Drishtikone Newsletter #354: How US Media helps America Wage Wars Globally

Waging Wars - Covert and Overt - by the United States has a formula. Media backs the establishment in planning and execution. A detailed analysis of the various mechanisms and players

Drishtikone Newsletter #354: How US Media helps America Wage Wars Globally
Photo by Stijn Swinnen / Unsplash
Photo by Artur Shamsutdinov / Unsplash
“What is food for one, is poison for another (e.g., decomposed food for worms and men). What is one thing to yogis and celestials, is another to others. A long distance by one vehicle is short by another. Long intervals of space reflected in the mirror are themselves in it and yet unreal. In this way, the investigation becomes indeterminate by itself. Investigation and the object investigated are both indeterminate, and the only constant factor underlying both is consciousness. Nothing else can stand beside it. - Tripura Rahasya

Public opinion, its expression, and convergence into one direction is the most dangerous scenario for any ruling elite.

Many ways have been used to structure governance - monarchy, dictatorship, oligarchy, communism, and democracy.  But in all these one objective remained constant.  Controlling public opinion.  Covertly and/or overtly.

For, this public opinion could allow the ruling elite to do what it wanted to do.  Whether it was its self-preservation or looting or genuine national interest.

Wars, therefore, have always entailed manufacturing consent and ensuring support.

In the modern world, the job of creating and maintaining a certain flavor of public opinion is that of the press.  And the news media works in multiple ways.

Let us see how the world's superpower and the torch-bearer of democracy, the United States, uses media for its wars and foreign policy objectives.

India Media 'coup' that wasn't

On August 23rd, 2022 - Tuesday evening Adani Enterprises announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Adani Media Networks acquired a company called Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt. Ltd (VCPL) from Eminent Networks and Nextwave Televentures.  With that Adani Media Networks Ltd put in motion the clauses of convertible debentures that were owned by VCPL in NDTV.

Vishvapradhan Commercial Pvt. Ltd (VCPL), which owned convertible debentures (warrants that provide for the conversion of debt to equity) in RRPR Holding Pvt. Ltd that in turn owned 29.18% of NDTV Ltd, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Ltd (AMNL), the media arm of Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL). It had acquired the debentures in 2009-10 in return for a loan amounting to ₹404 crore it extended to the promoter holding company. According to India’s securities law, an entity that acquires more than 25% of the equity in a publicly traded company must launch an open offer to acquire an additional 26% from public shareholders. Adani Group and Vishvapradhan on Tuesday announced an open offer at ₹294 per share (based on Sebi’s takeover guidelines), representing a 28% discount to NDTV’s ₹376 closing price on Tuesday. (Source: Live Mint)

Let us understand the history of this transaction first.

Vishvapradhan Commercial Private Limited (VPCL), a company incorporated in 2008 had offered an unsecured loan of worth Rs 403.85 crore to NDTV’s holding company, Radhika Roy Prannoy Roy Holding Private Limited (RRPRH). VCPL was owned by VCPL was owned by Shinano Retail and Teesta Retail Private Limited.  Both were fully owned subsidiaries of Reliance Group.  The terms of the loan were known to all.

In July 2009, Vishvapradhan gave an interest free loan of Rs350 crore to NDTV's Dr Roy, his wife Radhika Roy and their private holding company RRPR Holding, which was a bailout-cum-takeover in the guise of a loan. Under the agreement signed on 21 July 2009, the Roys were to issue a convertible warrant that equals to 99.9% of the "fully diluted equity share capital of the borrowers (the Roys and RRPR Holdings) at the time of conversion" immediately upon execution of the agreement. As per the agreement, the Roys and RRPR Holding were to use the loan amount to repay in full a loan availed from ICICI Bank in October 2008. Vishvapradhan also had the right to buy from the borrowers all equity shares at par hold by them in NDTV. However, Vishvapradhan and its affiliate agreed not to purchase any more shares of NDTV to increase their stake for more than 26% without consent from other parties. (Source: Moneylife)

In 2012 Nextwave Televenture Private Limited and Skyblue Buildwell Private Limited acquired VCPL.  Those are the companies from whom Adani Media Networks Ltd bought VCPL from.

Meanwhile, global media outlets like Guardian, CNBC, and Reuters are crying foul.

Per that clique of one-sided neo-colonial media groups, India's democracy is in peril because someone who is an "ally of PM Modi" has taken over the "last bastion of secularism" in India.

The question we need to ask is how will NDTV really help Modi in India's geostrategic games even if it is owned by his ally.

Which media is critical in geostrategic games?

So, does the Indian media matter when it comes to the wars and devastation that the geostrategic games of the large powers, specifically the US, bring upon unsuspecting people of various countries?

For the local games, a country's media may play an important role.  Even in tweaking the local mindset and the way things are handled.

But when it comes to wars, most of which are either started or controlled by the US, the media which is the most pertinent and influential is the American media.

The United States uses two mechanisms to further its interests by waging wars:

  1. Wage Direct Wars: US Establishment uses lies and utter falsehoods to push Congress to act (provide powers to the President to wage war) and influence citizens to build justification for war (Overt Mechanism)
  2. Orchestrate Regime Changes and Social Anarchy: Influencing the governments and tweaking the social narrative to achieve a geopolitical goal by changing regimes or creating anarchical situations. (Covert Mechanism)

In both these mechanisms, the US media plays a direct and critical role.  But the question then is - how can an "independent media within a democratic society" be controlled by the government to help its geostrategic interests?

Isn't that exactly what the US establishments keep pontificating on when they lecture other countries?

Let us look at both, the Overt and Covert Mechanisms that the United States establishments use and how media provides the foundation for such mechanisms to be used unabashedly.  Democracy, Freedom of the Press, and all that meaningless poetry notwithstanding.

Overt Mechanism: Starting a War

American establishment loves wars.

And it can use lies, BIG lies to orchestrate those wars.

On May 18, 2022, George Bush was speaking in Dallas discussing the war in Ukraine.  In a rare moment of a damning Freudian slip, Bush inadvertently drew parallels between the invasion of Iraq under his regime and the invasion of Ukraine by Putin.


The gaffe is already being called the "Freudian Slip of the Century". (Source)

In our earlier newsletter, we have already discussed how George Bush Sr and his administration used lies and falsehoods to orchestrate the first Iraq war.  Evidence, as in the case of Bush Jr's time, was made up.  Stories of how the Iraqi military took newborn babies out of incubators to show their brutality were constructed shamelessly.

Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #224 - The Tech Armageddon
The Incubator Babies that never were became the key for US to attack Saddam in 1992. Today, a sitting US Head of State is persona-non-grata within hours. Web of power and lies can do anything!

Lies are the greatest strategic weapon in the run-up to any war that the United States has waged since WWII.

In a remarkable piece titled "American Wars Mean American Lies", William Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), who has taught at the Air Force Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School writes about the use of lies and how the American Wars were and never are about winning.  They are about profiting.

Here’s the simple truth of it: America’s wars since 9/11 were never this country’s to win. They were pointless conflicts of opportunity, profiting the Pentagon (and its ever-rising budget). They were tainted by a need for vengeance and badly mismanaged by some of the same flag-rank officers who signed that letter. Honest self-reflection would require a serious course correction within that military and most certainly a wholesale rejection of militarism and military adventurism. And this is undoubtedly why so many in the military-industrial-congressional complex prefer the comfort of big lies. (Source: TheNation)

In 2014, investigative journalist Charles Lewis wrote the book 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity - which shared the lies that pushed America toward the Iraq War and its continuation.

But lies as the basis of a damning war did not start with George Bush's - Sr and Jr.  It is the way of the American Establishment.

Let us go back to that war which is said to have created a seismic cultural shift (or did it really?!). The Vietnam War.

How wars are orchestrated by the American establishment: Vietnam Case Study

The 2003 documentary "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara" on the life and times of former US Secretary Robert McNamara, shared some interesting information.

Transcript of "The Fog of War" (Source)

Here McNamara is referring to two incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin near Vietnam that became the basis of the US declaring its involvement in the Vietnam war.

The first incident occurred on Aug 2nd, 1964.  The US destroyer USS Maddox was conducting intelligence-gathering operations also called DESOTO patrols (DeHaven Special Operations off TsingtaO) after the original operation by US in April 1962 off the coast of China.

They were approached by three Vietnam People's Navy torpedo boats from 135th Torpedo Squadron.  

Even though the records show that the log of events is not consistent.  However, Maddox did fire warning shots and the then jets from USS Ticonderoga also attacked the North Vietnam boats.

At about 1440G (0740Z) the Maddox sent a flash precedence message to various commands in the Pacific that she was being approached by high-speed craft with the intention of attacking with torpedoes. Herrick announced that he would fire if necessary in self-defense.56 He also requested air cover from the carrier Ticonderoga, which was then 280 miles to the southeast. Four F-8E Crusaders from the carrier, already aloft, were vectored to the Maddox. The destroyer Turner Joy (DD-951) was ordered to make best speed to the Maddox.  For the next twenty minutes, the chase continued. The Vietnamese boats inexorably closed the gap between themselves and the destroyer. At 1500G, Captain Herrick ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first.  A few minutes later the Maddox resumed fire. Through the shellfire, the DRV boats bore in on the Maddox. But their attacks were ineffective. Within fifteen minutes of Maddox's first salvo, jets from the carrier Ticonderoga had arrived and attacked the Vietnamese boats, leaving one dead in the water and the other two damaged. As for the Maddox, she was unscathed except for a single bullet hole from a Vietnamese machine gun round. (Source: Robert J. Hanyok, "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2–4 August 1964")

On August 4th, USS Turner Joy also joined in.  Along with USS Maddox, they undertook another DESOTO mission.  That day the commander of the Maddox task force, Captain John Herrick reported he was being attacked by North Vietnamese boats when there were no boats around him.  The August 4th incident went down in history in infamy.  It was a fake incident that never happened.

The issue of whether the available SIGINT "proved" that there had been a second attack has been argued for years. In 1968, Robert McNamara testified before Senator William Fullbright's Foreign Relations Committee's hearings on the Gulf of Tonkin that the supporting signals intelligence was "unimpeachable." On the other hand, in 1972 the deputy director of NSA, Louis Tordella, was quoted as saying that the 4 August intercepts pertained to the 2 August attacks. In a 1975 article in the NSA Magazine Cryptolog, the Gulf of Tonkin incident was retold, but the SIGINT for the night of August 4 was not mentioned, except for the "military operations" intercept, and even then without comment.6 The Navy's history of the Vietnam War would misconstrue the SIGINT (disguised as unsourced "intelligence") associating portions of two critical intercepts and implying a connection in the evidence where none could be established.7 (Source: Robert J. Hanyok, "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2–4 August 1964")

Right after this second attack, fake as it turned out to be, President Lyndon Johnson asked the US Congress for permission to enter into war in Vietnam.

Immediately after reports of the second attack, Johnson asked the U.S. Congress for permission to defend U.S. forces in Southeast Asia. The Senate passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution with only two opposing votes, and the House of Representatives passed it unanimously. Congress supported the resolution with the assumption that the president would return and seek their support before engaging in additional escalations of the war. (Source: Office of the Historian, US State Department)

The US Congress passed the famous "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution".  This resolution allowed the then US President Lyndon Johnson the authority to deploy US forces to South Vietnam and fight the war against the North Vietnam forces.

But the US involvement in Vietnam preceded Lyndon Johnson.  Here is the famous Walter Cronkite of CBS News interviewing President Kennedy in 1963.  Cronkite characterizes it as the "only hot war we’ve got running at the moment.”

By September 2, 1963, there were 16,200 US troops in Vietnam and 82 US servicemen had been killed. (Source: Armstrong undergraduate journal of history)  Kennedy looks at Vietnam from the perspective of Communism versus the America-led view of the world.  

The villain firmly was "Communism".  A week later, on September 9th, Kennedy talked to NBC's Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.  There he discussed how South Vietnam could start a domino effect where entire South Asia could fall to communism.

He keeps lamenting how China was lost to the communists.  There was also the realization by the establishment that the CIA had to better work on "influencing the course of events" in countries like Vietnam.

This was all a prelude to the Vietnam War.  Most books discuss how the Vietnam War was impacted by media coverage and how it was the first "televised war" in history.

But the actions within the US pushed a nation 13,350 km away into one of the most devastating wars in modern history.  What two things stand out here?

  1. Influencing the governments and tweaking the social narrative to achieve a geopolitical goal (Covert Mechanism)
  2. Using fake and utter falsehoods to push Congress to act and influence citizens to build justification for war (Overt Mechanism)

These two strategic components for creating and sustaining war efforts by the US establishment have been unchanged.

The Iraq War Lies

With respect to the Iraq war, everyone remembers those infamous 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union speech by George W Bush.

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

This was a lie.  Yet it became the basis for the war to be initiated against the hapless Iraqis.  In the run-up to the war, US media was promoting the lies of the Bush administration.  This September 8, 2002, New York Times article repeated the canards that the Bush administration was propagating.

Article in NYT by Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller on September 8th, 2002 (Source)

In April 2007, Gary Kamiya said in an article in Salon, that the "time between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq represented one of the greatest collapses of the American media."

Collapse of American media?!!  

Lies were promoted shamelessly.  Without investigation.  Without corroboration.  Even when Joseph Charles Wilson had shared the truth in a July 3, 2003 Oped in New York Times titled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," they shared the lies of an A-bomb on the front page on September 8th!

So calling it a "collapse of media" is a rather cute way of saying that the media was collaborating en masse with the American administration to start a war that made no sense.

The Covert Mechanism

From the covert side, the mantle of waging wars has shifted from the Intelligence agencies to the various organizations within the American establishment that do the same thing.  These use non-state actors and NGOs to accomplish the same thing via tools like chaos, anarchy, activism, and protests.

Let us understand this mechanism.

The US Government provides money to State Department and associated NGOs for foreign operations via its State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) Bill.

The main beneficiaries of this outlay in the budget are USAID and NED.

The 2022 bill, for example, has an outlay of $56.1 billion.

Appropriations Bill (Source)

Both participate in the covert efforts of the US intelligence in furthering the war efforts and geostrategic interests of the American establishment.

National Endowment for Democracy: What is it and why is it important?

National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created in 1983 when CIA's machinations and work had become a problem in how the world was looking at the US.  

Depending on whom you ask, the NED is either a nonprofit champion of liberty or an ideologically driven meddler in world affairs. Both supporters and critics agree that the organization’s roots trace back to the late 1960s, when the Central Intelligence Agency came under fire for covertly funding opposition parties and activists in countries that seemed to be tilting toward the Soviets. When those CIA machinations came to light, the agency drew flak for what some saw as underhanded tinkering with sovereign governments. After years of debate as to whether and how the funding should continue, Congress created the NED in 1983. (Source: Slate)

In fact, when President Donald Trump cut the funding for the NED in 2018, Jacobin - the ultra-leftist online magazine had this to say.

Don’t Mourn “Democracy Promotion” / Jacobin (Source)

In a very detailed article, Kristin Christman writes on NED in Countercurrents, laying out its structure and the deeds which have been known.  The most shocking and egregious is how it meddled in Russia to bring Boris Yeltsin to the helm and how different levers were pulled to orchestrate in Russia what was beneficial for the US as opposed to the Russians.

Within Russia, the NDI and IRI—two of NED’s core institutes, and George Soros’ International Renaissance Foundation contributed millions to Yeltsin’s presidential campaign and helped create a certain public image that would be as likeable as possible, while ignoring less savory aspects of his personality and plans. Most of all, these US campaign contributors wanted Yeltsin in power because he would play the privatization game, thus opening Russia to the grubby, grasping hands of US investors and businessmen. Harvard University’s Institute for International Development sent over its “shock therapist,” Jeffrey Sachs, to put Russia through a crash immersion into capitalism, a course that resulted in catastrophe for most Russians, but fortunes for foreign investors and Russian oligarchs.[19] While Sachs seems genuinely committed to eradicating poverty, others accused him of being tied a narrow way of thinking that caused the crash into poverty of Russia.  China’s report also writes that NED has been “interfering in Russia’s elections and threatening Russia’s constitutional, defense and national security. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, between 2013–2014, NED allocated 5.2 million in US dollars to Russian organizations.” By July 2015, NED was declared an “undesirable organization” by Russia. Russian officials reported that NED “participated in work to recognize election results as illegitimate, to organize political action with the goal of influencing government policy, and to discredit Russian army service.” Can you imagine if Russia were involved in discrediting US military service? (Source: Countercurrents)

NED funnels its money via four affiliated institutes:

  1. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) - aligned with Democratic Party
  2. International Republican Institute (IRI) - aligned with the Republican Party
  3. Center for Independent Private Enterprise (CIPE) - aligned with the businesses
  4. American Center for International Labor Solidarity ("Solidarity Center") - aligned with the Labor Unions and Communists

As is easy to see NED has all the bases of the society covered.  So no one blows the whistle.  All this is done in the name of - Democracy Promotion.

The whole program of "Democracy Promotion" is really a subversion and interventionist program by the US in other countries.

Remember one thing - NED was started as a replacement for the CIA's covert work during the Reagan era.  

Basically, the NED took over many of the tasks and objectives that the CIA used to perform.

President Ronald Reagan established the program in 1983, following years of scandals that tarnished the Central Intelligence Agency. Soon it took over many of the tasks that the CIA used to perform. When the United States wanted to interfere in the Italian election of 1948, for example, the CIA did the job. Decades later, when Washington sought to push its favored candidate into the presidency of Nicaragua, our instrument was the National Endowment for Democracy. (Source: Boston Globe)

To legitimize NED and CIA's covert interventions, Democracy Promotion has been used as the facade.

Democracy promotion has been a key aspect of U.S. identity and foreign policy, though Washington also has a long history of supporting non-democratic forms of governance; it has both consolidated democratic regimes and intervened to overthrow democratically elected governments. Democracy promotion is a broad term encompassing different activities, undertaken as part of a nation’s foreign policy, which intend to initiate and foster democratic governance abroad. Democracy promotion efforts may include, among other strategies, “traditional” diplomacy, targeted foreign aid and assistance, and both covert and overt military intervention. (Source)

To handle media and their agendas across the world, NED uses its arm called the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA).

As journalists confront autocrats, war and conflict, and other dangers, NED provides vital assistance to partners around the world who are working to safeguard democracy—including independent media, freedom of information, and access to technology—in some of the world’s most critical environments. NED established CIMA in 2006 to support independent media in developing countries, and since then, CIMA has emerged as a global thought leader on media development, the digital sphere, and their connection to democracy. (Source: NED)

CIA's extension organization promotes independent media and freedom of information.  Makes complete sense!

USAID: What is it and What does it do?

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that is used to do work on behalf of the US government via foreign aid.  It is one of the largest aid agencies in the world.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent federal government agency that receives overall policy guidance from the Secretary of State. USAID provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. (Source: FAQ/USAID)

The budgetary resources in FY 2022 for USAID were $47.79 billion.

Source: USASpending.gov

USAID's website defines its scope of work thus.  They are honest in saying that the agency's work advances "US National Security and economic prosperity".  No mention of the benefits to the recipient.  They are a tool for the central objective.

Source: USAID.gov

Peter Kornbluh shared the real purpose and use of USAID in his article in New York Times.

Secret Programs Hurt Foreign Aid Efforts by Peter Kornbluh - New York Times

In his book "Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology", David H. Price shared various instances and evidence of how USAID functioned as a front for the CIA work in the 1960s and 1970s

Source: Cold War Anthropology

Open Society Foundation and George Soros - the Third Arm

We have seen how National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have rather unabashedly been used by the US government to do what the CIA and other intelligence organizations used to do earlier.  Billions are earmarked for their activities.

Another organization or rather ecosystem of organizations that work as an extended arm of the US covert operations is the Open Society Foundation.  It is an organization used by the American billionaire George Soros to work with the American establishment in order to carry out its geostrategic agenda.

For example, the International Renaissance Foundation was used in Ukraine, Central and Eastern Europe as well as the USSR and its latter remnants to further US interests.

Source: IRF About page

In its report by USAID titled "Final Performance Evaluation of the Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER)", the role of George Soros and his organizations is clearly mentioned with respect to the work done in Ukraine in collaboration with USAID.

But how did one businessman become so powerful that US federal budgets include his organizations as recipients and regime changes are managed by him on behalf of the CIA and the State Department?

George Soros made inroads into the United States' establishment during the time of Bill Clinton.  He aligned himself with the political elite and started running his own "State Department" in Washington DC.

“People in government used to sort of dismiss George—this crazy guy interested in Hungary,” said Morton Abramowitz, the former United States Ambassador to Turkey, who is now the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and has participated in a Soros-funded advocacy group on the Balkans. “He’s now become a player—but it’s very recent, a new phenomenon.” Abramowitz went on, “He’s untrained, idiosyncratic—he gets in there and does it, and he has no patience with government. As I frequently say about George, he’s the only man in the U.S. who has his own foreign policy—and can implement it.” When I told Strobe Talbott, the Deputy Secretary of State, about Abramowitz’s remark, Talbott, referring to Soros’s foreign policy, responded, “I would say that it is not identical to the foreign policy of the U.S. government—but it’s compatible with it. It’s like working with a friendly, allied, independent entity, if not a government. We try to synchronize our approach to the former Communist countries with Germany, France, Great Britain—and with George Soros,” he added with a grin. (Source: The World According to George Soros, by Connie Bruck/The New Yorker)

As Steve Talbot said - American foreign policy is prepared and executed in tandem with the policies and programs led by George Soros.

The Corrupt American Media - in bed with Political and Business establishments

In a very interesting article in the Harvard Business Review, titled Why the News Is Not the Truth, Peter Vanderwicken reviews these three books in his articulation of how news media - as far back as 1994 - was corrupt and basically working closely with the political and business administrations to the benefit of both the sides.

  1. News and the Culture of Lying: How Journalism Really Works, Paul H. Weaver (The Free Press, 1994).
  2. Who Stole the News?: Why We Can’t Keep Up with What Happens in the World, Mort Rosenblum (John Wiley & Sons, 1993).
  3. Tainted Truth: The Manipulation of Fact in America, Cynthia Crossen (Simon & Schuster, 1994).

Here is how Paul Weaver's book lays out the ground of how everyone lies and this lying is what passes off as news.

The news media and the government have created a charade that serves their own interests but misleads the public. Officials oblige the media’s need for drama by fabricating crises and stage-managing their responses, thereby enhancing their own prestige and power. Journalists dutifully report those fabrications. Both parties know the articles are self-aggrandizing manipulations and fail to inform the public about the more complex but boring issues of government policy and activity. What has emerged, Weaver argues, is a culture of lying. “The culture of lying,” he writes, “is the discourse and behavior of officials seeking to enlist the powers of journalism in support of their goals, and of journalists seeking to co-opt public and private officials into their efforts to find and cover stories of crisis and emergency response. It is the medium through which we Americans conduct most of our public business (and a lot of our private business) these days.” The result, he says, is a distortion of the constitutional role of government into an institution that must continually resolve or appear to resolve crises; it functions in “a new and powerful permanent emergency mode of operation.” (Source: Harvard Business Review: Why the News Is Not the Truth by Peter Vanderwicken [From the Magazine (May–June 1995)])

The Associated Press special correspondent, Mort Rosenblum shares how the media coverage of foreign news is basically fed by the US politicians.

Rosenblum, like Weaver, argues that the press is far too willing to accept government officials’ self-promoting versions of events. He quotes Reuven Frank, a former president of NBC News, as asserting, “News is whatever the goddamn government says it is.” In a long account of the United Nations operation in Somalia a couple of years ago, Rosenblum contends that the German air force was far more efficient and effective in delivering aid than U.S. forces were. Yet few U.S. readers or viewers learned anything about the Germans’ work or even knew that Germans had participated in the relief effort. What we learn about foreign news is as dependent on crises and dramatic pictures as our domestic news is. “The system is geared as much to amuse and divert as it is to inform,” Rosenblum writes, “and it responds inadequately when suddenly called upon to explain something…complex and menacing.”  (Source: Harvard Business Review: Why the News Is Not the Truth by Peter Vanderwicken [From the Magazine (May–June 1995)])

Media diverts not inform.  And carries the US government propaganda as news.

How's that for media integrity?

Edward Herman wrote about media and its role in domestic and foreign policy and is considered an authority on corruption within the US media.

Dr. Herman was primarily responsible for the manifesto “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” (1988), which he wrote with Professor Chomsky. It concluded that “market forces, internalized assumptions and self-censorship” motivate newspapers and television networks to stifle dissent. (Source: New York Times)

We will use his article titled "The Media's Role in U.S. Foreign Policy" to dissect how US media and the American elite work together to shape, deconstruct and destroy other societies, countries, and the world in general.

Per Herman's analysis, the US media echoes the dominant elites of the American establishment.  In fact, they are part of that elite group.  

The Media's Role in U.S. Foreign Policy, (Journal of International Affairs/Vol. 47, No. 1) b Edward S Herman (Source)

Edward Herman talks about a strongly entrenched framework within the US elite circles that covertly and implicitly govern the roles of government and ordinary citizens.  Specifically when it comes to foreign policy decisions.

In his formulation that defines the working of the US establishment, the political elite considers citizens as “stupid, volatile and best kept in the dark”.  The real decisions on policy need to be with the Government officials who are the best judges of national interest.

Time and again, Herman argues that US media has “allowed themselves to be mobilized to serve the government’s agenda and foreign policy goals.”

In one of the case studies, Herman shows how the media and political establishment play in tandem to demonize certain players and underplay the crimes of others.

The Media's Role in U.S. Foreign Policy, (Journal of International Affairs/Vol. 47, No. 1) b Edward S Herman (Source)

The lack of integrity and ensuring that the dominant political narrative prevails is prevalent even now.  

Just the language is more contemporary, though follows the old patterns of conformity.

In a June 2022 Pew research study titled "Journalists Sense Turmoil in Their Industry Amid Continued Passion for Their Work", journalists shared their sensibilities and thoughts about the structure and the future of journalism.  Their hypocrisy was spectacular.

Journalists Sense Turmoil in Their Industry Amid Continued Passion for Their Work, Pew Research (Source)

In a 2019 Pew Research study, 8 interesting points came out. (Source)

  1. The share of Americans who prefer to get their news online is growing.
  2. Nearly as many Americans prefer to get their local news online as prefer the TV.
  3. An easy-to-use website is important to Americans who get local news online.
  4. Employment in digital newsrooms increased 82% between 2008 and 2018.
  5. Layoffs have affected digital-native news organizations as well as newspapers in recent years.
  6. More Americans get news on social media than from print newspapers.
  7. Americans are skeptical of the information they see on social media.
  8. Made-up news affects how people use social media.

The clear direction for the future is online news and video replacing newspapers and Cable TV.

How is the Online Media gamed?

The "new kid on the block" is the use of artificial intelligence in search engine technology.  The Disinfo Lab study found that AI-based search engines, including Google and Bing, are replete with bias and prejudice.

All search engines have a major flaw; biased searches lead users to biased sources. Generally, search engines like Google or Bing autocomplete a user’s question in the search bar, offering predictions before the query is fully typed. If these predictions feature stereotypes or falsehoods, users are more likely to view sources that contain biased, misleading, or flat-out false information. These biased searches are a key and often overlooked accelerator for the spread of mis- and disinformation online. Skewed search results reinforce racial stereotypes, gender roles, and other forms of discrimination in two main ways. (Source: “How AI Bias in Search Engines Contributes to Disinformation“ by Thomas Plant, Aaraj Vij, Jerem Swack, and Megan Hogan)

Again, the search engines and news aggregators seem to give an impression of "neutrality".  That is not the case, however.  Elaborate mechanisms are in place to add bias to the searches.

First, search engines have the perception of being neutral calculators whose predictions are only as biased as the user. They’re not, according to data ethics researchers. These experts note that the manner in which search engines suggest sources to users is subjective. Often, this bias is the result of a handful of programmers in Silicon Valley, whose lack of diversity has historically overlooked certain biases in search results. (Source: “How AI Bias in Search Engines Contributes to Disinformation“ by Thomas Plant, Aaraj Vij, Jerem Swack, and Megan Hogan)

Another fig leaf of neutrality that is promoted often is the group of "certified Fact Checkers".  Who certifies them?

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).  It is a subsidiary of the 'journalism research organization' called Poynter Institute.

Poynter Institute is itself funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Source: NED.org (Awarded Grants Search)

"Monthly Review", the socialist magazine recently shared the details of how the Fact-Checking organizations, specifically the ones used by Facebook in Ukraine, are directly funded by the US establishment.  More directly by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or the US Embassy itself.

In India, the IFCN signatory organizations for fact-checking are:

Source: WhatsApp FAQ

Consume their work with the understanding that they are beholden to the agenda set by the US intelligence agencies in a certain country.

CIA's direct investments in the new world

The online game is not just played by the US establishment by using its many grant and aid organizations.  The CIA directly invests in companies via its Venture Capital funding arm called In-Q-Tel.

The CIA recently made an investment of $1.6 million in the encrypted messaging platform Wickr. (Source: Vice)

CIA currently runs around 100 "AI initiatives" in various forms in order to influence the direction of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

CIA's overriding objective? Combat Bias for Ethical Deployment of AI.  Go figure!

Following the acceleration in the adoption of AI and ML, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has become keen towards fulfilling the primary mission of the technologies. Along with the much-highlighted developments in the field, the agency is also looking into the details of biases and ethical challenges assigned to its emergence.  Around 100 of AI initiatives are running under the hood of the agency and ethical deployment seems to be the most complicated issue addressed by it.  The privacy team also collaborates with the team of data scientists on several projects revolving around statistics, coding and graphical representation. The team of data scientists also look into the analytical aspect of large datasets to gather the information that the CIA alone is not able to extract. They also tend to make improvements in ML to analyze insights as to the human mind. (Source: Analyticsinsight)

The battle is on between the major powers in the supremacy of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning future.  China and the US are fighting it out as of now.

Source: Defense One

The one who wins will decide the winner of geostrategic games in the future.

Why should we take the US News coverage and search biases seriously?

Many try to downplay the importance of the US media.  Including some of the Indian government functionaries.

That is a mistake.

The Opeds.  The flavor and the narratives underlying the news reporting.  The search biases that are apparent.

All these are indicators of the thinking and direction of the US establishment elite.  It is a window to what that clique is thinking and planning.  Where its programs and policies are headed to.

To ignore or brush aside the news patterns in the US is a grave mistake.

It is just these bytes that are used:

  1. to build the public opinion to build consensus for war and pressure Congress to sanction it
  2. help the covert participants to drive their agenda and keep the dollars coming in for their programs

Media in the United States is an extension of the establishment.  Its words should be evaluated from that standpoint.

Video Corner: Archeology refutes History's assertions

The written schoolbook history has told us about how the "invention of agriculture" created organized societies starting with villages and then into cities and how a stratified social class structure defined the world.

But is that true?  Archaeologist David Wengrow says that none of it is corroborated by archeological evidence.

In fact, 4000 years after the invention of agriculture, the world did not have much of kings or armies or social classes.

A fascinating watch.

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