Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Media package conspiracy theories as news

A nice piece from Neil Clark on how the corporate media shut down debate by describing as “conspiracy theories” those stories that reflect badly on our leaders, however well-grounded the stories are in fact.

At the same time, the western media peddle outrageously unsubstantiated stories that reflect badly on official enemies as serious “news”.

In short, the role of the “free press” is chiefly propaganda – and they all do it to a greater or lesser extent, whether it’s the yellow press of Rupert Murdoch or respectable liberal media such as the BBC and the Guardian.

An excellent illustration of what Clark calls a media gatekeeper is David Aaronovitch, who used his Times column this week to dismiss as conspiracy theorists those people like me who have been pointing out the wealth of evidence to suggest Israel killed Yasser Arafat.

This is from the man who used his then Guardian column not only to cheerlead the 2003 illegal war on Iraq, swallowing wholesale the lies about Saddam Hussein’s WMD, but went on after the invasion to promise that if the WMD were not found he would “never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again”.

There has never been a shred of evidence that Aaronovitch managed – even for one day – some critical distance from government officials. Instead he continued to make a good career out of repackaging government propaganda for popular consumption.

If one were given to conspiracy theories, one might suspect he was on a government payroll. But being a realist, I appreciate that he is on a corporation’s payroll – it used to be the Guardian’s, now it is the Times’. The transition was seamless.

From Clark’s article:

The fact is that if you’re looking for wacky conspiracy theories then the experience of the last 20 years tells us that the BEST place to find them is not on so-called ‘fringe’ websites, or on ‘alternative’ media, but from the mouths – and the pens – of the elite gatekeepers themselves.

Whether it’s claims that Iraq could deploy its WMDs ‘within 45 minutes’, or that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, or that Hugo Chavez fixed elections, no one does conspiracy theories better than the West’s conspiracy-theory hating elite.

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