The media spin on the Georgia/South Ossetia/Russia thing has been incredible to observe. This has to be the greatest onslaught of propaganda I’ve seen in my 40 years as a human. We are repeatedly told that this is a case of Russian aggression resulting in Georgian civilian casualties as Russia perpetrates its atrocities. Georgia is a courageous democracy that was trying to protect its territorial integrity from the bad guys in South Ossetia who have backing from Russia. Now, Bush is standing up for Georgia by demanding Russia get out of Georgia and by sending “humanitarian aid.” Any history behind the region is ignored. Reports of atrocities by the true aggressors (Georgia of course) are ignored. Check out this incredible video, for example, of Rice being interviewed at a press conference. When the questions cut the propaganda open at the heart, suddenly we mysteriously lose the satellite feed!
Incredibly, the US media has been effective at disinforming its subjects on the subject as I have ascertained by my informal surveying of the minds of some of my fellow workers. See here what sort of severely slanted propaganda we are up against from NBC Nightly News:
It started as a gamble by Georgia, the former Soviet republic and darling of the West: Move quickly into the breakaway pro-Russian enclave called South Ossetia and take back what is legally Georgia’s. But the plan failed. Instead, Russian forces invaded Georgia last week and crushed Georgian resistance. According to U.S. military officials, Russia is out to decimate the U.S.-trained Georgian armed forces.
Georgia’s military efforts–which involved, according to reports from Human Rights Watch (8/10/08, 8/14//08) and Western reporters on the scene (Washington Post, 8/12/08), intensive shelling of civilian areas–reportedly caused many noncombatant deaths and prompted a large proportion of the South Ossetian population to seek safety in Russia. It was this humanitarian crisis, coupled with Georgian attacks on Russian forces in the separatist areas, that Moscow cited as its justification for its military intervention. This does not suggest that Russian tactics are beyond criticism, or that a military response of this magnitude is justified.
Georgia’s contribution to the escalation of tensions in the region were not completely ignored by U.S. media, but its aggressive actions were often euphemized, as in AP‘s reference to “a crackdown by Georgia last week” (8/11/08), and were rarely allowed to interfere with the preferred narrative of Georgia as victim of an expansionist Russia.
The attack was unprovoked and took place a full 24 hours before even ONE Russian soldier set foot in South Ossetia. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Americans still believe that the Russian army invaded Georgian territory first. The BBC, AP, NPR, the New York Times and the rest of the establishment media has consistently and deliberately misled its readers into believing that the violence in South Ossetia was initiated by the Kremlin. Let’s be clear, it wasn’t. In truth, there is NO dispute about the facts except among the people who rely the western press for their information. Despite its steady loss of credibility, the corporate media continues to operate as the propaganda-arm of the Pentagon.
It is often easier if US civilians think of the shoe as being on the other foot. For that we have Paul Craig Roberts to thank:
How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia’s space and getting into Russia’s face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost — in Tbilisi.
The US media has really gone completely beserk on this one and we really need something to hold them accountable before their complicity with neocon agenda again gets us into a war. Stop the press!