Managed News: Inside the US/NATO Military Industrial Media Empire

There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.

–– Charles Dickens

We face what appears to be a military industrial media empire so powerful and complex that truth is mostly absent or reported in disconnected segments with little historical context. A case in point: the London Times reported on June 5, 2010, that American troops are now operating in 75 countries. Has President Obama secretly sanctioned a huge increase in the number of US Special Forces carrying out search-and-destroy missions against al-Qaeda around the world? If so, this increase is far in excess of special-forces operations under the Bush administration and reflects how aggressively Obama is pursuing al-Qaeda behind his public rhetoric of global engagement and diplomacy. Somehow this information didn’t make it into the US media.

The US, in cooperation with NATO, is building global occupation forces for the control of international resources in support of Trilaterialist—US, Europe, Japan— corporate profits. A New York Times report on the availability of a trillion dollars in mineral wealth in Afghanistan, on top of the need for an oil/gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea, suggests other reasons for U.S objectives in the region.

Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service writes on June 15, 2010, “The timing of the publication of a major New York Times story on the vast untapped mineral wealth that lies beneath Afghanistan’s soil is raising major questions about the intent of the Pentagon…Blake Hounshell, managing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, says that the US Geological Service (USGS) already published a comprehensive inventory of Afghanistan’s non-oil mineral resources on the Internet in 2007, as did the British Geological Survey. Much of their work was based on explorations and surveys undertaken by the Soviet Union during its occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s.”

Given the previous reports, there is nothing new about resources in Afghanistan that the Pentagon and US multinational corporations didn’t already know. On the contrary, the public should consider whether the surfacing of this resource story is a managed-news press release being done at a time of sensitive concerns regarding NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. A deliberate news insertion such as the mineral wealth story is designed to create support for a US/NATO global empire agenda.

Managed news includes both the release of specific stories intended to build public support as well as the deliberate non-coverage of news stories that may undermine US goals. Have you been told about the continuing privatization of this global war? Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, wrote in The Nation magazine November 23, 2009, how Blackwater (Xe) operatives in the Pakistani port city of Karachi are gathering intelligence and helping to direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign in that country.

There has not been much coverage of the report in Global Research, May 27, 2010, regarding new US capabilities for cyber warfare, announced recently by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as the activation of the Pentagon’s first computer command and the world’s first comprehensive, multi-service military cyber operation. CYBERCOM is based at Fort Meade, Maryland, which also is home to the National Security Agency (NSA).

The US’s Israeli partner in the Middle East demonstrated a skilled manipulation of the global media’s coverage of the May 31 attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Israel controlled the news and images that emerged from the attack on the ships, asserting that the invading Israeli paratroopers were viciously attacked by crewmembers—resulting in the killing of several in “self defense.” Israel sought to divert the focus of public discussion away from the illegitimate use of excessive force against a group of humanitarians– of diverse religious and national affiliations– to the blaming of the victims for causing their own deaths.

Managed news creates a Truth Emergency for the public inside the US/NATO Military Industrial Media Empire. Deliberate news management undermines the freedom of information on the doings of the powerful military/corporate entities though overt censorship, mass distractions, and artificial news— including stories timed for release to influence public opinion (i.e., propaganda).

A Truth Emergency is the lack of purity in news brought about by this propaganda and distraction. It is the state in which people, despite potentially being awash in a sea of information, lack the power of discernment resulting in a knowinglessness about what is going on in the world. In short, we are living in a time where people do not know whom to trust for accurate information and yearn for the truth.

One antidote to the ongoing Truth Emergency is the creation of validated independent news by colleges and universities around the globe where students and professors use research skills and databases to fact check and verify information that is reported to the public. For more about this, and what we can all do to counter managed news, see Project Censored International’s new website. Together, we can build accountability in our media and breathe life back into our withering republic.

Peter Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and President of Media Freedom Foundation: Mickey Huff is a associate professor of History at Diablo Valley College, and serves on the executive committee of Media Freedom Foundation: Read other articles by Peter Phillips.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on July 4th, 2010 at 9:25am #

    “Chevron makes BP look like a model corporate citizen,” said a lawyer for the plaintiffs fighting Chevron in Ecuador, calling the South American situation a great ecological disaster that exceeds the current BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Eugene Hernandez

  2. MichaelKenny said on July 5th, 2010 at 5:43am #

    I loved the 19th century use of capital letters! But if the authors have got their hands on all this Top Secret News, then the Managed News System can’t be very effective, can it? As for Gaza, the Israelis TRIED to control the news but failed miserably, which is why their supporters are currently engaging in a Damage Limitation Campaign, claiming that they’ve got away with it.
    The idea that news should be “validated” (English translation: censored) by university professors is absurd. Naturally, the authors just happen to be university professors! If they were medical doctors, they would no doubt want the “validation” to be done by doctors! And what happens if different professors disagree as to what news should be “validated”? I somehow suspect that our two academic eminences see themselves as Validating the Validators! And if the objective is to “breathe life back into our withering republic”, i.e. the US, why does our news in the rest of the world have to be controlled? I can’t help thinking that the “Meda Freedom Foundation” has only two members, both of whom serve on the executive committee. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant the Executive Committee!

  3. GLebowski said on July 5th, 2010 at 8:11am #

    MichaelKenny, you confuse your cynicism, I do believe. The sociology professor is not the kind who is interested in fake-validating things as you accuse. Look to university administrators and departments of business for that. Those are the Executive Committees, and they *already* exist and *already* manage the news and information, on campus and off, they are so powerful.

  4. John Andrews said on July 5th, 2010 at 10:42am #

    Fact checking and ‘validating’ is all very laudable as an aid to finding the truth. But there are two other important components: contradiction and humanity.

    Having numerous ‘experts’ saying basically the same thing is nowhere near as useful as having two ‘experts’ who disagree with each other. And the so-called ‘objectivity’ that is supposed to be the driving force behind our ‘news’ is nowhere near as important as telling the news from a humane perspective; and I’ve known one or two academics in my time who had no idea whatsoever what humanity was.

  5. Charlie said on July 5th, 2010 at 11:26am #

    “…we are living in a time where people do not know whom to trust for accurate information and yearn for the truth.”

    Quite true. There are a few media outlets I basically trust, but even with those sources of information, I often feel that I need to be cautious, check other sources, and think more for myself.

    I have two huge problems with the modern media. First, many current issues are overwhelmingly complex. It’s easy for politicians and news jockeys to pander to their audiences by offering up political commentary that would fit on a bumper sticker, but the reality is that most of the problems facing us are far beyond the grasp of ordinary Americans, myself included.

    Especially, for instance, the economy. What the hell are hedge funds, derivatives, swaps, pirate islands, forex funds, etc.? What’s included in the consumer price index and how is it used? Are GNP and GDP the same thing? And so on.

    You have to be an economist to have any inkling of an idea about what’s going on (although that doesn’t stop most people from having a strong opinion). But even the economists disagree. Two economists can look at the same data–documented and reported accurately–and arrive at two vastly different conclusions, perhaps motivated by politics, perhaps not.

    Today, for example, I was reading an economics blog by reputable, well-educated economists who said that the Federal deficit is not a problem. It’s all hype designed to advance a political agenda. Another economics blog says that the deficit is going to destroy us and our children’s children’s children. Whom should I believe? Both? Neither?

    What’s a schmuck like me supposed to do? I try to be well-informed, but I can barely understand the basics, let alone the Olympian-level machinations of Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve.

    It would help me immensely if there were news sources that provided credible, objective, understandable analysis for the layperson. I’m not suggesting that I want others to do my thinking and decision-making for me–I would just like to feel that there are media outlets that will help me understand the issues.

    My second problem with the news is its global immediacy. It almost doesn’t matter if the news is accurate or not–it’s everywhere before lies can be exposed. The damage is done, and the real journalists have to spend time undoing that damage rather than reporting it accurately in the first place.

    Lastly, I wish you much success in trying to be a first responder in the current Truth Emergency. I’m weary of nothing but supermarket tabloids, celebrity gossip rags, propagandists, and muckrakers passing off their useless junk as journalism.

  6. AaronG said on July 5th, 2010 at 7:10pm #

    Good post, Charlie

    Like the economic data in the novel “1984” most of the individual economic numbers can be viewed as good or bad, obviously depending on politics etc. For example, are high interest rates good or bad? Is a strong value of your currency good or bad? The only number that seems black and white is unemployment, and that can be made grey by simply fudging the figures (ie if I work 2 hours a week then I’m “employed”).