This article originally appeared at Off Guardian
Sometime in the last two years a strange patern of behaviour has repeated and repeated and repeated in the mainstream media. It’s possible it has been going on longer than that, but the recent international entanglements have brought into the spotlight. It is a peculiar obsession: The re-arranging of the priorities of journalism, the need to preserve a story over presenting the facts. It is a practise that reeks of a growing sense of powerlessness.
The Guardian, our go-to source, our perfect little microcosm of the media and the people they claim to work for, provides clear examples.
THE UNITED NATIONS AND SYRIA
Jonathan Jones’ latest bilious out-pouring is classic recipe. Hatred, dishonesty and emotive language. It is the man’s forte. The Guardian wheel him out to write objectionable pieces, militant in his moral superiority and able to lie with the ease with which most of us breathe. Never really questioning why an arts correspondent is anyway qualified to discuss geopolitics.
When the man claims that Blairites are the moral center of the labour party, and that Corbyn’s socialist policies are at best mis-guided and worst hypocritical and evil…he really believes it. When he says we shouldn’t laugh at Putin, despite him being inside a submarine, because “people used to laugh at Hitler, and look how that turned out” he expects to be taken seriously.
His piece on the UN starts out in a much gentler vein. Putin is the Devil. When you read that opening line you have to take a breath and really focus….because you realise you’re about to read an astute, balanced and educated take on current events.
In essence it is a retreat, one identical in tone to pieces appearing all over the MSM lately. A reversal of policy disguised as a moral victory. Doublethink mode engaged. We have always been at war with…wherever.
The truth is that the NATO countries have been using ISIS et al to destabilise Syria for years, and it has not worked as well as they would like. The truth is that this “civil war” was started in much the same way as the Afghan civil war in 1979 – from the outside, with Western money and western weapons. And the truth is that, no matter how many “chemical attacks” they invent, or how many “barrel bombs” Assad uses…nobody wants a war with Syria. And the truth is now the Russians are coming.
Russia, Iran, and China – who all took their fair share of shots at the US during their UN speeches – have gamed the system here. They say “Oh no, there are terrorists in Syria – we should fight them”, and America, and their Saudi friends, can do nothing but grit their teeth, unable to object without revealing the real agenda.
None of this is in Jones’ column.
Obama’s UN speech, where he calls for the removal of a head of state – with no elections or negotiations – is, for Jones, a defence of “democratic values”. Whereas Putin’s insistence on working with the legitimate Syrian government to defeat ISIS is dismissed by the simple trick of putting the word “legitimate” in “sarcastic quotes”.
Putin is indeed a scary guy to shake hands with. He is cheerfully post-democratic, and at the UN argued that only by straightforwardly supporting Syria’s “legitimate” governmentJonathan Jones – The Guardian
Vladimir Putin, winner of three presidential elections in one of the most diverse democracies on the planet, and currently the most popular leader in the world – is brushed aside as “cheerfully post-democratic”, because he defends the rule of law. Perhaps no word in the modern world has so reversed its meaning as “democratic”. Now it means “obedient to western interests”.
Putin is described as “ruthless”, “sinister” and “disturbing” – which, to be fair is a reasonable description of Satan. There is no mention, of course, that if one were to put a death toll counter beneath the awkward hand-shake photo of Obama and Putin, that Obama’s score would dwarf Putin’s by a factor of ten.
Jones’ attempts to shape the world around a flattering story go further:
Then the Arab spring began in 2010, and it turned out that people across North Africa and the Middle East wanted democracy and human rights – the great western values. At once keen to support the liberal ideals the Arab spring sought to universalise, and paralysed by the bad conscience of the Iraq war, western foreign policy is totally confused and ineffectual.
This – to put it bluntly – is a lie. Heinous and vain and pathetic. Iraq and Libya are only declared failures becauce of the dishonesty of the avowed intent. Libya is chaos. Iraq is murder. These are twin success stories. War makes people money. Cheap oil bought from local war-lords makes people even MORE money.
The policy in the middle-east is turn it into a mosaic of paranoid, militant mini-states. All exchanging oil for American made weapons and nobody – NOBODY – even considering leaving the petro dollar.
Western foreign policy is not “confused” on Syria.They want to make it “democratic”.
They want to remove Assad. They need to remove him. All other priorities are secondary.
Obama’s foreign policy is rich in liberal rhetoric, weak on actually helping anyone.
“Help” is another sly bit of Newspeak. We all know what to really means. The myth of amiable American impotence is always deployed at times like these. It was plastered all over Fox and MSNBC last year during the Ukraine crisis. It was flying around in the air during the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. And it’s coming back for an encore here. America is the well-meaning, straight talking, reticent hero. The only country with the guts to tell the world how to sort itself out, and yet always held in check by modesty and doubt. It is, frankly, laughable.
No rational, human being could look over the history of late 20th and early 21st century and say to themselves “The problem here, is that America didn’t bomb enough places.” And yet this is the narrative that we’re expected to lap up, as odious hypocrites like Mr Jones dole it out on plates before us.
THE UKRAINIAN WAR
The Syria situation is neatly mirrored in the current Guardian piece on Ukraine. Shaun Walker, fresh from juvenile and ridiculous twitter coverage of the UN, has thumped his keyboard with his forehead a few times and come out with this turkey-dropping of an article: As Russia enters war in Syria, conflict in Ukraine begins to wind down
Welcome to Walker-World. Truth is passé. Reality inconvenient. Reason a long forgotten concept, like the four humours or alchemy. The mechanism is very simple – simply pretend the world is different from the perceivable reality of the situation.
You see – according to Walker at least – Kiev’s forces have finally stopped shelling Donetsk. And this is because of Moscow’s involvement in Syria. The lunacy knows almost no bounds in this piece. First off he readily admits that the rebels are on the receiving end of the bombardment:
At a highly fortified separatist position near the village of Peski outside Donetsk, the pro-Russia fighters have been getting used to an unusual sound in recent weeks: silence.
But then he tacks on this rhetorical trick:
As Russia ratchets up military action in Syria, the fighting in east Ukraine is winding down.
It’s almost brilliant in it’s simplicity – he doesn’t outright claim they are directly connected, because that would be absurd – but he leaves the statements there, next to each other, for the readers to do the rest.
For months now the only obstacle to peaceful settlement has been the government in Kiev. They are between a rock and a hard place. They can’t/won’t give autonomy to the rebel states, as they promised in Minsk II, without displeasing the Nuland faction in Washington and/or running the risk of a Nazi – sorry, “ultra nationalist” – throwing a grenade threw their window or dropping them off a building. And they can’t keep on fighting without raising the ire of Mama Merkel and risking all out protest from western civilians as well.
Simply put, if they stop shelling Donbass it’s because they are being forced by economic and political circumstance to finally start implementing all the agreements they signed months ago, and had every intention of ignoring forever. It would be, from the Kiev/US/UK point of view, a total failure. The only possible response is to pretend you’ve won. To claim victory and flee the field.
So here we have it:
In Moscow, too, there are rumblings that the “Novorossia project” to carve out a pro-Russian statelet in east Ukraine has been well and truly closed down.
Do you see now? In halting the fighting and granting Donetsk and Luhansk increased autonomy and (possibly) federal status – Kiev would not be capitulating. They would not be giving the civilian protesters what they asked for 18 months ago. They would not be doing what Russia have been suggesting since last summer. They would not be doing what so many of us got banned from CiF for even talking about. They would actually be winning.
Ukraine wants us to believe they have defeated Russia’s “novorossia project”, which was totally real and they didn’t just make it up. Shame on you for thinking it. Russia were planning on using the civilian protesters Kiev shot at as an excuse to invade Ukraine (possibly dozens of times) and build a land-bridge to Crimea whilst adding a new state to the federation that stretches from the Black Sea to Kharkov.
Now, you maybe forgiven for wondering why – if Russia’s plan was to capture Ukrainian land – they steadfastly refused to accept Donetsk and Luhansk into the Russian Federation. But that’s because you’re a Putinbot and/or useful idiot.
If Kiev end up granting the people of Eastern Ukraine every single one of their demands, this will be them defeating Russia. Welcome to Walker-world.
The Guardian – and the other heads of the media hydra – think they can simply say something, and make it the truth. That, through the pummelling of the message and the right sad photos, you can change the meaning of words. Just repeat and repeat andrepeat the propaganda.
“Russia is internationally isolated” – they repeat it all the time. No matter how ridiculous a statement it is. “We are supporting the moderate Syrian rebels”, repeated everywhere despite it being totally untrue. We have to start a war to stop the refugee crisis. We have to ban comments to preserve freedom.
Fighting ISIS will help Assad. Russia is non-democratic. Assad kills his own people. Israel is just defending itself. Ignorance is strength. Corbyn is an anti-semite. The west is pro-democracy. We have an independent media. Giving up is victory. War is humane. Freedom is slavery.