In North America, « we have a public that for the most part is blissfully unaware of the extent to which our news is being censored, filtered and controlled… » Dave Lindorff.
Excerpts following are from an article by Dave Lindorff – The Public Record – Nov 16th, 2009 – President Obama: Don’t Lecture China on Censorship :
« … America is hardly free of censorship. Heck, the president himself has gone to court to prevent the release of photographs of US troops torturing captives in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo. Talk about censorship! But it goes way beyond just such crude, totalitarian style control over information.
« Let’s just take the issue of depleted uranium weapons, over 1000 tons of which have been expended in the US invasion of Iraq, most of it in populated areas where millions remain exposed to the radioactive dust of the burned material. There is almost no reporting on this topic in the US media. The Pentagon has for years lied about and hidden the effects of this deadly substance, used in shells, bombs and bullets because of its unique ability to penetrate hard steel armor and concrete bunker walls.
« It has refused to disclose where the weapons were fired, and has denied US troops the tests that would show if they have been contaminated. It has even resorted to having paid Pentagon hacks surreptitiously libel, slander and otherwise undermine those military sources and journalists who have tried to expose this scourge (this reporter has been the target of such disinformation attacks). »
End of excerpt.
An other very interesting excerpt from same article :
« One thing I learned from living and working as a journalist and journalism teacher in China back in the 1990s is that the Chinese people, with their long experience of living in a totalitarian dictatorship in which all media are owned and tightly controlled by the state and the ruling Communist Party, are acutely aware that they are being lied to and that the truth is being hidden from them. Accordingly, they have learned to read between the lines, to pick up subtle hints in news articles which honest journalists have learned how to slip into their carefully controlled reports. They have also developed a sophisticated private system of person-to-person reporting called xiaodao xiaoxi or, literally, “back-alley news.”
« This system used to be word-of-mouth between neighbors and friends. As telephones became ubiquitous, it was done by phone, allowing transmission over long distances quickly. Now there is the internet, which, while it is systematically controlled via what has become known as China’s “Great Firewall”—effectively all of China is like a vast corporate “intranet” which blocks access to outside websites—still allows the flow of email. This is nearly impossible to monitor, particularly when the messages are not bulk mailed to large numbers of addressees.
« So in China, reports of corruption, of local rebellions or strikes, or of important news about the outside world that the government wants to keep at bay, manage to circulate widely inside China despite a huge state censorship apparatus.
« It works because the Chinese people know they are being lied to and kept in the dark, and they want to break through that official shroud of secrecy and control.
« In the US, in contrast, we have a public that for the most part is blissfully unaware of the extent to which our news is being censored, filtered and controlled. We boast of our “free press,” and our open society, and indeed, as a journalist, I am free to write what I want to write.
« But given that most people get their news either from corporately owned newspapers or from corporate radio and TV stations, it doesn’t really matter what I or other journalists critical of the Establishment write because it won’t appear in the corporate media. Since most Americans, unlike most Chinese people, assume that they live in a society with a free press and no censorship or control of information, they don’t even bother to look beyond the information that is spoon-fed to them by corporate media sources.
« The result is that in my experience I have found peasants in rural Jiangsu or Anhwei Province to in many cases be better informed about their own country and the world than are typical American suburbanites. Certainly if an American wants to be informed, all the information you could want is available, but you have to be first of all aware that you aren’t getting certain information via the obvious sources, and then you have to want to get it, and make the effort to find it. For most Americans, all three of these elements are missing. »
End of excerpt.
In the seventies, a refugee from the Soviet Union living in Montreal described to me the same phenomenon for USSR, as Lindorff does, in the preceding, for China.
What the soviet refugee, Hassan, a professional translator, explained to me – I was in my thirties at the time – was this, that it was incredibly easy, especially at the time, to control North-Americans : all you needed was a tv set in each and every home.
There was no need for gulags, reeducation camps, or worse.
North-Americans believed everything they were told on tv, they had confidence in their anchorman-preacher, they had confidence in any voice from any kind of authority; prestige of any kind would immediately put them into a state of receptivity that was conducive to mild or deep hypnosis, and from there to the lasting effects of planted suggestions of all kinds.
I was just mildly aware of it at the time.
Actually, I simply found mass-media frustrating, repetitive, clichéd, irritating.
What I realized, afterwards, was that there were good reasons for being irritated or frustrated. Maybe more so when you’re not fully aware of what’s taking place, the fact of being fed half-truths, half lies, purposeful cachotteries, noisy and often disputable trivia, or bold lies, day after day, is like being fed, day after day, toxic food, ersatz of all kinds, with loads of white sugar – or aspartame, or both.
On the part of the mass-media agents, it was much worse than simple or occasional “fits of bad faith,” much worse than treating us to their “incompetence” (so-called : I don’t believe anymore they’re that “incompetent”). Mass-media people, agents, were masking, grooming, hiding the truth, and most of them knew it. Let’s say some were “on automatic” after so many years of practice – but others were certainly very concious of what they were doing : through time and habit, they had become comfortably coward. For all practical purposes, they were wrapping us up in a bubble filled with dreams. There’s a word for that in Québec French vernacular, and it’s the verb “enfirouâper” – which comes from the English expression “in fur wrapped” transformed into a verb. Its very cozy and keeps you prisoner of coziness until you realize you’ve been mentally jelloed or jailed or led up the garden path.
Today, I know Hassan, the ex-soviet guy, was right.
Is it changing in North America? There are signs. They are not always easy to read. Or is it just wishful thinking on my part?
I improvise. A sign of the times is the growing attitude of nervousness on the part of establishments. PRs are often booed. Our nomenklaturas don’t like it. They get nervous. More and more, they are bent on applying more stringent controls of all kinds on North-American populations or communities. They try. They don’t always succeed. For instance, one can observe a refreshing surge of social awareness in Québec, Canada, USA.
Observe. The “lying-box,” the tv-set, even the massmedias on the internet, don’t provide sufficient reliable mind control effect anymore (the internet and the blogosphere played an important role, here, against mass media and Radio-Canada is often ranting against it, much anti-blogosphere shalow blabla), which also means that repression is on the oligarchic establishment agenda, it has to be, as a reaction. These are signs of the times. Growing awareness on the part of more and more people – more in certain areas than in others – can be measured by more repressive moves (often carefully or tentatively covert) from the establishments. And at the same time, an impression, it’s an impression, that truth is kind of growing in force, growing some sort of autonomy which flies in funny ways in the face of authorities … Maybe I’m being too poetical. But maybe I’m not.
On the other hand, for many people, any growth in awareness or in consciousness is perceived as a danger. Even as a “sin.” Or a damnation. The fact is that the end of illusions, of any illusion, in the long run, is always a liberation but not everybody are ready to give up illusions, and even more so when these over sugar-coated illusions seem more and more on the brink of bursting and disappearing. This is true for many “non-establishment” people, as well as for the bulk of establishment people.
There’s something we can call “collective unconscious” (which is far from being “unconscious” – but that’s an other story). It’s a jungian concept (you certainly know it) based on experience of inner realms; “collective unconscious” is deeper than personal subconscious or subconsciousness.
But there’s also the “collective conscious” (or “collective consciousness”).
Some cultures have a “collective consciousness” more evolved and sophisticated than others, for historical reasons, for all kinds of reasons. Especially communities that have lived under tough totalitarian, controlling, or dictatorial rules. Or because of other kinds of more or less longlasting traumatic situations (the subject is vast).
North America – I mean USA, Canada, Québec, I don’t know for Mexico and I regret it – seems to be in infancy as to the level of lucidity and sophistication of its “collective conscious” (or “collective consciousness”), but it’s evolving, the eggshell is cracking, and there would be much to say about this evolution which is taking place – at varying pace depending on the regions of North-America. An evolution? Actually, we are more on the brink of a mutation.
In any event, and for my own benefit, I’ve archived this post, among other categories, in the category “Survie – Survival.”
Hi, Hassan : you were right. And so are the Chinese Lindorff describes.
Link to Lindorff’s article:
President Obama: Don’t Lecture China on Censorship – Dave Lindorff – The Public Record.