A lot of what John Pilger says is over the top. I’m not, for example, crazy about the ease with which the Australian born media critic tosses around “warmongers” or “war criminals,” which he uses to describe everyone and his brother, including Bush, Blair, Hillary, Obama, and now General Petraeus, for whom he holds particular disdain.
However, I don’t let his occasional excesses ruin a good time, because what Pilger has to say about the media is always interesting and usually on target. As we the public are led into our respective ideological-cultural Bubbles, where facts go to die, we need Pilger’s brand of truth-telling more than ever.
On Saturday, Pilger addressed the Media and War Conference in London. Watch it HERE. If you don’t have time or patience to sit through it, here’s a recap of some of his more tantalizing, insightful, and perhaps inciting quotes:
Pilgerisms – Top 10 List
10. “Journalism, in the mainstream, is not addressing the world as it is.” It distracts the public with side shows like the liberal/conservative narrative, horse-race journalism, and of course the Petraeus scandal.
9. On the BBC: “…the best production values in the world. Some of the finest, most refined state propaganda…that’s, in a way, its function.”
8. It’s quintessential propaganda, according to Pilger, when the Guardian, “at the height of this Stalinist time,” puts on the front page a picture of the Obamas who, he quips, “are forever hugging and kissing each other, we know that.”
7. “The BBC is an extension of power in this country.”
6. “The high-mindedness that you get from BBC journalists…this defensiveness behind a set of principles, of church-like principles, as they tick off their own sort of catechism of how neutral and impartial and so on. This is nonsense.”
5. “The so-called respectable organs of media have, in my view, played a much more important role in promoting all the wretched euphemisms of aggressive war.”
4. The respectable media minimizes “the culpability of our own governments” and teaches “young journalists never to look in the mirror of your own societies. We don’t actually say that but that’s the message: Always see the demons, always see the criminals, and always see the rapaciousness, if you like, not at home but somewhere else. It’s something that runs right through our media colleges. It runs right through a lot of our right-thinking colleagues in journalism. And it needs to change if we’re going to have a world that actually hears the truth, and we tell the truth.”
2. “This man played a very, very important role in setting up a propaganda model that the Pentagon, which spent in five years something like—according to the AP—like $4.5 billion for public relations. Petraeus’ job was, as a public-relations man, to seduce the media, which he did.”
1. The media’s “obsequiousness towards this tenth-rate product of a corrupt military officer class, which is in the United States, which has been sacrificing its young men and women, as well as the civilians it’s assaulted for so many years…The real role of Petraeus is as one who is there to deceive the rest of us.”