Barry Eisler

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Governent's Dutiful Spokesperson: the New York Times


Read this New York Times piece accusing Iran of attacking US banks.  Can you identify anything about it that would be at all different if it were a press release posted on the White House's website?

Where did the information in the report come from?  Is there any critical analysis of the information's validity?  Who benefits from its dissemination -- does the Times even bother to ask?

Note the wonderful imagery, too.  "The attachers engineered networks of computers in data centers, transforming the online equivalent of a few yapping Chihuahuas into a pack of fire-breathing Godzillas."  I haven't read one that good since learning that rendered terrorist suspects have to be gagged and hooded to prevent them from chewing through airplane hydraulic cables.  Islamic terrorists... they're just that rabid!

The primary function of America's establishment media is to launder government propaganda into something the citizenry will believe is objective news.  The New York Times is a dutiful exemplar.
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6 Comments:

Blogger Thomas Pluck said...

OMG Barry... you mean terrists created the global economic meltdown?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger ryan field said...

"The primary function of America's establishment media is to launder government propaganda into something the citizenry will believe is objective news."

And most people don't even know it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 5:54:00 PM  
Blogger Richard L. Pangburn said...

One of my favorite blogs, even though I wish you'd post more often. Keep up the good work.

I've bought several of your novels because of this blog, but now I have to find the time to read them, given all of those other books I'm committed to read and blog about this year.

Your moral arguments deserve a wider audience.

Monday, January 28, 2013 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Louis Bertrand Shalako said...

I find the NYT fairly rational most times. There has always been a connection between government and media. Hydraulics and cables are mutually-exclusive; they're two different systems. They don't use cables in big jetliners anymore. Barry, if confinement at Guantanamo was legal, at some point a sentence has to be passed, one with an end-point. At some point the subject has fulfilled the sentence and no longer 'owes a debt to society.' It must be troubling to military men that actions on a battlefield can be criminalized.

Saturday, February 02, 2013 6:00:00 AM  
Blogger Barry Eisler said...

Forgive me, Louis, but that was as incoherent a comment as I've ever read here.

"I find the NYT fairly rational most times."

No one is arguing that the NYT isn't rational (if you think I suggested the NYT is irrational, please point out where). I imagine the NYC is as rational as the White House Spokesman -- just less honest about their role.

"There has always been a connection between government and media."

I suppose so, but so what? At some level, couldn't the same be said between any two things? It's the nature of the connection that matters.

"Hydraulics and cables are mutually-exclusive; they're two different systems. They don't use cables in big jetliners anymore."

Tell it to General Richard Myers, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs:

http://harpers.org/blog/2009/10/the-worst-of-the-worst/

Though for purposes of my point, what difference does it make if Myers was mistaken about airplane systems? I was talking about imagery, specifically the use of imagery to instill fear and otherwise manipulate the public.

"If confinement at Guantanamo was legal, at some point a sentence has to be passed, one with an end-point."

If you're saying it's unconstitutional to imprison someone indefinitely without charge, trial, or conviction, I agree.

"At some point the subject has fulfilled the sentence and no longer 'owes a debt to society.'"

Presumably so, though I'm not sure what point this relates to.

"It must be troubling to military men that actions on a battlefield can be criminalized."

All soldiers are made familiar with the requirements of the Geneva Conventions and other laws of war. I doubt many soldiers would prefer to fight in a world where chemical weapons were permitted, for example, or where medics could be shot at, or where surrendering soldiers could be tortured and executed. Why do you believe otherwise?

Saturday, February 02, 2013 8:59:00 AM  
Blogger Louis Bertrand Shalako said...

Media and government align themselves with dominant social forces because it is in their best corporate interest to do so. I agree the imagery is all-important in propagandizing. The notion that George W. or Mr. Obama will be indicted for war crimes simply doesn't wash, hence the need for propaganda, whether as justification or mystification. But to label someone a terrorist and then hold them to a higher standard is hyprocrisy. When major media allow themselves to be used as mouthpieces for the government yes, it is disturbing. Hopefully that addresses some of your concerns.

Saturday, February 02, 2013 12:02:00 PM  

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