21 November 2015

Establishment Media's Hostility to the Left

While listening to a BBC podcast on 'The Obama Doctrine' I was surprised to hear Jeremy Scahill was sitting on the discussion panel. Scahill who is best known for his affiliation with 'The Intercept', his book on Blackwater and the movie 'Dirty Wars' represents the kind of figure the mainstream media usually avoids. His views are considered too extreme.

He's quite open in his criticism of the US Empire, the lies and deception flowing from the Pentagon and White House and the nature of the Security State and its trampling of the Constitution in the realm of surveillance, torture and much else.

I'm not sure why he was invited because he was obviously an object of ridicule and scorn. It actually grew somewhat amusing. The panel was mixed and yet for the most part was somewhat sympathetic with Obama or at the very least no one but Scahill was actually questioning the mainstream narratives about US power and diplomacy. One panelist in a moment of agitation admitted he had no problem with 'Empire', he was just glad that Obama's hand was running it and not Bush. If anything the main problem they seemed to have with Obama was that he's been too weak and too deliberative. It's as if Scahill was coming from another planet and there was almost no way to integrate him into the discussion. I found the whole episode to be actually quite revealing.

I'll provide the link, but the BBC podcast site will probably purge it in a few weeks. Not all of their podcasts are available indefinitely. Some are, but typically the news programmes are not.

Scahill represents the Left-wing challenge to the Establishment and its media. While I often disagree with him and think he can be guilty of sensationalism, I appreciate where he and his colleagues are coming from. They are rightly outraged by the great lie that is the United States and its allies. It would be one thing if the US admitted what it is and what it does. Perhaps even then some people might say, despite its evils, its theft and murder it's still a country better than many others. But what outrages many about the United States (me included) is the great hypocrisy, the claim to moral superiority and Exceptionalism. It's a country that cannot be honest about what it is and what it does. Its people are brainwashed, selfish and calloused when it comes to the evils their government commits in their name. In fact they celebrate the deeds and all but turn them into a religious exercise, a type of messianic doxology. It's the Sacralist trap all empires fall into.

Listening to the podcast it's clear just how far out of bounds the Left is with the Mainstream Media. I most definitely include the BBC in this mainstream category. That said, it's often better than the Mainstream 'American' Media and I certainly give the producers of the show a tip of the hat for inviting someone like Scahill to appear. I've been listening to the BBC for many years and such a move is not common. They are pretty conventional and Establishment oriented in their reporting. The only reason they're better than American outlets is, their coverage is more in depth, thoughtful, cosmopolitan and being outside the United States you are able to dispense with some of the cultural norms and expectations. In this case the snobbish attitude (if there is any) is helpful. They still largely resonate with the United States and our cultures are more similar than different and yet the little bit of distance helps in seeing the forest through the trees.

I must say that I rejected the whole Leftist Media line a long time ago. Even FOX is more mainstream than anything else, but with a definite, deliberate and overtly Right-wing emphasis. Actually FOX strikes me as more entertainment oriented than anything else. There's almost something deviant or kinky going on with their utilization of bimbo less-than-dressed women being loud, snide and confrontational, or in other instances doing all they can to spread fear. It appeals to the same type of guys that watched Xena and like posters of bikini-clad women holding machine guns.

I've noticed the bias in the American media for many years and maybe it's just me, but it seems like in just the past few years it's been worse than ever before. And while I appreciate BBC, AFP, RFI, DW and France 24, their pro-Western biases have also become more apparent. And in light of the 13 November attacks in Paris we should probably expect things to continue to move in that direction. Generally the French are better than the BBC and certainly outlets like SkyNews, but I'm starting to appreciate programmes, websites and periodicals that focus more on analysis. The whole news outlet, up-to-the-minute reporting, 24 hour news channel/cycle type of organizations are just increasingly shallow and rote in the contextualizing... if any is provided at all. They're good for recent video clips and little else.