I was thinking, what do you call this?
Is “irony” the right word to use? What I was thinking about was actually a burst of thoughts about a collection of things that hit me after hearing literally just a few seconds of one of the Sunday morning political sports report yapfests that are a feature of American television, presented as part of the “news” operations of American TV.
What I caught was a few seconds of commentary from Bob Sheiffer on CBS. Forgive me for paraphrasing what he said (paraphrasing of what he was saying shown in italics), as I didn’t memorize it.
Essentially, he did a short monologue saying that in this terrible summer, it might seem as if the world has gone mad. I thought that part was a reasonable thought. What followed was not so reasonable. It was (again, paraphrasing) a Russian leader tyrant renews ambitions to rebuild the Soviet empire and invades another nation and threatens Europe and the world.
And, of course, as I’ve been trying to help make people aware, this is just fiction. It’s more of the same thing hammering Americans from what people regard as credible news sources. The same thing is happening on CNN as what has been happening, with part of it being the constant repetition of the items over the past couple of days of “the Russians have been launching artillery at the Ukrainian army from inside Russia” along with the partner meme of “the Russians are about to ship in loads of new weapons from Russia to the rebels”, with all this apparently being the “reporting” (euphemism) of CNN Washington DC reporter Barbara Starr, who, as far as I can tell, reports this as fact on the basis of “because the government says so!“. “Somebody at the State Department sez” or “somebody at the Pentagon sez” is not evidence, it isn’t certain fact, except in the sense that, yes, it’s a fact that somebody said that, and “reporting” that as a fact is not really journalism.
The epic drama of what the news media has been calling the “Ukrainian Crisis” as a title theme for a little over a half year now has been going on relentlessly, absolutely hammering on the attention and minds of anyone here in the United States (and other places, evidently, such as Britain), being unavoidable for anybody trying to get even the barest quick summary of news now and then when they might have a few minutes.
It’s unfortunate, I think, that in the past few years or so it has become a kind of cliché meme of its own for some people to toss out the phrase “mainstream media” on a regular basis. On its own, it’s a reasonable term to use to classify channels of news and information that get the most attention from the general public, simply to indicate something about size of audience, prominence and magnitude and so on. Unfortunately, even using such a seemingly simple term immediately runs into some weird meaning warp as a result of constant use by a portion of the characters infected with Bipolar Political Disorder, from people who probably describe themselves with other warped terms, who seem to have adopted “mainstream media” as a phrase they assert as meaning “that Liberal Media and their Leftist propaganda Liberal Media Bias”, or something like that.
For people afflicted with the mental malfunction I’ve been calling Bipolar Political Disorder, it’s virtually impossible, or at least one hell of a challenge, to get through to them with some things. One example is if there’s anything people need to observe and understand about the New York Times, there is an entire subculture of people who could fairly be called Fox News victims (although it’s about more than just Fox News alone), who have been so thoroughly programmed with brainwashing about the NYT as “the ultimate of Left Wing Liberal media” that it makes any objective examination and criticism of the actual reality of the newspaper run into a wall of confusion and misunderstanding.
Today, I read an excellent piece from investigative reporter Robert Parry addressing the way the New York Times has been doing an absolutely pathetic job, with the Times generally simply passing along pure bullshit. In the course of that article, Parry included a very good concise summary of the general situation of what has been happening regarding the “Ukraine Crisis”.
I want to include that portion of the article here, something I don’t normally do, quoting this large block of a piece published elsewhere, just to make sure that anybody reading this actually sees it, just in case they don’t bother clicking a link here and reading something elsewhere because they’re thinking “oh, I don’t have time for that”.
The danger of American “information warfare” that treats every development in the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity to blame Putin and ratchet up tensions with Russia has been apparent since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis – as has been the clear anti-Russian bias of the Times and virtually every other outlet of the mainstream U.S. news media. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Will Ukraine Be NYT’s Waterloo?”]
Since the start of the crisis last year, U.S. officials and American-funded non-governmental organizations have not only pushed a one-sided story but have been pushing a dangerous agenda, seeking to create a collision between the United States and Russia and, more personally, between President Barack Obama and President Putin.
The vehicle for this head-on collision between Russia and the United States was the internal political disagreement in Ukraine over whether elected President Viktor Yanukovych should have accepted harsh International Monetary Fund austerity demands as the price for associating with the European Union or agree to a more generous offer from Russia.
Angered last September when Putin helped Obama avert a planned U.S. bombing campaign against Syria, American neocons were at the forefront of this strategy. Their principal need was to destroy the Putin-Obama collaboration, which also was instrumental in achieving a breakthrough on the Iran nuclear dispute (while the neocons were hoping that the U.S. military might bomb Iran, too).
So, on Sept. 26, 2013, Carl Gershman, a leading neocon and longtime president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the op-ed page of the neocon-flagship Washington Post to urge the U.S. government to push European “free trade” agreements on Ukraine and other former Soviet states and thus counter Moscow’s efforts to maintain close relations with those countries.
The ultimate goal, according to Gershman, was isolating and possibly toppling Putin in Russia with Ukraine the key piece on this global chessboard. “Ukraine is the biggest prize,” Gershman wrote. “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
To give the United States more leverage inside Ukraine, Gershman’s NED paid for scores of projects, including training “activists” and supporting “journalists.” Rather than let the Ukrainian political process sort out this disagreement, U.S. officials, such as neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and neocon Sen. John McCain, also intervened to encourage increasingly disruptive demonstrations seeking to overthrow Yanukovych when he opted for the Russian deal over the EU-IMF offer.
Though much of the ensuing violence was instigated by neo-Nazi militias that had moved to the front of the anti-Yanukovych protests, the U.S. government and its complicit news media blamed every act of violence on Yanukovych and the police, including a still mysterious sniper attack that left both protesters and police dead.
On Feb. 21, Yanukovych denied ordering any shootings and tried to stem the violence by signing an agreement brokered by three European nations to reduce his powers and hold early elections so he could be voted out of office. He also complied with a demand from Vice President Joe Biden to pull back Ukrainian police. Then, the trap sprang shut.
Neo-Nazi militias overran government buildings and forced Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives. The State Department quickly endorsed the coup regime – hastily formed by the remnants of the parliament – as “legitimate.” Besides passing bills offensive to ethnic Russians in the east, one of the parliament’s top priorities was to enact the IMF austerity plan.
White Hats/Black Hats
Though the major U.S. news media was aware of these facts – and indeed you could sometimes detect the reality by reading between the lines of dispatches from the field – the overriding U.S. narrative was that the coup-makers were the “white hats” and Yanukovych along with Putin were the “black hats.” Across the U.S. media, Putin was mocked for riding on a horse shirtless and other indiscretions. For the U.S. media, it was all lots of fun, as was the idea of reprising the Cold War with Moscow.
When the people of Crimea – many of whom were ethnic Russians – voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, the U.S. media declared the move a Russian “invasion” although the Russian troops were already in Ukraine as part of an agreement with previous Ukrainian governments.
Every development that could be hyped was hyped. There was virtually no nuance in the news reporting, a lack of professionalism led by the New York Times. Yet, the solution to the crisis was always relatively obvious: a federalized system that would allow the ethnic Russians in the east a measure of self-governance and permit Ukraine to have cordial economic relations with both the EU and Russia.
But replacement President Petro Poroshenko – elected when a secession fight was already underway in the east – refused to negotiate with the ethnic Russian rebels who had rejected the ouster of Yanukovych. Sensing enough political support inside the U.S. government, Poroshenko opted for a military solution.
It was in that context of a massive Ukrainian government assault on the east that Russia stepped up its military assistance to the beleaguered rebels, including the apparent provision of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to fend off Kiev’s air superiority. The rebels did succeed in shooting down some Ukrainian warplanes flying at altitudes far below the 33,000 feet of the Malaysia Airlines plane.
For a plane at that height to be shot down required a more powerful system, like the Buk anti-aircraft batteries or an air-to-air missile fired by a fighter jet. Which brings us to the mystery of what happened on the afternoon of July 17 and why it is so important to let a serious investigation evaluate all the available evidence and not to have a rush to judgment.
But the idea of doing an investigation first and drawing conclusions second is a concept that, apparently, neither the U.S. government nor the New York Times accepts. They would prefer to start with the conclusion and then make a serious investigation irrelevant, one more casualty of information warfare.
One more thing to wrap this up for today. Turning on CNN for a couple of minutes to see what vacuous noise is being pumped out as “news”, the item at the moment was chattering about how efforts for European investigators to examine the crash site of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 were running into new problems because of what was reported as new heavy fighting in the area.
What was clearly missing was arguably the most basic and fundamental part of this- any new fighting, or fighting at all, in that area is a result of the new US-backed government by coup in Kiev attacking the Russian-Ukrainian rebels/separatists in the region. We don’t really hear about that from, dare I say it, “mainstream” news, but we keep being fed the repeated meme that says “Putin is responsible and we demand that Putin stop the conflict there so people can deal with the crash site!” and do all that needs to be done there, as if Putin is in charge of anything there. At this point I have heard or read nothing, absolutely nothing, in the usual US news media, about demanding that the new government by junta in Kiev stop attacking the Russian-Ukrainians in the area so that the place is not a war zone, and people can deal with the crash site.