November 17, 2011

Media Misrepresentations And Double Standards

7/7: Crime and Prejudice

"None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes." -- Johann von Goethe

Repeat a thing often enough - whether true or not - and it becomes accepted as fact. Do it early on before opinions have formed and supported by authoritative sources it becomes a lasting prejudice. These known tools of psychology which have been proven effective time and again rely on the power of ego which dislikes being proven wrong or being shown up as gullible and also takes comfort in the safety of the herd, believing (falsely) that the consensus must be correct and the minority mistaken. These techniques have long been known to those who shape and rely upon public opinion, including advertisers and politicians. When the dimension of fear (alongside a misguided sense of patriotism) is included in the equation, then we see an almost pathological need to believe the official narrative.

The film delves into the ways in which journalistic media and popular TV shows tend to collaborate in painting a one-sided picture of those accused of being villains by the State - they foster a climate in which any possible charge of government collusion or coverup is swiftly dismissed as the rantings of wild-eyed 'conspiracy theorists' so that the likelihood of real justice becomes pretty much impossible. The articles reveal that such mindless support leads to a climate of double standards and prejudice.

The fundamental flaw with this approach is that it is unsustainable over the long haul. When the day finally arrives that the State's lies are exposed for all the world to see, every last shred of trust and credibility goes out the door. That day rapidly approaches and nothing will ever be the same again!


Global Research, November 16, 2011
Consortiumnews - 2011-11-15
The mainstream U.S. press corps is again pounding the propaganda war drums, this time over dubious accusations of Iran’s secret work on a nuclear bomb. It is a pattern of bias that Robert Parry calls the U.S. media’s worst — and most dangerous – ethical violation.
Arguably, the most serious ethical crisis in U.S. journalism is the deep-seated bias about the Middle East that is displayed by major American news outlets, particularly the Washington Post and the New York Times.

When it comes to reporting on “designated enemies” in the Muslim world, the Post and the Times routinely jettison all sense of objectivity even when the stakes are as serious as war and peace, life and death. Propaganda wins out over balanced journalism.

We have seen this pattern with Iraq and its non-existent stockpiles of WMD; with the rush to judgment about Syria’s supposed guilt in the killing of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri; with the false certainty about Libya’s role in the Lockerbie bombing; and many other examples of what everyone just “knows to be true” but often turns out isn’t. [For more on these cases, click here.]

The latest example of this ethical failing relates to reporting about Iran on such topics as the buffoonish plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and a new set of dubious allegations about Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

In these cases, U.S. mainstream news media happily marshals sources with histories of credibility problems; treats implausible scenarios with utmost respect; jettisons crucial context; and transforms the grays of ambiguity into black-and-white morality tales of good versus evil.

Then, behind these war drums of the U.S. press corps, the American people are marched toward confrontation and violence, while anyone who dares question the perceived wisdom of the Post, the Times and many other esteemed outlets is fair game for marginalization and ridicule.

An example of this propaganda passing as journalism has been the recent writings of Joby Warrick of the Washington Post about a vague but alarmist report produced by the new leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On Monday, the Post put on its front page a story about Russian scientist Vyacheslav Danilenko, a leading expert in the formation of nanodiamonds who spent several years assisting Iranians develop a domestic industry in these micro-diamonds that have many commercial uses.

But Warrick’s story is fraught with spooky shadows and scary music that suggest Danilenko is really part of an ongoing drive by Iranian authorities to overcome technological obstacles for a nuclear bomb. Just like in that spy thriller “Sum of All Fears,” a greedy ex-Soviet nuclear scientist is helping to build a rogue nuclear bomb.

Warrick wrote: “When the Cold War abruptly ended in 1991, Vyacheslav Danilenko was a Soviet weapons scientist in need of a new line of work. At 57, he … struggled to become a businessman, traveling through Europe and even to the United States to promote an idea for using explosives to create synthetic diamonds. Finally, he turned to Iran, a country that could fully appreciate the bombmaker’s special mix of experience and talents.”

Now, Warrick continued, Danilenko has been identified by Western diplomats as the unnamed scientist cited in the IAEA report as advising Iran on the explosive techniques to detonate a nuclear bomb. Warrick’s story continues:

“No bomb was built, the diplomats say. But help from foreign scientists such as Danilenko enabled Iran to leapfrog over technical hurdles that otherwise could have taken years to overcome, according to former and current U.N. officials, Western diplomats and weapons experts.”

Slanted Tale

However, Warrick crafts the story in a very misleading way, leaving out key facts that would create a less ominous picture. For instance, the article fails to mention that the U.S. intelligence community issued a National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 that Iran had stopped its work on a nuclear bomb in late 2003.

Danilenko, who has insisted that his work was limited to advising Iranians on the explosions used to manufacture nanodiamonds, last worked in Iran in 2002 and the explosive test that the IAEA associates with Danilenko – and which supposedly might have nuclear implications – was conducted in 2003.

In other words – even if one accepts that Danilenko is lying about his work in Iran – nothing in the Danilenko story undercuts the U.S. intelligence community’s NIE. To leave out this crucial context in the Post’s article suggests an intention to frighten rather than to inform.

Indeed, what is notable about the curious IAEA report is how much of it predates late 2003. [For a contrasting view of the Danilenko evidence, see’s “Iran’s Soviet Bomb-Maker Who Wasn’t.”]

Warrick also relies heavily on the expertise of discredited arms control analyst David Albright, the founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security. Albright was a prominent voice in promoting President George W. Bush’s pre-invasion case that Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMD.

Yet, from reading Warrick’s article, you would have no idea of Albright’s checkered history. You would simply assume that Albright is an unbiased expert who is bringing his analytical skills to bear to help us untangle difficult questions about Iran’s nuclear research.

But Albright and his ISIS actually have a pattern of imbalanced work on nuclear proliferation and the spread of other dangerous weapons. For instance, ISIS has essentially ignored Israel’s real nuclear arsenal – with only a few brief items over the past decade – while obsessing over a non-existent nuclear arsenal in Iran with scores and scores of reports.

Albright has continued this disproportional emphasis despite the fact that Israel is arguably the world’s most notorious rogue nuclear state. It has built up its undeclared nuclear arsenal after refusing to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and keeping IAEA inspectors away from its nuclear facilities.

By contrast, Iran signed the NPT, has renounced nuclear weapons, and has allowed IAEA inspectors to monitor its nuclear energy program. Granted, Iran’s cooperation has been less than stellar but its record is far superior to Israel’s. Yet, Albright and his ISIS have largely turned a blind eye to Israel’s nukes and focused instead on Iran’s theoretical bomb-making.

(On Sunday, when non-mainstream journalists confronted Albright about the disparity between ISIS’s concentration on Iran and neglect of Israel, he angrily responded that he was currently working on a report about Israel. If so, it would be Albright’s first substantive study solely on Israel’s nuclear program since ISIS was founded in 1993, according to an examination of its Web site.)

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