‘Never Been as Bad’: Reaction to Tucker-Putin Sitdown Shows Collapse of US’ Free Speech Facade
22:21 GMT 08.02.2024 (Updated: 05:19 GMT 09.02.2024)
Prominent Western figures are going to unprecedented lengths to discredit people and views that challenge Western empire and militarism.
“The picture of the world that's presented to the public has only the remotest relation to reality,” observed author Noam Chomsky once. “The truth of the matter is buried under edifice after edifice of lies upon lies.”
“It's all been a marvelous success from the point of view in deterring the threat of democracy, achieved under conditions of freedom.”
Chomsky, known for his pathbreaking work Manufacturing Consent, was not speaking about the media environment in China or North Korea or some other US enemy state, but was remarking on journalism in the Western world. Here, media narratives are extremely effective, because they are dispensed in places considered “free” and “democratic.” But, according to Chomsky, such notions are only another aspect of the propaganda complex that maintains a media system that “any dictator would admire.”
“It's never been as bad,” remarked “Going Underground” host Afshin Rattansi on Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Thursday. “It's never been as bad as this during Joe McCarthy. Yeah, people were being threatened with jail and so on.”
“Now, if you're Julian Assange, obviously you get tortured in London,” he added, referring to the journalist’s placement in solitary confinement during his decade of effective imprisonment in London. “Journalists have to run to different countries just to do what they can.”
Host Jamarl Thomas agreed, noting that Western media figures are dismissing reporter Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “propaganda” before it’s even been released.
“In the old days, for them to interview bin Laden, for them to interview Hugo Chavez at one point, for them to basically interview people that we in the United States don't particularly like all that much – even Fidel Castro, I think it was Barbara Walters – there were no issues with these interviews,” Thomas noted.
“It was just considered to be news, and then somewhere along the way it became fashionable to say, 'not only do we disagree with you, we need you to disappear. We don't even want to hear your opinion, because everything coming out of your mouth is against the narrative that we ourselves are putting out.'”
“I don't know when that change happened, but Lord knows that change has happened,” he concluded.
Rattansi agreed, noting the hysterical tenor of the media response to Carlson’s interview. He continued by recounting a chilling story about marquee CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour.
“I was told on good evidence that when the United States [and] NATO bombed Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, she walked in to do a live [appearance] at Belgrade television, knowing, because she was married to a US State Department official, that they were going to blow the whole place up after her live was done,” noted the former BBC reporter.
“She went in, nodded to the security guard, had her makeup done by the makeup person, left, [and] they were all killed. That's the kind of person Christiane Amanpour is.”
In his critique of Western media, Chomsky noted that one of the most important “filters” that shapes journalistic coverage takes place during the hiring process. People who fundamentally question the hegemonic economic, security and political system in the West are generally unlikely to ever be hired. They’re even less likely to gain the platform of someone like Tucker Carlson.
But judging by the response to news of Carlson’s Putin interview, clearly there is an appetite for more journalists like Carlson, and fewer like Amanpour.