Sometimes, a single flash of lightning in the dark can illuminate the truth better than any amount of abstract analysis. The Western media have recently provided an exceptionally clear example of this. As Jonathan Cook summarizes:
If you wish to understand the degree to which a supposedly free western media are constructing a world of half-truths and deceptions to manipulate their audiences, keeping us uninformed and pliant, then there could hardly be a better case study than their treatment of Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
All of these highly competitive, for-profit, scoop-seeking media outlets separately took identical decisions: first to reject Hersh’s latest investigative report, and then to studiously ignore it once it was published in Germany last Sunday. They have continued to maintain an absolute radio silence on his revelations, even as over the past few days they have given a great deal of attention to two stories on the very issue Hersh’s investigation addresses.
First, who is Seymour Hirsh? Hirsh is probably the preeminent investigative journalist in America, with a long string of major stories to his credit. It was Hirsh who in 1969 broke the story about the My Lai massacre, in which US troops systematically murdered an entire village of Vietnamese civilians. In 2004 he was among the first to report the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison. In 2011 he exposed multiple lies in the official US account of the murder of Osama bin Laden. And in 2013 he revealed that a supposed chemical weapon attack by the Syrian government was in fact a false flag carried out by the anti-Syrian jihadist groups supported by the West. This last report may have helped averted a war, as the US was poised to attack Syria.
Hirsh’s latest report is also about a supposed chemical attack in Syria. In May, the Syrian military bombed a site where the heads of several jihadist groups were meeting. A toxic cloud of chemicals spread out from the site, killing over 80 people. The US immediately accused Syria of using chemical weapons, including sarin nerve gas, and within hours President Trump ordered a cruise missile attack on Syrian.
Hirsch’s report makes it clear that US intelligence knew from the start there had been no use of chemical weapons. In fact, the Russian allies of the Syrian government had informed the US of the attack before it happened, explaining its purpose. It was a conventional weapons attack no different in kind from many such attacks carried out by the US itself.
What is illuminating—like the flash of lightning—is the way the Western media has reacted to all this.
First, the media trumpeted without question the US accusations against Syria. Then, when Trump unleashed the missiles, they exulted and gloried in the use of military force. One prominent TV talking-head gushed about the “beauty” of the missiles, while another declared that Trump had at last become a real President. But when Hirsh’s investigation revealed that the attack on Syria had been based on lies—and that US intelligence knew this all along—there was only the silence of stones.
Even more revealing is that almost immediately upon the publication of Hirsh’s piece, the media began headlining two additional stories about the supposed Syrian chemical attacks. First was the warning by the Trump administration that Syria might be planning for “another” chemical attack. Second was a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons finding that some of the victims from the May attack showed signs of poisoning by sarin or sarin-like substances. As Cook points out, these stories are clearly “spoiler” responses to Hirsh’s unacknowledged report. Neither story holds up to analysis, but it is telling that the media, while maintaining vigilant silence on Hirsh’s investigation, rushes to deploy these accusations.
Also telling is the way Hirsh has been progressively forced to publish in more and more marginal media. For many years Hirsh was a regular writer for the New Yorker magazine. But to publish his piece on the 2013 false flag chemical attack he had to resort to the London Review of Books. But even they declined to print his latest report, fearing attack for promoting “the view of the Syrian and Russian governments.” Hirsh at last found a publisher in a second-string German magazine.
That the US media is slavishly submissive to the government (as well as Wall Street) has long been obvious. But what this incident makes clear is that this extends to virtually the entirety of the Western media. Hirsh’s investigation of a matter of the very gravest importance, a matter potentially relating to war-making, is not so much as noted by the Western media, not even to be refuted, let alone for serious consideration. Instead, the most blatant war propaganda is relayed to the public without question.
This is how the Western propaganda apparatus works. There is (presumably) no central direction, no board of censorship, no jail time for dissident journalists. Rather, a large collection of “independent” news media manage to follow the exact same storyline, serving the exact same interests, as if in lockstep. The Western propaganda system is every bit as effective, and probably more so, that the dreaded “government controlled” press behind the Iron Curtain.
The Free World always bragged of its superior efficiency. Here is an example.
- After Hersh Investigation, Media Connive in Propaganda War on Syria
- The media blackout of Seymour Hersh’s exposé on US missile strike against Syria