“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
By Richard Edmondson
A good question to ask ourselves these days is why so many people seem to be following the darkness instead of the light. Like a black hole in space, darkness has a gravitational pull. The larger the darkness, the stronger the pull. It can pull in individuals, groups of individuals, or whole nations.
Muslims by the thousands have chosen a path of darkness, journeying to Syria to fight a war for Israel; similarly, people in western Ukraine have aligned themselves with the forces of greed and corruption, the International Monetary Fund and the rest of the global banksters, in supporting an overthrow of their own democratically elected government.
And of course in America, where the gravitational pull seems to be greatest, millions of Christians have taken a road of darkness, choosing a perverse form of Christianity known as Christian Zionism, rather than adhering to the teachings of Jesus.
What is at the center of all this darkness? Some might say it is the media.
The mainstream media in America are owned by a small number of people. Yet this small number of media owners has successfully promoted wars abroad and a culture of greed and violence here at home. They have tirelessly championed an aggressive, apartheid state in the Middle East that has committed a multitude of human rights abuses and been the overseer of the longest military occupation in history. They have spread lies and disinformation on issues of vital importance; they told us, for instance, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction; they advocated a military campaign in Libya under the pretext of humanitarian intervention, a campaign that shattered that country and left its people devastated; they constantly misreport unemployment figures and other economic indicators in our own country while upholding the obviously fallacious official line on 9/11; they tell us essentially—as Orwell put it—that down is up, war is peace, and peace is war.
And they glibly get away with all this.
And now they are waging a vicious propaganda campaign against Russia, one that surpasses even the days of “yellow journalism” and William Randolph Hearst. In fact, one could almost look back on such an era and long for it fondly, for the power of Hearst was miniscule compared to that of today’s media owners with their vast holdings spanning assorted communications platforms. In fact, the ability of a small, tiny number of people to deceive masses has never at any time in history been greater than it is now.
There are, however, a few lights shining in this darkness. One of them is the Russian broadcaster RT. I do not agree with every perspective I hear voiced over RT, but the quality of reporting there is infinitely better than anything in the US mainstream media. Perhaps not by coincidence, then, do we find these same media outlets—whose track records for half-truths and outright propaganda are long and well established—accusing the Russian network of, yes—half-truths and outright propaganda!
“Russian television coverage, a mixture of legitimate perspectives, half-truths and outright propaganda, has made similar assertions day after day, though Kiev is now relatively calm,” claims the New York Times, whose former staffer, Judith Miller, with her irresponsible “day after day” reporting on Iraq, helped bring about a war and the deaths of untold numbers of people.
While there is indeed a lightness-versus-darkness dichotomy, for many people it is not always apparent or clear which one is which. This, I think, is what the writer of the Gospel of John was trying to tell us in the passage quoted above. And the fact that so much confusion exists is attributable, of course, to the vast deceptions laid by these forces of darkness.
“I am proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I am resigning.”
So said Liz Wahl in her splashy, on-air resignation from RT—the one network that has done more to bring truth to Americans than any mainstream media outlet she may conceivably end up working for as a result of this “pained” exercise of her conscience.
In her on-camera manifesto, Wahl announced that she is of Hungarian descent, adding “I have family on the opposite side, on my mother’s side, that sees the daily grind of poverty.”
There is of course no daily grind of poverty here in America. The forces of darkness assure us of this. And how could there be? We live in a country with a central bank whose owners have the power to print money out of thin air, plunge the nation into debt, make decisions undemocratically and refuse to be audited or act in the public interest. Poverty couldn’t possibly exist in a country like that, could it?
The RT anchor’s resignation has been applauded by James Kirchick in a commentary posted at the Daily Beast and in which he discusses his “exclusive interview” with Wahl.
“American journalist Liz Wahl just made Vladimir Putin’s enemies list,” Kirchick begins.
Of course the Russian leader has no known “enemies list,” and if he did, I’m reasonably certain he would not have confided it to James Kirchick, but the latter, unperturbed, goes on to describe Wahl’s on-air announcement as “stunning” and “a long time coming.”
“Wahl, for her part, says that while the Kremlin influence over RT isn’t always overt, that journalists there understand what they have to do to succeed and fall into line accordingly,” Kirchick writes.
Is this any different from journalists working anywhere, at any news organization?
Kirchick goes on to quote Wahl:
“I think management is able to manipulate the very young and naïve employees,” she says. “They will find ways to punish you covertly and reward those that do go along with their narrative…In order to succeed there you don’t question… In a way you kind of suppress any concerns that you have and play the game.”
Again is this vastly different from working anywhere these days—as a journalist or otherwise? How often do employees, either at a bank, a defense contractor, or a news organization, get to question or challenge the policies of their bosses?
Kirchick, by the way, wrote a column last year for the New York Daily News in which he implied that whistleblower Bradley Manning should have been given the death penalty. Following publication of the piece, he was invited onto RT to discuss his views on the matter, but once on the air the author refused to talk about Manning and instead launched into a theatrical diatribe on the “horrific environment of homophobia in Russia,” this while accusing RT of being “a Kremlin-funded propaganda network” and rudely ignoring the pleas of his host to stay on topic (see video).
The propaganda war against Russia is probably not going to let up anytime soon. On Tuesday of this week Hillary Clinton compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler, while on Wednesday the US State Department issued a sarcasm-laced top-ten list of “false claims” about Ukraine by Putin.
“As Russia spins a false narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine, the world has not seen such startling Russian fiction since Dostoyevsky wrote, ‘The formula two plus two equals five is not without its attractions,’” read the opening to the State Department list.
It is the sort of prankster-ish humor normally associated with college freshmen at a frat party rather than adults running a country, but yet the media have given it generous coverage. Turkey meanwhile has reportedly approved passage of a US warship through the Bosphorus and into the Black Sea, while Obama has ordered sanctions in an effort to “impose a cost on Russia,” insisting at the same time that a proposed referendum to allow the people of Crimea to determine their own future would “violate international law.”
Propaganda campaigns like this, waged by US officials in conjunction with the US mainstream media, have resulted in wars all too often in the past. What has yet to occur, however, is a war between two nuclear powers. That the current conflict over Ukraine could escalate to such is a frightening thought. Avoiding a war of this sort may well depend on enough people being able to discern light from darkness and opting for the former rather than the latter. That may seem unlikely at this point, but one thing I’ve learned in this life is that light from a lampstand may find its way into some of the most improbable, hard-to-get-to corners.