gone beyond the pale. Hopefully we are prepared to enter into a new phase with the media and OFFG will be there speaking truth to power. Thanks for this piece, it gives me hope.