What Do You Know About Mainstream Media?

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We need free, honest and decoupled media from the government and corporate influences. The media must question the government on the matters that affect our safety, security and health. They must be curious, resourceful and truthful in reporting. They must investigate, check facts, expose cover-ups and show different perspectives. That only happens when we use good judgment and become selective in giving media attention

Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all,  means the freedom to criticize and oppose.

— George Orwell.

 There is a growing sentiment of distrust with the mainstream media. People are disturbed by the reporting of the Israel–Hamas war.

In communist countries, the press spoke on behalf of the government’s position, like the Soviet outlet Pravda. However, the Western mainstream media’s collaboration with their government in a supposedly free world is manipulated in such a way that the connection is not that clear, especially on global matters. On the US-backed Israel, the media follow the US, avoiding the urge for a permanent cease-fire. 

The depth of Western media’s level of corruption is clear in portraying the US-backed Israel the oppressor as a victim despite its indiscriminate and massive bombardments of Gaza. The narrative portrays Israel as the aggrieved victim and criticizes the West in a merely peripheral and artificial way. Brazenly, the media keep dramatizing the stories 24/7, enforcing Israel’s views with little or no attention to the Palestinian victims. This is a clear example of Western tribalism and the lack of a moral compass.

In a 2022 survey, Americans showed they were losing confidence in their major institutions. Their trust in newspapers had dropped to 16% and television news to 11%. Since then, Israeli bombings of Gaza since the beginning of the war on October 7, 2023, have made many Americans realize that their government and media support ethnic cleansing and genocide, to their dismay. In a Gallup poll published after October 7, it was found that only 7% of Americans trusted the media while 38% said they had “none at all.”

Chances are if the survey were conducted today, it would have shown even fewer Americans trust their media. Americans are becoming more aware that their government and media are biased and controlled by the rich and the deep state.

Fortunately, the government and media collusion has sometimes received national attention. In July, a federal judge blocked the US government from influencing social media after people complained about being censored by Facebook and Twitter. 

The US and the media use fear

As human beings, we each share in the joy, sadness and fear-triggered emotions leading us to our perceptions of reality. Unfortunately, fear tends to have the most prolific impact on our thoughts and actions. 

The fear perpetrated by the actions of terrorists and the corresponding government and media reactions, lead us to believe that peace will never be achieved. The government is determined to keep us under its control using fear and so are the media, to maximize profit.

If the media stopped at “Kool-Aid” or “L’Eggo My Eggo,” they probably would not even be worth mentioning, but they do not. The media do not just influence us in our nutrition, but our way of life, our politics, our health, our ideas of right and wrong, who is good or bad, what religion is right and which country we should go to war with. The media follow the government, using fear to increase readers and viewers. 

To illustrate the media’s power, consider the case of terrorism. We all tuned in day and night to get more details about the attacks, such as the World Trade Centers in New York, Orlando Night Club in Florida, Route 91 in Las Vegas or the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. Now, they have been following the US by calling the Hamas fighters terrorists to entice more fear within us. 

The media aim to achieve high ratings and more profit by highlighting the negative events that can provoke fear. We know the media information comes from the government and inciting fear appears to be the objective of both the government and the media. If this isn’t collusion, then what is it?

How media use fear

The media know we are accustomed to headlines. They design and disseminate slanted information to increase readership. Every dosage is well prepared for our absorption. Over the years, the media have mastered the art of inducing constant fear with a shock factor in their audience to direct our preferences. The higher the shock level, the higher the ratings and the more profit. 

Subconscious ideas of fear, segregation and conceit are constantly planted like seeds in our heads. Each official speech, newscast, commercial or film we see is watering the seeds to flourish. We all see or seek evidence to support our underlying beliefs

As if terrorism was not inciting enough fear, we faced the COVID-19 pandemic. The media had a ball with it, reporting it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, each one with its spin.  

Supposedly, COVID first started in Wuhan, China. Soon after that, the media were giving minute reports on the deaths due to it. When the virus hit Iran, the media cheered some neo-conservatives who felt so secure from the virus that they forecasted the virus was about to do the job of changing the Iranian regime that the 40-year sanctions could not do. The Trump Administration mercilessly increased sanctions, “unnecessarily prioritizing its own political agenda above Iranian lives.”

Foolishly, those neocons did not think that the virus recognized no boundary, it would gradually reach the US shores. Of course, it inevitably did, killing over one million.

Using the fear of the virus, the media hooked audiences pocketing large profits and the government served the rich, the deep state, in expanding its tentacles. Now, the media are focusing on Hamas to generate fear and optimize profit.

As for media control, see how the media attract us to absorb their information. We feel thirsty for information. We are glued to our television, radio, press releases, web browsers, social media and cell phones. Often, we have no other place to go to get unbiased information. On the internet, much of the information we gather from other sources is just the restatement of that in the media. 

The US and the media are on the wrong path

In the post-9/11 period, we have seen what the collusion of the government and the media has done to us. The collusion has planted deep fear in each of us. It has brought us unjust wars, large numbers of casualties and global humiliation. It has caused millions of innocent people to die. For years, it has been beating the drum for a war with Iran. Now, it has been supporting Israel in its genocide against the oppressed Palestinians. 

On October 7, Hamas carried out an attack against Israel. Once again, the media revealed their true nature. They portrayed the victim, Palestine, as the aggressor and the aggressor, Israel. as the victim. As usual, many older Americans fell for it. 

So far, Israel has killed over 30,000 Palestinians. The media ignore to say that Israel has occupied the Palestinian lands through ethnic cleansing and genocide for over 75 years. Israel has pushed millions of Palestinians into the open-air prison, the Gaza Strip. Israel has blockaded that small territory from the land and the sea. It has controlled Palestinian livelihood, regularly harassed them and periodically bombarded them, killing hundreds to keep them living in perpetual fear. 

Over the years, the media have failed to reveal that the US approach is not helping Israel. In fact, the US’s strategy contributes to the destruction of Israel in the long run. By supporting Israel with billions of US taxpayer dollars (while more Americans languish in poverty at home), the US is merely pouring more fuel on the fire. 

In the eyes of the world, the media have concealed the truth from Americans that the US has become a collaborator in Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians. The case South Africa v. Israel, before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), has globally exposed the potential crime of genocide in Gaza, implicating Western powers, especially the US. That places a moral imperative on the US and its media to critically examine their positions and align with international standards.

I believe that the media could take a positive step in urging the US to become an honest broker, especially in the Middle East. Then, Palestinian issues can be resolved. In exchange for its billion-dollar aid, the US could demand Israel to publicly apologize to the Palestinians for the land/property stolen and atrocities committed against them and make reparations. 

On January 26, 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) took the first step although it followed the US line short of decreeing a permanent cease-fire. The ICJ ruled that Israel’s military actions in Gaza fell under the scope of the Genocide Convention; thus, the Palestinians must be protected as a national group. Now, can the US and its media put their biases aside and get on board?

What can be done about the US and the media?

Indeed, Americans need free, honest, curious and resourceful media that meet these conditions: First, independent from government, powerful people and corporations. Second, investigate, check facts, expose cover-ups and show different perspectives. Third, non-partisan challenges the government on matters affecting our safety, security and health. 

None will happen without the American people’s participation. They must use good judgment, demand transparency from their government and be selective in giving attention to the media. They must become more skeptical and open-minded in listening, reading and watching the news in its current form. Whenever there is a conflict, they must stand with the oppressed.

Today, Israel’s existence is indebted to the US, which financially supports the apartheid state and keeps misusing the US veto power to block any move against it in the UN Security Council. If the majority of Americans truly believe to be Christians, they must push for peace in Palestine by heeding advice from their Bible: “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”


The article was originally published by Fair Observer on March 12, 2024.