In Hbl of 15 September Richard Nordgren (nyhetschef) had a krönoka titled “Brandsprutepropaganda är svår at stoppa” in which he pointed to the habit of politicians like Trump and Putin of producing a picture of reality by simple but obstinate barrages of falsehoods (also called fake news).
Such has of course occurred already earlier in history (Joseph Goebbels was a grand master of this art), but until some short while ago we were not any more used to it. So from where this regression to the habits of times which we thought (with some relief) were history?
If I remember my student days (especially after, say, 1967) I also remember the Springer Press and its eager production of fake news about Left-leaning students, but once the student movement had died down even the Springer Press returned to the more moderate habits of conservative media, which work less by means of outright lies but rather by one-sided coverage, use of labeling terms, suppression of unwelcome details, and similar (as we can even nowadays observe in, among others, Hbl). But the times they have seemingly been changing again. When, why and how?
It was on Thursday of the previous week when I was reminded of one factor in this development which seems, to me, actually VERY important. The event was a presentation by an engineer, a representative of the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, on occasion of the 17th anniversary of 9/11. He limited himself to dealing with the events of that day in Manhattan, especially with the collapse of WTC-buiding 7 (which was not hit by any airplane but collapsed in the afternoon of the day at nearly free-fall speed along the line of biggest resistance – which proves with glaring obviousness that the official report about he event is incompatible with the laws of physics). He presented masses of further details which point to the real method by which the building(s) have presumably been brought down. He represented an organisation which has meanwhile something like 2.800 members. He did not call for any heads to roll but only for a new and careful investigation of the matter. And we know pretty well that there will presumably not be any new investigation, but that, instead, our so very seriösa media will presumably simply continue to dismiss any doubts about the official report as “conspiracy theories” (something like a symptom of mental trouble).
Well, conspiracies there have been (take the shooting of Bobrikow), also more recently (think of the Iran-Contra scandal, the 1980 bomb in the railway station of Bologna, etc.) and if one wants an impression to what type of actions the CIA has felt fully justified at times one should google “Operation Northwoods”. Indeed one should realize that we are living at any moment with dozens of conspiracies going on, from VERY criminal ones like Mafia, Camorra, Mexican drug cartells, Chinese triads and organizations for the smuggling of people to more civilized-looking ones like the activities of tax havens or secret agreements between managers of industry concerning the fixing of prices. In every case we have to do with secrets being agreed and kept for the purpose of covering less-than-legal doings. All of which means that the behaviour of the media is something like a collective defence for the protection of a taboo.
Why should the media, this institution for the provision of information by which the citizens of democracies can make their informed political decisions, observe and defend a taboo? Well, in a case which I was personally involved in a journalist helped me with formulating a text about the theory about 9/11 with which Steven Jones (can be googled) had gone public in the spring of 2006, but then also prevented that the text was put into print. I was left to look on my own for an explanation, but it did strike me that that self-same journalist had at that time an application for a visa to the USA in the US embassy … . And if one thinks of it, journalists do depend for their work on the possibility to travel to important countries, cannot either afford to arouse the severe displeasure of persons from whom they hope to get important information, so that they, altogether, are strongly motivated to keep quiet about embarrassing things as long as there are not superiors or other journalists who are prepared to break the silence. So they were keeping under cover while the Bush government was first spreading its version about 9/11, then the stories about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the media were just reporting what had been said by the US and other so very Western governments (who all were rather worried about their relations with their indispensable protector and “friend”, the US government). And so the lie was established, and lives on. And how embarrassing it would be, after all, if the media would now, after so many years, have to admit that they have been spreading a lie which anybody who bothers to remember her/his school physics could have looked through. It might after all damage the reputation of the media … . Thus, silence can sometimes be the better part of, well, perhaps not just honesty (but perhaps discretion?).
Thus, humanely all very understandable. But it had consequences. The US government, and then also many other goverments, learned that also the citizens of democracies REALLY are that stupid that one can easily get away with ANY lies. And that lesson, once learned, has not been forgotten since. Is there somebody whom one dislikes? Well, just call him a terrorist and nobody will hinder you from doing whatever to him. Do you want to make more money in socially less-than-acceptable ways? Well, just claim that your thus-acquired riches will “trickle down” to others to the benefit of all (preach it long and loud enough, and you might even convince yourself). One of the most recent pearls among such claims is Donald Trump’s claim that the more than 3.000 people who died in Puerto Rico during the hurricane Maria did not really die, but that the claim that these peole died is just a bad-willing invention of the Democrats for the purpose of black-painting him, Donald Trump. Altogether, Joseph Goebbels is (very successfully) hobbling again. And if Richard Nordgren says that the development is “svår att stoppa”, he is perfectly correct. Because the leaders of the world HAVE learned.