New Eastern Outlook
by Jean Perier
There’s been many international events lately that have been covered by a wide range of media sources, including TV channels, newspapers and various websites. However, in an effort to attract the attention of a wider audience, some of these media sources have begun publishing misleading statements, unfounded accusations or even straightforward propaganda, all of which create a distorted perception of reality among the Western public.
For these reasons, it is sometimes incredibly difficult to tell what is really happening, which prevents both ordinary citizens and policymakers alike from getting any given story straight, even though the latter are responsible for making logical and accurate decisions that will inevitably impact and define the lives of millions of people.
For this reason, both Western politicians and citizens have begun rejecting the US corporate media, which has become increasingly biased by the day, engaged in information campaigns that only benefit certain political circles across the West.
According to the Gallup Institute, most Americans feel sharp disappointment with their national media, since the number of those who believe in the mainstream media’s ability “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly“ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history.
While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has hit rock bottom this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative coverage, this may be the prime reason for relatively low trust in the media evaporating even further.
A majority of voters believe the media is driving this presidential election and that they define the agenda of presidential campaigns. A total of 74% of US voters believe that in covering presidential candidates, the media is more interested in creating controversies about them than in reporting where they stand on certain issues. Two out of three Americans view political correctness as a threat and say they do not have freedom of speech anymore. It’s been reported that 66% of all Americans still think political correctness is a problem in the US today.
The growing mistrust towards the corporate media is caused by a number of factors, including straightforward lies, attempts to present other states as a US enemy, along with the justification of the short-sighted US policies in the Middle East and Europe.
There’s an illuminating case study that shows that propaganda can take off on its own and exceed the intentions of its originators. The US establishment is fond of demonising its enemies – in recent times we have seen it happen to various leaders including Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, bin Laden and many others – but those hate campaigns, once they had whipped up support for various wars, were forgotten amid Washington’s current troubles. It is a technique that has so far not been employed against a nation or leader who can outwit such tactics at every juncture. Now, presented with just such a scenario, propagandists have no idea of what to do except turn up the volume of deception and misinformation higher still. So the rhetoric builds and builds, more and more extreme, larger and larger until it bursts into full-blown psychosis and panic.
It’s been noted, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has already be designated as the villain of choice to be targeted by the US propaganda machine: accused of being the hidden power behind everything evil and wrong in the world. We were told that President Putin had the very same uncanny influence over Donald Trump; in other words, he has such a grip on the American election that Hillary Clinton is the only truly American candidate left. Another theme involves the extraordinary ability of RT and other Russian media outlets to shape people’s thoughts, far exceeding the effects of the much (much) better funded Western media. Moreover, it seems that President Putin has the power to cloud minds at a distance, and operates at a more than merely human status and he’s using that power to reshape the world.
By refusing to evaluate American politicians by the standards they apply to other, foreign leaders, instead they are happy to serve as a mouthpiece of special interests entrenched in Washington. By blindly obeying the instructions of the White House, Western journalists create the image of an enemy and rally the public in the face of a nonexistent confrontation, which allows the US government to get away with its own, very numerous crimes.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”