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  • Progressive media still encourages the neocolonial belief that Western societies are rational and critical while majority world societies need support and tutelage.

    Progressive media still encourages the neocolonial belief that Western societies are rational and critical while majority world societies need support and tutelage. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 June 2017
In the war on the majority world, Western progressive media outlets play a class role, moderating permissible debate on domestic policy while colluding in imperialist aggression overseas.

In North America and Europe, the class war reached new intense levels during and after the 2008 worldwide financial crisis. Governments acting on behalf of their countries’ corporate elites ensured an unprecedented transfer of wealth, imposing public sector austerity to protect corporate control of the international financial system.

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Simultaneously, Western governments used the terrorist threat their own policies created to introduce new repressive restrictions on civil rights. Parallel to those domestic policy developments, the U.S. government and its allies increased their intimidation, destabilization and outright aggression against Russia, China and independent governments around the world.

In that war on the majority world, Western progressive media outlets play a class role, moderating permissible debate on domestic policy while colluding in imperialist aggression overseas. Even now in the 21st century, the managerial class controlling progressive mainstream media still encourages the neocolonial belief that Western societies are rational and critical while majority world societies need support and tutelage, especially on human rights. Centuries of Western conquest, genocide and enslavement are treated as regrettable but now irrelevant and that — despite everything, with corrections — Western capitalism can still ensure the best outcomes for all humanity

These neocolonial assumptions are fundamental to almost all the intellectual and cultural production of Western progressive media. That applies whether it's Democracy Now! abetting NATO's support for wholesale aggression in Syria, Rolling Stone attacking Venezuela by supporting the U.S. funded and trained opposition terror and sabotage offensive, or other less outrageous psychological warfare campaigns like the low-intensity offensive against Nicaragua’s Interoceanic Canal. Western progressive media culture is morally and intellectually corrupt and self-serving.

It is obvious that no one prospers in any given managerial class if they fail to conform to the fundamental assumptions and codes of behavior of that class. Anyone breaking ranks risks their job and their career if they resist the tremendous class pressure to conform. But, among Western progressives, that menacing reality goes entirely unspoken, engendering practically universal hypocrisy. They are neither better nor worse than their corporate and government counterparts when it comes to defending their class interests.

Even so, anyone reading prestigious Western progressive media outlets is implicitly invited to suspend disbelief and consume the self-image of moral superiority those media project. That reality underlies the armory of falsity deployed by this progressive media so as to evade due diligence and conscientious research that might contradict received wisdom, however perverse.

A recent article by Slate on Nicaragua’s environmental policies is a good example of the cynical, insidious disinformation this phenomenon promotes. It is worth analyzing because it shows how foreign affairs reporting in Western media is essentially a self-referencing, garbage-in-garbage-out feedback loop. Slate itself is owned by the Graham Holdings Company, owners of the Washington Post, a trusted psychological warfare resource of the U.S. State Department.

The Slate report, by Angelica Cabral, portrays the Nicaraguan government’s stand on the Paris Climate Change Agreement as a hypocritical contradiction of its plans for an interoceanic canal. However, Cabral glibly omits that rich countries have imposed climate change on the majority world through centuries of predatory corporate capitalism but refuse to pay the costs of the global damage they have caused. Paradoxically, Nicaragua has to assume the environmental risks of building the canal in order to prevent imminent and certain environmental catastrophe without it. Nicaragua is trapped in that dilemma precisely because cynical predatory rich countries refuse to pay their historical debt to the majority world they looted to get rich in the first place, destroying and polluting the planet on the way.

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Cabral bases her piece that Nicaragua’s proposed canal is environmentally destructive on the say so of the International Federation for Human Rights and a heavily skewed critical article in the New York Times, another U.S. government foreign policy psychological-warfare outlet. Based in France, the IFHR, better known by it's French acronym FIDH, is funded by various NATO country governments, leading European corporations and U.S. corporate institutions like the Ford and Open Society foundations. These interests relentlessly promote the foreign policy agenda of NATO corporate elites, which includes covertly undermining or openly attacking any government opposed to Western strategic objectives.

FIDH shamelessly used false reporting based on uncorroborated opposition propaganda to support NATO’s destruction of Libya. Like all the Western international human rights organizations, the FIDH then abjectly failed to make timely reports of the racist programs carried out by the Libyan rebels in both Benghazi and Misrata. In Latin America and the Caribbean, NATO country targets for organizations like FIDH include the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Rather than corroborating her account, Cabral's reliance on the hopelessly unreliable FIDH and New York Times reports indicate how flimsy her argument really is.

In fact, without the canal, Nicaragua is suffering an immediate and continuing environmental crisis, with a relentlessly advancing agricultural frontier, chronic deforestation threatening important biosphere reserves, chronic contamination and sedimentation of Lake Nicaragua threatening water quality and the lake’s aquatic species, as well as persistently volatile climate patterns and temperature increases threatening the agricultural viability of much of the Pacific coast. Socially and economically, the outlook without the canal for Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast is one of continuing impoverishment. Nationally, without the canal, hundreds of thousands of people in Nicaragua are likely to remain living at subsistence level.

Neither Nicaraguan nor Western environmentalists have any viable proposals to address the potentially catastrophic deterioration in Nicaragua’s natural environment and its still impoverished economy. Preliminary work on the proposed interoceanic canal has included meticulous environmental research costing hundreds of millions of dollars, addressing all those environmental threats. One of several reasons for the delay in the canal’s construction has been precisely that careful response to environmental concerns and risks by the HKND company coordinating the project. However, no Western media outlet, progressive or otherwise, has fairly reported the complex reality. Slate’s report comprehensively misleads its readers with false spin, gratuitously smearing the Nicaraguan government and omitting the country’s fundamental environmental dilemma.

Generally speaking, Western media never give a true and fair view of, for example, Venezuela’s crisis; the NATO war, with its allies against Syria; the debacle in Ukraine; the campaign against Russia; or almost any other foreign affairs issue involving countries resisting Western threats and intimidation. Western progressive media play an important psychological warfare role as the elites' loyal opposition, setting the limits of acceptable debate and sustaining fundamental neocolonial prejudices. The only reason to follow the great majority of Western media, progressive or otherwise, is to keep up to date on the latest developments in their interminable class war on the majority world.

Tortilla con Sal is an anti-imperialist collective based in Nicaragua producing information in various media on national, regional and international affairs.

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