This clip linked above is footage of journalist Max Blumenthal, who independently went to Venezuela, funding his own report to the UN. Of course, once there he was confronted with very different conditions than reports by US cable news outlets would have us believe.
As an attempt to keep this post brief (ish) I will allow readers to check the video out for themselves. Please leave feedback and thoughts in the comments section. The Venezuela coup is a story I’ll be writing more about.
Meanwhile, CNN and the other corporate stations are promoting fear, war and basically not doing their jobs as investigators. The only time the questions get “tough” is when someone like Tulsi Gabbard – a veteran in Congress who is calling out the war machine – gets interviewed. It is then that their support for US government talking points and forced regime change in Syria and Venezuela become painfully obvious.
I vaguely remember being taught in Civics class that the media was the fourth branch of the govt, conceivably to act as a check on corruption and speak truth to power. When CNN, FOX, MSNBC and talk show hosts like Colbert and Meagan McCain ALL agree on something, your BS radar should go off.
I don’t watch broadcast news every day and I’m actually a lot less stressed. I’m not less-informed than others I know. They repeat the same stories all day anyway.
I do regularly read through longer form printed books and original source documents, which helps educate me but I get that this may not fit into your lifestyle.
The best way to stay informed, I find, is to find your emotional blind spot and keep checking it. We all have biases. Emotional, political. Listen to people you disagree with. No one says you have to adopt those ideas but unpacking the points that trigger you can be an extremely valuable exercise. As either Aristotle or Tupac said, “Know thyself lest ye wreck thyself…”
Once a month I cram all my media snippets and desired C-Span coverage with a full-day binge on YouTube, carefully selecting smaller doses of corporate news. It’s more for a point of reference, a place to begin.
During their respective interviews this month with the aforementioned Tulsi Gabbard, McCain, along with her View co-hosts, and Colbert took interestingly similar approaches. Though the View was certainly more aggressive, they asked Ms. Gabbard pretty much the same line of questioning.
I compared this to other coverage of Gabbard in the MSM and found more of the same. There was a CNN town hall with Dana Bash and a MSNBC interview with Gabbard that went predictably off the rails. What I saw was TV hosts badgering an absolutely poised Gabbard on Syria and Venezuela in particular.
I found Colbert somewhat aloof in his segment, but Ms. McCain was literally glaring in anger, embarrassingly unable to conceal her distaste for Gabbard, whom she called an “Assad apologist”.
Glaringly obvious is the omission by both McCain and Colbert regarding other key world dictators, or the ongoing genocide in Yemen. Nor do they broach the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which, to be fair, is loaded with intricacies that may not be suitable for a short interview but by definition IS an actual humanitarian crisis.
Selective outrage over people in Syria dying while ignoring the fact that the US covertly funded both sides in the Syrian opposition since 2011 is 100% by design. The US has been covertly toppling world leaders and fomenting discord abroad since the 60’s. Once destabilized, our key corporate players move in and quickly privatize assets. Rinse and repeat.
Why does the Pentagon support and partner continuously with Saudi Arabia, a brutal regime committing mass genocide in Yemen right now? My guess is money and oil, but more specifically I have read that vast oil reserves in Syria near Israel’s Golan Heights area are at stake. Also there’s desire to build a pipeline through Syria and compete with Russia for Europe’s oil business.
When we take ownership of the fact that these are large-scale business maneuvers taking place we will be less susceptible to media manipulations that are specifically designed to build public support in the name of “freedom”.
It’s vital to recognize the rhetoric of war that has seeped into our daily vernacular, coupled with actual perpetual war since 9/11 is normalizing civilian murder and numbing us out. We talk about spreading democracy but it is and always has been about oil. Otherwise we would not ignore the other very real humanitarian crises I mentioned.
Dropping bombs on the already terrorized citizens of Syria is not a path to success or humanitarian at all. If the US feels strongly enough that Assad is a threat to national security or that he broke international law (something the US does all the time, incidentally) then get a tactical team in there and haul his ass out. Take him to court, or just shoot him if you must but the idea that bombimg a country to get one guy is inefficient and cruel.
Fun fact: Venezuela has an ocean of oil reserves, reportedly more than the Saudis. The notion that the US “attempted” to send humanitarian aid to an ungrateful Maduro is ludicrous and flat-out arrogant if you think about it, especially since it’s the sanctions imposed by the US that have crippled Venezuela’s economy in the first place. In previous years the US tried to overthrow former President Hugo Chavez without success, and Chavez would not bend to international pressure to privatize the rich assets of Venezuela.
This leads me to a side note about a weird hobby I have: I enjoy tracking Department of Defense third-party contract spending in a little Excel spreadsheet. I don’t get the numbers every day because – surprise surprise – the website doesn’t have downloadable XML data, forcing me to laboriously pick through wordy HTML text posted under separate hyperlinks for each day. Now let me assure you: the spending is not for food or to improve the VA. Spending usually caps under a billion per day but I’ve tracked it as high as 1.6 billion for just a single day’s contract awards.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon gets audited just once in the past 20 years, and even with $21 trillion unaccounted for, there’s absolutely no sign of a slow down in spending. Like an robotic pantomime of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, the machine is fully in charge. It requires no effort or oversight to keep building its weapons. It operates like a cancer and holds no political allegiances. It’s only allegiance is to profit.
Notice when somebody talks about education or healthcare the conversation becomes “how can we afford that?” So pie in the sky, you dreamers! The media and our corporate owners are bargain shoppers when it comes to spending our tax money on us.
Nobody EVER asks where the money for the next warhead is coming from. That’s the sign of a dysfunctional society! Corporate media is sponsored by Lockheed Martin and Boeing – they even make commercials. Why? Am I buying a jet?
You can not expect this wholly corporatized media to provide ethical checks on itself at this point, period. They are institutions with a fiduciary bottom line. With the plethora of information available, bombarding us with constant dinging and alerts, it’s annoying that figuring out what’s truly going on is like having another job. Freedom is not free: touché.
***Journalist Abby Martin of the Empire Files has also done some fearless reporting on what’s happening in Venezuela. Do look her up on YouTube or FB if you are interested in this topic.
****I’ll be following up this post to with two more, continuing this topic with some other ideas I haven’t fully flushed out yet. I’ve been keeping a list of journalists and whistleblowers who’ve caught my attention. Some of whom have left the corporate MSM and I believe have great integrity. Their stories inform us about the ways in which our country censors information.
I also have outlined another post regarding the scientific community at large, which I believe deserves a bit more scrutiny rather than blind faith.