Media an extension of established power

There is an obvious and major current example of media and journalism working with and enabling established power, in the US election.

It’s nothing new that media both had close connections with the Hillary Clinton campaign, and tried to influence the outcome. Or that other media had close connections with the Donald Trump campaign and tried to influence the outcome.

What is unusual and more complicated is that media, including those who promoted Clinton’s interests, also gifted  exposure to Trump, and enabled his rise and his momentum, and ultimately his success.

There was a clear conflict between what the media wanted – their choice of candidate as president, but they also wanted the headlines and clicks that Trump kept giving them.

A lot of the time it was difficult to separate Clinton’s and Trump’s campaigns from the media coverage.

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The US presidential election was a big event, but on a smaller scale the New Zealand media also works hand in hand with established power, and actively excludes those who challenge established power.

I’ve experienced this myself, and it was a public broadcaster that was involved. In the 2013 Dunedin mayoral campaign Radio New Zealand profiled just four of the nine candidates – that is. gave exposure and publicity to less than half the candidates.

I complained to RNZ in Dunedin and was told they selected the candidates they thought had the most chance of success. Of course this favouritism reinforces the advantages of established power, and makes it virtually impossible for challengers of that power. Ironically I was campaigning for better democratic processes.

I also complained to RNZ in Wellington. They were very dismissive, when pushed said that more candidates “didn’t fit their format” and effectively told me to get stuffed, they weren’t interested in fair democracy.

Similar things happen in every general election, where big media give big exposure to big power, and exclude others. This is common with leaders’ debates.

And the same thing is happening in the Mt Roskill by-election right now. Fairfax has already run a candidate debate that only includes established power, the Labour and National candidates.

On Wednesday: People’s Party threatens legal action over exclusion from Mt Roskill debate

The newly formed People’s Party is considering taking legal action because it’s been excluded from a Mt Roskill by-election debate on Wednesday night.

It’s being hosted by the Central Leader, which has only invited the candidates from National and Labour. 

People’s Party leader Roshan Nauhria says he’s not being petty; he just wants a fair go.

“We were trying to talk to them and convince them that you need to give us equal opportunity,” he says.

Fairfax Media brand and communications manager Phillipa Cameron told Newshub that “Fairfax is comfortable that the Central Leader will provide appropriate coverage of parties involved in the Mt Roskill by-election”.

“This particular event is a one-off live stream involving the two major political parties, which is typical of a debate style event,” she said.

Typical of a debate style event where Fairfax are favouring established power. It is a corruption of fair democratic practice.

There was a follow up – Fairfax apologises for Mt Roskill debate snub

Fairfax has apologised to New Zealand People’s Party candidate Roshan Nauhria for excluding him from a by-election debate it is hosting in Mt Roskill on Wednesday.

But he’s still not invited.

Mr Nauhria says Fairfax told him it made the call to only include the candidates from Labour and National because both had polled above 10 percent at the last election.

A very hollow apology – effectively ‘we are sorry, we set the ten percent bar to favour established power and if you challenge that power and our power you can get stuffed’.

All candidates are equal, but some candidates are made far more equal than others.

Newshub points out:

The People’s Party held its official campaign launch on Saturday night drawing a crowd of around 300 people. In comparison, the National Party candidate’s campaign launch held on the same day, with the Prime Minister in attendance, attracted a crowd of just over 200.

That’s an impressive crowd for the People’s Party, but even that shouldn’t matter. What if a candidate does most of their campaigning online?

On a smaller scale than in the US, but this is exposure of New Zealand media being a corrupt extension of established power.

Pilger interview with Assange

RT has video and a transcript of the John Pilger interview with Julian Assange.

  • ‘Clinton made FBI look weak, now there is anger’

“The FBI is always trying to demonstrate that no-one can resist us.  But Hillary Clinton very conspicuously resisted the FBI’s investigation, so there’s anger within the FBI because it made the FBI look weak. ”

  • ‘Russian government not the source of Clinton leaks’

“Hilary Clinton stated multiple times, falsely, that seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That is false; we can say that the Russian government is not the source. ”

  • ‘Saudi Arabia & Qatar funding ISIS and Clinton’

“There’s an early 2014 email from Hillary Clinton, not so long after she left the State Department, to her campaign manager John Podesta that states ISIL is funded by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Now this is the most significant email in the whole collection, and perhaps because Saudi and Qatari money is spread all over the Clinton Foundation.”

  • ‘Clinton has been eaten alive by her ambition’

“I see someone who is eaten alive by their ambitions,  tormented literally to the point where they become sick; they faint as a result of [the reaction] to their ambitions.”

That’s an odd claim.

“She’s a centralising cog. You’ve got a lot of different gears in operation from the big banks like Goldman Sachs and major elements of Wall Street, and Intelligence and people in the State Department and the Saudis.”

  • ‘Libya is Hillary Clinton’s war’

“Who was the person championing it?  Hillary Clinton.  That’s documented throughout her emails.She perceived the removal of Gaddafi and the overthrow of the Libyan state — something that she would use in her run-up to the general election for President.”

  • ‘Trump won’t be permitted to win’

“Why do I say that?  Because he’s had every establishment off side; Trump doesn’t have one establishment, maybe with the exception of the Evangelicals, if you can call them an establishment, but banks, intelligence [agencies], arms companies… big foreign money … are all united behind Hillary Clinton, and the media as well, media owners and even journalists themselves.”

But he is in the race in a closely contested election. It’s not about permission of ‘the establishment, it’s about permission of a majority of voters (via electoral college votes).

  • Do you yourself take a view of the U.S. election?  Do you have a preference for Clinton or Trump?

” …he so clearly — through his words and actions and the type of people that turn up at his rallies — represents people who are not the middle, not the upper middle educated class, there is a fear of seeming to be associated in any way with them, a social fear that lowers the class status of anyone who can be accused of somehow assisting Trump in any way, including any criticism of Hillary Clinton. If you look at how the middle class gains its economic and social power, that makes absolute sense.”

An indirect answer that appears to be anti ‘the middle class’.

  • ‘US attempting to squeeze WikiLeaks through my refugee status’

“Now there’s undercover police and there are robot surveillance cameras of various kinds — so that there has been quite a serious conflict right here in the heart of London between Ecuador, a country of sixteen million people, and the United Kingdom, and the Americans who have been helping on the side.”

“[It means] that [they] are trying to get at a publishing organisation; [they] try and prevent it from publishing true information that is of intense interest to the American people and others about an election.”

  • ‘I am innocent and in arbitrary detention’

“[So it’s] me and the U.N. verses Sweden and the U.K.  Who’s right?  The U.N. made a conclusion that I am being arbitrarily detained illegally, deprived of my freedom and that what has occurred has not occurred within the laws that the United Kingdom and Sweden, and that [those countries] must obey. It is an illegal abuse. ”

“Here we have a case, the Swedish case, where I have never been charged with a crime, where I have already been cleared [by the Stockholm prosecutor] and found to be innocent, where the woman herself said that the police made it up, where the United Nations formally said the whole thing is illegal, where the State of Ecuador also investigated and found that I should be given asylum.”

RT: Assange: Clinton is a cog for Goldman Sachs & the Saudis (JOHN PILGER EXCLUSIVE VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT)

Assange denies Russian source, sort of

An John Pilger interview of Julian Assange will be broadcast in Saturday but a preview has been released by RT:

Assange: WikiLeaks did not receive Clinton emails from Russian govt (EXCLUSIVE)

In an exclusive interview with John Pilger to be broadcast by RT on Saturday, whistleblower Julian Assange categorically denied that the troves of US Democratic Party and Clinton work and staff emails released this year have come from the Russian government.

“The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything. Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 US intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That’s false – we can say that the Russian government is not the source,” Assange told the veteran Australian broadcaster as part of a 25-minute John Pilger Special.

That mentions “that Russia was the source” but only denies that the Russian government was the source, a distinct difference. It’s hard to tell without seeing the whole interview.

The Homeland Security Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence posted a joint statement in October, claiming they were “confident” that the Russian government “directed” this year’s leaks.

Moscow has rejected the accusation, with presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov calling the claims “nonsense,”while Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the “public bickering on Russia” before the US election is probably a “smokescreen” to draw the voters’ attention away from serious domestic issues.

There’s a range of terms being used here that could mean different things. The Russian government may not have been involved at all, but the also may have directed the leaking but not been the actual source – if they were involved it is more than likely they would use intermediaries. It’s not like Putin would hand deliver the data to Assange in person.

But then in the world of politics and spies it could be someone else doing the hacking, like ISIS, and pointing blame at the Russians to try and liven up the cold war.

Or it could be Bernie Sanders taking out his disappointment on Clinton. Or it could be Sarah Palin. Or Mickey Mouse.

Are we plebs going to find out who has actually done what? That’s a long shot.

Has a World War started?

According to John Pilger a world war is under way. Currently it is just a propaganda war but a growing nuclear raises the risks of a major escalation,

Pilger: A World War Has Begun. Break the Silence.

How many people are aware that a world war has begun? At present, it is a war of propaganda, of lies and distraction, but this can change instantaneously with the first mistaken order, the first missile.

The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories.  Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over thirty years is more than $1 trillion.

A mini nuclear bomb is planned. It is known as the B61 Model 12. There has never been anything like it.

And it raises the temptation and risk of a limited strike.

In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two — led by the United States — is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia.

What makes the prospect of nuclear war even more dangerous is a parallel campaign against China.

Seldom a day passes when China is not elevated to the status of a “threat”.

According to Admiral Harry Harris, the US Pacific commander, China is “building a great wall of sand in the South China Sea”.

What he is referring to is China building airstrips in the Spratly Islands, which are the subject of a dispute with the Philippines – a dispute without priority until Washington pressured and bribed the government in Manila and the Pentagon launched a propaganda campaign called “freedom of navigation”.

What does this really mean?  It means freedom for American warships to patrol and dominate the coastal waters of China.  Try to imagine the American reaction if Chinese warships did the same off the coast of California.

A bigger arsenal and more provocation.

The propaganda laying the ground for a war against Russia and/or  China is no different in principle. To my knowledge, no journalist in the Western “mainstream” — a Dan Rather equivalent, say –asks why China is building airstrips in the South China Sea.

The answer ought to be glaringly obvious. The United States is encircling China with a network of bases, with ballistic missiles, battle groups, nuclear -armed bombers.

This lethal arc extends from Australia to the islands of the Pacific, the Marianas and the Marshalls and Guam, to the Philippines, Thailand, Okinawa, Korea and  across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India. America has hung a noose around the neck of China. This is not news. Silence by media; war by media.

Hillary Clinton is shaping up as quite likely to be the next US president.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran with nuclear weapons. As Secretary of State under Obama, she participated in the overthrow of the democratic government of Honduras. Her contribution to the destruction of Libya in 2011 was almost gleeful. When the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, was publicly sodomised with a knife – a murder made possible by American logistics – Clinton gloated over his death: “We came, we saw, he died.”

Among Clinton’s biggest backers are the Israel lobby and the arms companies that fuel the violence in the Middle East. She and her husband have received a fortune from Wall Street. And yet, she is about to be ordained the women’s candidate, to see off the evil Trump, the official demon.

Is Pilger close to being accurate? If so there are some real concerns – for the world.

What has happened to the great tradition of popular direct action, unfettered to parties? Where is the courage, imagination and commitment required to begin the long journey to a better, just and peaceful world? Where are the dissidents in art, film, the theatre, literature?

Where are those who will shatter the silence? Or do we wait until the first nuclear missile is fired?

Should we be worried?