by Sassy Surstein, December 11, 2016
The last week has peppered my feed with a clip of Amanpour accepting an award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, those most valuable of all citizens if you ask a journalist. Having worked in “alternative” foreign-policy journalism for years, I’m familiar with this walking talking intel op’s career shilling for US foreign policy, and it ain’t pretty. But watching this speech made me actually feel my face turning red, my heart pump a little harder. This hack had the gall to warn us about the dangers of “fake news.” This, from the mouthpiece who had a major hand in the media demonization of the Serbian people that made it easier for the US to intervene in the Balkans wars and finish off the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They bombed Serbia for 78 days, killing around 500 people.
She also sneered at the “kangaroo courts” journalists often find themselves in after being accused of subversion (in bad non-Western countries, of course). In that room perhaps only she might recognize the irony that her own stenography in the 1990s got Slobodan Milosevic, the last resistant leader in the Balkans, tossed into one himself. Even so, he made such convincing arguments in that courtroom that he never made it out alive. The court later investigated itself and found that he had deliberately poisoned himself with a drug impossible for him to attain in a bid to get treated in Russia and then escape. If a prisoner had actually poisoned himself in a Serbian jail NATO would have bombed it and Amanpour would have written reams about the transparent ludicrousness of a suicide by poisoning in a maximum-security prison. Now imagine another inmate has also “committed suicide” in the same prison, the same week, charged in the same case. That’s what happened to a Croatian Serb general in the same prison as Milosevic. Nothing to see here.
Amanpour was instrumental in spreading the fabrication that was the Milosevic-ordered, Serb-executed massacre of Muslim women and children at Srebrenica. She gleefully parroted the outrageous, baseless claims that 100,000 Kosovo Albanians were slaughtered by the Yugoslav army.
The CNN star is married to James Rubin, the spokesperson for the Clinton State Department from 1997-2000 and considered Madeleine Albright’s “right-hand man.” Amanpour routinely regurgitated her husband’s bosses’ talking points, shoring up their credibility. Thusly she became and remains a respected reporter at one of the top news networks. What would be called near-nepotism if it happened in one of those weird eastern countries is just a professional coincidence, you see. While Rubin liaised with the Kosovo Liberation Army during the railroading of Yugoslavia into “asking for” the US bombing campaign, Amanpour propagandized for the US-backed terrorist group.
The sickest part is not just that it’s Amanpour talking about so-called fake news. She’s horrible and provides a perfect example of the irony of this particular situation, but she’s not a bad apple. Her audience at the CPJ function is just as complicit. Journalism under capitalism is essentially just advertising. It’s the informational side of diplomacy, also a corrupt endeavor under capitalism. The product is state and corporate policy, which are of course one and the same. The consumers are everyone lulled into acceptance at the savagery of this economic system, we subjects of the imperial core.
To illustrate, consider the fact that crack babies aren’t real, that Iraq had no WMDs, that African mercenaries were not being used to attack Gaddafi opponents, that the toppling of that Saddam statue was staged, that Aristide was not having his loyalists behead Haitians, that the Soviets were not giving MIGs to Grenada, that the Sandinistas did not kill 200,000 people, that bin Laden’s huge mountain fortress didn’t exist, that Jessica Lynch was neither a heroic warrior nor was she mistreated in captivity, that there were no concentration camps in Bosnia. All of the above were reported as fact in the news media. [See more in this helpful thread from @cordeliers]
The US government has spent decades planting disinformation in the news, from Floridians paid to libel Cuba in the 90s to painting Iran’s Mossadegh as a molester in the 1950’s all the way back to the incident that coined the term “yellow journalism,” the blowing up of the USS Maine.
Absorbing all that — just the tip of the iceberg, really — who could dare say these criminals are the arbiters of what’s real and fake, what is actually propaganda and what is merely journalism. They’re not, because they’re not even trying. They’re liars. But you can see it, if you read between the lines.
“The problem is not merely that reporters and academics are misinformed,” Professor Fernando Gil-White told Stephen Gowans after researching source material on the untrue allegations of Milosevic’s virulent nationalism. “It appears to be a conscious effort to misinform.”
Scum like Amanpour operating from within anti-imperialist countries are the reason why those places ever needed laws curtailing the hallowed “freedom of the press.” Words ARE weapons, and the West knows this, which is why from its much richer, more powerful, and frankly, more sophisticated — from a marketing perspective — perch, it can launch a million missiles in every direction and demand its targets drop their shields. After all, communist propaganda is allowed in the US (now). You won’t really be able to find a job making it but hey, it’s your right to be poor! But this speech freedom isn’t uniformly recognized even in the West. The US will still lock you up for, say, broadcasting Hezbollah content. And much of Western Europe, at least officially, disallows the glorification of Nazism. And this is good. But let’s not pretend those who run the West truly think there’s an unalienable human right to free speech. It’s as provisional as it is under socialist revolutionary governments fighting for their lives against the Empire.
“Fake news.” News is fake. The higher the stakes for the ruling classes, the more you can be certain the mainstream news about it will be as fake as fuck and conversely, reports deemed fake by those same fakers should be duly considered on their merits.
Thanks to Tarzie for input on this post.