White Man’s Media: The Washington consensus and legacy media frames and conditions our thinking and actions. An updated repostOct 17, 2022
Western media including our own shows no interest in peace in Ukraine.
Most political colonies have come to an end. But a colonial mind set continues in the media. That media mind set in turn promotes a ‘colonisation of the mind’. It accepts the Washington consensus.
There are recent examples of the way the WMM slavishly follows the Washington consensus on the war in Ukraine. The Washington/Kiev propaganda is recycled with little question. Zelensky’s non stop propaganda is not seriously examined.
The first example of the Washington consensus at work is its lack of interest in the high probability that US/Poland were responsible for the sabotage of Nord Stream. WMM initially was full of stories that the Russians were responsible. When that became less and less plausible the WMM changed tack and suggested that trying to pin the US was really a Russian dis information campaign. The likely responsibility of the US was well and truly run off the rails by the WMM.
The second example is that the WMM has avoided almost any mention that Russia has indicated that it is interested in peace talks. There was scarcely a mention. Even when Donald Trump on October 8 called for peace talks the WMM was silent. WMM can’t usually get enough of Trump but peace talks offends the Washington mind set!
The Washington Club sees Ukrainians as cannon fodder to weaken Russia. So don’t talk about peace.
The WWM view of the world as framed by Washington is accepted as true and right. Australian media, including the ABC and The Guardian slavishly follow. Our journalists have been on the Washington drip feed for so long they are incapable of seeing the world differently.
US legacy media – CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Fox News and Western news agencies- in association with drivers of US power and privilege, the military, business, think-tanks and security agencies exert dangerous and destructive influence that has contributed to the killing of millions of people. Add to that the way legacy media has helped excuse the way in which the US has attempted and often successfully, to overthrow numerous governments around the world. The ‘indispensable state’ regards it as quite natural that US hegemony should be enforced everywhere, with WMM support.
Just as the British East India Company effectively ran Britain and its empire, so the US military and business complex, along with its elite supporters particularly in the media supports Western hegemony. No US president, and certainly no Australian prime minister or Leader of the Opposition is prepared to challenge the US Imperium.
A person from Mars who reads and listens to Australian media would conclude that we are an island parked off New York or London. The ABC is no exception. It has a Planet America program as if we are a state of the US!
Many of our journalists who attack China relentlessly have little or no experience of China let alone any Chinese language skills. On overseas assignments they seldom go beyond the Australian Embassy and the Foreign Correspondents Club. They are more like Cold War warriors than professional journalists. Or maybe just stenographers!
The ‘world view’ we get in Australia from these ‘journalists’ is a derivative view of the world as seen from London, New York and Washington.
Most of the news we get in Australia about China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam is via Western news agencies. These media snapshots are usually about the exotic and dangerous- a coup here, a flood there. Not surprisingly we remain ignorant and fearful of Asia.
Our ‘colonial’ media structure was laid down long ago. It remains today.
We talk glibly about our future in Asia, but we are stuck in a US and UK media cul de sac.
With the active encouragement of our media, we have been drawn into countless US military invasions. Then we had the war on terror. Now we have the vilification of China, perhaps even a war. The US never runs out of opportunities for war.
It is not that Chinese behaviour and its human rights record has worsened or is beyond criticism. What has changed and what is feared is the growing power and influence of China. It is successful. That is seen as a threat to US hegemony. That fear of China is reflected in our legacy media in the US and the UK spewing out an endless daily campaign of anti-China stories. And our media follow.
Led by the US, our media showed no interest in ‘democracy’ in Hong Kong throughout over a century of British rule. But now that Hong Kong is properly recognised as part of China, the US government, supported by its media, suddenly became concerned about democracy and independence for Hong Kong. They encouraged the 2019 insurrection.
The US has rained death, destruction and displacement on tens of millions of Muslims in the Middle East over the past 20 years. Now the US media shows a remarkable and belated concern about the persecution of Muslims in China. The US record, like Australia’s treatment of Indigenous people, is a blemish for all time. But who seems to care? Certainly not our own media, which wastes no opportunity to attack China.
The association of legacy media with the powerful is everywhere. As Alex Lo wrote in August ‘It has long been known that the Department of Defence in the US and other government agencies such as the CIA, not only support film and cable production in Hollywood but also actively intervene and manipulate their content.’
And in June, Lo described how a long list of former US security chiefs e.g. John Brennan and James Clapper, joined US media — NBC, MSNBC and CNN.
Australian security heads have been leading the demonisation of China with help from the Five Eyes. But we get a double whammy when our derivative media draws heavily on US legacy media that in turn is heavily influenced by former US security chiefs with their ‘expert opinions’ and a track record of undermining and overthrowing overseas governments.
But Australian media does not have a problem just being dominated by legacy US and UK media. We have a particular problem. Its name is Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen who owns two-thirds of Australia’s metropolitan dailies and more.
News Corp was a key supporter of the Iraq War — the Murdoch War. Of the 173 Murdoch papers worldwide only one, The Hobart Mercury opposed the war. Murdoch told us in 2003: ‘I think Bush acted very morally, very correctly. US troops will soon be welcomed as liberators’. His foreign editor on The Australian, Greg Sheridan, could not contain himself. ‘The bold eagle of American power is aloft, high above the humble earth. For as it soars and sweeps it sees victory, power and opportunity’. He is still in his job. Murdoch prefers loyalty to competence in all those around him, including his family.
Even some of the legacy media apologised for their support of the illegal war in Iraq. But never Murdoch nor for that matter John Howard.
News Corp in Australia for over a decade has also led the campaign of denial on climate change.
The US military/business/security complex exercises destructive and pervasive power. Legacy media supplies a favourable frame for that complex.
Our derivative media ties us to the white legacy media of the North Atlantic. It frames our view of the world.
This article is part of a series on White Man’s Media. Articles in the series can be found here.
This article was first posted on Aug 23, 2021.