If You Believed Something Else, You Wouldn’t Be Sitting Here: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
It sure is interesting how stuff keeps happening that makes free speech on the internet something dangerous which must be curtailed. Covid, the Capitol riot, Russian propaganda, all of which just happen to require tightening restrictions on our single best tool against the powerful.
Had online platforms not agreed to curtail speech in alignment with the US empire, they would with 100 percent certainty have been broken up by antitrust cases and been replaced by other monopolistic companies that would censor in alignment with imperial interests.
You're not permitted to ascend to power within the system unless you cooperate with existing power structures. If you don't, you'll be stopped in your tracks and replaced with someone who will.
A rookie journalist who doesn't advance narratives favorable to US imperialism will keep getting called to the editor's desk until they get the message. When rookie social media sites first showed up it was the same thing, except instead of the editor's desk, it was US congressional hearings.
Western journalists learn very quickly that they can only get published by mainstream outlets by promoting narratives that are favorable to US imperialism. Example:
I have a story of air-strikes in Afghanistan killing/injuring over 1,500 children - and largely US led airstrikes. So far I have not been able to get the NYT, WaPo, BBC, Guardian, Mirror, Times to bite. If anyone wants it as a story, please DM me and I can send details.
— Iain Overton (@iainoverton) May 5, 2021
This is how propaganda occurs in the west. It's not that Jeff Bezos emails Washington Post reporters saying "Promote US wars!", it's that only reporters who support imperialism see their articles published and their careers rise. As Noam Chomsky famously said in an interview with Andrew Marr, "If you believed something different, you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting."
It's always easier to flow with power than to flow against it. Entire societal infrastructures have been built to ensure that this is the case. Any effort which helps the powerful will be elevated and amplified, while any effort which inconveniences them falls into an empty void.
The mass media's garbage coverage of police violence toward protesters in Colombia and Jerusalem is nothing new; as FAIR's Alan MacLeod documented back in 2019, mainstream news consistently mitigates its reporting on such brutality when it is committed by member states of the US empire. And it is very revealing that the mass media's policy of ignoring/justifying human rights abuses by US allies while amplifying those committed in unabsorbed nations just so happens to be identical to the US government's own standing human rights policy.
An IDF soldier could punch a Palestinian baby in the face on video and centrists would be sharing it on Twitter with "Very concerned about this violent clash, both sides should have de-escalated."
It's just too hard to pick a side. On one hand the Palestinians want to stay in their homes that they live in, but on the other hand the Israelis don't want to live near Palestinians and an invisible deity said some stuff in a religious text authored thousands of years ago.
Criticism of both Israeli apartheid and Saudi war crimes are the most mainstream they've been in my lifetime. That's either a sign that things are becoming more conscious or a sign that the imperial crosshairs really are pivoting from the Middle East to Asia. Or maybe the empire is just that confident that it'll be able to retain enough control over the narrative.
One major challenge to escaping an abusive relationship is recognizing that you're in one; it can be hard to connect your experience with the abusive relationships you've seen depicted in TV and movies. This is also the case with realizing you're living under a tyrannical regime.
People just have a hard time making that connection, that their own government is the Evil Empire they see depicted in movies, that it is the tyrannical regime they see condemned by mass media pundits every day. Just as in an abusive relationship, the evidence is all around them, but they don't see it.
"Socially liberal and fiscally conservative" means "Conservative but I want to feel good about it."
Q: What is a tankie?
A: A tankie is anyone who chooses to focuses most of their foreign policy criticisms on the most powerful and destructive government in the world.
It says so much about the power of modern propaganda that such a massive percentage of internet users think "I oppose waging hot or cold war against that government" means the exact same thing as "I think that government is perfect and I wish it was my government."
Saying "Caitlin I like your anti-war stuff but your anti-capitalist stuff is bad" is just saying "Caitlin I agree with you sometimes but other times I disagree with you." That's normal. That's supposed to happen. Congratulations on not living in an airtight echo chamber.
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