US hypocritical use of the Media

December 20, 2016

US hypocritical use of the Media

by Chen Weihua

Image result for sarah sewall state

The US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewal

Sarah Sewall, the US under-secretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights, spoke recently of how freedom of information and freedom of the press form the bedrock for US foreign policy.

She lashed out at China and Russia, saying that a recent report found that the Chinese government and its legions of helpers write nearly a half billion fake posts a year and that the Russian government spends at least $400 million a year on its propaganda machine of bots and trolls and factories of false content to undermine trust in independent media.

She then claimed that the US ramped up support in Europe for civil society and media most vulnerable to Russian pressure by more than 50 percent to more than $85 million.

Ms. Sewall’s allegations against the Chinese and Russian governments are yet to be substantiated, while her admission that the US government spent $85 million on propaganda in Europe raises questions about the US government meddling in its media.

Ms. Sewall quickly left after the six-minute speech she gave at a seminar in honor of the 250th anniversary of Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act.The event touched on much of the challenges the media face in the US today, especially under President Barack Obama’s administration.

In the 2016 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, the US ranked 41st out of 180 countries. Its standing in 2015 was 49th. Such a relatively low ranking, behind Slovenia (40), Ghana (26) and Namibia (17), hardly looks like the robust media freedom  that Ms. Sewall touted.

The Reporters Without Borders report blasted the US government’s “war on whistle blowers who leak information about its surveillance activities, spying and foreign operations, especially those linked to counter terrorism” and the lack of a “shield law” in the US to help journalists protect confidential sources.

Sam Sanders of National Public Radio reported that Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has cracked down on reporters in an effort to prevent leaks; it also set a new record for withholding access to government files under the Freedom of Information Act (despite Mr. Obama calling for a “new era of openness” on his first day in office).

A study by the Columbia Journalism Review found that relations between the White House and the news media have never been so controlled in the past 50 years, saying that the “White House is determined to conceal its workings from the press, and by extension, the public.”

New York Times reporter James Risen last year called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.” Mr. Risen was beseeched by the Obama government to identify his confidential sources for parts of a 2006 book in which he detailed a CIA plan to undermine Iran’s nuclear program.

Image result for Obama talks to the Media

At the seminar, veteran US journalist Marvin Kalb shared his personal experiences covering the Vietnam War and talked about how presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon did not like his reporting that was critical of US foreign policy. Some reporters in his time ended up on the “enemies list,” their phones being tapped and income tax returns scrutinized every year.

He lamented that there are many ways a government, even in a free country, can put pressure on a reporter, but added that many reporters acted more aggressively under such pressure.

Jeffrey Herbst, President and CEO of Newseum, noted the high societal pressure on journalists in the US today. Feedback on reporters’ stories often includes hateful or vitriolic comments. He admitted that some US reporters tend to censor themselves under such a public backlash. It would be good if Ms. Sewall had also reflected on the US government’s war on the media before pointing fingers at other governments.

Source :China Daily Asia

6 thoughts on “US hypocritical use of the Media

  1. Hypocrisy!
    That explains why the “Zika epidemic” in the American press and Cable Networks, reportedly ” dies” with the close of Rio Olympic .
    Zika was highlighted daily on the world news a couple of months prior to Rio.

  2. Americans can create wonder cures, when they want them. And the media is in cahoots on this Zika case with the Obama Administration. Even when they screw up in Syria they can find someone to pass the buck too. They will sponsor terrorists if it suits their purpose. What credibility has America except to ask its UN Ambassador to make the most ridiculous statement on Allepo at the UNSC recently.–Din Merican

  3. It is the “wonder” enslavement of people world over to mighty ” worthless” USD that is the root of the problem- broken peace and instabilities to others. The Americans -USD is regconised as a double edge sword. It can kill or protect selectively and selfishly.

    That is one reason American prosperity and advancement is achieved largely at the expense and (human) costs to others.

  4. Two nights before Din posted Eva Bartlett’s video on Aleppo, at the invitation of a friend from Alameda Green Party, I was at Humanist Hall in Oakland listening to her report on her experiences in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria. The “liberation” of Aleppo has certainly exposed all the lies of the Western countries, especially America.

    Free press is dead in America. I learned about this back in the 1980’s. What the entire corporate media presented to us as objective independent news reports was nothing more than echoing of list government talking points. Most people who are disturbed are merely disturbed by the fact the talking points were lies. But no one seems to have a problem with that the media is echoing an actual list government talking points to the public and manipulating the public into believing those talking points were the result of objective independently verified investigative journalism.

    Yes, the government is entirely controlling the news and the media is doing nothing more regurgitating an official narrative crafted by spooks in the shadow government. Those spooks operate in secret and disseminate their propaganda operation instructions to public figure heads behind the scenes who in turn relay misinformation to the media who then relays it to the public.

    Sad that our corporate media is acting as an obedient mouthpiece in the propaganda machine of the Obama administration with Hillary as Secretary of State, simply echoing the government talking points. Corporate journalists dared not step off script and report anything beside the talking points the government gave them. They know if they step out of line they will be blacklisted by the government and their access to “inside sources” be denied. For individuals in those organization committing such acts of bravery are career ending moves. When the media steps out of line and reports anything that contradicts official government narrative we see them get targeted by the government, both covertly and overtly. They may be unfairly being shaken down by the IRS.

    For the well-being of the nation and the protection of its citizens, media needs to be held accountable because if they didn’t take the government at its word despite a continual track record of lies and deception America would be a much safer place today and the citizens of this nation, and humanity as a whole, would have a much brighter, safer and secure future. Instead the media’s incestuous relationship with the government has lead to illegal overseas wars and ongoing bombings in several nations that have claimed the lives of an untold number of numerous people all being perpetuated by an ever-expanding police state that looks more and more like an Orwellian totalitarian nightmare with each day passes. The damage the media has allowed to occur will continue to reverberate destructive echoes of carnage upon the masses for generations to come.

    What heroic Ms. Eva Bartlett is doing has exposed to the public that our government has gone far too rogue and we ought to be wary that what we once accepted as credible news is nothing more than a well-orchestrated campaign of propaganda and lies. Hopefully, mass media news organizations will be forced in one way or another, sooner or later, to get their reporting back on script, an objective independently verified investigative journalism.

    I am disappointed with Obama and Hillary. Trump is a blowback. Condi Rice should advise him. –Din Merican

  5. My dear friend, Din:
    I don’t know what to make out of Trump. With a narcissistic and egoistic maniac like him, I don’t think he will ever listen to any one. He would not have six bankruptcies should he have listened to his advisers. He loves to look into the mirror and listen to his own voice. Now that he has the power, he will use all those agencies that used to harass him — FBI, CIA, DOJ, and the IRS — to silent any one in his way. And not to forget he can use his tweeter to humiliate and bully any one.

    Given his intimate relations with the Russian oligarchs and Russian mafia, a friend of mine wondered out loud if he were controlled by the Russian. It made me burst into laughter. But thinking deeper into it, hey, is it not possible?

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