I recently came across an intriguing research, conducted by a Washington based research group. The research analysed the news reports for the month of April and found out that the American Presidential campaign has taken up almost 33% of the editorial space, followed by general economy which took almost 6%. The Pope’s visit and the Texas polygamy case equally shared an editorial space of 4% each. It is intriguing that as bodies of innocent American soldiers and that of equally innocent Iraqi’s kept falling, it could garner only 3% of editorial space!! It is not to draw any conclusion whether the American Presidential campaign is more important than Iraq, but then the media coverage in itself indicates that though Iraq is a burning global issue, the American media doesn’t feel likewise, otherwise it would not have given a mere 3% space. And the bigger issue here is that by reducing media space over a period of time, the American media is systematically trying to take Iraq out of people’s memory as well. In fact a careful analysis and one would realise that some media houses have gone ahead in terms of justifying American engagement in Iraq!! So much for the great American democracy where an independent and honest media is supposed to form the key pillar!!
It is not a recent phenomenon, but for long, great thinkers of the likes of Noam Chomsky had been extremely critical about the manner the American media had been manufacturing and disseminating news! In fact in his book Media Control, Prof Chomsky had elaborately talked about the history of American media propaganda machinery! Also that it is no secret that today, American media is controlled by five big media conglomerates and has been seemingly evident, time and again, that they have been covertly catering to American Administration’s interest! It is a fact that mainstream media has always shared a very cosy relationship with the American Administration and has been the apparent mouthpiece of it. It is also a fact that Pentagon had time and again used media to build up reasons to engage with Iraq! Not just that, the same was done to build up the progressive image of Afghanistan after the American military engagement in the region! In fact this arrangement had worked wonderfully well with the media houses as well. For that matter, it doesn’t make any sense for General Electric to report about Iraq, through MSNBC, simply because it is only on account of Iraq that their production lines for Apache helicopters have been running full! Though unfortunate, the fact remains that for years American news and information has been commoditised and has been blatantly sold to American households. And worse is the fact that this media industry has had such a dominating strong stranglehold that reporters who investigated and reported truth got stifled.
If this sham and pretence of democracy in America by control of information dissemination is not good enough then like the mystery of disappearing kids from Delhi – as in our cover – there is the mystery of disappearing journalists from the world who dare to report truth against America. It has been reported from various alternate media sources that the American Administration had been targeting media houses and journalists who had been trying to do investigative journalism and report the true picture. A case in point here is Al Jazeera. Post-Afghanistan engagement, Al Jazeera had been actively covering news from the region and it is no secret that their office in Kabul was bombed in 2001. It can also be confidently said that other than rampant arrests of Al Jazeera journalists, the US Administration was also responsible in bombing the Sheraton Hotel in Basra, Iraq, where the only guests were Al Jazeera correspondents, who were reporting from that city. There are reports that state that since 2003, almost 127 journalists and around 50 other media workers have been killed. Looking at these numbers it almost seems like a cleansing drive against true and factual reporting.
It is not that by doing all this President Bush and his Administration is able to cover up there misadventures, as it is also evident from his popularity rankings which are on a perpetual slide. But then, it is not President Bush’s popularity which is a matter of concern, the bigger issue here is that such kind of concocted media reporting and propaganda has strong repercussions. No doubt the effect of such media campaigns are damaging but then when it happens in the world’s largest democracy it is even more damaging. As it is an universally known fact that a sustained lie communicated over a period of time becomes a larger truth and worse is the fact that such lies are shaping the minds of the future generations of Americans. This generation is unfortunately constantly fed with manufactured information, which will go on to build their convictions and opinions about everything in life. It is not that the current Bush Administration had ruined the current and future generations of Iraq and Afghanistan; in the process they are also ruining the thought processes of future generations of Americans without them even coming to know about it! Its amazing that the country which keeps screaming about the positives of democracy is actually the most dictatorial in its own ways. It is called the dictatorship of the capitalists... they dictate and decide how people think!!
- 25 May 2008 |
- Arindam On America