Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“The More They Watched, The Less They Knew”

Jomama, at to herd or not to herd, in a post titled Surprise, surprise.., points to a John Pilger talk from August 2007 titled Freedom Next Time, which is a nod to Pilger’s book of the same title.

Jomama points to the transcript of Pilger’s talk with this quote.

One of my favorite stories about the Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by the host for their impressions. “I have to tell you,” said the spokesman, “that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV day after day that all the opinions on all the vital issues are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the gulag. We even tear out their fingernails. Here you don’t have to do any of that. What is the secret?”

The title to my post, also taken from Pilger’s talk, is attributed to one Danny Schecter, and reflects my opinion of the result of individuals’ reliance on the mainstream media for “neutral, official, information.”

The transcript of Pilger’s talk will take a bit of time to read through, and there are portions of Pilger’s talk which require thorough winnowing, but for the most part taking the time to read the transcript will be time well spent.

Here are a couple of more quotes which I have winnowed from the transcript.

Real information, subversive information, remains the most potent power of all—and I believe that we must not fall into the trap of believing that the media speaks for the public. That wasn’t true in Stalinist Czechoslovakia and it isn’t true of the United States.

Last, but certainly not least.

We need to make haste. Liberal Democracy is moving toward a form of corporate dictatorship. This is an historic shift, and the media must not be allowed to be its façade, but itself made into a popular, burning issue, and subjected to direct action. That great whistleblower Tom Paine warned that if the majority of the people were denied the truth and the ideas of truth, it was time to storm what he called the Bastille of words. That time is now.

Posted by John Venlet on 10/20 at 11:19 AM
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