• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

woensdag 18 januari 2017

Trump’s Bit of Truth-Telling

Trump’s Bit of Truth-Telling

By Mark Doran

January 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Various friends of mine — smart folks, every one of them! — are telling me that they expect Donald Trump to be ‘Grassy Knolled’ by elements of the US ‘deep state’ before he even graduates from ‘President-Elect’ to ‘President’. I myself don’t think that such an event is especially likely … as, to me, it appears far more probable that he and the people around him will be ‘disciplined’ by various powerful forces — not least those that act through state-corporate media — to the extent that his entire project simply mutates into another ‘cookie-cutter’ US administration dedicated to neo-imperial violence and corporate empowerment.
The media-based ‘disciplining’ to which I refer actually has two aspects to it — and both of them can already be discerned without the slightest difficulty: first, there is the smacking; secondly, there is the silence. The ‘smacking’ is what you get when something you have done, or are merely said to have done, is used as something for which you can be hammered in so many contexts that your own planned agenda is simply submerged; the ‘silence’ is what you encounter when something you do that is of possible value finds itself effectively unreported, in spite of all your efforts to communicate it. What I want to do at this point is concentrate upon the latter — by highlighting the fact that the man who, for a year and more, has been castigated by media organisations and outraged liberals everywhere for saying things that aren’t true (What’s that? A man seeking election telling lies?!?) has now said a few things that are actually truths of genuine importance — and has not been given the slightest credit for them. Let’s have a quick look at some…
It was last Wednesday that Trump gave a press conference that I was soon seeing described in the most negative terms. According to the UKGuardian it was ‘Trump’s trainwreck press conference’; in the words of the US Globe and Mail it was ‘his train-wreck press conference’; while in a Twitter message from American horror author Stephen King, it was ‘a trainwreck’. Me being me, I ignored the lot of them and simply listened to the entire thing for myself (video and transcript here).
Here’s the first thing that made my ears prick up:
Appalled as I am by the US corporatecare healthcare system — coming soon to a UK hospital and GP practice near you! — I have waited decades to hear a ranking US political figure venture anywhere near the topic of ‘big pharma’ and the corruption-driven stranglehold it has over medicine-related decision-making in the stinking sewer of US politics. Yet here was President-Elect Trump — in what was his very first press conference after winning the election! — not merely alluding to the problem but also proposing what, to a right-wing brain (of which there must be more than two hundred million in the US), is the most obvious ‘market-based’ solution.
And was that truth-and-solution bombshell a topic of admiring discussion in our proudly independent media? Was it celebrated as a potentially positive development by previously hostile liberals appalled by the cost and iniquity of the US healthcare racket? From where I sit, it certainly doesn’t appear to have been…
(And just to reinforce the extent to which Trump’s bit of truth-telling placed him at odds not only with the corporate carpetbagger elite but also with the bought-and-paid-for parasites on both sides of the US’s notional political divide, literally two days later I saw that this had happened.)
All right, let’s move on. Here’s the bit where PEOTUS Trump refused to take a question from the CNN staffer at the event — for reasons connected with the monumental absurdity of what future generations (should there be any) will refer to as the ‘Golden Shower’ dossier:
My point here is that, once again, what Trump said is absolutely true: any media-savvy critic who has, over time, examined the content and conduct of ‘Cable News Network’ — the cable and satellite television channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner — knows that CNN is terrible, and CNN is ‘fake news’. Of course, CNN is far from alone in being either of those things; but that doesn’t invalidate what Trump is saying — and doing! — on this specific occasion. Once again: truth telling — and of no little significance, at least potentially.
And, in any case, more and — for me! — better was still to come on this very topic. Here’s my transcript of a little exchange that took place a few moments later…
TRUMP: […] Go ahead. Go ahead. You’ve been waiting. Go ahead.
QUESTION: As far as we understand, the intelligence community are…
TRUMP: Stand up, please.
QUESTION: Ian Pannell from BBC news. Ian Pannell from BBC news.
TRUMP: BBC news. That’s another beauty…
[Laughter]
Here’s the exchange in full:
Now, I have been following the actions of the BBC’s news services for long enough to know that, yet again, Trump was speaking unvarnished and ungainsayable truth, however sarcastic and indirect the phraseology.  What makes the exchange richly amusing in addition is the involvement of Ian Pannell. For it was Pannell — as you may or may not remember — who on 29 August 2013 produced a BBC News report whose aim was to convince audiences that a Syrian fighter jet had dropped an incendiary bomb on a school playground in Aleppo. Not only was it very suspiciously the case that the report and its three-day-old footage aired while the UK House of Commons was voting on a possible UK military assault against Syria — meaning that, had the vote been in favour, the item would have acted as a perfect focus for the transformation of public concern into bloody warfare — but the footage itself went on to form the basis of a Panorama programme (‘Saving Syria’s Children’, 30 September 2013) whose manifest fraudulence has seen the BBC fighting ever since to have copies and extracts deleted from YouTube…
(For Robert Stuart’s sterling work in unmasking a quantity of sheer fakery that — in a sane society — would have turned this BBC broadcast into a career-ending scandal, see here.)
From all of which I think it is pretty clear that Donald Trump is not going to get the credit for anything he says that is true, nor for anything he seeks to do that is good: the simple fact is that he was not the establishment’s intended victor, and he can look forward to nothing except full-spectrum opposition from the media guardians of established power right up until the point where he has given in to the latter on every important issue (and possibly not even then).
And if that doesn’t remind you of the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, it really ought to. For the full-spectrum media assault on Jeremy Corbyn has not let up even a little since I first drew attention to it in these electronic pages not long after he won the leadership election he was not supposed to win.
Let’s have a look at what happens over here. On January 10 — just one day before Trump’s alleged ‘train-wreck’ press conference — Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech in Peterborough that, likewise, was presented by the media as a debacle. And, as in the case of Trump’s appearance, the truthful and valuable content was either misrepresented or ignored.
Here are three things that — in that single day! — the BBC did to distract attention from Corbyn’s message and to toxify him as a individual. I present them in the order in which I happened to see them as the day wore on…
First, a BBC TV News animation in which one of the 12 stars of the European Union flag detaches itself — in a reference to so-called ‘Brexit’…
bbccorbynhatstar2
This star then turns red…
bbccorbynhatstar2
And lands in the centre of Corbyn’s cap…
bbccorbynstarshat2
(All three images saved by Anthony, to whom I send sincere thanks.)
See what they did there? Corbyn — by any rational standard a mild social democrat who has never even proposed so basic a socialist policy as ‘workers’ control of the means of production’ — is here made to look like Mao Zedong (‘Chairman Mao’): he gets a Chinese People’s Liberation Army cap — and a quick bit of toxification in terms of those decades of far-away tyranny and destruction, the millions killed, the dogmatic political inflexibility, etc.
Isn’t that a remarkable thing for the BBC to have done? Why would they do something like that, d’you think…?
A little time passes, and what do I see next? Ah! I see something online that features Laura Kuenssberg — the ‘Political Editor’ of BBC News, and very obviously the head of the Corporation’s Anti-Corbyn Unit. Let’s look closely…
bbckuenssbergcorbynangleheadline2
There are in fact three fascinating elements there. First, there’s the choice of headline: without there being a quotation mark in sight, and whatever his half-hour speech was really about, Corbyn is credited IN BIG PRINT with saying the one thing that is guaranteed to constitute a red rag to many millions of working class voters whom the Labour Party is currently seeking to win back. (And this, let me remind you, comes from the BBC which has allowed Nigel Farage of the anti-immigration party UKIP no fewer than 31 appearances on Question Time since November 2000: ever wondered what a broadcaster’s attempt to split the working class anti-Tory vote would look like…?)
Secondly, there is what follows it — in the form of a reference to a denial of an alleged embarrassing, undermining U-turn. See that? That’s what you write when you want to place an idea in people’s minds while still being able to claim that you weren’t really trying to place the idea in people’s minds. (So, for example: ‘Corbyn denies that he kills tiny and helpless kittens using a big hammer’. See? He denies it; and it’s not true anyway — but you still felt a feeling and saw an image that I created for you.)
Thirdly, there’s the framing and cropping of the photo. See how Kuenssberg appears as a huge and dominating visual element, filling almost a third of the space? And how Corbyn, by contrast, is presented as a tiny and distant figure — and, on top of that, shown as literally ‘in a corner’…?
Isn’t that a remarkable thing for the BBC to have done? Why would they do something like that, d’you think…?
And then there’s Newsnight. Less than eight hours after the BBC had made Corbyn stink like a long-dead Chinese communist, viewers saw their national broadcaster change tack — and make Corbyn stink like every liberal’s latest hate-figure, Donald Trump…
See how they did it? They did it by producing and broadcasting — for an extended period — a photograph of something that has never, ever happened: Corbyn wearing a Donald Trump-type hat…
bbccorbynhat
bbccorbyntrumphat2
Consider what had to take place for that image to have come into existence. Someone in charge of a budget and able to give instructions to a skilled photoshop operator will actually have sent out an order: ‘Look, stop what you’re doing: we need something for 10.30pm. Get a photo of Donald Trump in his red hat. Take him out of the picture so you’ve only got the hat. Re-write the words on it so that they say ‘Make Britain Great Again’. Yes, ‘Britain’. Then find a high-resolution photo of Jeremy Corbyn seen — and lit! — from the same sort of angle, and put the hat on it so it looks like he’s wearing it. Oh, and don’t forget to darken the area under the peak: this has to look as realistic as possible. Yes, you can email it. ‘Newsnight’ office. That’s right: serious analysis of current affairs…’
Isn’t that a remarkable thing for the BBC to have done? Why would they do something like that, d’you think…?
Nor was this the end of that day’s BBC onslaught. Before long, they had gone to Twitter and were advertising one of Newsnight‘s interviews in the following terms…
bbcnewsnightchakrabarti
If you can’t tell what attracted my attention to that, simply take a look through the programme’s Twitter timeline — and see if you can see a pattern in who has, and who has not, been described as ‘getting grilled’…
I spoke earlier of the twin media mechanisms of ‘smacking’ and ‘silence’, and of their role in shaping political events rather than merely ‘reporting’ them. In connection with Corbyn, I want to underline my point by presenting the entire text of his Peterborough speech — which you can see here. When UK readers have read it (or watched the video below), I hope they will be so kind as to consider this question:
On January 10, Corbyn featured in the BBC’s news and current affairs output over and over again: he and his speech — and the associated ‘debacle’ — were referred to, and discussed, during the day, in the evening, and late into the night. As you’ll see from the video, the BBC — as it was obliged to! — actually broadcast the whole speech live (albeit on a news channel most people don’t watch, and at a time when most people are busy working anyhow). Yet how much of what he said in that long speech did you yourself actually encounter in all of that studio-based ‘coverage’…? Or, for that matter, in our proudly ‘free’ billionaire-owned press…? In other words, when you came to read the text linked to above — or to watch the speech as recorded — how much of it still came as a complete surprise to you…?
MD



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