Patrick L. Smith: Alternative Media Tells It Right on Ukraine

At the World Russian Forum, foreign affairs columnist Patrick Smith talks about the state of media, democracy and empire in the United States

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    Media functions as a state supervised institution
    Media functions as a state supervised institution

    Patrick L. Smith is the foreign affairs columnist at Salon and author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century”  (2013). He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992 and a contributor to the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly and other publications.

    The key points of Smith’s interesting speech:

    • American media have had an unhealthy relationship with political power from 1898 and the first advance into imperial adventures
    • You can have democracy or you can have empire, but you cannot have both at the same time
    • You can have a healthy press or you can have imperial ambitions, but you cannot have both
    • The American media had a really bad Cold War and never got over it
    • In 2001 the media didn’t rise to the occasion and bent to power
    • Quantitative in media had become qualitative
    • Informally American media function as state supervised institution
    • America is in the late imperial phase
    • The Ukrainian economy is a humanitarian tragedy
    • The so-called 'alternative media' are not an alternative to anything; alternative media tell the truth, but they just don’t have the means of production and infrastructure like mainstream media have to push it out there.