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The Western Media
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The are five reasons why a balanced view of world events is not generally received in the Western media:
In the USA, NBC and CBS (two television companies) are owned by corporations involved in arms manufacture and nuclear power (General Electric and Westinghouse). Several oil companies (Exxon, Texaco and Mobil) have seats on the boards of these news organisations. Time-Warner and CNN merged in the late 1990s to form one of the largest news and media monopolies in the world. Rupert Murdoch is the largest owner of television stations in the USA. Originally an Australian citizen, his American citizenship was "fast-tracked" by the Reagan administration to allow him to own television stations in the country.
Stories that highlight problems with nuclear power or waste, stories about oil companies involved with governments that violate human rights and stories about conflicts armed by Western companies are unlikely to be given much coverage. Stories that help the interests of the media owners are given prominence.
One man, John Malone, owns 23% of the world's cable stations. His Discovery Channel commissions programs after "market approval" and avoids "controversial subjects". The phrase "dumbing down" has entered the language as television concentrates on gossip and celebrity stories rather than serious issues.
In Australia Rupert Murdoch (him again) owns 7 out of the 12 national daily newspapers and 7 out of 10 Sunday newspapers. In one city, Adelaide, Murdoch owns all the newspapers. This cannot be good for pluralism.
In 1975, one of Murdoch's newspapers, The Australian, ran a campaign that helped remove the country's democratically elected government by the UK appointed Governor-General.
In the UK, News International (a company mostly owned by Rupert Murdoch) owns several newspapers (including The Times and The Sun), Sky Television (a major European satellite operator), Star Television (covering Asia) and publishers like Harper Collins.
In 1998, Rupert Murdoch owned 34% of the daily newspapers and 37% of the Sunday newspapers in the UK. He often uses the large resources of his multinational companies to lower the price of his newspapers in an attempt to put rival newspapers out of business. Successive UK governments have allowed his empire to grow in return for his media's support.
53% of UK newspaper and magazine distribution is controlled by just two companies, WH Smith and John Menzies. Smaller magazines (like the political and satirical Private Eye) can have (and have had) their distribution curtailed at the whim of these companies.
Europe often has more pluralistic laws than the English speaking world. In France, there are laws prohibiting any single organisation from controlling newspapers with more than 30% of the combined national and regional readership. In addition, all publications have a legal right of distribution. In Germany, minority shareholders can veto editorial decisions. In Sweden small independent newspapers are supported and financed by law. European aversion to monopolies is one reason why Murdoch's media are consistently anti-Europe.
Rupert Murdoch has used his media ownership to influence what information is made available to the public in order to protect his business interests (especially in Malaysia and China):
Cross-media ownership and the fact that a small number of people own so many of our means of obtaining information is a threat to a pluralistic society.
In a 1992 survey in the UK, 150 newspaper editors stated that 90% of their advertisers had interfered with stories; 70% of the advertisers had tried to stop stories. 40% of the editors had succumbed to pressure from advertisers and made the changes requested.
In the UK in 1990, new laws meant that TV news had to make a profit. This has led to a decline in serious news items and more emphasis on "human interest" stories and celebrity "news". Advertisers want viewers; ratings become more important than giving information; the news companies abandon investigative journalism to "give the public what it wants".
Deregulation has meant that requirements to produce in-depth public affairs programming were removed. On most Western TV channels, only 4% of prime time programming is about the majority of the world's population. Programs that cover "controversial" subjects are screened at late hours. For example, in September 2002, the UK commercial television channel, ITV, broadcast a program by journalist John Pilger about the effects of the occupation of Palestine on the population. It was shown at 11:05pm.
Most people fail to be exposed to programs covering subjects like Western companies using local slave labour in poorer countries, trade practices that keep developing countries poor, wars armed by Western companies, action by the West's secret services, and studies of Western backed dictatorships.
In the UK, one of the better current affairs programs on the BBC, Panorama, which for many years on Mondays at 9:00pm (after the news), was moved to Sunday at 10:30pm. Programs and news reports that have recently been dropped include sweatshops in China producing toys for the UK Christmas market, the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and many programs about the problems in Northern Ireland.
As the number of commerical radio stations increases, the output becomes more bland and more predictable.
Statements, statistics and new policies are introduced in controlled press conferences. Journalists who consistently question the official line too rigorously may be excluded from access. This is bad for a newspaper which relies on fast and fresh news.
In a war situation, a process called pooling is used to control what information is given out. A small number of journalists (sometimes only one) are taken by the military to observe and the news is then shared with other journalists. Journalists who attempt to obtain news independently can be excluded from future events.
Press conferences allow the military to put out their version of events, sometimes using edited video tape. This information cannot be verified independently.
In the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the USA and UK, this was taken one stage further. Reporters were embedded. This meant they travelled with the military, being housed, fed and protected by them. Obviously, it then becomes difficult to cover the conflict from the other side. Only a few Western journalists who valued their independence refused to be embedded; some of these were arrested by USA soldiers. Independent Arab journalists fared even worse as their offices were bombed and their members killed. In 2004, Iraqi newspapers calling for the end of the occupation were closed by the USA military.
90% of the world's news comes from just three agencies: Associated Press (USA), Reuters (UK) and Agence France Presse (France). Associated Press (AP) and Reuters make large profits selling financial and corporate information. The "free market" view of the world is thus very profitable. Alternate views can lose the companies money so are rarely aired. AP devotes most of its coverage to the USA since the majority of its clients are there.
Africa accounts for less than 5% of all news coverage, most of it news of disasters. Countries that attempt to run economic systems for their own people outside the mainstream are given virtually zero coverage. The achievements of the governments of Nicaragua (in the 1980s) and Cuba in health and education are completely ignored. Revolutions and demonstrations against privatisation to Western companies in Bolivia in the 2000s were also ignored.
In television, news is supplied by four main agencies: Reuters and the BBC (from the UK) and World Television Network (WTN) and CNN (from the USA). Reuters supplies over 400 broadcasters in 85 countries and reaches an audience of 500 million people. WTN supplies news to 3,000 million people.
Independent Arabic television stations (like Al-Jazeera) have recently appeared. These were seen as a threat by the West, eager to keep control of all news. The USA has put pressure on Arabic governments to curtail these stations. Their offices were bombed in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. One of their cameramen has been detained at Guantanamo Bay.
Some of the USA pressure has worked as Al-Jazeera financial journalists have lost their acreditaion for the New York Stock Exchange. In addition the station has had problems in Bahrain (where it was banned), Spain (arrested reporter), Algeria (journalists stopped from working), Iraq (offices closed), Canada, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Its website has been hacked with users redirected to pornography or USA patriot sites. The station has also had problems in Iran which were not Western induced.
Although the internet is a good source of alternative news, most people in the world do not own a computer or a telephone. Most internet users are in the rich Western countries.
Governments can put their policies across by using briefings, interviews and publications.
In 2001, the Israeli embassy in the UK attempted to have its assassinations of Palestinian leaders labelled as "targeted killings" in the British media.
Nuclear power companies spend a lot of money on glossy advertising campaigns to show themselves as providers of modern and clean energy. Problems with nuclear waste and radiation are glossed over. Oil companies advertise with scenes of pristine natural wilderness while at the same time polluting the environment and often violating the rights of people living in the drilling areas.
The Global Climate Coalition, the American Petroleum Institute (in the USA) and EuropaBio (in Europe) are examples of industry controlled PR companies. These have been responsible for lobbying news media to suppress stories about global warming, biotechnology, pollution or to discredit research about these issues.
Max Clifford, a PR expert in the UK, has stated that PR is now "filling the role investigative reporters should fill but no longer can because cost cutting has hit journalism badly." PR generated material comprises about 50% of a broadsheet (serious) newspaper in every section apart from sport; the figure is higher for tabloid (less serious) and regional newspapers.
Western journalism is shamed by the courage shown by writers in many countries where they can be arrested, imprisoned or even killed for daring to tell the truth.
Indonesia has imprisoned Ahmad Taufik (Independence) who had criticised the government.
In Turkey any journalist who writes about human rights or the Kurds could "have their human rights suspended". Metin Goktepe (Evrensel) was beaten to death in police custody in 1996. Ocak Isik Yurtcu (editor of Ozgur Gundem) was imprisoned for 15 years: "because I tried to learn the truth and relay this truth to the public - in other words, to do my job - in the belief that is impossible to have other freedoms in a country where there is no freedom of the press."
The Philippines has one of the highest death rates amongst journalists in the world. In Russia 50 journalists were killed in 1996. In the 1990s 60 journalists have been killed in Algeria. Other countries where journalists have been in danger include Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Chile (under Pinochet), South Africa (under Apartheid) and much of Central America during the 1980s.
In the UK during the 1980s, the transport policies of London's elected leader, Ken Livingston, were devalued by a smear campaign describing Livingston as "Red Ken" or referring to his hobby of keeping newts. At the same time, Prince Charles spoke often about the architecture of London and how the skyline was being ruined by tall buildings. His views were undermined by depicting him as an eccentric who spoke to his plants!
Certain phrases are used to hide or distort dissident views. Disident views are described as extreme (or ideological) and those who hold these views as extremists. Others are labelled as marxists, communists, liberals (in the USA), conspiracy theorists, lefties, new agers, militants, the usual suspects or other dispariging names. Their views are meant to be ignored and are rarely argued against coherently.
In the 1980s, anti-Nicaraguan militants (financed by the USA) were referred to as freedom fighters. So were the Western backed Afgans fighting the Russians. Palestinians fighting against the occupation of their land by (USA backed) Israel are called terrorists.
Whole countries can be classified: Syria is a non-democratic country which supports Palestinians and is not pro-West. It is often described as a state that supports terrorism, a rogue state or an extremist state. Sauda Arabia is a non-democratic country, where non-Islamic religions, cinema and democracy are all banned; women are not allowed to drive. Because the country is pro-West, it is called a moderate state or a moderate regime in Western media.
Attempts by the African National Congress to force South Africa to give democracy to all its citizens were described as terrorism; attempts by the USA to get a good deal for the handover of the Panama Canal to Panama were described as coercive diplomacy.
In Northern Ireland (UK), over 3400 people died in terrorist attacks between 1969 and 2001. Slightly less than half (48%) of these were by Republican groups like the IRA; the other half by Loyalist groups. The reportage in the mainstream media in the UK tends to highlight Republican killings. The IRA are demonised as the major cause of the problems while the forces responsible for 52% of the deaths are under-reported. During the IRA ceasefire between 1994 and 1996, 100 rubber bullets were fired at Republicans by the Loyalist dominated Royal Ulster Constabulary. This was unreported in the rest of the UK.
In the Middle East roughly twice as many Palestinians are killed by Israeli military and settlers as Israelis killed by Palestinian "terrorism" (or "resistance to Israeli occupation"). Western media tend to concentrate on Israeli victims and humanise Israeli deaths by naming the victims and interviewing their relatives. Palestinian victims are usually numbered and given demeaning labels like gunmen, terrorists, demonstrators or militants.
More subtly the clever use of verb voice is also used to mold opinion. The Active Voice is used for Israeli victims: "Palestinian militants killed three Israeli settlers" while the Passive Voice is used for Palestinian victims: "Three Palestinians died when their village was hit by Israeli shells". In the above example emotive words are also used. The word settler is prefered to colonist and militant is prefered to resister.
Another favoured word is clashes as in "four Palestinians died in clashes with the Israelis". Palestinian suicide bombers who kill civilians are (correctly) descibed as terrorists whereas Israeli missile attacks on residential areas are described as retaliation or action to stop terrorism. Israeli massacres of Palestinians are often called a disproportionate response.
These techniques help obscure the fact that Israel is occupying Palestine and building illegal colonies (which are labelled settlements or neighbourhoods) on their land while the Palestinians are resisting this occupation.
According to figures from the Israel Defence Force and the Palestinian Monitor, 587 Palestinian and 111 Israeli children were killed in the region between 2000 and 2004. The following table shows the causes of death for all non-military deaths for the same period.
|Cause of Death||Israelis||Palestinians|
|Rubber / Plastic Coated Bullets||0||3|
|Shelling / Bombing||108||650|
|Prevention of Medical Treatment||0||87|
|Bystanders During Assassinations||0||152+|
For virtually every cause of death, many more Palestinians die than Israelis. The only cause of death that affects Israelis more than Palestinians is suicide bombings. The vast majority of the media coverage in the West covers these suicide bombings. They are endlessly discussed while the other sources of death are virtually ignored. Each event is given major coverage including views of victims and their families. In contrast, Palestinian deaths by, say, missile attacks are only briefly shown, if at all.
In television interviews, Palestinian leaders are constantly asked when the suicide bombings will stop. In contrast, Israeli leaders are rarely asked why so many Palestinians are killed by live ammunition (the biggest cause of death in the table above). Indeed, Israeli leaders are never asked the fundamental question of when the 40 year long occupation will end; or why people die because of being denied medical treatment (a violation of the Geneva Conventions).
Sometimes news is distorted by ommission. In the 2001 war against Afghanistan, the country was bombed between October and December by USA forces. Reliable estimates of 4000 civilians killed by the bombing were simply ignored by the mainstream media. It was not deemed important that the number of innocent civilians killed by USA bombs had exceeded the number of Americans killed by the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001. In a similiar way, the 200,000 dead civilians after the 1990 Gulf War against Iraq are not in the public consciousness because this figure is rarely mentioned by the media.
Clashes in Algeria are described as being between Islamic militants and the government. What is often omitted is the fact that when elections occurred in the mid 1990s, the Islamic parties actually won a huge majority. They were denied power by the military government. The situation is very similar to that in Burma, where a decisive election result was also ignored by the military government. The two countries get reported very differently. For example, in the UK newspaper, The Independent, on 20 June 2003, the Burma story was on the front page with a photograph of the Burmese opposition leader, while the Algeria story was a single paragraph on page 14.
In the Pakistan elections of 2002, the military leader changed the constitution to allow him to remove the elected government at his discression. The media described this as moves towards democracy. Maps of Palestinian territory dotted with Israeli settlements are never published or broadcast even though the settlements are the central issue in the conflict.
The Vietnam War is often depicted as an American tragedy or described as American involvement (or intervention) in Vietnam. The word invasion is rarely used. Little mention is made of the 3 million people killed by bombing and chemical weapons (such as napalm) used for a decade in the region. The fact that half a million children in Vietnam have been born with deformaties due to the dioxin sprayed over the forests is hardly mentioned. In early 2003 the USA and UK governments were accusing Iraq of being the only country to have used chemical weapons. No USA or UK journalist mentioned chemical weapons use in Vietnam by the USA.
In fact even the term The Vietnam War looks at the conflict through American eyes. The Vietnamese have fought wars against Japan (during World War II), France (1945 to 1954), the USA (1954 to 1975), Cambodia (1979) and China. We should really refer to the Vietnam-USA War.
Stories can be slanted or distorted by the emphasis given. Strikes are often described from the point of view of the inconvenience caused rather than the underlying causes. In the UK, a majority of union members must vote for a strike to be legal, yet the media will often demonise the union leader with headlines like "Blame **** for this chaos".
When military action is taken by The West or countries backed by the West, the opponents are demonised and the action justified by using various phrases:
|War on Communism||
USA against Vietnam
USA against Cambodia
USA against Cuba
UK against Malaysia
France against Algeria
South Africa against Mozambique
South Africa against Angola
Chile against its own people
El Salvador against its own people
Guatemala against its own people
|War on Drugs||USA against Colombia
USA against Panama
|War on Terrorism||USA against Afganistan
USA against Iraq
USA against Libya
Turkey against the Kurds
Israel against the Palestinians
|War on Fundamentalism||USA against Iran|
|Self Defence||Israel against Lebanon
Indonesia against East Timor
|For Democracy and Freedom||USA against Nicaragua
USA against Iraq
|Weapons of Mass Destruction||USA against Iraq|
War is subject to distortion by language with the use of euphamisms. The West uses smart bombs (of which only 7% hit their intended targets) or surgical strikes. Civilian casualties (if they are discussed at all) are covered by phrases like collateral damage. Killing is described as taking out, lighting up, mopping up or neutralising. A bomb is often called a device. Words like outrage and carnage are rarely used in these reports unless the victims are Westerners. Attacks on civilians by USA or UK forces will often have words allegedly or claim put in front of the story.
Film of the USA attacks on Iraq or Afghanistan or of Israeli soldiers beating Palestinian detainees are not shown on mainstream news but may be seen on documentaries broadcast in the late hours months after they are shot.
During the USA and UK invasion of Iraq in 2003, forces resisting the invasion were described as irregulars, militia, Bathists and even terrorists. The phrase Iraqis was never used as this would indicate a general resistance to the invasion and occupation.
Another method of obscuring what is happening is to represent a country by its leader. When the USA and UK were bombing Iraq between 1991 and 2003, the 22 million people of the country were ignored in reports like "Once again, the durable despot Sadaam Hussein has emerged from the bomb rubble spitting defiance and claiming victory after surviving four days of US and British air strikes" (from the USA newspaper, the San Fransisco Chronicle). No mention of the civilian casualties is made in these types of reports. During the 2003 and 2004 occupation phrases like Saddam remnants, Saddam loyalists, Sadr supporters or Zaqawi followers (Sadr was a Shia Muslim cleric, Zaqawi is a Jordanian) were used.
The USA-appointed government of Iyad Allawi was always referred to as The Iraqi Interim Government. This gives it a legitimacy that few Iraqis felt for it. Its members are constantly interviewed and they generally tow the USA line. Very few interviews are shown with people like Abu Freedom who, when asked in Fallujah by a UPI reporter why he was fighting, answered: "I don't want to see Americans in charge of my country".
Sometimes a news story is hidden in the early hours of the morning. In June 2003, an extradition treaty between the USA and UK came into force. In this treaty, UK citizens could be extradited to the USA without any evidence being presented to a court of law. Suspicion would be enough. USA citizens, however, cannot be extradited to the UK without evidence coming before a court. This story appeared on the UK television station, BBC News 24, at 3:30 in the morning. It was also mentioned on a radio interview. None of the daytime television news broadcasts and none of the UK newspapers mentioned this story. The story only reached mainstream news in 2006 when three UK bankers were threatened with extradition to the USA.
In 2004, there was an intersting contrast in the UK media coverage of two events that each killed over 100,000 people. One was the invasion and occupation of Iraq by mainly USA forces. The other was an earthquake and tsunami that killed over 150,000 people in Asia.
All the media were providing accurate figures for the victims of the tsunami. The number of people killed was being updated almost on an hourly basis. Where there was doubt, estimates were made and given. Survivors were interviewed and allowed to talk about the loss of their homes, their livelihoods and members of their families. The coverage encouraged so much compassion in the UK, that public donations to the disaster exceeded those pledged by the UK government. Bloated and disfigured bodies were shown on prime time television (after an appropriate warning).
In contrast, the number of people killed in Iraq during the year long military assult and occupation by USA forces was never given. No guesses or comments were made. Figures of 655,000 dead by the UK medical journal, The Lancet, which were probably under-estimates, were covered from the view of government ministers discrediting the research.
Very few of the residents of Iraq were interviewed about the loss of homes after being hit by 500 pound bombs or sprayed with artillery. The loss of livelihoods was rarely mentioned. Very little was shown about family members blown to pieces. When mention was made of Iraqi victims, the word "claim" was often used to induce doubt. A television reporter would say something like "this woman claimed seven members of her family were killed". The word "claim" was never used in the tsunami reports.
There were no bodies shown in the coverage of the month long invasion of the city of Fallujah, even though photographs existed on the internet. The BBC has stated that it did not show bodies because of reasons of "sensitivity". Indeed, in 2005 an Italian television station (RAI) broadcast a documentary about the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah. No UK broadcaster covered the story or showed the images.
The suspicion remained that victims of a tsunami could be shown but not the victims of USA military power. The Western media then went on to give the USA very positive coverage over its (very welcome) financial donation to the tsunami disaster even if it was not usually the biggest donor country. At the beginning of January 2005, the BBC stated that "The USA has donated $ 160 million" adding that "only Japan has given more" where a more balanced report would have said something like "Japan is the largest donor followed by the USA". At the same time, the BBC broadcast the views of dissident groups in Iraq stating that "several major parties refused to recognise elections under what THEY CALL an American occupation". In other words, ignore their views.
Euphamisms are also used to obscure what is actually happening in the world of economics:
Another method of misleading is the use of quotation marks. In May 2008 Israel celebrated the 60th anniversary of its creation / independence. At the same time the Palestinians were mourning the loss of independence (something not shown much on Western media or mentioned by Western leaders). The BBC web site ran the following story:
Abbas marks Israel "catastrophe". Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas recalls his people's "suffering", as they mark Israel's creation 60 years ago.
The use of the quotation marks here is a subtle form of propaganda as it implies that the word is only an opinion rather than a fact. To see how it works look at these sentences with added quotation marks:
Not all Muslims are fundamentalists. Religious and political fundamentalism is also found in other religions and political systems (Christianity in parts of the USA where abortion doctors are killed, Hinduism in parts of India where they want to demolish mosques, Judaism in parts of Israel where they want to ethnically cleanse all Palestinians, Communism in North Korea where the cult of the leader is ever-present).
Many do. The USA is violating human rights in its treatement of people captured during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and in prisons in Iraq in 2003 - 2006. Turkey has for many years banned any expression of Kurdish culture. Israel practices collective punishment on the Palestinians by demolishing thousands of homes.
Many Arabs in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt are Christian.
Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia are examples of Muslim countries that are not populated by Arabs. Many people in the West confuse the words Muslim (a religious term) with Arab (an ethnic and linguistic term).
There is no link between the religion of a country and its political system. Turkey is a secular country with a Muslim population that has elections. Pakistan is a Muslim country that has had democratic governments. Many of the totalitarian governments of the Middle East are supported by the West (like Saudi Arabia). The people there would like a more representitive government.
This was a popular statement before 1991 when the USSR broke up. Totalitarian states can be Islamic (Saudi Arabia), Fascist (Italy in the 1930s, Chile in the 1970s) or Communist (Poland before 1990). Communism is an economic system. In Kerala state in India, Communist governments have been elected on several occasions.
Only when it is in USA interests. Countries that disagree with the USA (called "rogue states") must obey all UN resolutions; countries that are allies to the USA may flout them with impunity and USA support.
Drilling for oil in pristine areas and transporting it by sea in tankers is not ecologically sound, however necessary.
Why was he not deposed in 1988? The reason given is actually not relevant as the West was supporting him in 1988 and actually increased arms sales to him after the gassing. The USA decided to depose him and then used his human rights record to justify the action.
This is an irrelevant argument using emotional blackmail. What happened to the Jews in Europe must be criticised on its own merits as a terrible hollocaust. However Israeli actions against the Palestinians must also be judged on their own merits.
Iraq did not have the ability to attack a country thousands of kilometers away - in fact it could barely defend itself when being invaded. Also, when it attacked Iran it did so with USA encouragement and help.
The State of Israel began with "terrorist" acts in its fight against the UK government. Many nations have become independent after a war against foreign occupation or rule (Mexico, Cyprus, Malaysia, Croatia). Violent resistance by a section of the population does not remove the need for a just solution to an injustice.
The 1991 conflict destroyed most of Iraq's weapons. This was followed by 12 years of sanctions during which the USA and UK were bombing the country with impunity. When these two countries invaded Iraq, there was very little this "threat to the whole world" could do about it.
Pinochet staged a coup against the democratically elected governmnet of Chile in 1973. His rule was authoritarian and violent.
The use of these words is to discredit the speaker and their argument (which is usually ignored). Watch out for this one as it is used a lot on television interviews. A new one from 2003 is Ba'athists in Iraq.
Ba'athism (which pre-dates Saddam Hussein and occurs in other Middle Eastern countries) is Socialism (free health care and schools; the economy in local or government hands) combined with Arab Nationalism, but this is never explained in the media where it is used as a term of abuse.
Used to discredit concerns about Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a 2004 news report, a group of students in Iran demonstarting against the USA treatment of prisoners in Iraq was described as Islamic students. In a country whose population is 98% Muslim the use of the word Islamic serves to poison the well. Demonstartors in Thailand are never described as Buddhist or in Nicaragua as Catholic, etc.
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Sabra and Chatilla 25 Years Later
A massaacre of Palestinians that has been forgotten in the West becasue it is never written about.
"It is a tribute to the humanity of ordinary people that horrible acts must be camouflaged [with words] like security, peace, freedom, democracy, the 'national interest'."
Howard Zinn, Boston University professor and former Second World War bomber pilot, USA.
"At a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
George Orwell, UK writer.
"The 20th century has been characterised by three developments of great political importance. The growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda against democracy."
Alex Carey, Australian social scientist.
"The danger is that the media of the future, the channels of mass communication, will be dominated locally and world wide by the values - social, cultural and political - of a few individuals and their huge corporations. Democrats ought to fight to the last ditch against what Murdoch and the other media giants represent."
David Bowman, Australian journalists.
"We paid $3 billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what we tell you it is."
David Boylan, Station Manager WTVT, Tampa, Florida (A Fox Network station) .
"There are certain facts and stories from Korea that editors and publishers have printed which were pure fabrication... Many of us who sent the stories knew they were false, but we had to write them because they were official releases from responsible military headquarters and were released for publication even though the people responsible knew they were untrue."
Robert C Miller, United Press correspondent during the Korean War.
"We have relationships with reporters that have helped us turn some intelligence failure stories into intelligence success stories. Some responses to the media can be handled in a ... phone call."
"[In the West] unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without any need for an official ban."
George Orwell, UK writer.
"Genuine objective journalism not only gets the facts right, it gets the meaning of events right. Objective journalism is compelling not only today. It stands the test of time. It is validated not only by 'reliable sources' but by the unfolding of history. It is reporting that which not only seems right the day it was published. It is journalism that ten, twenty, fifty years after the fact still holds up a true and intelligent mirror to events."
T D Allman, USA journalist.
"First they came for the Jews; and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists; and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists; and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me; and there was no one left to speak out for me."
"The price in blood that has already been paid for America's war against terror is only now starting to become clear. Not by Britain or the US, nor even so far by the al-Qaida and Taliban leaders held responsible for the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. It has instead been paid by ordinary Afghans, who had nothing whatever to do with the atrocities, didn't elect the Taliban theocrats who ruled over them and had no say in the decision to give house room to Bin Laden and his friends... At least 3,767 civilians were killed by US bombs between October 7 and December 10 ... an average of 62 innocent deaths a day."
Seamus Milne from a report in the UK newspaper, The Guardian on 20 December.
"When people decry civilian deaths caused by the U.S government, they're aiding propaganda efforts. In sharp contrast, when civilian deaths are caused by bombers who hate America, the perpetrators are evil and those deaths are tragedies. When they put bombs in cars and kill people, they're uncivilized killers. When we put bombs on missiles and kill people, we're upholding civilized values. When they kill, they're terrorists. When we kill, we're striking against terror."
Norman Solomon from "Orwellian Logic 101 - A Few Simple Lessons".
"They're missing so much and getting such a biased picture, but they get this shopping list from America every morning. For instance, I was asked to find some people for the 'Why do they all hate us?' story. So I went and got a section of academics, politicians and high profile commentators. The sort of people you'd expect if you were doing it in America. And they said 'No, no, no. What we want is a really angry mullah with a turban and a beard who looks like he hates us.'"
Pakistani Jornalist working for USA news TV station CNN in Pakistan during the 2001 bombing of Afghanistan.
"[Terrorists] have no specific ideological reason program or demands. Rather, they are driven by a generalised hatred of the USA, Israel and other supposed enemies of Islam."
Thomas Friedman writing for the USA newspaper the New York Times about why the USA is so often a target of terrorism.
"Is there a more loathsome phenomenon than newspapers owned by right-wing tax-dodging billionaires trying to convince ordinary British people that the greatest problem confronting us comes from the wretched and the helpless?"
Johann Hari writing for the UK newspaper the Independent about the demonisation of asylum seekers by the press.
"The American media that holds the world makes Syria into an image, a terrorist state, a terrorrist people. To us Syria means 10,000 years of civilisation."
Ghassan Massoud, Syrian actor.
"They tell you that a Jewish state is democratic but a Muslim state is evil; that Palestinians living in Palestine have no
rights and no state but Jews living in the rest of the world can 'return' and live there as rights-bearing citizens; that Jesus wants you in Palestine
unless you are a Palestinian or a Muslim; that Washington, London and Tel Aviv can produce nuclear warheads but that Tehran is a global threat for
daring to enrich uranium; that legitimate resistance is terrorism but state terrorism is 'self-defense'; that the desert state of Syria is Nasrallah�s
courier and puppeteer but that Washington is an honest broker and a partner for peace; that Iran is a rogue state for arming Hizbullah but that
America is freedom-loving for arming Tel Aviv; that we cannot talk to Damascus or Tehran unless they renounce themselves out of existence first; that
expansionism and regime change are necessary for American and Israeli national security but that the Arab and Muslim winners of free and fair
democratic elections should be arrested in the middle of the night and imprisoned in secret police detention centers for attempting to rule."
Jennifer Loewenstein, Oxford University Refugee Studies Centre.