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American Media and Punditry Remain a Dishonest, Militaristic Embarrassment

"While (the media) always cheer U.S. overseas belligerence, nothing gets them clutching their pearls more fiercely than Donald Trump doing something reasonable."

When it comes to U.S. presidents, experience has taught me to always assume the worst.

Irrespective of what the winning candidate said on the campaign trail, a few things things tend to happen once they’re sworn into office. We almost always end up with a further expansion of the imperial presidency, more pointless wars, growth in the surveillance state and continued unaccountable pillaging by Wall Street. The worst trends and elements of society tend to grow no matter who sits in the oval office.

As such, I’m genuinely heartened by those rare occasions when a U.S. president tries to reduce geopolitical tensions and prioritize peace. This isn’t to say such attempts will work out perfectly, or work at all, but in a world in which a hammer-focused American foreign policy tends to see every situation as a nail, attempts at peace should at the very least be supported by those who claim to care about such things.

Nevertheless, here in America we’ve encouraged and rewarded a peculiar class of people who tend to cluster within specialized niches of the imperial economy, namely the mass media and think tanks often funded by military contractors and foreign dictatorships. While these types always cheer U.S. overseas belligerence, nothing gets them clutching their pearls more fiercely than Donald Trump doing something reasonable.

When it comes to U.S. presidents I’m nobody’s cheerleader, but if the executive tries to make the world more peaceful I’ll support it. If they do the opposite, I’ll oppose. As such, I’m on board with Trump trying to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and I’m glad he’s doing it. Naturally, mass media pundits took the opposite approach and immediately resorted to their trademark creepy militarism and ignorance.

One of the most telling examples came courtesy of an interaction between Washington Post opinion writer and MSNBC pundit, Jonathan Capehart and a non-pundit human over Twitter.

Of course, there’s always MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow who can be consistently relied on to find a way to link everything that happens in the world to diabolical mastermind Vladimir Putin!

What an utter lunatic, but this sort of thing’s to be expected from mass media in the era of Trump. As I noted in a recent piece, May You Live in Stupid, Corrupt and yet Fascinating Times:

If anything, the media’s gotten worse since its total failure during the 2016 election and shows no sign of even wanting to improve. Much like the status quo in general, the mass media is fully committed to propagating a culture of stupidity and corruption.

And these are the people who lecture us about fake news.

Incredibly enough, these professional propagandists get worse by the day. For example, just as militaristic Maddow was getting her audience into another Russia-conspiracy tizzy, the network canceled the appearance of an actual expert on Korea.

Finally, just as mass media was having a uniform panic attack about a peace summit, those peacenik Middle East democracies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were preparing an attack on the port of Hodeidah in Yemen, a move that could lead to the starvation of millions.

It’s worth remembering that the U.S. government plays a direct role in Yemeni atrocities by arming and refueling the planes of the Gulf states responsible for the greatest humanitarian disaster on earth at the moment, yet U.S. mass media barely pays it any mind.

As Reuters reported in late May:

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations aid chief urged the Saudi-led military coalition that controls Yemen’s ports to expedite imports of food and fuel supplies, warning that a further 10 million Yemenis could face starvation by year-end.  

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, with some 8.4 million people severely short of food and at risk of starvation.

For the past three years, the Yemeni government backed by Riyadh’s coalition which is armed and supported by the United States and Britain has battled Houthi fighters aligned to Iran.

“I am particularly concerned about the recent decline of commercial food imports through the Red Sea ports,” Mark Lowcock, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said in a statement read out to a Geneva briefing on Friday.

For several weeks at the end of last year, the Saudi coalition imposed a blockade on Yemeni ports which it said was to prevent Houthis from importing weapons. This had a severe impact on Yemen, which traditionally imports 90 percent of its food.

Naturally, the Saudis (with U.S. approval and assistance) have decided to make the situation even worse. Here’s what went down earlier today:

(Reuters) – A Saudi-led alliance of Arab states launched an attack on Yemen’s main port city on Wednesday in the largest battle of the war, aiming to bring the ruling Houthi movement to its knees at the risk of worsening the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis…

The United Nations says 8.4 million Yemenis are on the verge of famine, and for most the port is the only route for food supplies.

Oh, and in case you missed it, the Saudis recently bombed a cholera treatment facility in Yemen.

But remember, Trump gave Kim Jung-Un “legitimacy,” so let’s all obsess over that instead of potential U.S. sponsored genocide in Yemen.

Finally, let’s never forget the following:

That, ladies and gentlemen, is your mass media.

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