I think the trick isn't in making people believe the press is free - the trick is in misleading people about what it means.
The press is mostly free in the US, meaning the government isn't going to explicitly censor or micromanage it. By the same token, the press is also free to do whatever it wants - like, optimize for profits, like a good private sector entity does. Some good ways for an ad-funded news publisher to optimize profits are:
- writing things that get people to read/watch the content (and thus, ads), regardless of whether these things are true, accurate, or appropriate in a civilized society;
- getting paid for delivering more ads, e.g. as sponsored (officially or not) content;
- ensuring ongoing access to freshest news by not burning the sources, particularly government or corporate ones, by e.g. publishing things said sources don't want to see published
This way, a fully free press walks into censorship and bias anyway, of its own volition.
Freedom of press is important, but I think we talk too much about ideas and principles, and too little about actual system dynamics in play.
 - Well, as much volition as you can have in a highly competitive industry, where if you don't sacrifice your values, your competitor will, and then you'll run out of money and die.
All the time. It's fucked and Russia fucked it.
The wonderful thing about being in a free nation is the access to the news of other countries. It helps you see which ones are the outliers. It's not yours.
> In the last three years the New York Times hasn’t reported a single positive story on Russia
Gee, I wonder why that might be? Nobody is going to write anything positive when a nation has expelled independent journalists, assassinated people in foreign nations, caused wars in others, been aggressively attacking fishing vessels, attempted assassinations of their own politicans, attacking their own citizens for their religion.
Who is going to care about human interest stories from such a nation?
What would be a positive story you'd like to see printed in that time frame? Name one.
Man it's time that you grow up out of "manifest destiny".
EDIT: I am distinguishing Russia from the Soviet Union here.
They're seriously critical of the government, but they don't make the mistake of thinking all there is to report is misery.
Context: I'm not pro-Russia, I think Putin is a wholesale scumbag, for all their faults I greatly prefer the US and the West to any of the alternatives, and I deeply distrust knee-jerk anti-Western leftists.
hahahah case in point right here folks
It is trivial for the US to allow foreign media on US grounds if noone watches it.
If the foreign media becomes popular, the pipe will soon play a different tune.
Case in point: TikTok.
This is how "independent media" work in most countries that have such a thing: different outlets are controlled by different people, resulting in some diversity of opinion, but not every idea gets the same airtime. Of course the definition of "going wild" is different in a Chinese context.
Also, from the article you linked:
> 04/13/2020 UPDATE
RSF has taken note of the video published on the Weibo account of the whistleblower Ai Fen, which suggests that she is free to move, and hopes that it was not staged by the Chinese regime.
That depends on what you mean by "freedom of anything". Are people allowed to do everything they want to? No. Are they doing it anyway? Yes.
More concretely with regards to freedom of speech: Are independent media allowed? No. Do they exist anyway? Yes.
> Their government is attempting to govern their lives with a mandatory government issued social media account.
What? That part makes me wonder whether all my knowledge is outdated because I haven't been to China this year and nobody told me about this or whether it's you who's been away for too long.
Likely true, but irrelevant.
(FWIW, there are more English speakers in China than America.
Also, historically, at one time there were more Christians in Asia than in Europe. There was a Bishop of Beijing. I read up on the history of the old Silk Road a while back.)
The point is that you don't get thrown in jail if the authorities notice you watching the other fellow's broadcasts.
No one in the West is going to jail for watching TikTok, eh?
They could, but they don't, because they wouldn't understand a thing. So in practice, I think the situation is reversed: there are more people in China who watch US news than people in the US who watch Chinese news.
Not affiliated with the bug tracker RT, in case you were wondering.
Corbyn himself is far-left (again by U.K. standards), but the Parliamentary Labour Party itself gave him 172-40 against in a vote of no confidence in 2016, only for the public members to vote for him 313,209-193,229 in the subsequent leadership contest.
A better example would be the tendency of the left to mark anyone they disagree with as “racist”. Same strategy. Mark your opponents as something that’s so bad that no further discussion can be allowed.
You can attach whatever label you would like to something, it has no effect on whether it is objectively true (in shared, physical reality), it only affects people's perceptions of its truth (virtual reality). This applies both to conspiracy theories, as well as mainstream news theories. There is surely a difference between which class of theories has larger epistemic variance between physical and virtual reality, but this variance exists on a per story basis, and should therefore be analyzed at that level. No one has ever done such a comparative analysis (as far as I know, correct me if I'm wrong), despite what mainstream news theorists would have the public believe.
> A better example would be the tendency of the left to mark anyone they disagree with as “racist”. Same strategy. Mark your opponents as something that’s so bad that no further discussion can be allowed.
An excellent example indeed.
This seems like a less than promising title for those of us who are interested in what is objectively true. A quick skim of the first three strawman-filled minutes of the video does not make me feel any better.
It's true, one can indeed find plenty of batshit insane ideas within the conspiracy world. Similarly, one can find plenty of dark-complexioned people engaged in fisticuffs on /r/fightporn. What speculative conclusions one should form based on these two facts is a matter of opinion.
There is an actual far left in the UK though, primarily represented by the Communist Party of Britain. There are other smaller groups too, mostly linked to the wider trade union movement.
Those are government-sponsored, explicitly foreign-facing (the language is a big hint) mouthpieces that are about as representative of "US news" as the sites you link are representative of "Chinese news" (i.e. barely).
As I understand it, using a VPN to get past the firewall is a crime for Chinese nationals. And the govt is constantly blocking them anyway as they find them.
A nice example of what one U.S. journalist knew regarding the coverage of North Korea in 2013:
Of course they are. Can you point to any mainland Chinese news outlets which are not effectively controlled by the CCP?
If not, it follows that a foreigner reading or watching this stuff gets a pretty good idea of what mainland Chinese are being fed by their news media.
Nope, most news outlets were very critical about the iraqi WMD story with some notable exceptions like the aforementioned NYT and there never was one with afghanistan. Just because there are no/few positive stories about russia does not necessarily mean that the media is biased.
A military in a democratic, sovereign nation should have oversight from civilian authority. If people knew that their sons and daughters were effectively raiding another country as a belligerent force - why did they not stop it. The fear comes not in that they didn't, but that they couldn't
Human nature should be feared, especially when you have a loose cannon firing at will, and only grateful that the barrel is facing away from you. If it were to turn towards you, how do would you stop it?
We never truly learn from history as much as we think we do.
Would it not be fair to say that in a representative government those elected representatives are the civilian authority? The US Congress approved using military force in Iraq, by quite large majorities in both bodies.
That is not to say the war was good or the reasons true, just that the second paragraph of your critique seems unfounded as there was oversight by the republic’s civilian authority.
Absolutely. But those office bearers have constituencies I presume? If office bearer xan make their own decisions regardless of what the people who put them in power say - we would be stretching the idea of a democratic republic to the extreme, don't you think? The taxpayers should have the ability to veto decisions if in large enough numbers.
This isn't really accurate. Most news outlets repeatedly published the government's agenda without much critical examination of what they meant. This study on the issue details events well.
"This study supports four major findings about the media’s coverage of WMD during the three periods: 1. Most media outlets represented WMD as a monolithic menace, failing to adequately distinguish between weapons programs and actual weapons or to address the real differences among chemi-cal, biological, nuclear, and radiological weapons. 2. Most journalists accepted the Bush administration’s formulation of the “War on Terror” as a campaign against WMD, in contrast to coverage during the Clinton era, when many journalists made careful distinctions between acts of terrorism and the acquisition and use of WMD. 3. Many stories stenographically reported the incumbent administration’s perspective on WMD, giving too little critical examination of the way officials framed the events, issues, threats, and policy options. 4. Too few stories proffered alternative perspectives to official line, a problem exacerbated by the journalistic prioritizing of breaking-news stories and the “inverted pyramid” style of storytelling. "
Which is fair, I guess. But still, most news outlets internationally were doubtful that Iraq had WMDs and were vindicated after the war.
Iraq probably was a mistake, now that we look back on it through clearer lens of history.
The Iraq War was a definite mistake. The only argument that might stand, which is completely absurd if actually analyzed, is that of humanitarian intervention (against Saddam and his Ba'athist party). Even that humanitarian intervention angle, however, is very suspect due to the human cost of severe sanctions imposed on on Iraq after the first Gulf War, which the US maintained and pressured allies to do as well.
As we saw, once no WMDs were found, the US government switched to a different argument - the humanitarian one. And when that was shown to be BS due to thousands of civilians dying monthly at the hands of The Coalition of the Willing, they switched the argument to "bringing Democracy" to the country. It's the biggest fuck up and biggest moral stain on this country since I have been living here (mid 90s).
Ultimately, the worldwide opposition was palpable. The WMD inspectors from the UN were kicked out by the US. Scott Ritter, the head of the UN group, decried the invasion and did in fact predict the US would achieve nothing and leave "with their tail between their legs". It should have never happened.
My recollection was that the Taliban asked for evidence of Osama Bin Laden's involvement in the September 11th attacks. The US didn't provide it and subsequently invaded.
Not arguing you, to be clear. I appreciate the clarification.
If they weren't, then the US military wouldn't still be in Afghanistan dealing with them nearly 20 years later.
EDIT: I'm not defending the US and any coalition troops staying there. I'm interpreting the current situation. Best thing we can do at this point (and 10 years ago) is to cut our losses and GTFO.
It's not enough to claim the enlightened viewpoint in hindsight. You have to be on the right side of history while it's happening.
If they don't want something published, it will never be seen by most people.
Obama was used to sell war to the American public - and Western Europe. That is going to take a lot of work to undo.
the single most important thing that defines good propaganda is that it's invisible to those under its influence.. It used to be a lot "worse" back in the pre-Internet days when people generally watched a couple of channels and more or less got their info from news-papers. In a sense all these information bubbles are illustrating how much we are being targeted because we realize that we're not actually agreeing on anything - but again we only see how the targeting works on "the other camp" rarely on us.
the rift going across (Western) society can largely be attributed to how propaganda has changed (forced to be more targeted and aggressive) and how the old forms of white/black info-ops which had massive reach no longer do their job. companies can now play too - no need to be a nation state to get disrupted by a guy in a Max Headroom mask. everyone can be both actor and spectator
It's so strange to me as a non-American when I see a flag wielding citizen somewhere in the news, or normal people display their pride for their home country by talking about "taking a knee", or when they say "he/she is un-American" etc ... or somebody on LinkedIn who considers themselves "patriot" and mentions this in their profile. This "pride" is unheard of where I come from and if such a person would be transported into my home country suddenly speaking my language but with that behavior they would look very out of place.
various names of great thinkers on propaganda float around but Jacques Ellul is by far the most articulate. He also has a section on Propaganda in his other (earlier) "The Technological Society" which is his magnun opus IMO. Both the most underrated books I've had the pleasure to read in this past decade. (I think it was reading Ellul what ultimately radicalized Ted Kaczinsky e.g. helped him come to the conclusion that society is borked beyond repair).
 Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes https://archive.org/details/Propaganda_201512
c.f.: socialism as a blanket assertion of something being bad without evidence.
edit because I forgot this story...not long ago I ended up in an online argument with someone that I really shouldn't have been about what communism is and isn't (yeah...). Their literal claim was that 'communism is a form of socialism' and they claimed that was evidence that communism is bad, because socialism is inherently bad.
An elite is a group of people who are distinguished from their peers in some way. In common parlance "some way" usually means influence, power, seniority, respect from peers, performance, or wealth.
Even in large organizations where the owners still do play a semi-active role, most of the day-to-day decision making is (necessarily) is made by the managers. And frequently, even when there is an active disagreement between management and ownership, management wins out.
As a suggestive example, who benefits from mergers? Upper management usually becomes much wealthier, but 50-80% of mergers fail to add value to the company.  That is, capitalists lose out 50-80% of the time, but they still happen anyway. Consider the increasing complaints about skyrocketing executive management pay divorced from company performance, golden parachutes, or companies being almost seemingly deliberately run into the ground while the people responsible walk off richer and with a new job.
The power of the managerial class does not just extend to the corporate world either - government has been largely infiltrated by managerialists. Conservatives talk about the Deep State, liberals talk about the revolving door. Both are talking about the same phenomenon.
Nothing is changed by the bourgeoisie holding state power despite the veneer of democracy, that’s also part of how capitalism works. Just because the haute bourgeoisie don’t risk personal involvement doesn’t mean they aren’t in control. Lenin’s slightly less scientific work talks about that too https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/
> The fact that they let their managers take a cut doesn’t change the power dynamic.
The managers are not simply taking a cut, they are exerting power over capitalists and winning.
While it’s true that within the bounds of national markets the old haute bourgeoisie is no longer as dominant, imperialist exploitation is the main source of profits for the bourgeoisie as a whole. This American national bourgeoisie (which might be called “managers”) benefit from imperialism too, even though they may not be its primary instigators.
In _1991_, Suharto's troops commanded an attack on peaceful demonstrators who were protesting the killing of a man, Sebastiao Gomes, at point blank range inside a church. Some of these demonstrators ran away into a cemetery and where trapped taking cover from bullets behind gravestones. At least 250 People were confirmed dead in this massacre at Santa Cruz cemetery.  Literally exterminated like sitting ducks.
If it wasn't for the massacre footage from people like Max Stahl and other journalists it is likely that by now most of Timór Lorosa'e would have been slowly replaced out of existence.
It remains quite unclear what exactly triggered the events, but Suharto at the very least exploited the hell out of them.
What recently (a few years ago) came up was the US had a diplomatic wire that had a list of the dated a few days/weeks before the incident. It is suspected that this list was initial "hit-list".
"The US Embassy supplied the army with a list of thousands of PKI cadres for targeting."
For a modern documentary that's definitely very chilling about the "killers" of those mass killings, check out The Act of Killing.
When you buy or use a computer product from China, you also gave a medical company in China money. When businesses are majority owned by the CCP, you are buying from a mega corporation.
I am reluctant to give FAANG my business due to their size, I am just as concerned with a company in China.
Now the US government I rarely interface with outside taxes. I get spam mail from the USPS. I can't think of any other government I work with.
Develop mature democratic processes? Those will take decades, and imposing them just means Potemkin structures that keep you in power.
It's just extra gross that the US helped it happen.
- Japan, who were occupying Indonesia, as they realized that WW2 was lost, met with Sukarno and Hatta and offered Indonesian independence
- then the Dutch, colonizers for 350 years, attempted to re-take Indonesia
- the US told the Dutch to get lost after almost 400 years, and Indonesia was able to proclaim independence.
So first off, the US is primarily to thank for Indonesia's early post-WW2 self-determination.
- after WW2, communism was being promoted by both Russia and China world-wide. The US encouraged the Indonesian leaders to avoid that. Part of the problem was ethnic politics and loyalty - Chinese businessmen control finance in SE Asia, and the native Indonesian leaders decided to do something about that under the guise of "communism bad"
- the US until today is the primary military supporter of Indonesia, training virtually all of their air force pilots. The C-130 and F-16 are their main aircraft.
So when people criticize US involvement in Indonesia, I remind them that the US is their biggest friend, from 1945 until today. In return, the US has never colonized that country in any way.
For those who haven't visited Indonesia, the country made huge economic strides from 2000 to 2019, and if not for corona, would be doing very well economically. Central Jakarta, the capital, is very nice.
Regarding the South American anti-communist actions, that is what it took to prevent it taking root. You can see what the alternative is in Venezuela, a former oil exporter, essentially a destroyed country because of it.
Or closer to home, the burning of our downtowns by Marxists.
>Look what japan did.
>Look what the dutch did.
>Look, the US was altruistic enough to give them indipendence.
>Look, the US even trains their military.
You responeded with a bunch of whatabout and called the US an ally.
Would you call the US an ally of south america too? (And ignore all the horrible hegemonic involvement.)
Why do you only cherry-pick Venezuela as an example and not Cuba, where mixed races living peacefully, side by side?
How does rioting promote marxism or socialism?
(>Look at all this right-wing brainfuck.)
1. We may say what we like, killing and injuring severely 150K people in indiscriminate nuclear bombing is a war crime. They knew it was. Otherwise they would have bombed Tokyo. Im aware that The targets were were active military bases, but civilians lived there. better yet, they could have bombed Germany too but thats another story.
2. You misunderstand the subtlety of modern conquest. Much of SE Asia, JPN, SKOR are countries under pretty much protectorates of US government and it's lauaghable to call them sovereign nations. They are in name only.
> Regarding the South American anti-communist actions, that is what it took to prevent it taking root.
This is a can of worms I'm sure the US Gov makes sure is fuzzy as hell. No idea why an economic system of another country is of such personal significance to US citizens that they will readily send their sons to die for it. I'm willing to bet a hairy unicorn that a majority of people in the US have no idea why their country spends so much energy fighting and starting wars in the last few decades other than some basic platitude of "Terrorism" and "communism". Ever heard of the Panama Canal? The term "Banana republic"? Read a book by the author John Hopkins, an American author.
> You can see what the alternative is in Venezuela.
Perhaps Maduro's mustache rubs Washington the wrong way. They've spent a lot of money and lives fighting mustached enemies the last few decades. He looks like a dictator who abuses his people to no end. A flash replica of Saddam giving the older politicians nightmares. I can only postulate.
The real reason Venezuela is failing is because it does not have money (Resource curse schurse.). UAE and Venezuela differ only in one aspect. UAE isn't a bastion of Democracy but is filthy rich. The difference is sanctions. And who do you suppose imposes those sanctions at the UN NA?
Why? Why do they care?
Has Caracas ever declared war on Washington?
Does the American taxpayer even know where Caracas is?
So many questions. So many simple answers. Not easy answers but simple.
The atomic bombs were dropped in August 1945. Germany surrendered in May of 1945, before the Trinity test (first test of a nuclear device) in July!
> I'd like to point out the two bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as retaliation for Pearl Habour.
This is far too simple - it's widely accepted that there were multiple reasons for using the bombs that do not include simple revenge. Most notable were the estimates of allied casualties to invade mainland Japan after the experience of clearing islands during the Pacific campaign.
It's also worth noting that consent to use the bombs was required and given by the British per the Quebec Agreement of 1943.
> This is far too simple - it's widely accepted that there were multiple reasons for using the bombs that do not include simple revenge.
Simple motivations are most powerful. Japan was teetering and no longer a credible threat. Air raids and the pamphlets had already weakened support for the war against US within the JPN government, considerjng most people did not agree with it initially. It was just a matter of time.
It is also funny to think that Trump, to my knowledge, did not engage in undercover or open military operations, whereas Obama, who passed for a dove certainly was not one.
Anyway this is an era coming to an end. Let see what China will do with its superpowers when it is the 1st world economy. For sure it is already quite rough with its neighbors. Will its thirst for commerce refrain it to bomb other countries? Will it be technological bombs instead?
He had an Iranian general assassinated.
Though he has yet to start a new war, he had drastically increased bombing and drone strikes leading to far more civilian deaths than Obama.
Got some source data that backs up this claim?
The US government started publishing its own estimates of how many people it has killed in counter-terrorism strikes “outside areas of active hostilities”. This phrase was presumed to refer to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya (not including the NATO bombing campaign in 2011 and the US strikes against ISIS around Sirte in 2016) though no US government official would confirm specifically where was outside active hostilities.
The US data release was part of an executive order that included a commitment that the US would continue to publish such figures annually. However it remains to be seen if this executive order will survive into the Trump administration.
Unfortunately the first data release, on July 1 2016 comprised of the total number US counter-terrorism strikes in all countries outside of areas of active hostilities for all years between January 2009 and December 2015, as well as the minimum and maximum estimates for the total number of combatants and non-combatants killed."
- went on in Afghanistan on +/- the same pace
- scaled down in Pakistan and Yemen to almost zero
- scaled up in Somalia, although they were already intensive in 2016
So it is a bit of a mixed answer although overall it appeared to go down compared to Obama presidency. Now of course there is the question whether a war can be won from the sky, and whether the CIA is pursuing its own goal or Trump administration's goals. My opinion is that air strikes alone do more bad than good in the long term, because basically there is no way it could put an end a conflict.
The definition was changed, essentially, to this: if they were killed by drone, they were enemies.
Didn't matter if they were standing there in the market that day, lined up to buy bread. Didn't matter if they were responding in between the double taps to help their fellow citizens locate their limbs, recover their loved ones from under the rubble, etc.
"If they were drone-striked, its because they were combatants."
Thus, 'Obama killed less civilians' can be sold.
That this was also abused under Trump is not in question.
Comparing these two war criminals to each other to find out which was the nicer is an utterly ludicrous exercise.
They were bullshit reports before Obama. They became even more bullshit during Obama. And the bullshit is out of control now.
"However during that period, the Obama Administration did count all military-age males in strike zones as combatants unless explicit intelligence exonerated them posthumously."
Obama's policy: kill them first, find out if they were enemy combatants - or not - afterwards.
"A phalanx of retired generals and admirals stood behind Mr. Obama on the second day of his presidency, providing martial cover as he signed several executive orders to make good on campaign pledges. Brutal interrogation techniques were banned, he declared. And the prison at Guantánamo Bay would be closed.
What the new president did not say was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes. "
And indeed, the loophole was, Obama changed the definition of enemy combatant to mean 'if its a military aged male in the drone crosshairs, its a combatant (EKIA) - until proven otherwise'. i.e. the exact opposite of 'innocent until proven guilty'.
I suggest you catch up by reading "The Drone Papers", in case you haven't already:
Pay particular attention to the definition of the term "EKIA".
This happened under Obama's watch.
I am well aware of the horrors of Obama's drone strikes, I am not defending him or his actions. Maintaining the definition is equally bad from my perspective, but it began under Bush.
It's an incomplete picture though, as it does not include Syria and Iraq where the majority of bombing took place.
And none of these articles include any detail about Obama's track record. They seem to be ignoring his stats in an effort to pitch their story against Trump.
>And none of these articles include any detail about Obama's track record.
The first one is a bit lacking on Obama. The second compares the two numbers, and the third is an annual report. Some of the reports data goes back for years, others are in previous reports.
Just because China is bad, doesn't mean the US isn't.
Just look at how willingly the US public voted in Trump who is demonstrably a horrible, spiteful, selfish person, a compulsive liar who constantly contradicts himself, and he's not even a good businessman, he's an even worse christian for all those who care about that.
And yet there's a neverending propaganda machine convincing people that he's the kind of person that should be running a country.
Both sides are the same!
This is true, but I more often see the opposite implied: Because the US is bad, Russia, China, and Iran shouldn’t be criticised.
It’s often goes:
A: “China did a bad thing.”
B: “Yeah well, America did a bad thing too, you propaganda-addled fool.”
A: “Yes, but all these people in China...”
B: “Hypocrite! Dupe! Racist!”