“Mainstream” Is a Misnomer, What You’re Reading Is Regime Media
Ask yourself: if The New York Times was state-run would its content be any different?
Originally published in 2016.
Here’s a mental exercise for you. Think of any issue of grave importance to the Washington establishment. Then ask yourself if the US mainstream media was state-run…would its coverage of it be any different from what it is now?
Think about it, on the domestic front the big hitters continue to say that the economy is doing fine and the post-2008 recovery was great, even as real people flock to protest candidates Trump and Sanders in record numbers.
On the foreign policy side, the media is more or less sweeping the Saudi war in Yemen under the rug by offering only very occasional and subdued critique — which happens to mimic the reservations White House holds about this greatest humanitarian disaster of the present in private.
On Syria, the mainstream offers a constant barrage of propaganda in favor of expanding the regime change adventure (using conspiracy theories passed down by government officials), albeit the American people are apprehensive about the project and famously helped muffle it in the summer of 2013 when it looked like open US-Syrian war was imminent.
This really is the crux of it. On so many subjects the American public will be at least heavily divided, but the ‘mainstream media’ will not fail to all line up on just one side of the issue — the one which happens to be propagated by the Washington elites.
Famous examples from the past would be the 2003 Iraq war, the 2008 bailouts, and the 2013 Snowden Affair — all heavily divided the common people but the press could only be found on one side of the issue.
You would expect that a mainstream “people’s media” would more closely reflect the attitudes of the public itself, but no —— on any issue where the public and the official policy disagree, the mainstream media in the US will take it upon itself to propagate to the people, rather than to talk for them.
Of course, the US is rather unique in that a term like ‘mainstream media’ which implies a sense of ingrained respectability exists in the first place. Other nations have a different name for a press like that — it’s ‘regime media’.
Across Eastern Europe where people famously grew up with an openly state-controlled press for generations, there is no concept of a benign ‘mainstream media’. People hold all media has an agenda of one type or another.
There is the government-friendly ‘regime media’, the government-hating ‘opposition media’, the foreign-government-backed ‘foreign media’, and — if they’re lucky — some underfunded ‘partisan media’ produced by stubborn rogue intellectuals, often nationalists or leftists (and often of the unpleasant varieties).
None of these is thought of as superior or more respectable than any other. Unlike in the US, there is no division between the respectable ‘mainstream media’ and the supposedly tin-pot ‘alternative media’.
In fact in much of Eastern Europe journalism is — quite properly — not thought of as a respectable profession in the first place. It is fully recognized that almost all writers, be they pro-regime or anti-regime, are either shills, or morons if you’re lucky.
The situation in the US is not structurally different. All big media players are instruments of the elites, the only difference seems to be that Americans are less aware of it.
If you have any doubt of this just think about the ongoing total and complete refusal of the US regime media to point out that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may be in ill health. The evidence is abundant and it would certainly make for an extremely interesting story yet the supposedly self-interested private media is refusing to pick it up.
Outside of Uzbekistan this level of carrying water for the regime hasn’t been seen since the days of Brezhnev’s gerontocracy — and Clinton isn’t even the President yet but a mere candidate!
Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. After all the Soviet Union crumbled to internal dissent the moment the Cold War was over. Wouldn’t we expect the side which “won” the Cold War to be the side that is better at effective media manipulation?
Now I’ve never worked for the mainstream US media so I couldn’t tell you what the mechanisms to produce such a uniform and regime-friendly press are.
Obviously, unlike in the Soviet Union, there are no censorship bureaus. Instead, it seems more of a case where the papers themselves (ie their owners and sponsors) for whatever reason strongly identify with the regime.
Partly I think it’s also down to the kind of people such outfits attract and down to sheer human laziness. Regurgitating regime propaganda is not only better for one’s career and economic well-being. It’s also far less work than creating hard-hitting dissent.
Source: Russia Insider