US Corporate Media And The Genocide In Gaza

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Two MSNBC hosts, back to back, expressed their anger and outrage at unnecessary loss of life. Al Sharpton, passionately complained about the NYPD officer who had a chokehold on Eric Garner, father of six, who was killed by the officer after the officers ignored his pleas telling them repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe. Even the paramedics who arrived when he lay motionless, did nothing to try to revive him. Mr. Sharpton is right to be angry. So am I. I’m angry at all incidents of police brutality in this country, which is totally and grossly, out of control. But, what about the lives of over 700 defenseless and innocent Palestinians who have been killed by Israel and still others who get killed between the time Mr. Sharpton starts each of his sentences and ends them? Aren’t there fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters among them? Is Mr. Sharpton not aware that one out of every 3 casualties in Gaza are children? Why doesn’t he say anything about those lost lives? Because his idol whom he worships and raves about everyday says: “Israel has the right to defend itself” and because he’s careful not to step out of the official position of US imperialism. Well, I have a problem believing the sincerity of someone who has such double standards. You either are outraged at the killing of an innocent human being or you’re not. Being selective is hypocritical, cynical and belies a corrupt and disingenuous character, who is there to say what the Empire allows him and wants him to say. Enough said.

Then, came Chris Mathews, who’s found his passion since the downing of the Malaysian Airliner, which was hit with a surface-to-air missile over East Ukraine, on its way from Netherlands to Malaysia. While, so far, the US has yet to produce any evidence, notwithstanding some claims made by Kerry, that would link Ukraine’s rebels to the missile that blew up the plane, let alone the Russian government, Mr. Mathews seems to have already, singlehandedly, indicted, not only the rebels, but also President Putin, for the incident. He angrily demanded punishment for Russia, implicating Mr. Putin, himself. He even wondered when Obama would do more to hold him accountable for the crime and wondered how the US could persuade European nations to impose tougher sanctions on and embargo Russia as its punishment. He worried that Russia might get off easy, without paying heavily for the crime. For him, the question wasn’t who was responsible, but how best the US could punish the culprit, which according to him, is obviously Putin. He closed by saying that if the US intelligence community could show the Russian connection to this crime, it would be good for the US! How it would be good or a win for the US, he did not explain.

The irony in all this is that a giant near-monopoly corporation gets to propagate through its well paid anchor persons, whatever claim it has and whatever accusation it sees fit to level against any nation that happens to be in the crosshairs of imperialism and call it free and independent journalism and “democracy”. This is what Mr. Mathews, who gets handsomely paid by the corporation, calls independent and unbiased journalism. Ironically – much irony in all this – in the very same segment, Mr. Objective reporter of “facts” criticized Russia and Putin as not having the same free and objective journalism that Americans enjoy! He quoted Sen. Moynahan that: “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts”, and added angrily: “Apparently, Mr. Putin didn’t get that message”.

Now, I can understand Mr. Mathews’ outrage over loss of innocent lives, and I can even forgive him for prosecuting and convicting Mr. Putin by himself and without any evidence and then impatiently awaiting for the sentencing phase, which in his ultra-nationalist mind, is, of course, for the US to decide, even though the whole incident had nothing to do with the US. The reason I can understand that is because that’s routine and established American mindset: anything anyone does anywhere that’s wrong or criminal, is within US jurisdiction and the US business to investigate, reach a conclusion and punish the perpetrator!

But, how can one reconcile all this outrage and call for retribution with his total amnesia about the very same thing that his government did in 1988, when on 3 July, a US naval vessel fired at and downed an Iranian passenger jet, killing all 290 people on board? To her credit, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did mention it, when discussing this same issue on her show, so Mr. Mathews can’t claim ignorance; all he had to do was watch his colleague’s show. He proudly reminded his audience on a previous show, aired a few days ago, of Reagan’s impassioned speech, condemning the former Soviet Union for the mistaken downing in 1983 of a Korean passenger jet that veered off into Soviet airspace, comparing America that values human life with the Soviets which did not. He made that comparison again today, and again, as last time, he didn’t mention that President Reagan, on whose watch the Iranian passenger plane was blown out of the sky, refused to even offer an apology to the Iranians. Years later, when Iran took the case to the international court, the US agreed to pay retribution to the victims’ families, but never apologized. No country was pressured to impose sanctions on the US, no nation was asked to boycott US products and no self-proclaimed objective US journalist claimed that the US did not value human life, which would not have been very hard to do, given a long history of wars and massacres and genocide it had been involved in – more than any other nation. Not only that, the Navy officer who ordered the plane shot and destroyed, was later awarded a medal! Imagine Russia being found to have downed the Malaysian plane and then to go on and award its officer who shot the missile a medal!

Which brings me to another evidence of how much the US and its corporate network hosts value human life. Mr. Mathews, who dedicated most of his time to condemning the firing of the missile that brought down the Malaysian plane, which obviously was fired in error, had nothing to say about over 700 innocent people, including hundreds of women and children, who lost their lives, not to a missile mistakenly fired, but to heavy and massive US provided bombs, deliberately and repeatedly dropped on population centers, apartment buildings, hospitals and schools, over and over, leveling many building and making the densely populated city glow from exploding bombs, as viewed from space (see the photo). This is the kind of free US journalism Mr. Mathews proudly speaks of and compares with Russia, which he criticizes as not having, just as his favorite President Reagan compared Americans’ values with those of the “evil empire”. Mr. Mathews then asked, in bewilderment and frustration, how the Russian people can be so nationalistic to believe their own government lies! Amazing!

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