Western 'freedom of press' plagued by double standards
As Russia launches airstrikes against ISIS at the request of Syria's government, Western media outlets have ramped up the vilification of the Kremlin. By doing so the US coalition is trying to save face and cover up for its failures in the Middle East, experts told RT.
‘US government & media: work in tune to demonize Russia’
According to journalist and political analyst Caleb Maupin, “there is a whole history of [US] government cooperation with the media" that is aimed at delivering a "unified message" for the public to rally around, thereby serving the interests of those in power.
"I think anyone who believes that the news media and the government don’t cooperate and collaborate is deluding themselves," he told RT.
Maupin said the history of media-government collusion dates back to at least the 1960s with the introduction of the FBI COINTELPRO program, which "consciously planted false stories in the news."
"You can go back even earlier than that - there is a whole history of government cooperation with the media in order to put out a unified message and rally the public around what they want to achieve."
According to Maupin, the Western media does not practice what it preaches around the world regarding 'freedom of the press.'
"The US frequently goes around the world championing what it calls ‘freedom of the press,’ denouncing governments when they don’t uphold the freedom of the press in ways the US feels are acceptable," he said. "US media claims to be objective, fair and balanced and neutral, but in reality it puts forward a very clear perspective on world events and that perspective is very hostile to Russia… any independent-minded government is going to be demonized in the US media."
‘US media: extraordinary tool for misinformation’
US Secretary of the State John Kerry called US social media an extraordinary “good tool”; on the contrary, social media is a "notoriously unreliable tool upon which to base judgments,” Ray McGovern, former CIA officer, told RT.
McGovern used the mysterious downing of Malaysian Flight MH17 as an example.
"John Kerry... was very intent on blaming Russia for downing that Malaysian plane [MH17, which crashed in Eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014]. And he told David Gregory on the 30th of July that social media are an extraordinary “good tool”. The question is: tool for what? Tool for information or tool for misinformation?
McGovern then went on to discuss the more recent events involving Russian fighter jets attacking Islamic State targets in Syria, which has triggered a Western media campaign of misinformation.
"One of the so-called casualties that were alleged to have been caused by Russian planes [September 30] is based on a photo that has been now revealed to have been taken on the 25th of September, which would have been five days before the Russian attack," he said.
Slamming the events in Syria as a "war of propaganda to the degree people wish to believe social media," McGovern again warned on social media, labelling it a "notoriously unreliable tool upon which to base judgments."
READ MORE: Information warfare? Russia accused of killing civilians in Syria
The former CIA agent, by way of comparison, said the Russian leader has "gathered his own coalition and it’s based in, guess where: Baghdad and it is comprised of Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria."
Are they getting good information on Syrian targets? They are, McGovern insists, because "the US is giving all kind of information to the Iraqis."
‘Who are US-backed rebels? Do they even exist?’
Meanwhile, the very identity and existence of the Syrian 'moderate rebels" has been a source of great confusion.
“I don’t know how reliable the rebels are, because we don’t even know who the rebels are or even if they exist,” journalist and broadcaster Bryan MacDonald told RT. “Something that Western media doesn’t tell you is that most of these so-called rebels are Al-Qaeda – the very same guys that 14 years ago America launched a crusade against in the war on terror,” he added.
MacDonald finds it "amazing" how the Americans "spent three years looking for moderate rebels and they seem to found them in the last 24 hours."
"I don’t know how reliable the rebels are, because we don’t even know who the rebels are or even if they exist."
MacDonald quoted Robert Fisk, the renowned British Middle East correspondent who has spent time in Syria, who told ABC's Lateline: “The Free Syrian Army, I think, drinks a lot of coffee in Istanbul. I’ve never come across them, even as prisoners, except in the first months of the fighting. I think the Free Syrian Army is a complete myth.”
From the Russian and Iranian perspective, what the Western media calls rebels are also part of the problem, MacDonald added.
"Obviously for the pro-government forces to get to ISIS they will have to cross the rebels first, because these so-called moderate rebels, which don’t really exist are in the way," he said. But perhaps the most astonishing thing the Western media is failing to remind their audiences is that most of these so-called rebels "are Al-Qaeda – the very same guys that 14 years ago America launched a crusade against in the war on terror."
“The idea that the American media would be defending Al-Qaeda is just unbelievable.”
‘US coalition trying to save face’
Gerald Celente, publisher of "Trends Journal" who has been predicting with uncanny accuracy many geopolitical and economic events of the past, gave a failing grade to America's work in the Middle East: “At every level the US has failed miserably quantitatively and qualitatively. So now what they are doing to cover up that failure... they are putting out this information to bring more hate against Russia.”
“There is a big anti-Russian campaign going on in the US that rarely stops, it’s Cold War II. So we only keep hearing one side," Celente said. "Let us not forget, just to put this into perspective, that here in the ‘land of the free’ we have the grand total of six corporations that control 90 per cent of the media. And then when you look at the names and faces in the media, it is a revolving door between government and the corporations in many of the instances.
The result of that incredible concentration of corporate power in the hands of the few? "We’re not really getting much information other than propaganda,” Celente believes.
He continued: The US and the Arab League’s incursion into Syria has brought nothing but disaster. You saw the reports: $500 million spent to train what? A half dozen rebels that gave up right away, the ‘good rebels’?
Celente said that the meeting between Putin and Obama in New York will produce some results.
"But the bottom line, however, the meeting between Putin and Obama was something that is bigger than this, and I believe this is going to lead to a serious solution at the end of the day."
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.