By Martin Love

The U.S. is no beacon of democracy

December 16, 2017

I am pleased now and then to write something for the Tehran Times from the U.S., more honored than I would be to write, say, a regular column for the New York Times or the Washington Post, both of which are at the heart of the corporate print media complex in the U.S.

And I have never even been to Iran, nor, admittedly, do I have direct knowledge of the country except of its deep history, and that as a civilization Iran has produced art, architecture and literature of almost inestimable quality in all of its evolution from one polity to another over many centuries.

I also can’t speak with any authority whatsoever about the Iranian media. To be frank, that’s not my business, and even if it were I would not dare to try the analysis for fear of simply being wrong, not knowing enough, and anyway how can anyone who has never lived in Iran or even visited have a legitimate voice about such matters?

One thing is clear, though. Many “establishment” journalists in the U.S. who do write anything about Iran don’t really have a clue, and anyway almost the entire media establishment in the U.S., if not a small minority of respected journalists still around, is, in my opinion and that of many Americans, hopelessly corrupted now.

Consider that, if you look closely enough, various media outlets in the U.S. operate as extreme forms of predatory capitalism, using information aimed at capturing control, influence and wealth for the few at the expense of the many. Now, in the U.S., six behemoth transnational corporate conglomerates virtually own the entirety of the mass media, including newspapers, magazines, publishers, TV networks, cable channels, Hollywood studios, music labels and popular websites: Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. (Even in the UK, some 70 percent of UK national newspapers are owned by a mere three companies, while 80 percent of local newspapers are owned by only five companies.) Today, the world’s largest media owner is Google, closely followed by Walt Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Facebook. Together, Google and Facebook have captured some 20 percent of global ad revenue. And all these corporations control and manage the bulk of what many in the West read and watch, including to a lesser extent on the Internet. They define much of the erroneous understanding of the world in the U.S. And that understanding of many other countries, such as Iran, is sorely lacking. To say that the media has been “captured” by special interests could be an understatement.

To cite just one example of “reporting” that was erroneous by the absence of full assessment is a recent column by none other that than the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who writes a foreign policy column twice a week in that newspaper and who has several times visited both Syria and Iraq. Ignatius, whom I know personally but not well, wrote a piece about how ISIS was defeated in Syria by massive U.S. military firepower --- and failed to mention who actually defeated ISIS and deserves the most credit for it: the Syrian Arab Army with the assistance of the Russians, Hizballah and Iran! We know from reports outside the mainstream media in the U.S. written by reliable journalists that the U.S. government may actually have been supporting ISIS and other mercenary terrorists groups in Syria with money and weaponry. It’s incredible that someone like Ignatius, who has been at the Post for decades, can get away with crowing about how it was the U.S. military that did the job.

On a more positive note, it’s no surprise that many of these media companies, including the Washington Post, are beginning to lose influence with the “average” citizen in the U.S., and their business models are not looking all that healthy in terms of the sponsorship and readership they have. Many in the U.S., if not horribly confused by or with the information they receive, just don’t trust the corporate media like they formerly did, because it caters to special, narrow interests.
But so does Trump and the U.S. Congress. Take Trump’s plan, announced December 6th, to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a plan which has been condemned virtually worldwide. With regard to this, consider who is pulling Trump’s strings: Likud Israel of course, but in the U.S., billionaire donors to Trump’s election last year. People like Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, Paul Singer and a few others, plus AIPAC and the Christian “evangelical” community. Yet a recent poll suggests that some 65 percent of Americans are against this embassy move. This may be all anyone needs to know: that U.S. foreign policy is not much representative of majority sentiment. And it has not been for a very long time, and many are aware of this discrepancy. Democracy, which the U.S. claimed to be bringing to countries it has destroyed, such as Iraq and in part Syria with its paid proxy terrorist groups that entered Syria from outside, and other countries such as Libya, no longer really exists in the U.S. Just ask other notable journalists like Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges, who left the New York Times when he was told NOT to question the war on Iraq in 2003, and even some foreign journalists such as Australian-born John Pilger.

There are many others, but you won’t find them at major U.S. newspapers or broadcast media right now. But here’s the positive: Americans ARE becoming smarter, and it would be beyond foolish for the U.S. government to ignite another war in the Middle East on predominately Muslim countries, including Iran. Not only has the U.S. lost credibility at home and abroad with the plan to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but what’s left of that credibility, if there is any, would be lost forever with further war making. This is virtually guaranteed and as a result, the U.S. would LOSE. And a revolution of some kind would likely occur inside the U.S.  But the big changes will happen anyway in time, because the bursting the financial bubbles ahead may have the same effect, impoverishing millions as the fiat dollar drops like a rock and the U.S. debt burden becomes impossible to manage. China and Russia and even Iran stand to become countries that could very well lead the world to a brighter future.


 

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