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Media as Propaganda: The Biden Administration

Prologue: Maybe the Right had a (Limited) Point

The right-wing has long been critical of the media. Now, the majority of this criticism is wrong, since the claim is that the media ‘leans left’. This garbage is based on the idea that the non-Tory party is somehow Communist. In fairness to this claim, given how far to the right the Tory parties have gone, the other guys look like they have reanimated Comrade Lenin. But I digress. The media’s coverage of the newly minted Biden Administration, and specifically Vice-President Harris, leads me to suggest that maybe the right-wingers had a point in their criticism of the media. Only to a point though. The media does not have a ‘left’ bias (chiefly because there is no left). Rather, it has a Democratic bias because they wear the civility mask while implementing corporate governance.

In this piece I want to look at some examples of establishment media in the US doing either propaganda or serious CYA for the new Administration. I acknowledge now that some of this comes from Fox News of all places, so bring a 20kg bag of salt. But even Fox prints links to other pieces and sources to support their claims. Like the Roman Historian Tacitus, it is the spin on the data that we must watch for. While we can set aside phrases like ‘liberal media’ as rhetoric, links to Instagram pages certain media outlets have established to ‘cover Kamala Harris’ cannot be so easily dismissed.

Example One: NBC News and AIPAC

Both Fox News and Jimmy Dore are reporting that NBC News ‘archived’ a story (read removed it) from its website that was critical of the Biden White House. Specifically, a family foundation linked to a Biden pick for a seat on the National Security Council donated $500,000 to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC. NBC noted that the donations did not seem to pose a legal issue, but the appearance of bias in favour of Israel by a top American official did not look good.

Well, the pro-Israel lobby cannot let those facts go unchallenged by lies and smears. Critics labelled the article ‘offensive’ and even ‘anti-Semetic’ and demanded its removal. So, like the spineless clowns that they are, NBC caved to this nonsense pressure campaign and buried the story. It is amazing how critique of the policy of Israel, or even mentioning them without fawning praise, has been conflated with anti-Semitism. As the original NBC piece noted, while Israel is a close American ally, it acts in its own interests. Indeed, it repeatedly and aggressively spies on the US. NBC had to apologise and retract a story that told the truth. Rather than Israel and its lackeys demanding censorship, I want to focus here on the fact that the media removed a story that dealt with potential corruption within the Biden White House. This is crap.

Example Two: The LA Times and ‘Covering Kamala Harris’

The Los Angeles Times recently launched an Instagram page dedicated to photographs, quotes and other paraphernalia concerning the Vice President. The Times was sure to emphasise the fact that, per a Tweet, Harris is

the first vice president who is Black, South Asian, female and the direct descendants of immigrants

Who cares? Her heritage, gender etc make no difference to me. You know this is where certain media critics derive the whole ‘Yaas, Queen; slay!’ idea. This style of fawning praise based purely on identity and utterly devoid of substance is the stuff of propaganda. What has the newly minted Vice President actually done? Policies, please, not what boxes she ticks.

To no-one’s surprise, this ‘journalism’ was openly mocked on Twitter, as outlined in the Fox article. One criticism that resonates well with me personally is that offered by YouTube commentator Sydney Watson (her politics do not matter). She said this in reference to Harris and the characteristics the Times emphasised

You know what matters more than this list of immutable characteristics that make no difference to her competency? Whether or not she can perform her job

Amen. I do not care if Harris is the first Vice President who is an openly lesbian transgender purple-skinned nun. I care if she can do the job. The media is so focused on what she is that it ignores what she has done. I acknowledge that this Administration is new, but that cuts both ways. The media should wait until something has been done before providing its assessment.

Example Three: WAPO Scrubs Harris Gaff

As part of its reporting on the 2019 primary campaign trail, the Washington Post reported on Kamala Harris and her preparation for a debate in Miami. The original article is too long to quote here, but I will link to a Fox News piece that contains the original text prior to the edit. The long and the short of it is that Harris compared life on the campaign trail to prison. Indeed, she joked about the similarity between respite from the stresses of the campaign and a prisoner asking for food and water.

Well, the Biden Administration’s propaganda wing cannot allow those actual words of Kamala Harris to remain in the record. They scrubbed them, a full two years after the publication of the original article. Huh: it is almost as if the paper’s coverage of Harris changed once she was in a position of power. Someone should write a history of the media and politicians. Got your title already – From Watchdog to Lapdog: A History of The Media and Politicians.

Conclusion: Better than State-run Media

The media seems to be in the tank so to say for the Biden Administration. Whether editing the past (Example Three) or controlling the present (Examples One and Two), the propaganda bent is clear. This is actually better than state-run media in terms of propaganda. It maintains the illusion of press freedom because the state does not (directly) control these outlets. Such an illusion is useful because it maintains the mask of democracy and a free press, something so critical to Biden and his Administration.

To end, I want to reiterate that I am not a right-winger. Anyone who has read my previous articles for this site can see that. The conflation of criticism of Corporate Democrats and their media assistants with being ‘right-wing’ needs to stop. The fact that I have to go to right-wing sources for serious media analysis says much about the state of the media.

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26 comments

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  1. Paul from Broken Hill

    Oh for God’s sake, Biden/Harris have only been on the job 5 minutes. Non Stop Propaganda from Fox and other right wing media far out weigh the silly assertions here.

  2. Roswell

    Paul, Dr Tim definitely is a Leftie, but has the courage to be critical of the Left if he feels criticism is warranted, as is his right.

    However, I do get the feeling from his previous articles, and I could be wrong, that Dr Tim would have been happier if Bernie was POTUS.

  3. Paul from Broken Hill

    Roswel, let him speak for himself, I am sure he does not need you to explain his actions. If he is sulking because Biden did not get the guernsey, let him say so.
    It is like when a Politician says something stupid and his/her colleagues appear on TV to say, “What so and so meant to say was……..”.
    My opinion, my free speech.

  4. Roswell

    Well, I’m sorry I spoke.

  5. Karen Kyle

    Making mountains out of molehills…….or trying to.
    Inefectual as always. Having a go at the free press in the US and saying it is no better than a state run media. Doing Putin’s work for him again are we?
    As for Israel there has always been bi partisan support for Israel in the US. It helps to balance the KGB and it’s unqualified support and much financial aid from the Soviet Union to the Palestinians. Yassar Arafat was a KGB man through and through, and he was put in his leadership position by the KGB who pulled all the strings for years. Arafat died of Polonium poisoning…..Russia is the only country known to use it. Aljazeera investigation into his death.

  6. Michael Taylor

    Any government or administration has to be held to account.

    As over-joyed as we are that Trump was defeated and whilst nearly everyone here supports Joe Biden, it doesn’t mean he gets a free pass.

    Same with Australian politics. If Morrison is defeated at the next election (God I hope so), it doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to Labor.

    All governments, whether we like them or not, are not above criticism.

  7. Karen Kyle

    There is always a honeymoon period with a new government. It wears off. For Christ sakes leave Biden and Harris alone. At least let them find their feet.

  8. Karen Kyle

    No Government gets a free pass…….not on this site, except for the two worst on the planet, Russia and China.

  9. Karen Kyle

    YouTube Video….What Killed Arafat

  10. Henry Rodrigues

    Reflecting on honeymoon periods. Surely such interludes of calm and bliss couldn’t occur here in Australian politics because, Scummo, the coalition and the crinkled old bastard have been bethrothed to each other in a incestuous relationship for many many years, nurturing and benefitting from each other’s basest desires to get the satisfaction that they couldn’t achieve elsewhere or otherwise. No wonder Scummo has that permanent smirk on his face.

  11. Dr Tim Jones

    I re-read the piece to make sure, but this was criticism of the media and its coverage of the Biden/Harris Administration rather than of the Administration itself?

    Concerning the state-run media comment, Chomsky said that, not me. As for how the media acts, four years plus of constant attack on Trump and then when there is a change of party in the White House, the tone changed completely. No – no bias there.

  12. John Hanna

    I agree with Paul and Henry, even the ABC allows for puppy governments to make a few puddles.

  13. Michael Taylor

    You won’t find too many posts on this site that praise China, I can only think of two. And you’ll be struggling to find any that praise Russia.

    Perhaps, Karen, you’d like to show us a bit of proof to back up your ridiculous claim.

  14. Karen Kyle

    So you quote that excruciating old liar Chomsky …….see the website Chomsky’s top two hundred lies and without attribution.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Tim, people have a habit of drawing conclusions that aren’t there.

  16. Paul from Broken Hill

    Michael Taylor, what a condescending post. Maybe it is you who are drawing conclusions, I would not expect such an elitist comment on a site that is supposed to be about free speech and open discussion. Who are “the people”? Are they related to “those people”?

  17. Paul Sullivan

    Oh, Michael, Michael, I will take it you are under some sort of pressure and not take offence.
    Maybe you need to take a break from studying,
    We all have breaking points, I see these few posts have made you reach yours, for your sake I will offer no more comments on the good Doctor continuing to use this platform to vent his spleen at the Democrats.

  18. Michael Taylor

    Paul, I apologise. It was rude and unnecessary, and I will have it deleted.

    Yeh, I must be under a bit of stress, and I don’t blame you. Whenever I see Karen Kyle on this site my nerves start to grate. She puts me on edge.

  19. Michael Taylor

    PS: Your comments are encouraged and your opinions are welcome. All we ask is that people discuss/argue/debate the message, and not attack the messenger.

  20. Michael Taylor

    Karen Kyle, your comment has been deleted.

    The owners of this site consider your comment to be of a threatening nature and you are now permanently banned from this site.

  21. Harry Williams

    Karen Kyle, Because you disagree with Chomsky he is a liar. I believe he has much more credibility throughout the world than your good self. As for your so called source(s). Below are two examples of expose’s of the lies .

    Top 250 Noam Chomsky Lies: Did Chomsky lie about Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz? from badhistory

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-01/brull—the-boring-truth-about-chomsky/2779086

    Paul Bognador seems to be the source of your post. I read through his list of 250 and never have I seen such distortions and truth bending for many a year. The man has a distinct hatred for Chomsky because he does not kowtow to Zionist propaganda. He should be classed as the poor man’s Donald Trump.

  22. DrakeN

    Karen Kyle Gone?!

    What a relief!

  23. Andrew J. Smith

    Not sure how useful or relevant it is to constantly analyse, revisit and critique policies and personalities from the centre right through to left as it seems like false equivalence or balance when e.g. Fox News and most mainstream media unwittingly do the bidding of the far right libertarians through a less demanding prism, let alone on competence or an ethical framework?

    For example, after Trump’s victory many Democrat voters were of course upset, while many others I knew personally, were obsessing about media led focus upon negatives of the Obama administration; complaining about Obama who was (to be) no longer President while ignoring Trump?!

    Think it’s a classic technique of mainstream media political PR manipulation and ‘nudging’, supporting the status quo in their minds, of right wing governments, disappear one’s own side (e.g. last election campaign was all Morrison no ministers vs. Shorten, Labor, unions, greenies etc. bad) and focus upon negatives of the ‘left’ (centre right back to left), all the disadvantages and create anxiety.

    Not only does this protect the e.g. GOP, LNP or Tories,and avoids tricky policy points (if policy does exist), it leverages a powerful motivator in humans i.e. emotions of negativity and pessimism of the time, over the more benign positivity and optimism for the future (may reflect ageing electorates rusted onto legacy media).

  24. Andrew J. Smith

    Talking of propaganda locally, by coincidence something similar today in Oz media:

    ‘Businessman Chau Chak Wing awarded $590,000 in defamation case against ABC…. The philanthropist sued in the Federal Court over a 2017 Four Corners episode, “Power and Influence” — a joint investigation with Fairfax Media — which has since been bought by Nine Entertainment Co.’

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-02/chau-chak-wing-wins-defamation-case-against-abc/13111934

    Then, another ‘coincidence’ hours later:

    ‘FBI evidence detailing payment to former UN official by Chau Chak Wing tabled in Parliament…..Goldstein MP Tim Wilson told Parliament that Dr Chau has sued journalists over accusations that he paid a $200,000 bribe to John Ashe, a former and allegedly corrupt UN chief. “In presenting these documents it is my intention simply to allow their scrutiny,” Mr Wilson said.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-02/chau-chak-wing-fbi-case-file-tabled-in-parliament-by-tim-wilson/13114162

    Wilson, like Abbott et al., has seemingly become an Anglosphere and/or transnational ‘influencer’, especially on China and the CCP, while promoting IPA and/or ASPI like talking points?

    Seems to be a need to keep legs on political/media based Chinese conspiracies, whether substantive or not?

  25. Josephus

    I do concur that identity politics aka ad hominem arguments are darned irrelevant. Let both of the new US leaders prove they are level headed people who weigh the evidence – who cares even if they were to have tentacles! After all, octopi have eight brains…

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