July 11, 2013 · 0 Comments
By Michael M’Gehee:
Writing in his original preface to Animal Farm, George Orwell wrote about how “inconvenient facts [can be] kept dark, without the need for any official ban”:
Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news – things which on their own merits would get the big headlines – being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact […] At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
One way in which readers, listeners, or viewers can gauge the validity of news stories is by how quickly they drop off the media’s radar. If a story is sensationalist hype it will likely disappear as fast as it appeared. Another way is if the story gets reported at all.
Earlier this year was the scare story of an impending North Korea attack on the United States. The mainstream media, especially in the U.S. and the West, went ballistic (pun intended) on supposed North Korean threats. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of articles claimed over and over that North Korea threatened to attack South Korea and the United States. That was the popular narrative repeated ad infinitum. But it’s not entirely true. What North Korea “threatened” was retaliation, not an attack. Kim Jong-Un said his country would respond to South Korean and American aggression.
But, let’s rewind to the New Year. According to the Washington Post: “In New Year’s speech, N. Korea’s Kim says he wants peace with South”:
SEOUL — In a domestically televised New Year’s Day speech, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Eun said he wants to “remove confrontation” on this divided peninsula and called on “anti-reunification forces” in South Korea to end their hostility toward the North.
The lengthy address, which laid out North Korea’s goals for the year, marked Kim’s first formal remarks since the election two weeks ago of Park Geun-hye as South Korea’s next president.
The North Korean leader asked for a detente — but with prerequisites that the conservative Park is likely to be reluctant to accept. Both sides, Kim said, must implement joint agreements signed years ago by the North and liberal, pro-engagement presidents in Seoul. Those agreements call for, among other things, economic cooperation, high-level government dialogue and the creation of a special “cooperation” zone in the Yellow Sea, where the North and South spar over a maritime border.
The peace overture was replied with the annual South-Korean-U.S. military exercise, but this time with an interesting twist: the exercise included a scenario of a pre-emptive attack on North Korea. Worse, the U.S. pulled out its B-52’s, that are capable of firing nuclear weapons, and flaunted them recklessly.
In chronological order: North Korea requests peace and steps to move in that direction, to which South Korea and the United States respond with a mock scenario of a per-emptive strike, including the possible use of nuclear weapons, to which North Korea says it will retaliate to any such attack, and, finally, the American media largely ignores this context, that Kim was vowing retaliation, and whips up hysteria of North Korea coming out of the blue with threats of nuking America.
But then the story simply went away.
We have seen this also with the recent case of Syria and the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
A month ago the White House came out with the claim that the Syrian government used chemical weapons “on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”
And though FAIR’s Peter Hart quickly pointed out that skepticism was “warranted,” the mainstream media saturated news outlets with the story.
But, like the North Korean “threat,” the story simply went away.
The story is back on the radar as Russia provided the UN, and Western countries with their report on the Sarin attack in Aleppo, Syria. Unlike the US, the Russians have (and provided) evidence that it was the rebels who carried out the chemical attack.
According to Rick Gladstone of The New York Times, in his article “Russia Says Study Suggests Syria Rebels Used Sarin,” and which appears on page A7 of the July 10, 2013 edition, Moscow’s “scientific analysis of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria on March 19 showed it probably had been carried out by insurgents using Sarin nerve gas of ‘cottage industry’ quality delivered by a crudely made missile.” Gladstone then informs us that Russia’s findings “contradicted conclusions presented by Western nations, including the United States, that the Syrian government had been responsible.”
The most troubling aspect of Gladstone’s article was this passage: “The American conclusion was based in part on indirectly procured soil samples and interviews with survivors, as well as the Syrian insurgency’s lack of technical ability and materials to carry out a chemical weapons attack.”
The problem? Those last sixteen words—“the Syrian insurgency’s lack of technical ability and materials to carry out a chemical weapons attack”—are presented, not as a claim, but as a fact. As we at the NYTimes eXaminer pointed out last month, The New York Times has ignored two important news items that undermine this assertion: (1) the hacking of Britam, a British defense company, revealed a plan by Washington for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and then blame it on the government; and (2) the arrest of Syrian rebels in Turkey, who happened to be in possession of Sarin nerve gas.
All of this occurred before the White House came out with their claim that the Syrian government was behind the Sarin attacks, and was readily available in the press, though not reported by The New York Times. To this day the “paper of record” has yet to mention either of these two incidences, even as they claim that the Syrian rebels have a “lack of technical ability and materials to carry out a chemical weapons attack.”
Readers should be concerned with why sensationalist stories of a threatening North Korea, and chemical weapon-using Syria, can appear long enough to outrage the public, but stories of false flags, and rebels getting caught with the very chemical weapons we claim they don’t have, go unreported.