A fundamental and shameful principle of western journalism

Glenn Greenwald gives yet another example of how journalists in establishment western media collude with their governments to spread propaganda against those whom the government perceives as its enemies, using as its favorite tactic information given to the media by officials who hide behind anonymity so that when their lies are exposed, they escape accountability.

This time it is yet another attempt to smear Edward Snowden, using the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times as the vehicle of choice, at a time when public sentiment is turning in his favor, so much so that even Congress is making some attempts to rein in the NSA’s widespread spying.

The Sunday Times today merely recycled the same evidence-free smears that have been used by government officials for years – not only against Snowden, but all whistleblowers – and added a dose of sensationalism and then baked it with demonstrable lies. That’s just how western journalism works, and it’s the opposite of surprising. But what is surprising, and grotesque, is how many people (including other journalists) continue to be so plagued by some combination of stupidity and gullibility, so that no matter how many times this trick is revealed, they keep falling for it. If some anonymous government officials said it, and journalists repeat it while hiding who they are, I guess it must be true.

Greenwald provides case after case from history, all very well-known, of this pattern of deception being repeated and says that this points to an inescapable truth.

At this point, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that journalists want it this way. It’s impossible that they don’t know better.

After all, even Stephen Colbert told journalists this truth to their faces when he spoke at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner.

But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works. The President makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!

Yes, Colbert nailed it all right.


  1. says

    I don’t even like to call it “Journalism” any more. It has been corporatized by big money and suborned by access-trading to the point where really it amounts to nothing more than a propaganda outlet. It’s not a wholly-channelled propaganda outlet: you get The Kardashians. Orwell’s character O’Brien would be impressed at the quality of their work.

  2. atheistblog says

    One must be a fool if you think For-Proft medias are there to deliver journalism.
    For-Profit ≠ Journalism.

  3. laekvk says

    I blame the internet. No really, isn’t it possible those worthless dinosaurs have had to sell their souls to survive?

  4. Dunc says

    I blame the internet.

    This pattern of behaviour pre-dates the internet by a long way.

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