From BEHIND THE SCENES... (FBS) No. 4 July/August 2001 Back again . with stories and perspectives the mainstream media prefers to ignore!
This time with a look at the media itself !
"There is no such thing.. as an independent press. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job! We are the tools of rich men behind the scenes.. they pull the strings and we dance. We are intellectual prostitutes."
John Swinton,- chief of staff to the New York Times addressing the New York Press Club many years ago.
More than 200 years ago, when President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson once said he felt sorry for those who thought that they knew what was going on through reading the newspapers, and about 100 years later British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli made a similar remark.
"JOURNALISM IS GRUBBIER, NASTIER AND MORE TRIVIAL THAN EVER BEFORE..." admitted one journalist writing in the Independent. Look at the tabloids and a host of other publications, to see what a load of trivial, basically irrelevant material now passes for so called news. We may find it fun and entertaining sometimes, but it easily distracts us from thinking for ourselves about what really matters to us. The same applies to television - more and more soaps, sport, quiz shows, comedy shows, chat shows, pop shows etc.- an increasing diet of trivialisation.
OWNED AND CONTROLLED BY BIG BUSINESS Some people reckon that broad-sheets such as the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Financial Times are highly reliable and informative. However newspapers like these and mainstream radio and T.V. networks cannot possibly give us a full picture, or a full unbiased analysis, of what is going on in the world. They are owned by big corporate interests on whom they also rely for income from advertising. Continuing government deregulation in the media telecommunications industry has not led to better quality as claimed, but rather has produced an accelerating wave of corporate mergers that has resulted in just a handful of mega-media conglomerates. And even if they dont actually own the BBC, corporate interests and their friends in government make all appointments to its senior posts, and dominate the Board of Governors, ensuring that it is no more independent than any of the others. On top of this, people employed in the media tend to have very good pay and enjoy comfortable even lavish life styles the last thing they want to do is to rock the boat. So many of them probably have a very limited view of the world and simply cannot understand why anyone would see a problem with the present system, which after all, serves them well enough! It is reckoned that the Independent and Guardian, and T.V. programmes such as Granadas "World in Action" and Channel 4s "Despatches" do produce some good investigative journalism, which is true. However as any decent investigative journalist knows, they only go so far, and some crucial subjects and perspectives remain well off limits ...
POWER OF THE MEDIA The mass media forms for us our image of the world and then tells us what to think about that image. It is beamed into every household every day. Essentially everything we know, or think we know, about events outside our own neighbourhood comes via TV radio and newspapers. This places extra-ordinary power in the hands of those who control the media. The manipulation of public opinion takes place not just through the suppression of certain news stories, but also through subtle and thorough management of news and entertainment that is presented to us the way in which the news is covered which items are emphasised and which are played down the reporters choice of words, facial expressions and tone of voice the wording of headlines and choice of illustrations all these things affect us profoundly even if we dont realise it. And on top of that the columnists and editors carefully guide our thoughts and opinions further with endless editorials and comment columns.
Professor Noam Chomsky says "You dont have any other society where the educated classes are so effectively indoctrinated and controlled by a subtle propaganda system a private system including media, intellectual opinion forming magazines and the participation of the most highly educated sections of the population. Such people ought to be referred to as "Commissars" for that is what their essential function is to set up and maintain a system of doctrines and beliefs which will undermine independent thought and prevent a proper understanding and analysis of national and global institutions, issues, and policies".
The system requires about a fifth of the population to administer it the supposedly educated and professional classes. As for the rest they are just tiny cogs in a big machine they are totally excluded and the mass entertainment industry has been set up to distract and occupy them with a diet of sport, sex and trivial entertainment. The power of the system stems from the fact that hardly anyone confronts it. We are isolated and bombarded by endless waffle and doctored information from those in power who have a vested interest in convincing us that we are powerless. To maintain that idea, we have to be fed a steady stream of "acceptable" information and opinion and offered a constant supply of "problems" we cant personally fix. These problems, we are told, are far too complex for us to understand anyway - they can only be fixed by so called "experts", be they economists, bankers, politicians, academics or whatever, who are constantly wheeled in to reinforce the point. With legal and decision making power taken away, and alternative ideas and information concealed from us, many of us inevitably become uninterested and apathetic we switch off, often struggling with our lives to keep our job or make ends meet, and settling for the relief and distractions of the local pub, sport and mass entertainment. Thats the key to the manipulation which establishes government, global institutions, conventional economics and monetary policy or whatever, as the proper and "correct" sources of power.
EXAMPLES OF HOW THE MEDIA LIMITS AND CONTROLS OUR VIEW:
Foot and Mouth - We are told it is a disease that must be eliminated at all costs in order to regain "disease free status" and save the export market, and that this can only be achieved by a mass slaughter policy. Hardly a word on the fact it is not a serious disease in itself, affected animals will recover if allowed to, the disease can be successfully treated with homeopathic remedies, and the produce from affected animals remains fit for consumption. Furthermore, there would be no need to rely on exports if we all bought British produce in the first place - maintaining disease free status would then be of much less importance.
The Election The lowest election turnout for over 80 years shows people are increasingly disillusioned with the 3 main parties who now offer basically exactly the same thing. All we heard were arguments about who was going to do a better job and spend more on health education and fighting crime. Discussions on the European Union were confined to the Conservatives policy of retaining the pound for the time being nothing on the overall implications of EU membership and its effect on democracy and Britain as a self governing nation. The Green Party was denied a fair quota of air time on TV and radio the BBC refused the party any air time on radio, and Channels 4 and 5 refused them any broadcasts. Any party or group offering anything significantly different was almost entirely excluded from the biggest programme of election coverage to date. Demonstrations in London, Manchester and elsewhere, by people disillusioned with mainstream politics went unreported.
The European Union Notice how opponents to the European Union are always portrayed as being "anti Europe" and "right wing". The EU and Europe are not one and the same thing but this obvious distinction is always overlooked. By implication opponents of the EU are cast as isolationist or "little Englanders". The term "Eurosceptic" was coined several years ago by the media as derogatory term to describe opponents of the EU. The fact that there are many people right across the political spectrum throughout Europe who oppose a centralised dictatorship based in Brussels is ignored. When up to the early 80s many in the Labour party opposed the old Common Market, the party found itself accused of being infiltrated by communists, militant tendency, Trotskyists and "reds under the bed!"
Good guys and bad guys - Western so called "democracies" are always presented as the epitome of freedom and tolerance committed to bringing peace and harmony throughout the world, whilst the likes of Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic are presented as the ultimate villains. FBS intends to show in future how it is nowhere near as clear cut as that the bad guys may not be as bad as they are made out to be, and the so called good guys are often as bad as, or worse, than the bad guys!
TIMOTHY McVEIGH & THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMB
Usually anyone sentenced to death in the USA ends up on so called "death row" sometimes for years whilst endless appeals procedures are exhausted, before sentence is carried out. Following his long delayed trial, the speed with which Timothy McVeigh met his end recently must have been a record. Were the authorities frightened that, sooner or later, despite a recent confession that he was solely responsible for the outrage, McVeigh might go back on this and implicate key federal government agencies?
Here are a few unanswered questions about the atrocity: 1) Why was every badge carrying federal government agent who normally worked in the building absent from their offices that morning? 2) Judge Wayne Alley whose office was in the building disclosed immediately after the bombing, that he had been warned in a Justice Department memo several weeks before, to be prepared for a terrorist attack directed against the building. 3) According to army explosive manuals the ammonium nitrate/fuel oil bomb which the prosecution claimed McVeigh used to blow up the building couldnt possibly have done anything like the damage to the building as actually occurred. 4) Eye witness accounts of the blast said there were two explosions. This version of events was reported but then disappeared from the airwaves after just 24 hours. There are many more questions. The bombing itself has been used as an excuse to bring in a mass of anti terrorism laws, from restricting gun ownership to wiretaps, internet censorship and attempts to make it an offence to publish "baseless conspiracy theories regarding the federal government of the United States". In other words, the outrage has provided the perfect excuse for the government to introduce the kind of measures it has wanted all along which suggests that federal government authorities are the chief beneficiaries and, if that is so, it begs the question that many investigators in the US have been asking to what extent were federal authorities involved in what happened .?
And at last REINCARNATION
The last 250 years has witnessed the march of Newtonian science, Darwinian evolution and much more. We have gained invaluable knowledge of the physical world around us. However this has resulted in a mechanistic view of the universe being promoted by the scientific establishment, where the universe is seen as no more than a complex chemical interaction of atoms and molecules - just some gigantic physical accident. But this is only a small part of the picture. Nevertheless, as a result, much of humanity has become so unaware spiritually that it is now regarded as quite normal and reasonable to see ourselves as just our physical bodies and when those die thats it youre gone. (However FBS 2 mentioned a piece of scientific research that showed survival of the death of the body is a fact.) At the same time fewer and fewer people accept Christianitys explanation of life - one life on earth it could be long and prosperous, or short and filled with poverty and hardship, or even just months or less, then all are judged on the basis of that one life, prior to some eternal afterlife elsewhere. However, eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism have always accepted reincarnation. Interestingly, early Christianity also accepted it, but abandoned it after the 5th Ecumenical Church Council of 553 A.D., following internal power struggles and manipulation that had a lot more to do with control of the masses than spiritual enlightenment. It is said that references to reincarnation were subsequently removed from the scriptures that eventually became todays Bible. If one can get hold of the evidence, it is very strong indeed. There have been so many reports from reliable sources of past life experiences. People have come up with strikingly detailed descriptions of places and events in the past, which have often been verified as true from the records so much so, as to rule out any possibility that they are making it up and trying to deceive us all. Surely its not possible to experience everything life can teach us in just one lifetime? Perhaps in order to grow and mature and overcome self interest and learning to treat our fellow humans decently, we need several lives in very different circumstances experiencing wealth, poverty, war, exploitation and much more. Those who exploit others may need to return in order to experience first hand what it is like to be exploited, in order to fully appreciate that there is a better way to live. If we all knew and accepted this, would it not remove forever the fear of death that so many people have, because ultimately we would understand there is no such thing as death? When a loved one dies, sad though this is, we would know that it is merely the loss of a physical body the spirit lives on in another unseen dimension, with every chance of returning to physical human form at some time in the future. Couldnt this be particularly comforting in the case of the death of a child or baby or a miscarriage, which presently cause such distress, and which we think of as such a total and tragic loss? Some people say once they lose the fear of death, thats when they really start living. Could anything else have a more profound influence on people in the western world? These ideas will be taken further in future FBSs, including why is it, if we have lived before, most of us have no recollection of past lives.
Compiled by Richard Greaves, "The Old Stables", Cusop, Herefordshire HR3 5RQ.
Tel 01497 821406 E-mail email@example.com