28 April 2014
The crisis in Ukraine and the steadily dropping temperature in relations between Moscow and Washington made many talk about a new Cold War; and many others are worried it may turn ‘hot’. But there’s another war going on right now: the information war. US Secretary of State Kerry has already attacked RT, calling it “Putin’s propaganda machine.” But Washington itself uses dubious evidence and fake facts. What is the information war? What methods is America using? Sophie talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and veteran correspondent Chris Hedges.
Sophie Shevardnadze: America often appeals to its First Amendment rights and the freedom of speech, but then I can’t help but notice that the US officials are very wary of having any journalists voice an alternative point of view. I’m sure you’ve heard Secretary Kerry’s statement over RT. Why is that?
Chris Hedges: There is, as with any government, an official narrative that they seek to disseminate to the public and get the press to adopt. I was the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times and the official narrative, which is a pro-Israeli narrative, is one that often is in variance with the truth, and those who attempt to challenge that narrative – even if you work for the New York Times – you feel the wrath, not only of systems of power, but often the media institutions themselves.
These media institutions have a vested interest in perpetuating this narrative and we saw that on the Iraq War, when the NY Times acted in essence as a mouthpiece for the Bush administration’s propaganda about the weapons of mass destruction. That’s not a new phenomenon, it’s not even particularly unique to the US, but the more intense the conflict becomes, the more you have power vested in perpetuating that narrative – and the Middle East again would be a good example, vis-à-vis Israel – the more fierce and unrelenting their attack will be and that’s precisely what’s happened here.