‘Free journalism doesn’t really exist in the US’
RT:The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is askingfor around $15 million to "counter a revanchist Russia".Why does the US feel so threatened?
William Jones: Obviously, it’s more difficult to tell a big lie than a small lie. Everybody knows for instance that ISIL is a dangerous group but not everybody thinks that Vladimir Putin is a bad guy. And therefore a lot more money has to be spent in trying to convince people that that is the case, than they have to convince people that ISIL is a bad organization and it has to be fought.
RT:A report headed by the former BBG chief says US broadcasters are not always in tune with Washington's foreign policy objectives. That could be seen as a good thing, couldn't it?
WJ: I would take that with a grain of salt. Free journalism in the US really doesn’t exist. There is an old saying that the oldest profession is prostitution and the second oldest is journalism. They go along to get along.I’ve been working in the journalist field for over 40 years and I’ve seen how when certain lines are drawn, everybody sticks to those lines. There are very few truth-seekers in journalism and those who are usually come in conflict with their own papers especially if they get government funding and are either relegated to the sidelines or chased out of the business entirely. I think that’s a slight exaggeration. The mainstream media has been working hand in hand with the US government in terms of carrying out a propaganda war and we see this especially in the situation over Ukraine.
RT:The US is investing heavily into state media broadcasting in foreign languages. How successful is that do you think?
WJ: I think there is always a limit to the power of a tyrant as the great poet Friedrich Schiller said. People will of course believe generally what the media is telling them if they watch their TV news and the likes and it certainly has its effect. But the fact that they have to spend such tremendous amounts of money especially on broadcasting, like I notice they are trying to send Russian-language broadcast in Latvia now. They are very frightened that the fact the big lie, about what is going on in Ukraine and elsewhere and the situation in Russia, generally people are not swallowing it so they have to spend a lot of funds in order to try and get the message out. But I think ultimately the truth will prevail. People are generally not as gullible as the people in authority sometimes think. And I think this propaganda campaign will ultimately be a failure, but they are going to do whatever they can to try and put their story out, their narrative to the general public.
RT:US foreign media has been criticized for being a very complicated, unwieldy system. What steps do you think the US government will take next to improve its information projection?
WJ: They are not really interested in information. They are interested in putting out a political line when a decision has been taken by the government that they are going to go after the Putin administration, there is going to be no compromise and they are going to have people behind him, they are going to rally the troops as well as they can. It’s easy enough to do because of the general trend of most of the mainstream journalism to go along with the going line, but in terms of the government broadcasts and VOA (Voice of America), Al Hurra, Radio Free Europe - they are just going to be putting in a very intensive campaign to try and carry out a story. It’s what Goebbels did in Nazi Germany. The policy is nothing new. But they are not interested in the truth, if they were interested in the truth they wouldn’t be doing things they are doing in trying to foment a war virtually in Ukraine.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.