US revives MSM propaganda arm in ‘big way’ against Russia

Reuters/Phil Sears
The US media industry has been the arm of the government for decades, but now the Cold War tool is being resurrected in a “big way” to tackle any Russian influence on the information flow, foreign affairs expert Richard Becker told RT.

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RT:The revelations show that US authorities are trying to counter what they call propaganda by using propaganda techniques themselves.... what's your take on that?

Richard Becker: Well it is very interesting. This is really a revival, if it ever was allowed to die, of the Cold War. And the Cold War particularly in the field of culture – there is a famous book about it, called the Cultural Cold War - but it appears that the United States which for decades used reporters, film companies, radio broadcasting, all different forms of communication and culture to promote the Cold War against the Soviet Union. And now they are doing the same. And it is very clear and it has never stopped. You mentioned the Broadcasting Board of Governors which has funded anti-Cuba propaganda by paying journalists, and creating radio and TV stations, hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. So that the notion presented by the State Department spokesperson that this isn't something that the US government engages in, or it is up for the entertainment companies to decide is completely false. This is a collaborative effort and it has been going on for decades. And now it is being revived in a big way against Russia as well as against others.

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RT:In one of the leaked emails, the State Department asks the CEO of Sony to work with them to tackle the narratives from Islamic State and is Sony supposed to do that?

RB: Well of course we can think about different forms that it could take. Again this shows the utter ridiculousness of the State Department claim that it is just to the companies. They can produce TV shows. They can produce movies. They can produce all forms of music videos. It just goes on on and on and on. Sony is an extremely large corporation and they certainly not the only who being approached to do this. But they have many means by which to propagate a narrative, their narrative which shows them the bastion of democracy while whomever they are targeting is portrayed in the worse possible light. And clearly this is continuing to go on.

RT:This revelation shows us a case of a private company becoming an arm of US interests... does this surprise you? Do you think that this is a sign of the transformation of the American private sector into a policy tool?

RB: Well these corporations, the entertainment corporations are huge capitalist corporations. And they have a government that is very much on their side along with other big corporations. And there is nothing really new about this. But after the end of WWII , which as we know just ended 70 years ago, this collaboration was intensified exponentially to turn the media, the big business media, newspapers, movies, TV, radio, etc, the big corporations into arms of the government. And in fact they serve that purpose as arms of the government.

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RT: The WikiLeaks revelations also mentions that Sony reached out to an organization specializing in research for the US military and intelligence sector and for advice regarding its North Korea film "The Interview". Do you think we will see more of this kind of cooperation in the future?

RB: Yes. I think this has been going on for a really long time. I think that most people are hearing about it for the first time, but in reality the Pentagon and the military, again really going back to the time of WWII, have collaborated with the movie studios and TV production and other forms of media, when they were doing the programming that the military, that the Pentagon felt was helpful to the US wars around the world. That has been going on for a really long time. It is good that at least some of the population is finding out about this.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.