Progressive Journalism’s Legacy of Deceit

Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof. James F. Tracy, July 20, 2012.

Progressive-left media persist in acting as propaganda outlets for the US-NATO destabilization of Syria, thus placating a politically conscious audience that might otherwise be mobilized against acts of imperialism and violence. The historical record suggests how this is not the first time “Progressive publicists” were used to sell a war.  

A recent report in the UK Guardian by Charlie Skelton explains that Western news outlets remain willing victims (or accomplices) in a propaganda campaign for US -NATO led Syrian intervention being carried out by skilled and well-financed public relations practitioners. According to Skelton, “the spokespeople, the ‘experts on Syria’, the ‘democracy activists’ … The people who ‘urge’ and ‘warn’ and ‘call for action’” against the Assad regime are themselves part of a sophisticated and well-heeled public relations effort to allow NATO forces to give Syria the same medicine administered to Libya in 2011. “They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change,” Skelton reports,

–“and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.”[1]

If one thinks that a revelation of this magnitude would be cause for other major Western news media to reassess their reportage of the Syrian situation they would be greatly mistaken. Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now is a case in point. Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” color revolutions the foremost broadcast venue of “independent” progressive-Left journalism in the United States has used its reportage to obfuscate and thereby advance the campaign for regime change in Egypt, Libya, and now Syria. The tactics of disinformation and death squads employed in Libya and Syria should be easily recognizable since they were refined against popular Central American moves toward popular enfranchisement by the Reagan administration during the 1980s.

As Finian Cunningham recently observed [2] Democracy Now’s adherents look to Goodman on a regular basis because of her perceived credibility; she is the self-avowed “ exception to the rulers”—a tireless crusader against the restrictive corporate media where there remains a “deafening silence … around the issues—and people—that matter most.”[3] Today Goodman’s vaunted program is contributing to the very violence being committed by Western-backed mercenaries against the Syrian people … //

… Given the backdrop of progressive-left journalists’ lengthy and ardent opposition to the Bush-Cheney policies of Nazi-like atrocities and plunder, venues such as Democracy Now are poised to serve as platforms for disseminating the necessary disinformation to make the Obama administration’s color revolutions and “humanitarian” policy of military interventions seem palatable to the very audiences whose sensibilities are most opposed to violence and imperialism.

The phenomenon attests to the sophistication and efficiency of modern publicity efforts that genuinely alternative news outlets have long pointed to, the gullibility of many on the Left, and the extent to which vintage propaganda techniques never truly die. Rather, they are consistently refined and expanded in anticipation of shifting public sentiment and rationales for deception.
(full text and Notes 1 to 9).

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