Baseball91's Weblog

May 19, 2011

Every Man in This Village IS a Liar

Watch the “Charlie Rose Show” to witness the pretensions in the reporting on the Arab spring. In looking to present a meaning of the system, television journalists too often along the way produce and disseminate culture, reproducing only the values of that culture, instead of being the voice of the Truth for working class people home from work.

There was real irony of people at Duke University, talking about multiculturalism, wrote Camile Paglia. An irony like the strategy the United States has used to advance its anti-democratic policies in Latin America and in the Arab World in the age of television. Look only at the continuation of the School of the Americas under one administration to the next, with the School for the Americas exporting instruction in torture. Not at all unlike American foreign policy in the Middle East.

“Propelled by the beginning of the Cold War and the US strategy to suppress all forms of real and imagined communist-leaning forces around the world, in contrast with its actual anti-democratic policies around the world,” writes Joseph Massad.

When the Cold War ended, the United States has insisted on marketing itself always as a force for global democracy. In line with the public relations campaign. “Between the billions spent on repressing the Arab peoples and the millions spent to explain academically and in the American media the need to repress them, this two-pronged US strategy in the region since World War II has been coming apart at an accelerated rate since January 2011, a development that continues to cause panic in the Obama White House and,” writes Joseph Massad, “manifests in the incessant fumbling of his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who is much despised across the Arab world.”

“Arab culture and Islam are spoken of the way race was once spoken of in India,” writes Nir Tosen. “In order to make the revolutions in Tunisia and especially Egypt seem non-threatening, the nonviolent tactics are emphasized while the many acts of violent resistance to regime oppression are completely ignored.” By the Charlie Roses of television. Telling us all from New York.

Iran continues to feel under siege by the West and Israel, sitting at the epicenter of a geopolitical struggle between two battling regional worldviews, according to Sharmine Narwani, a senior associate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University – after having endured four rounds of economic sanctions by the UN Security Council. One “bloc” in the geopolitical struggle consists of many of the autocratic male leaders now being swept away in the Arab Spring who were comfortable with the existing US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East, writes Sharmine Narwani; the second bloc is is the Iran-led “Resistance Bloc” which embraces regional and national self-determination, seeking to end this foreign hegemony. According to Western diplomats and experts, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard dominates foreign policy for the countries of the Middle East and maintains close relationships with the highest levels of Mukhabarat, the Syrian intelligence service, and Syrian security branches. With the emergence of the Arab Spring in Bahrain and Yemen, the wave of reform threatens Saudi Arabia’s dominance – Iran’s biggest regional foe – and fundamentally shifts the regional balance of power toward the the Iran-led “Resistance Bloc”. The anti-Iran bloc extends its aversions to Tehran’s closest allies in Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas – while keeping a tight lid on other regional players such as Iraq, Qatar, Oman, and even Egypt and Lebanon. To justify violent actions against their own populations, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Yemen have pulled out the “Iran card,” while the Iranian government, with external political pressures mounting – both regionally and internationally, but with no mention of the role of women – does its utmost to promote an image of domestic unity and stability, putting rumors of internal strife to rest. Expect the tensions between the two blocs to result in further crackdowns and political maneuverings.

Television journalists too often also perpetuate the dominant ideology, instead of building a counter narrative with any kind of vision of different perspective. Watch as Charlie Rose and his intellectuals center their perspective on serving the interests of power and gaining proximity to it, aligning their beliefs and priorities with those of the state. Journalists depict the Middle East to their Western audiences with what French scholar Francois Burgat termed as “the facade intellectual”, whose role in society is to confirm already-held Western notions, beliefs, preconceptions, and racism regarding the “other.” See the organic intellectuals of the ruling class represent power as the functional tools for a bourgeois ruling class. As the American public for the most part misses the simmering hatred in the Arab world for Israel, Europe, and the United States. Perhaps about the manner of depiction. Not at all unlike how Duke students went blindly to school around all the surroundings built by slavery.

Those in power know the truth, but they just don’t care. Read Megan Stack’s book, Every Man in This Village IS a Liar. Journalism is about speaking not to those in power, but reporting on the truth. By disseminating illusion, instead of the Truth, a narcissism had become entrenched in the American narrative. When a generation tried to believe in its own culture, like a false art.

So what had happened to meaning? What had happened to institutional meaning? What happens when the medium had lost credibility. In the attempt to reproduce values, with an American narrative, the meaning of its institutions was lost, to the audience. Government, in the age of bailouts, with their own audience. More and more the disbelieving audience, swimming in the culture.

The Art. What happens to self-determinism when there was no “there” there, in the false art of the American narrative on television – in the art of television news from the American Broadcasting Company to Public Broadcasting System, confirming the already-held Western notions, beliefs, and preconceptions?

Journalism. Trying to piece it all together. With words and language to try and get your arms around something. Something invisible that had happened today. Or yesterday. For an audience. The meaning of the art of journalism. For an audience. The culture. The art. With another form of bailout, of Saudi princes and other autocrats. Just as Queen Elizabeth tries this week to amend her life, and that of her ascendants, with the Irish. In her public acts of contrition, as head of the Anglican Church, for the sins of the last two hundred years. About what happens to the power of government, over issues of self-determinism, when government spent so much time on issues of security and defense.

The meaning of incredulous art. In producing art, in trying to reproduce values, and failing, comes loss of meaning and a loss of trust. As television journalism tries to disseminate “culture” and meaning of the system, to the system. For an audience. In the American narrative. Perpetuating for an audience the once dominant ideology. For the “Too Big To Fail” generation which now tries to believe in its own culture, like a false art. What happens to meaning from the bubbles of falsehood, when the medium had lost credibility. What happens to currency of working class people. When money too often reproduce the values of a people.

Trying to piece it all together. The meaning of art, and the art of government. With a Monroe Doctrine, the School of the Americas, what happens to government and systems of governments which spent so much time disseminating illusion? What happens to governments which spent so much on security and defense? What happens to journalists speaking not to those in power but reporting on the truth?

Producing our values, American media always want to fit events in the region, writes Nir Rosen, into an American narrative. Like the recent assassination of Osama bin Laden. And local news was all about a local narrative directed to the national events. And even those Duke University grads swallowed all the pretensions that the audience was fed. Until the few distinct American values were eroded beyond recognition.

When Every Man in This Village IS a Liar , the art of journalism is about speaking not to those in power who know the truth, but reporting truth to the unwashed masses that they might one day pass something on. An audience empowered to move humanity forward. Even the people who never seemed to care.

Night after night, not unlike those Islamc clerics elsewhere, television journalists perpetuate the dominant ideology, of THE American perspective. It had somehow become the mantra of the theology in the Land of the Free. In 2011, Americans were learning again that the rest of the Free World, in its various degrees, did not see and believe in the mantra. In the world of cable television, the rest of the world no longer subscribed to the theology of the networks. On matters of self-determinism.

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  1. Comment by baseball91 — April 15, 2012 @ 5:30 AM | Reply

  2. “That Arab Spring had not been about the birth of freedom but about the collapse of central authority, which says nothing about the readiness of these states, artificial and otherwise, for the rigors of democracy. Among the states affected by the current upset, two kinds have been discernible. First, there are the age-old clusters of civilization. These are places that have been states in one form or another going back as far as antiquity, and thus have evolved sturdy forms of secular identity that have risen above ethnicity and religious sect. Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt are the most striking in this category. If one looks at a map of Roman sites along the North African coast, one will see that the map is crowded with settlements where these countries are located, and relatively absent of settlements in the vast stretches in-between of Algeria and Libya. In other words, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt are historically definable. Whatever tumult and regime changes they have experienced in the course of the Arab Spring, their identities as states have never been in question. And so the issues in these countries have been about who rules and what kind of government there should be, not about whether or not a state or central government is even possible.
    The second group of Middle Eastern states is even more unstable. These take the form of vague geographical expressions and they are places with much weaker identities — and, in fact, many have identities that were invented by European imperialists. Libya, Syria, and Iraq fall most prominently into this category.” — Robert Kaplan

    Comment by baseball91 — February 22, 2018 @ 11:43 PM | Reply

  3. “Only suffocating totalitarian regimes could control these artificial countries formed from vague geographical expressions. When these regimes collapsed they left behind an utter void. For between the regime at the top and the tribe and extended family at the bottom, all intermediary forms of social and political organization were eviscerated long before by such regimes. Totalitarianism was the only answer to the end of Western imperialism in these artificial states, and totalitarianism’s collapse is now the root cause of Middle East chaos. Overlaying this meltdown of vague geographical expressions and the less severe weakening of age-old clusters of civilization has been the rise of indigenous regional powers such as Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Iran is a great, old-world civilization on one hand and a ruthless and radicalized sub-state on the other. This is what accounts for its dynamic effectiveness around the region.” — Robert Kaplan.

    Comment by baseball91 — February 22, 2018 @ 11:46 PM | Reply

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