THE CORPORATE STATE & THE MASS MEDIA?

(April 25, 1999)

by:
S.R. Shearer
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight ... but ... my kingdom (comes) not from hence.

- John 18:36

"The (American) nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

- George Orwell,

"Notes on Nationalism."
1945

INTRODUCTION

"WAR IS PEACE;" "SLAVERY IS FREEDOM;" and "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" (George Orwell, 1984) - the exact opposite of what we always thought was true, is true; the "Thought Police" have made it so! And the greatest practitioner of Orwellian thought control ("newspeak") in the world today? - it's the American elite media, a media which has been bought up "lock, stock, and barrel" precisely for this purpose by "Corporate America."

What are we talking about here? - making the truth out to be a lie, and a lie out to be the truth? Well, take how this "double speak" is practiced by the American military. For example, take what happened in Haiti. Several years ago, during the Haitian crisis, American "Psy Ops" teams - in an attempt to discredit the Haitian government - began jamming the signals of the government controlled radio station in Port au Prince, "morphing" those signals, and then retransmitting them to the Haitian people. The purpose of the operation was to make those Haitian government officials who opposed the American intervention say things (which they never said) that would infuriate the people against them. This form of "warfare" also occurred in Panama in our intervention there, and there is some evidence to suggest that it is going on today in the former Yugoslavia.

Presenting that which is false as true! Making people appear to be what they are not! "Morphing" the truth! - in Orwell's novel, all this was the job of the "Ministry of Truth." In today's America, this has become - as we just indicated - the job of the American press. And the primary focus of all this distortion in the elite media? - hiding what America is really up to in the world at large; portraying the presence of America's multinational corporations throughout the world as "little angels" in the service of humanity rather than what they really are - ravenous wolves; picturing America as a benevolent giant rather than what it really is - a beast which is:

"... exceeding dreadful, whose teeth are of iron, and his nails of brass; which devours, brakes in pieces, and stamps the residue (of the nations) with his feet ..." (Daniel 7:19)

Up is down; black is white; right is left; making one's enemies say things which they never said; presenting the American intervention in Kosovo as a humanitarian operation (and making sure that the American public is overwhelmed by pictures to that effect) rather than what it really is, an effort by "Big Oil" to placate their Muslim allies in the Middle East and in the Caucasus (please see our article on this, "Kosovo and America, What's Really Going On?"); demonizing the Serbs as if they alone are to blame for all the killing and slaughter in the Balkans, and not the Croatians and the Muslims too; etc. The fact of the matter is, the American press has become nothing more than a "toady" and a rather nauseating sycophant for "Corporate America," all the media's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

MAKING THE "AMERICAN EMPIRE" TO
APPEAR TO BE WHAT IT IS NOT

So successful has the American press's effort to this effect been that despite the expansion of "Corporate America" into the world at large - an expansion which includes as an integral part of its method of population control the systematic use of terror, horror, and repression - the American people seem hardly to have noticed, and all this despite the fact that the expansion of "Corporate America" into the world at large has involved as part of its increase a concomitant extension of America's military presence that includes over 3,000 military bases in foreign countries and interventions in the affairs of other states that are unmatched by any other country (including the old Soviet Union) in number, scale, violence, and global reach - and this in spite of the end of the Cold War.

The truth is that notwithstanding all the evidence to the contrary, most Americans seem to come quite naturally to the thought that America is in the vanguard of the defense of human rights throughout the world.

INTERNAL FREEDOM AND EXTERNAL TERROR Professor Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says that to some extent this faith in the benevolence of America's intentions insofar as the rest of the world is concerned is rooted in the facile, and still widely prevalent, assumption that external misbehavior is closely related to internal repression and limitations on freedom of dissent - i.e., that if there exists "freedom of dissent" in the country, no matter how circumscribed, it is believed, ipso facto, that if America were really terrorizing the world, the American people would know about it and object. But history teaches that that's not necessarily the case at all. Chomsky writes:

"As should be obvious from the most cursory examination of history ... internal freedom is quite compatible with exploitative and inhumane external conduct extending over many decades. Even in the fountainhead of Western democracy, ancient Athens, the development of a military establishment (a naval fleet) 'made Athens securely democratic and incurably aggressive ... Moreover, the aggressiveness of the Athenian polis (city-state) was enhanced when rowers' pay and plunder became, for a surprisingly large proportion of the Athenian citizenry, a necessary or highly desirable addition to family resources (much as civilian employment in the defense industries of our own country is seen today by a wide spectrum of the citizenry as highly desirable). Against this background, Athens' ruthless and incessant naval enterprises, which kept the entire Greek world in turmoil from 480 to 404 BC, becomes intelligible'. (William McNeill, The Rise of the West, Chicago, 1963, pp. 256-57.) The cruel plundering of India, China, the East Indies, and Africa by the relatively liberal and open societies of Western Europe from the 17th well into the 20th centuries also shows that internal freedom and long-term external viciousness are entirely compatible.

"More important, however, the neglect (by the American people and the American press) of the scope and significance of ... (American corporate brutality in the world at large) is a testimonial to the greatly underrated capacities of what we may call 'brainwashing under freedom'. The ability of the system (i.e., the American mass media in consort with its corporate sponsors) ... to reconstruct and shape the perspectives of history and the interpretation of current events in accordance with their own interests is truly impressive.

"Just as slavery and institutionalized racism could be rationalized and reconciled with the idea of the United States as the land of liberty and equality of opportunity (mainly by not looking at the real situation - Chomsky), so the ... (true and extremely vicious and corrupt nature of the American Empire) can be reconciled with a United States keen on 'human rights' by a suitable combination of diversion, prevarication, and refusal to contemplate. To achieve this result without explicit government censorship is the genius of the American way."

THE DEVELOPMENT OF A KERITZU-LIKE MASS MEDIA IN THE UNITED STATES

Blatant government censorship is not the "American way!" It's not the way of the American oligarchy! It's not necessary for a plutocracy (i.e., government by the rich) to act in such a blatant fashion. All that's necessary for a plutocracy (which is exactly what the American oligarchy is) to silence its enemies is to buy up the press, fire the offending editors, install those who will "toe the Corporate Line" and subtely "shape the truth" to fit the corporate elite's world-view. And that's exactly what's happened in the United States over the last few decades.

The fact of the matter is, the reason that American multinationals are so rarely portrayed in the American media or in mainstream academic scholarship as engaged in the naked and avaricious pursuit of their own predatory economic interests (at the expense of ordinary people throughout the world) is because the media has been "bought out" by Corporate America. It's been merged with General Electric, Westinghouse, etc. and made to serve the corporate interests of America's ruling plutocracy. [And for those who wish to believe that the only interest Westinghouse has in CBS and that General Electric has in NBC, etc. is "diversification," then I have some swamp land I would like to sell them in Florida.]

And not only that, the media itself - under the business sponsorship of its new masters in Corporate America - has been "merged," and "partnered" among its various parts (i.e., print, television, radio, etc.) into keritzu-like arrangements which has resulted in the development of what amounts to as a single media MONOLITH . This is what government deregulation of the telecommunications industry was all about: the development of "media harmony" and the presentation of truth which has been shaped in the interests of America's governing plutocracy - and this is exactly what has happened: the development of a handful of multi-billion-dollar media conglomerates which tend to speak with one voice. Today, whenever you watch television, whether from a local broadcasting station or via a cable or satellite dish; whenever you see a feature film in a theater or at home; whenever you listen to the radio; whenever you read a newspaper, book, or magazine - it is very likely that the information you are receiving comes from this MONOLITH. And be clear here, it's a MONOLITH dedicated to the interests of the corporate elite - and God help the person who oversteps the "party line" the corporate elite has established for the media.

It's, therefore, not unfair to say today that while there may exist an appearance of "diversity" and "variety" in the mass media - that's all it is: an appearance. There is no real dissent, no alternative source of facts or ideas accessible to the great mass of people which might allow them to form opinions at odds with those of America's corporate elites who own the media. Indeed, for all practical purposes, the mass media has become nothing more than a giant propaganda machine which functions in the service and at the behest of America's corporate plutocracy. Thus, the "Corporate Line" concerning the benefits of "free trade" [which is the American elite's ticket to raping and savaging the rest of the world (and its own citizens) economically - please see our articles on "The American Empire"] and the benevolence of the American Empire is the virtually uncontested portrayal of what America is up to in the rest of the earth - and so successful has this endeavor been that people today have come naturally to adapt their opinions to it, vote in accord with it, and shape their lives to fit it - AND NOT ONLY "ORDINARY PEOPLE," BUT THE AMERICAN EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY AS WELL.

ALTERNATIVE VIEWS & PERMITTED DEVIATIONS

To be sure, alternative views and analyses are available in the United States, in fringe media that reach a minuscule sector of the population, probably less than one percent. And, to be fair, from time to time there are isolated facts which emerge from the mass (i.e., "corporate") media which portrays a different picture from the usual "party line" - an alternate view which may be culled out by the assiduous reader aware of the overwhelming built-in bias of the mainline media. Moreover, where powerful domestic interests are at odds over an issue (for instance Nixon and Watergate and - to a lesser extent - Vietnam, especially after 1968) there may be no uniform line, or the line may be subject to a fair amount of undercutting. These deviations, however, are mostly small, and to the extent they exist, are tolerated because they seem to lend credence to the belief by ordinary people that there truly does exist a "Free Press" in this country. But for the most part, the "diversification of views" in the mass media is severly circumscribed.

For example, take the matter of Kosovo. In listening to the seeming rancor and malice among the "talking heads" on Hannity and Colmes, Crossfire, the McLaughlin Report, Capitol View, etc., one would think that there really was "diversity" over the issue of Kosovo. But listen carefully to what's being said. There's really no argument over whether or not we should be there; of whether or not we should be supporting the Serbs as opposed to the Muslims. The argument is over how we got there and what we should do now. In other words, the argument is over methods and not goals. The same is true with regard to a plethora of other issues: support for free trade, the WTO, the need for America to be "engaged in Europe," etc. In all these matters, the discussion that the elite permits is a discussion over methods; no challenging of goals is permitted!

In addition, there does exist some deviation over cultural issues, the "muckraking" of individual corporations, affirmative action, etc. where the fundamental interests of the elite are not involved. These issues are of concern to the elites only insofar as they might from time to time affect their economic interests - for example, when the elites shifted their support to affirmative action, "diversity," welfare, etc in the late 1960s and early '70s when the elites sought to "buy off" the rage of America's minority communites, a rage which during this period seemed to threaten civil order and - ipso facto - impinge on the security of the elites; and now in the 1990s when the elites have begun to shift their support away from affirmative action, quotas, diversity, etc. in an effort to assuage the white majority.

Indeed, in cases like these, all the elites seem to be doing is sticking their fingers into the air to see which way the wind is blowing. The elites have no real interest one way or the other; they're no more for quotas and affirmative action than they are for upholding the conventions of "Traditional America." It makes no difference to them. All they care about is making money; and when - in order to do so - they have to embrace "affirmative action" in order to keep the minorites at bay, so be it; and if on other occasions, they have to assuage the white majority by throwing these same programs to the dogs, so be it. The party line on issues like these tends to shift back and forth, and in doing so, this shifting seems to substantiate the belief by ordinary people that there exists a free press in this country. But it's all an illusion, a chimera, a mirage, a fantasy.

NO DEVIATIONS WHERE THE ESSENTIAL
INTERESTS OF THE CORPORATE ELITE ARE INVOLVED

Why? - because all this does not distract from the fact that where issues involve important U.S. corporate concerns which impact substantially on the economic well-being of America's multinationals like "Free Trade," the demonizing of labor unions, the assisting and support of trade organizations like the WTO, NAFTA, etc., sustaining the "free flow of capital" in world markets, providing for the availability of the U.S. military to rescue U.S. multinationals in foreign lands, making sure that "bail-out money" is readily available for the "big banks" (but not necessarily the small ones) which have fallen on hard times in the "Third World," etc., the mass media usually functions much in the manner of a state propaganda agency.

This was never more true as in the 1992-'93 debate over NAFTA where almost every newspaper in the country, every TV network, every news magazine, every commentator fell into rank behind the "Corporate Line" insofar as NAFTA was concerned - and later, the WTO. And woe be to those like Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan who had the temerity and brashness to stand against the "Corporate Line" insofar as these matters were concerned; they were mercilessly pilloried in the press, made to look like buffoons, and generally marginalized - and it all happened as if on cue! - the minute they (Perot and Buchanan) came out against NAFTA; and all this despite the fact that polls indicated that over 60% of the American population was opposed to the pact.

SELF-CENSORSHIP

In an atmosphere such as the one we have just described, news reporters and columnists soon develop a "feel" for what is "acceptable," and self-censorship thus occurs at their level on the basis of learned and understood limits of subject matter, "tone," "balance," and the like. A failure to self-censor on the part of reporters will result in the production of unused copy, as well as the loss of goodwill at "the top" in the face of such "irresponsibility." Chomsky notes, for example, that when U.S. backed massacres in East Timor occurred, reporters who attempted to report on them found that their material was "taboo," and - as a result - quit writing on it. Thus, a feedback process operates to ensure that the public remains ignorant of these atrocities.

Even liberal commentators rarely focus on the systematic character of U.S. support for right wing terror regimes. This evasion may even be said to define the limits of permissible liberalism in the mass media. For example, one may occasionally denounce torture in Chile and the death squads in Brazil, but (1) it is unacceptable to explain them as a result of official U.S. policy and preference and as plausible linked to U.S. economic interests; and (2) it would be highly advisable even when merely denouncing subfascist terror to show "balance" by denouncing left wing terror in equally vigorous terms - whether it actually exists or not. Otherwise, a reporter's days are numbered in those parts of the media that reach 99% of the U.S. population.

THE MEDIA KERITZU

And just how tightly bound together is the mass media today? Very tightly, indeed! Take, for example, the print media. Sixty million newspapers are sold (and presumably read) each day in the United States. These millions are divided among some 1,500 different publications. One might conclude that the sheer number of different newspapers across America would provide a safeguard against the dissemination of a "Party Line" in the United States. But such is not the case. There is less independence, less competition, and much less representation of independent views than a casual observer might think.

The days when most cities and even towns had several independently owned newspapers published by local people with close ties to the community are gone. Today most "local" newspapers are owned by a rather small number of large companies controlled by executives who live and work hundreds or even thousands of miles away and who are completely and wholly a part of today's corporate elite. The fact is, only about 25 per cent of the country's 1,500 papers are independently owned; the rest belong to multi-newspaper chains which are "part and parcel" an element of the corporate world and the media MONOLITH. Moreover, what's left of the "independents" are unable to maintain separate reporting staffs outside their own communities and must, therefore, depend on the MONOLITH for all of their national and international news.

And that's not the end of it - in only 50 cities in America are there more than one daily newspaper, and competition is frequently nominal even among them, as between morning and afternoon editions under the same ownership. Examples of this are the Huntsville, Alabama, morning News and afternoon Times; the Birmingham, Alabama, morning Post Herald and afternoon News; the Mobile, Alabama, morning Register and afternoon Press; the Springfield, Massachusetts, morning Union, afternoon News, and Sunday-only Republican; the Syracuse, New York, morning Post-Standard and afternoon Herald-Journal - all owned by Newhouse Brothers through their holding company, Advance Publications.

EXAMPLES OF WHAT'S GOING ON

THE NEWHOUSE GROUP

The Newhouse media empire provides an example of the lack of real competition among America's daily newspapers. The Newhouse Group owns 26 daily newspapers, including several large and important ones, such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer; the Newark Star-Ledger; and the New Orleans Times-Picayune; Newhouse Broadcasting, consisting of 12 television broadcasting stations and 87 cable-TV systems, including some of the country's largest cable networks; the Sunday supplement Parade, with a circulation of more than 22 million copies per week; some two dozen major magazines, including the New Yorker, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Bride's, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Self, House & Garden, and all the other magazines of the wholly owned Conde Nast group. With a number of further acquisitions, the net worth of Advance Publications has grown to more than $8 billion today. And the Newhouse media group is only the tip of the iceberg.

THE NEW YORKTIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST AND THEWALL STREET JOURNAL

Then there's the matter of the nation's three most prestigious and influential newspapers: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. These three dominate America's financial and political capitals; they are the newspapers which set the trends and the guidelines for nearly all the others; they are the ones which decide what is news and what isn't at the national and international levels. They originate the news; the others merely copy it. But even here, the same keritzu-like networks that bind the Newhouse and other lesser groups to financial interests which are beholden to Corporate America bind these papers to vast financial empires beholden to corporate interests also - interests which - like the interests that control the Newhouse group - have a stake in the status quo and the "Party Line."

The New York Times is the unofficial social, fashion, entertainment, political, and cultural guide of the nation. The New York Times is owned by the Sulzberger family. The Sulzberger family also owns, through the New York Times Co., 33 other newspapers, including the Boston Globe, purchased in June 1993 for $1.1 billion; twelve magazines, including McCall's and Family Circle with circulations of more than 5 million each; seven radio and TV broadcasting stations; a cable-TV system; and three book publishing companies. The New York Times News Service transmits news stories, features, and photographs from the New York Times by wire to 506 other newspapers, news agencies, and magazines.

Where is there any independence here? There is none. To say that there doesn't exist a "Party Line" in the New York Times media empire - which is what these empires, despite all the evidence to the contrary, claim - is utter nonsense! And it is not just the heavy-handed suppression of certain news stories from our newspapers or the blatant propagandizing of history which goes on, but it's the way which items are emphasized or played down, the reporter's choice of words, the tone of voice, and facial expressions; the wording of headlines; the choice of illustrations - all of these things subliminally and yet profoundly affect the way in which we interpret what we see or hear.

Of similar national importance is the Washington Post, which, by establishing its "leaks" throughout government agencies in Washington, has an inside track on news involving the Federal government. Like the New York Times, the Washington Post controls a vast media empire which includes a number of other media holdings in newspapers, television, and magazines, most notably the nation's number-two weekly newsmagazine, Newsweek. In addition, the Washington Post controls in a joint venture with the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the most widely distributed English language daily in the world - which says a lot about the similar "Party Lines" both papers invariably follow.

Then there's the Wall Street Journal, which sells 1.8 million copies each weekday and is the nation's largest-circulation daily newspaper. It is owned by Dow Jones & Company, Inc, a New York corporation which also publishes 24 other daily newspapers and the weekly financial tabloid Barron's, among other things.

And, again, all this is just the tip of the iceberg insofar as the media MONOLITH in this country is concerned. For example, the big three in television network broadcasting used to be ABC, CBS, and NBC. At one time, all three could have justifiably called themselves "independent." Not any more! As we just indicated, all three have now been gobbled up by Corporate America (i.e., Disney, Westinghouse, and General Electric). There's no independence here. All three have "Corporate America" stamped all over them; and all three, as a result, toe the "Party (Corporate) Line," their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

And what about the true media leviathens today: Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, Seagram, and Fox.

THE DISNEY CORPORATION

Disney is the largest media conglomerate in the world, with 1997 revenues of $23 billion. This isn't the old Disney Corporation that most of us grew up with; it has transformed itself into something Walt Disney wouldn't even begin to recognize today. The Disney empire includes several television production companies (Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television, Buena Vista Television) and cable networks with more than 100 million subscribers altogether. The Walt Disney Picture Group includes Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and Caravan Pictures. Disney also owns Miramax Films. In addition to TV and movies, the corporation owns Disneyland, Disney World, Epcot Center, Tokyo Disneyland, and Euro Disney.

In August 1995 Disney acquired Capital Cities/ABC, Inc, which owns the ABC Television Network, which in turn owns ten TV stations outright in such big markets as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston. In addition, it has 225 affiliated stations in the United States and is part owner of several European TV companies. ABC also owns ESPN and has a controlling interest in Lifetime Television and the Arts & Entertainment Network cable companies. ABC Radio Network owns 26 AM and FM stations, again in major cities such as New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, and has over 3,400 affiliates. In addition, Disney owns seven daily newspapers, Fairchild Publications (Women's Wear Daily), Chilton Publications (automotive manuals), and the Diversified Publishing Group.

TIME WARNER / CNN

Then there's Time Warner, Inc., with 1997 revenues of more than $13 billion; it is the second largest of the international media leviathans. Time Warner leapfrogged over the Walt Disney Company to first place among the media giants when it acquired Turner Broadcasting System in 1996, but it slipped back into second place in 1997. Time Warner's subsidiary HBO is the country's largest pay-TV cable network. In addition to cable and music, Time Warner is heavily involved in the production of feature films (Warner Brothers Studio, Castle Rock Entertainment, and New Line Cinema) and publishing. Time Warner's publishing division is the largest magazine publisher in the country (Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune).

VIACOM, SEAGRAM, MURDOCH (FOX)

Number three on the list of media leviathens, with 1997 revenues of just over $13 billion, is Viacom. Viacom, which produces and distributes TV programs for the three largest networks, owns 13 television stations and 12 radio stations. It produces feature films through Paramount Pictures. Its publishing division includes Simon & Schuster, Scribner, The Free Press, and Pocket Books. It distributes videos through over 4,000 Blockbuster stores. It is also involved in satellite broadcasting, theme parks, and video games.

The new boy on the megamedia block is Seagram, the liquor giant. Seagram owns two large production companies, MCA and Universal Pictures (now merged under the name Universal Studios). Among its many other properties, MCA owns Interscope Records, PolyGram, the European record giant; with the expected revenue from PolyGram added to that from MCA and Universal, Seagram is the fourth largest media empire, with annual revenues around $12 billion. PolyGram owns the Deutsche Grammophon, Decca-London, and Philips record companies.

Then there's Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns Fox Television Network, 20th Century Fox Films, and Fox 2000. It is the fifth largest megamedia corporation in the country, with 1997 revenues of over $11 billion. It is the only other media company which comes even close to the top four. Murdoch is Australian. Peter Chernin, is president and CEO of Fox Group, which includes all of News Corporation's film, television, and publishing operations in the United States. The News Corporation also owns the New York Post and TV Guide.

These are the bare outlines of today's media MONOLITH which controls the content and distribution of news in the United States today. It is inextricably bound up with Corporate America - and is linked in such a way that it is difficult any longer to tell where the one begins and the other leaves off. To say that there is any independence within this MONOLITH is sheer madness. Long gone are the days of the small town, independent newspapers run by men and women of principle as depicted in such films as "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington." Chomsky remarks that the hypocrisy and sheer silliness of such claims borders on being nonsensical.

THE MEDIA MONOLITH

The primary purpose of this MONOLITH is to obscure from the American public the true dimensions of Corporate America's involvement in the world, as well as to hide the ugly character of that involvement. The American public is carefully protected from exposure to any serious discussion of such things - the kind of things that could arouse horror and revulsion; specifically, that our extensive military involvement in the world today stems for the most part from the elite's desire to protect its far-flung economic interests and not from protecting "human rights" throughout the world - which is precisely the lie the elite is currently engaged in insofar as Kosovo is concerned.

But to anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of what's going on (and who is willing to be honest with regard to that knowledge), it all smacks of so much "baloney," to put it in the vernacular. Typical of the kind of "balderdash" that the MONOLITH continually engages in, we find the Wall Street Journal deriding the "simple-minded myths" that America's extensive and far-flung military involvement in the world stems from its efforts to protect the ability of her multinationals to economically assault and rape the rest of the world. That's just an absurd myth according to the Wall Street Journal - something dreamed up by university lefties and their discredited Communist and socialist allies. Oh no! - Standard Oil, General Electric, Ford Motor Company, etc. - they're all just "little angels" engaged in sharing their wealth with the peoples of the Third World - and if you believe that, then the moon is really made out of green cheese!

And it's not just the Wall Street Journal. Take, for example, the way William V. Shannon, a liberal commentator for the New York Times and later President's Carter's ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, lamented in 1974 the the "mean-spirited" manner in which the rest of the world was portraying U.S. policy in Chile toward the government of Salvador Allende, a man who had been elected to the presidency of Chile in one of the few honest elections that country has ever had, and who believed - unfortunately for the elites - that the ordinary people of Chile deserved a bigger slice of the economic pie than the American multinationals were willing to give:

"For a quarter century, the United States has been trying to do good, encourage political liberty, and promote social justice in the Third World. But in Latin America where we have traditionally been a friend and protector ... (our motives have been misunderstood and misrepresented) ..." [Antipas editor: the exact opposite, however, is the real truth - please see our article on Guatemala and the "American Empire." It's not so much that the Latin Americans had it wrong as it is the fact that Shannon was blatantly misrepresenting the facts of what America was really up to throughout Latin America.]

Shannon continued that the ordinary people in Chile didn't seem to understand how America's "benevolence, intelligence, and hard work" were being skewed by "outside sources" - i.e., the communists. Oh, really? Shortly thereafter, the CIA - acting at the behest of the American multinationals in Chile - engineered the overthrow of Allende and his subsequent assassination.

This is the kind of "stuff" that is typical in the "American Empire," and the American press is part and parcel of this process, the kind of process that can justify the subsequent dictatorship of Augusto Pinochett and his death squads. The multinationals were effusive in their praise of Pinochett, and the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were gushy in their adulation of Pinochett's efforts to bring the "blessings of free enterprise" (death squad style) to Chile, and if countless numbers of "lefties" and ordianary Chileans had to be slaughtered in order to do so, well, so be it. [And in this regard, it should be noted that it was the foreign press (mainly the left-wing press in Spain and France) that finally exposed Pinochett for what he really was - a butcherer and a thug; it most certainly wasn't the New York Times, and most assuredly not the Wall Street Journal.]

THE ABSOLUTE ABSURDITY OF IT ALL

As these examples illustrate, the deception practiced by the American press can reach quite extraordinary heights. For instance, take the example of Cuba. Chomsky writes:

"Suppose that Fidel Castro had organized or participated in at least eight assassination attempts against the various presidents of the United States since 1959. It is safe to conclude that the New York Times, CBS News, and the mass media in general would have portrayed him as an international gangster and assassin, who must be excluded from the community of civilized nations. But when it is revealed that the United States has made or participated in that many attempts on Castro's life (Please see For Reasons of State, Pantheon, 1973, pp. 100F), it's just 'one of those things that governments do'.

"The press will hardly suggest on the basis of such information that the world's 'nations have to evaluate the U.S. potentiality as a responsible world citizen' ... Suppose further that Fidel Castro had arranged for his agents in the United States to disperse various disease carriers in agricultural regions (around the country) in an attempt to poison and destroy livestock and crops. Can one imagine the hysteria of the Wall Street Journal and the Times on the depths to which barbarian evil can sink under Communism? Well, the United States actually did carry out such acts against Cuba, reported in the press in early 1977 as minor news items - 500,000 pigs had to be destroyed in Cuba as a result of a deliberately spread viral disease. And according to a recent statement of a Canadian adviser to the Cuban government, as early as 1962 he was paid $5,000 by a Defense Intelligence Agency representative to infect Cuban poultry with a viral disease [Drew Fethersten and John Cummings, "Canadian Says U.S. Paid Him $5,000 to Infect Cuban Poultry," Washington Post (Newsday) (21 March, 1977)] Editorial outrage has been modest, to say the least."

Beginning with President Carter, the U.S. has said that "... it would move toward normalizing relations with Cuba if the United States can be convinced that Cuba wants to remove their aggravating influence from other countries in this hemisphere and will not participate in violence in nations across the oceans, etc." What? What about the United States? - but, no! - it's Cuba that must cease its "aggravating influence" in this hemisphere and refrain from the use of force in international affairs if normal relations are to be established.

THE HYPOCRISY AND DISSEMBLING BY THE AMERICAN
MEDIA IN THE SERVICE OF HER CORPORATE MASTERS

What hypocrisy! What sanctimonious dissembling and deceit! What an impossible pretense of virtue and piety! It's America - not Cuba - that has instituted subfascist regimes in Chile, in Guatemala, in El Salvador, etc. and pounded other countries to dust throughout the world which have defied its will (please see our articles on the "American Empire"). The whole effort on the part of the elites and its fawning lacky, the U.S. media, is mind-boggling! - eight admitted attempts on Castro's life, a sponsored invasion, innumerable acts of sabotage, etc., and still the U.S. can talk about Cuban external violence and not be challenged or ridiculed by anyone whose voice can he heard in the American press.

The fact of the matter is, where such hypocrisy and distortion can pass without comment, it is evident that the mass media is maintaining a system of THOUGHT CONTROL in the United States which is colossal in its scale and pervasive in a way that ordinary Americans can scarcely imagine, and which can establish and nourish "the BIG LIE" as effectively as any system of press control or state censorship that the Communists ever wielded in the Old Soviet Union!!

NEVERTHELESS ...

Nevertheless, despite massive evidence to the contrary, the common opinion in the United States is that there exists in this country "a robust free press" where ideas flow unhindered and without discrimination, and where truth wins out over falsehood (vide Vietnam and Watergate). The myth is promulgated by an enormous propaganda effor by the very same corporate MONOLITH that commands, finesses and manages the domestic and international flow of "information."

Again, take what's happening in Kosovo (if only because it is dominating the news right now) where, in the interest of "Big Oil's" commercial activities in the Muslim Middle East and Caspian Sea area, the refugee problem is played up and all other issues ignored; where the Muslim refugees are taken as the primary or exclusive source of information for what's happening in the area, even when other sources are available (the European press, for example, where even the press in the other NATO countries is doing a more even-handed job than is the U.S. press); and where neither the selection of refugee testimony, the circumstances under which it was obtained, or the credibility or bias of those transmitting their version of this testimony is subjected to critical analysis. This is an old and familiar pattern of U.S. corporate interests "managing" and "manipulating" the news in the United States in favor of their own selfish economic concerns. It's what U.S. multinationals and their lackeys in the U.S. press have being doing for years; for instance, in Guatemala insofar as United Fruit was concerned, in Brazil where U.S. multinationals control 59 of the 100 largest manufacturing companies, in Indonesia, in East Timor, etc., etc.

THE U.S. MONOLITH vis a vis THE OLD SOVIET MODEL

This pattern of "managing" and "manipulating" the news is, to be sure, a very familiar one in totalitarian states. For example, no one would be surprised to discover that the press in the old Soviet Union had been indignant over the actions of the CIA and U.S. corporations in Chile, or over the U.S. intervention in Vietnam, while the same Communist-controlled press found that the Soviet interventions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia were merely "expressions of solidarity of the Russian people and their worker's state with the toiling masses who were defending themselves against CIA-fascist plots." And when Ethiopia attempted to suppress Eritrean liberation forces with violence and terror during the period when it was a Soviet client, one wouldn't have been surprised to find a less than accurate idea of what was going on there in the pages of Pravda.

But while all this is obvious in the case of the old Soviet Union, a parallel phenomenon in the so-called "Free Press" in the United States passes without notice. For example, insofar as America's client states are concerned, a clear "line" is discernible in the way the U.S. media plays up the terror and oppression of those factions in the client states who oppose the U.S. installed governments in these countries, while only episodic attention is focused on the terror it takes to keep these governments in power. In addition, while gross understatements of fact concerning government violence in these client states are easily tolerated, an inflated stress on the importance of a growing GNP [abstracted from the human consequences on the indigenous populations that this rise in GNP (the proceeds of which flow invariably to the U.S. sponsored elites in these countries) costs the native populations] are freely permitted, and broken promises concerning "human rights" are readily excused, such "slips" on the part of those who oppose the submission of these client states to the will of America's multinationals are minutely followed and vociferously pointed out by the American media.

In all these cases, the volume of "information," of America's so-called "Free Press," its tone, its emphasis and its interpretation of the "facts" are loaded with bias in favor of America's corporate elite and its system of client states throughout the world. The fact of the matter is, the corporate press in this country - with its subtlety and refinement (even elegance) - makes the "controlled press" of the old Soviet Union look "stone age" in comparison.

"IF ALL THESE THINGS BE TRUE ..."

What does all this mean to us as Christians. Well, for one thing, it certainly means that the picture of America that we have been getting from the corporate press is not an accurate one. And more than that, it means that the advice we've been getting from our evangelical leaders - i.e., people like Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy and countless others - insofar as "getting in bed" with the plutocracy that runs this country (i.e., the "Fat Cats" of the Republican Party) is anything but good advice. It also means that if we take the prophetic scriptures seriously - especially insofar as the United States is concerned - and begin to arrange out lives in accordance with them, we are not going to win any popularity contests in this country or even among our own evangelical brethren. But then what else did we expect? The Italian writer, Giovanni Papine, has written,

“... The prophet is a troublesome ... voice, hated by the church’s leaders and out of favor with the church’s members. Like a wild, ragged, unkempt coyote scenting from afar the smell of carrion, like a raven always croaking out the same cry, like a ... wolf howling on the mountain top, the prophet travels throughout the church ... followed by suspicion and ha-tred ... He is ... a man who sees with a troubled heart - but with clear eyes - the com-promises the church is making with the world today, and the consequences that will accrue to it tomorrow ... as a result. Like all truthtellers who disturb the slumbering majority and who unsettle the peace of the church’s leadership, he is avoided like a leper, persecuted like an enemy and those with a reputation in the church for ‘being somebody’ detest him. The prophet is an accuser, but today’s Christians do not want to admit their guilt. He is an interces-sor, but Christians do not want to be shown their error ... He is an announcer, but Christians do not want to hear ...”

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE GOD Still, for those who are conversant with the prophetic scriptures, we can’t pretend that we don’t know what’s happening. We do know! - and this knowledge hangs like some kind of bib-lical sword of Damocles over our heads. To do nothing is to invite it to fall on us. The Bible says:

Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;

Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. (Ezek. 33:2-6)

In our introduction to Section II of the Antipas Papers we wrote,

"One result of the Reformation was that the Bible - not church authority, and most espe-cially not an ecclesiastical caste of paid professionals - was made the sole source from which all divine authority flowed (Sola Scriptura).

"The priesthood of ALL believers - not one which was held exclusively in the hands of a few select individuals held together by the absolute authority of one man - was made the watchword of the day.

"The practical outcome of this for Christians everywhere was twofold: on the one hand, they were freed from the tyranny, superstition, and oppression of Rome; but on the other hand, with freedom came individual responsibility before God. No longer could the individual Christian rely simply on his membership in the physical organization of a church for the salvation of his soul; to a large degree, it now devolved upon him. Salvation was not something one was physically born into because one’s par-ents were Christian or because one had received “infant baptism” and made a member of the church before he could even understand what he was doing; but salvation was some-thing spiritual which one had to enter into as the result of a conscience decision he alone had made.

"No longer could anyone else decide this matter for the individual - not one’s mother or father; not one’s priest or bishop; not one’s pastor or elder - it was an individual decision for which the individual alone was responsible. From this point on, no human intermedi-ary could stand between God and man: man now stood naked and alone before his Maker. The frightening words of the Apostle Paul loomed heavily over his head: “Wherefore, my beloved ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling!” (Phil. 2:12)

"Heaven or Hell? - it was his choice! Remaining an "infant in the Lord" or growing up into full Christian maturity? - it was his choice. Being obedient or disobedient? - it was his choice!

"The church could assist by providing the Christian with a nurturing and Bibli-cally-based environ-ment which was conducive to growth in the Spirit; and other Christians could help in their fellowship and friendships - but even here, the individual had to make a conscience deci-sion to avail himself of these “helps.” There was no way other Christians and/or the church could force themselves on the individual and decide for him. In the end, he alone was re-sponsible, and he alone would have to answer for his decisions."

And the same is true today insofar as how we treat the Prophetic Scriptures. It's our choice as individuals - and in the end, we alone, as individuals, will anwer for our choice - whether to honor or to dishonor. And be clear about something else: there is no such a thing as a "popular" prophet." And more than that, insofar as the world is concerned, there is no such a thing as a "popular Christian." Indeed, if one's Christianity is "popular" with the world at large, then one should have doubt as to his form of Christianity.

THE WAY OF TRUTH IS A LONELY PATH

Jesus said:

"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets ..." ? (Luke 6:26)

It’s futile for people to believe that if they persist with God and obey His Word their friends and loved ones will appreciate what they are doing and join themselves to them. The fact is, to choose God is to choose to be misunderstood and even hated. Indeed, it is this very hatred that Jesus indicates is the badge of recognition for all those who choose to follow Him:

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." (Luke 6:22)

The path that leads to God is a lonely one. This is what Jesus meant when He said,

"... narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it ..." ? (Matt. 7:14)

And what Paul meant when he wrote,

"We are fools for Christ's sake ... we are weak ... we are despised. "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;

"And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

"Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (I Cor. 4:10-13)

[And remember - Paul's complaint here was not directed against unbelievers, but believers - i.e., the great mass of people who at that time called themselves, "God's people" - and not just Jews, but Christians as well! (After all, Paul was writing to the Church in Corinth: the full text of verse ten reads: "We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye {i.e., the Christians at Corinth} are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.")]

For those who are looking for "popularity" and "acceptance" - it's best for them not to go this way; because "popularity" and "acceptance" are not to be found here. I have been young, and now I am old - and in all this time, one of the most heart-rending things I have had to watch is seeing this great truth "played out" in someone else's life - someone who wants to go on with the Lord, but hesitates when he or she comes to realize once and for all that if they decide to go "This Way" (2 Peter 2:2), they are going to lose everything - popularity, acceptance, understanding, family, friends - EVERYTHING!

THERE IS A GREAT "TEST" COMING It's a great test! - a trial (tribulation) through which every servant of God must someday pass. Indeed, even now, while I write this, I know of one particular person whom I dearly love in the Lord who is now passing through this test. It's not something others can do for you - it's not even something with which a person can do in the company of others. It's a test which every servant of God must face alone. This is what Jacob faced in the wilderness at Peniel:

"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

"And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

"And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

"And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Gen. 32:24-28)

FOLLOW ME

We must all come to the place where we hear God's voice saying - "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" - and are irresistibly drawn to answer: "Here am I; send me." (Is. 6:). When the Lord called His disciples, there was no compelling outside force which constrained them to answer Him. It was an inner urging which forced them to answer. As Oswald Chambers has written, "... the quiet, passionate insistence of His Follow Me ..." proved irresistible.

Again, we urge you with all of our heart to order a hardcopy of the Antipas Papers. Study it carefully, comparing scripture with scripture - and see if these things be true; see if what we are describing to you in this article and in the other articles on this website does not comport with the Holy Scriptures. The future course of your life is at stake. You owe it to yourself to study these matters very, very carefully!

God bless all of you!

S.R. Shearer


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