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How Propaganda Conquers Democracy

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  • In recent decades, the U.S. propaganda system has grown more and more sophisticated in the art of “perception management,” now enlisting not only government PR specialists but careerist journalists and aspiring bloggers to push deceptions on the public.
  • Virginian-Pilot journalists: Corporate management pressure is stifling coverage

Nicolas J S Davies, Consortiumnews.com

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Politics-%20Truth%20vs.%20Propaganda.jpgJanuary 19, 2015 | Do we live in a country where citizens are critically informed on the issues of the day by media that operate independently of the government? Or do our political leaders deliberately plant a false view of events and issues in the mind of the public that complicit media then broadcast and amplify to generate public consent for government policy?

This is a basic test of democracy for the citizens of any country. But the very nature of modern propaganda systems is that they masquerade as independent while functioning as the opposite, so the question is not as straightforward as it seems.

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. Davies also wrote the chapter on “Obama At War” for the book, Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

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Virginian-Pilot journalists: Corporate management pressure is stifling coverage, Corey Hutchins, Columbia Journalism Review 

  • In the wake of an investigation, as one veteran journalist at the paper put it, “we’re walking around with duct tape over our keyboards.”
  • A Terrorist Massacre The News Barely Covered

Virginian-Pilot journalists: Corporate management pressure is stifling coverage.

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  • In the wake of an investigation, as one veteran journalist at the paper put it, “we’re walking around with duct tape over our keyboards.”
  • A Terrorist Massacre The News Barely Covered

 

Corey Hutchins, Columbia Journalism Review

 

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riseuptimes.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/images.jpg?w=225January 14, 2015 | Things are not as they should be these days at The Virginian-Pilot, the largest newspaper in Virginia. In the fall, the paper produced an important investigation of municipal government, one that has sparked an official inquiry, led to policy changes at a local bank, and prompted the mayor of Virginia Beach to resign his lucrative private-sector job. By any expectation, the paper would have kept dogging the story, probing whether there was more to discover about the overlap between government and business elites in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Instead, the newsroom has been consumed with warding off pressure from an unexpected source: upper management at its own paper. In the view of several Pilot journalists, that pressure has stifled further enterprise reporting. It has also led to concerns that the paper might even publicly backtrack from its published coverage.

 

Corey Hutchins is CJR's Rocky Mountain correspondent based in Colorado. He has contributed to Slate, the Nation, the Texas Observer, and others. 

 

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A Terrorist Massacre The News Barely Covered, Libby Watson, Media Matters for America

  • The Hebdo shooting certainly deserves our attention. But given the scale of the Baga tragedy, with as many as 2,000 dead and survivors still trapped on an island on Lake Chad, don't these victims' stories deserve to be heard too?
  • Propaganda’s Triumph over Journalism

 

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A Terrorist Massacre The News Barely Covered

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  • The Hebdo shooting certainly deserves our attention. But given the scale of the Baga tragedy, with as many as 2,000 dead and survivors still trapped on an island on Lake Chad, don't these victims' stories deserve to be heard too?
  • Propaganda’s Triumph over Journalism

Libby Watson, Media Matters for America

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Early_Start_With_John_Berman_and_Christine_Romans_-_04_25_00_AM.jpgA brutal attack on a Nigerian town by the militant group Boko Haram that may have killed as many as 2,000 people has been given relatively little attention by the U.S. media. 

January 15, 2015 | On January 3, Boko Haram militants attacked the town of Baga, Nigeria, near the Cameroon and Chad borders, after attacking a nearby military base. Conflicting reports on the death toll have emerged -- local officials initially estimated that as many as 2,000 were killed, though recent accounts suggest the death toll is in the hundreds. As of January 12, nine days after the attacks began, "bodies still littered the bushes in the area." More than 10,000 people were killed in 2014 alone in a conflict that has raged for more than five years and displaced 1.5 million people. 

But the terrible scale of this tragedy hasn't translated into extensive news coverage, which Maeve Shearlaw noted in a January 12 Guardian article.

Libby Watson is a researcher at Media Matters and holds an MA in Political Communication from American University. She is originally from Banbury, England.

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Related:

Propaganda’s Triumph over Journalism, John Pilger, Consortiumnews.com

  • As the world hurtles toward a new Cold War and possibly a nuclear confrontation over Ukraine, the West’s “free press” is again serving the role of an obedient propaganda service — demonizing Russia, presenting a one-sided narrative and feeding a dangerous belligerence.
  • Propaganda? What Propaganda? Western Media Monopoly vs Alternative and Non-Western Media

Special Report | The Attack on Charlie Hebdo, January 9, 2015

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  • Gunmen have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent militant Islamist attack.
  • Part 1: The missing Charlie Hebdo cartoons
  • Part 2: Salman Rushdie: ‘I Stand With Charlie Hebdo, as We All Must’

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: The missing Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Telling the full story of a massacre, and striking a blow for free speech, should trump major news outlets’ concern about offending Muslims.

Christopher Massie, Columbia Journalism Review (CJR)

In 2006, this cover of Mohammed crying, lamenting the hardships of being beloved by fundamentalist jerks, sparked a lawsuit, which Charlie Hebdo eventually won. The headline essentially states Mohammed is overwhelmed by extremists.

January 8, 2015 | Wednesday was not the first time the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was punished for making fun of Islam and Islamic extremists. In 2006, amid a famous cartoon controversy that sparked riots around the world, Charlie Hebdo reprinted the original Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and added a cover depicting him in tears and complaining about the incorrigibility of his supporters.

Muslim groups subsequently sued the newspaper for its blasphemy but Charlie Hebdo won and relentlessly forged ahead. In 2011, it published an issue “guest-edited” by Mohammed, with an image of the prophet claiming that any readers who failed to laugh would receive 100 lashes. In retaliation, the office was destroyed by a Molotov cocktail. Yesterday, a group of (reportedly three) people who appear to be Islamic extremists opened fire inside Charlie Hebdo’s offices, killing 10, including the editorial director, Stéphane Charbonnier. Two police officers were also killed in a shootout with the gunmen outside the offices.

Christopher Massie is an intern at CJR.

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Part 2: Salman Rushdie: ‘I Stand With Charlie Hebdo, as We All Must’

Salman Rushdie's statement responding to Wednesday’s shooting attack at the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.  

Staff, Wall Street Journal

BN-GH776_rushdi_CV_20150107105728.jpgSalman Rushdie Getty Images

January 7, 2015 | Salman Rushdie, whose book “The Satanic Verses” prompted Iran’s Ayatollah to issue a fatwa on him in 1989, responded to Wednesday’s shooting attack at the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. His statement:

“Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”  –Salman Rushdie

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Raising Hopes, FCC Chairman Signals Stronger Stance on Net Neutrality Protections

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  • Speaking at tech conference, Tom Wheeler appears to be following progressive call for reclassification.
  • Special Report | A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines

Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Amelia Kroger 

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that he would support the most progressive net neutrality protections on Wednesday. (Photo: The Cable Show/flickr/cc) 

Thursday, January 08, 2015 | Federal Communications Committee chairman Tom Wheeler indicated on Wednesday that he would support some of the strongest net neutrality reforms when the committee meets again next month—including, it seems, the reclassification of the internet as a public utility under Title II of the Federal Communications Act.

Speaking at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, Wheeler dismissed the most common industry arguments that reclassification would discourage service providers from upgrading their network systems or stifle business and innovation. ISPs and cable companies like Comcast and Verizon have strongly objected to reforms pushed by net neutrality supporters.

Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams

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Special Report | A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines, January 6, 2015, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • To ensure an Internet that's open, fast, secure, and affordable, contact the FCC, call your members of Congress, and support efforts to build a network that works for everyone, and not just the few. 
  • Part 1: Four Pivotal Internet Issues as the Year Turns 2015
  • Part 2: FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February

 

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Special Report | A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines, January 6, 2015

To ensure an Internet that's open, fast, secure, and affordable, contact the FCC, call your members of Congress, and support efforts to build a network that works for everyone, and not just the few. 

Net-neutrality-meme-e1398433124309.jpg

Part 1: Four Pivotal Internet Issues as the Year Turns 2015

Part 2: FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Four Pivotal Internet Issues as the Year Turns 2015

At stake is whether the Internet remains a democratic, user-powered network -- or falls under the control of a few powerful entities. 

 

Timothy Karr, Huffington Post

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Wheeler_with_protesters_0.jpg FCCFCC Chair Tom Wheeler with Protestors at the FCC Headquarters, Washington, DC

12/31/2014 | The death of the Internet is at hand. 

Sound familiar? That's what Internet pioneer Robert Metcalfe predicted in 1995 when he wrote that spiraling demands on the fledgling network would cause the Internet to "catastrophically collapse" by 1996. 

Metcalfe, of course, was dead wrong: The Internet is still chugging along nearly twenty years later, with a predicted 3 billion users by year's end. 

Still, the Internet's fate feels distinctly uncertain as 2015 begins. Washington is engaged in a furious debate over Net Neutrality, access to affordable broadband services is still considered a luxury for many, while governments here and abroad continue to filter digital communications to spy on everyone, crack down on dissident voices and silence speech. 

Timothy Karr, Senior Director of Strategy, Free Press

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Part 2: FCC Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February

The outcome could affect the prices consumers pay for access to entertainment, news and other online content.

Associated Press (AP) / Huffington Post

n-FCC-TOM-WHEELER-large570.jpgFCC Chair Tom Wheeler

01/02/2015 | Federal regulators are expected to vote next month on rules to govern how Internet service providers deal with the flow of content on their high-speed networks.

The five-member Federal Communications Commission will consider then a proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler on so-called net neutrality rules, agency spokeswoman Kim Hart said Friday. She was confirming reports in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal on the planned timing of the vote. Details of the draft proposal weren't disclosed.

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U.S. TV Provides Ample Platform For American Torturers, But None To Their Victims

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  • Whenever America is forced to confront its heinous acts, the central strategy is to disappear the victims; render them invisible. That's what robs them of their humanity: it's the process of dehumanization. That, in turn, is what enables American elites first to support atrocities, and then, when forced to reckon with them, tell themselves that -- despite some isolated and well-intentioned bad acts -- they are still really good, elevated, noble, admirable people.
  • Torture Is Who We Are

Glenn Greenwald, OpEdNews

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s_300_i_ytimg_com_4807_hqdefault_450.gifCanadian Citizen Maher Arar describes his rendition and subsequent torture at the behest of the U.S. Government in painful detail. (image by YouTube

12/16/2014 | Ever since the torture report was released last week, U.S. television outlets have endlessly featured American torturers and torture proponents. But there was one group that was almost never heard from: the victims of their torture, not even the ones recognized by the U.S. Government itself as innocent, not even the family members of the ones they tortured to death. Whether by design (most likely) or effect, this inexcusable omission radically distorts coverage.

Whenever America is forced to confront its heinous acts, the central strategy is to disappear the victims; render them invisible. That's what robs them of their humanity: it's the process of dehumanization. That, in turns, is what enables American elites first to support atrocities, and then, when forced to reckon with them, tell themselves that -- despite some isolated and well-intentioned bad acts -- they are still really good, elevated, noble, admirable people. It's hardly surprising, then, that a Washington Post/ ABC News poll released this morning found that a large majority of Americans believe torture is justified even when you call it "torture." Not having to think about actual human victims makes it easy to justify any sort of crime.

Glenn Greenwald, winner of the Polk Award for national security reporting, is an American columnist, blogger, and author. He was a columnist for Guardian US from August 2012 to October 2013. He was a columnist for Salon.com from 2007 to 2012.

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Related:

Torture Is Who We Are, Peter Beinart, Atlantic

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A country, like a person, is what it does.

Re: Comcast

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com 

Nathan White, Demand Progress 

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December 16, 2014 | Americans overwhelmingly support Net Neutrality, but several dozen Republicans who sit on the committees that oversee the Federal Communications Commission are trying to kill it.

They just signed a letter in opposition to the Net Neutrality proposal millions of Americans and President Obama back – and Senator Ted Cruz even called Net Neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet” !

They're opposing the will of their constituents, and trying to undermine a platform that facilitates speech, democracy, and innovation like no other in the history of humankind.

Why would they behave that way?  Well, they’re just doing the bidding of Comcast, AT&T, and the other big cable monopolies – who, incidentally, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to their campaigns.  

Click on the link below -- we'll connect you to these Republican lawmakers and provide you with a script that you can use to tell them to stop shilling for Big Cable.

social_justice_0.jpgClick here to visit our new site and make phone calls to them -- it'll just take a couple of minutes.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Let's let 'em have it!

Thanks, as ever.

Related:

Net Neutrality Update - FCC Delay leaves the Internet at Risk, Staff, Popular Resistance

  • Next FCC Hearing: 'No Delay On Net Neutrality!'
  • We need hundreds of people to show up at the next hearing on December 11 at the FCC in Washington, DC with the message “Reclassify Now!”
  • sign-btn.pngPetition: Demand Real Net Neutrality

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