On Tuesday, April 29, 2014, The Editorial Board of the New York Times penned an opinion piece on Ukraine—“Not Getting Through to Mr. Putin.” This fact-free, propaganda piece is designed to convince readers that Russia is a threat to the United States. The intent is to help the US government destroy Russia’s economy through increased sanctions and perhaps military intervention so that multi-national banks and corporations can prosper. Absent from the Board’s opinion were pertinent facts:
- The CIA and the State Department helped instigate the coup in Kiev in order to remove a democratically elected president.
- The illegitimate government in Kiev signed on to IMF austerity measures, and banned of the Russian language as an official language in Ukraine, which triggered a legitimate revolt in Eastern Ukraine.
- The US government cultivated right wing and neo-Nazi elements in Kiev to spearhead the violence on February 22, which led to the forcible ouster of current democratically elected president Yanukovych.
- Neocon members of the State Department handpicked stooge prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, to do Obama’s bidding in Ukraine.
But according the the NYT Editorial Board, all the problems in Ukraine are the result of unprovoked Russian aggression.
What does Obama want in Ukraine?
Part of Obama’s “Pivot to the East” is to undermine Russia’s economic role in Eurasia. He wants to throw a wrench into the growing economic integration of Europe and Russia—on behalf of corporate interests in the US who want a piece of the action—and to drive a wedge between economic powerhouses, Russia and China. Demonizing Russia is part of Washington’s grand hegemonic plan to lure Russia into war, allowing further NATO encroachment on Russia’s borders, therefore helping the US to assert itself as an economic and military power in Eurasia. Never mind that people will die—it’s all about corporate profits and gas pipelines.
US aggression always serves corporate interests. This is what your elected officials in charge of foreign policy do—they protect and defend corporate access to resources, markets and profits. Alternet’s Nicholas J.S. Davies reports that, “this is at least the 80th time the US has organized a coup or a failed coup in a foreign country since 1953. If you live outside the United States, you know that the US drive for global hegemony has been a terrible, bloody business. America’s dark history of destroying democracies around the world, while it pretends to champion them, has left a trail of destruction rarely covered with any truthfulness or accuracy in U.S. mainstream media. The NYT’s demonizing of Putin is a repeat of its demonizing Saddam Hussein during the run up to the Iraq War, in order to hoodwink the American people into signing on to yet another adventurous war for economic gain. The voracious military-surveillance complex has to be fed.
But the good news is that readers are not buying it. The Board’s editorial got a significantly negative response from readers who, thanks to excellent reporting from alternative media, are much more savvy than they were a decade ago. Here are a few comments:
East Lansing, Michigan
By all means, beat the drums of WAR (sanctions being another name for war on a more sophisticated level, and a likely prelude to the real thing). The Times should move its Editorial Board to—depending on space—the White House Propaganda Ministry and the Pentagon, where it will be closer in spouting the Administration line. By all means, demonize Putin. Where, a word on the Ukraine coup that brought events to a head? Where, Obama on assassinations? Where, Obama on massive surveillance and eavesdropping on foreign leaders? Where, Obama on two major interventions, CIA-JSOC global involvement on subversion and regime change? Where, Obama on using the FBI for cyberattacks? Where, Obama on contempt for transparent government and freedom of the press, as in Espionage Act prosecutions for whistleblowers? Since the death of Arthur Sulzberger, who had the courage to publish the Pentagon Papers, the Times, on national-security, has gone steadily downhill, now a champion of Cold War politics. Where is NYT’s commitment to balance and journalistic integrity?
Saint Augustine, Fl
This is not a cold war crisis. I don’t know why the Editorial Board is not being more objective, but I certainly disagree with the premise of this editorial. There is no point in vilifying Putin. I find it wholly hypocritical to suggest that his protection of Russian interests is somehow worse than what the CIA does on a regular basis: exacerbate discord and leave countries in ruins. I’m sure the Editorial Board doesn’t need a list of those.
The US declares spheres of influence an outmoded concept, ignoring the fact that our sphere of influence includes the entire Western hemisphere and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans together with any land masses they abut. We lecture China in our far western sphere of influence, and we lecture Russia in our far eastern sphere of influence. Not to mention our invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and any other country we deem fit to invade and can sneak by our dazed electorate. Right on, America. The Roman Empire was destroyed by hubris, over-extension, inability to afford its huge military and the hatred of its oppressed peoples. But you will be different.
The role of the media in supporting US global hegemony
“The CIA and U.S. special forces use proxies and covert operations to overthrow governments and suppress movements that challenge America’s insatiable quest for global power. A coup is the climax of such operations, such as the one we have recently witnessed in Ukraine,” says Davies at Alternet. The role of Western media is to serve that global quest for power by “publicizing official cover stories and suppressing factual journalism.”
By their very nature, coups are secret operations and U.S. media are prohibited from revealing “national security” secrets about them, such as the names of CIA officers involved. By only reporting official cover stories, they become unwitting co conspirators in the critical propaganda component of these operations. But the U.S. corporate media have turned vice into virtue, relishing their role in the demonization of America’s chosen enemies and cheerleading U.S. efforts to do them in. They brush U.S. responsibility for violence and chaos under the carpet, and sympathetically present U.S. policy as a well-meaning effort to respond to the irrational and dangerous behavior of others.
This is far more than is required by strict observance of secrecy laws, and it reveals a great deal about the nature of the media environment we live in. The Western media as it exists today under near-monopoly corporate ownership is a more sophisticated and total propaganda system than early 20th century propagandists ever dreamed of. As media corporations profit from Western geopolitical and commercial expansion, the propaganda function that supports that expansion is an integrated part of their business model, not something exceptional they do under duress from the state. But to expect factual journalism about U.S. coups from such firms is to misunderstand who and what they are.
So, the moral of the story is: get your news from alternative, non-corportate sources you can trust.