The other day, I tried to explain to my sister-in-law that USA/NATO had effectively been provoking the Russians over a long period of time . The person I was talking to was non other than my sister-in-law. She smiled and said, “well, you would say that, wouldn’t you – you like Putin.”
“Well, at least you don’t like USA.”
It is true that I don’t like plutocracies; nor do I like oligarchies. Both control the dominant narrative within their respective hegemonic spheres.
In a recent interview, John Pilger – still alive and going strong, bless him – complained about the rapidly shrinking narrative space for journalists. He contemptuously referred to western coverage of the Ukraine war as an unprecedented “tsunami of jingoism” with which the media was “utterly consumed”.
Just so: “utterly consumed”. Mainstream media, which is what “respectable people” heed, and social media – from which also less “respectable” people take their cues – are all “utterly consumed” with this single monolithic story: Putin is a monster that pounced on the innocent little Democracy Ukraine which we are honour-bound to defend to the last Ukrainian.
How on earth has this story become so entrenched against all odds – in spite of so very many incontrovertible facts that belie it?
The late 1980s saw the publication of “Manufacturing Consent. The Political Economy of the Mass Media”. For young people advocating change and progress, this book has for decades been an eye-opener all over the world, while the establishment reacted once and for all with a lot of slamming of doors.
Three decades down the road, the advertising industry has developed the manufacture of consent – i.e. an understanding of how to control what we think, what we believe, what we fear, what we want – to a level so sophisticated as to make us faint-hearted. Yet, I want to honour the authors Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman (not the least faint-hearted) for demonstrating that propaganda is, here, there and everywhere, a tool used to serve geopolitical, ideological and corporate needs; not least in the so-called free world.
I would urge you to study an enlightening analysis in the Huffington Post called “Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Marketing, Manipulation & The American Mind” by Samuel C. Spitale.
It starts with a safe outline of the obvious, but as he gets into the finer print, I think you will find it interesting regardless of your geopolitical views. The fact that the article dates back to 2017 and seems totally oblivious to the existence of countries outside USA makes it no less relevant as a study of 2022 jingoism and manufacture of consent.
For non-US examples, I add a semi-humorous list compiled by Caitlin Johnstone of some of the “false narratives ” with which “the political/media class pummels our consciousness day in and day out”.
- We live in a free and democratic society
- Your government is your friend
- Capitalism is totally working just fine
- Putin is trying to take over the world
- Maduro must go
- Assad must go
- The governments of Iran, North Korea, and every other nation which doesn’t bow to imperialist interests must go
- Assange is a rapist Nazi Russian agent who mistreated his cat so it’s good he’s locked up
- The TV would never lie to you
I must say I’d never heard the one about TV, but the others are all too familiar.
Meanwhile, in Chile, people have opened the gates for an entirely different kind of narrative. Whether or not the new draft Constitution will be approved by the national plebiscite scheduled for 4 September remains to be seen. You may be sure, there are very powerful forces dead set against it, as the richest percentile stands to lose a great deal. For instance, Article 25 stipulates:
Es deber del Estado asegurar la igualdad de trato y oportunidades. En Chile no hay persona ni grupo privilegiado.
I’ve read a lot of legalese in my time, but I’ve never seen anything quite like that: beautiful and simple. Every man, woman and child – presuming they can read – will understand those two sentences. It will take years to implement them, but people will know their rights.