Lost in the ’50s with Harper’s anti-terror pablum | rabble.ca

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Canadian Politics, Media, War

Media as servile stenographers

Canada’s mainstream media’s similarly shoddy reporting on issues related to “radicalization” and so-called national security in general is also reminiscent of the Cold War years, when the smallest of news items that followed a specific anti-Communist narrative was blown up to scare the public into silence, sending them into their backyards to build fallout shelters stocked with Campbell’s soup. Those were good years for the powers that be, who were able to easily divert attention from issues of social inequality, racism, and the perils of open-air nuclear testing. As Charles Wilson, a former GE executive, told the Newspaper Publishers Association of America in 1950, their role was to keep Americans convinced that:

“the free world is in mortal danger … if the people were not convinced of that, it would be impossible for Congress to vote the vast sums now being spent to avert that danger … with the support of public opinion, as marshaled by the press, we are off to a good start. But the mobilization job cannot be completed unless such support is continuous … It is our job, yours and mine, to keep our people convinced that the only way to keep disaster away from our shores is to build America’s might.”

And so it remains today, with many reporters breathlessly buying the narrative of Canada at war and in mortal danger, playing the role of Greatest Generation reporters reliving the glory of the Second World War. Back then, or so we are told, we were all on the side of the good guys, and any abuses that may occur in that noble fight (say, Canadian concentration camps for tens of thousands of Japanese heritage) were committed by officials who were only trying to, in the words of a former Canadian Supreme Court judge excusing the more recent actions of Canadian officials complicit in torture, “exercise their best judgment.”

By focusing on the alleged virus of terror incubating in immigrant communities and places of worship (and not in the basements of white supremacists planning mass killing in malls, who are dismissed as “murderous misfits” by Peter McKay), Canadian media have put on the backburner the real threat to global citizens: last week, the UN issued two landmark reports on the “alarming” global epidemic of violence against women and an imminent freshwater crisis. Instead, they jumped all over the story of an RCMP Edmonton arrest of a 17-year-old allegedly planning to go to Syria, as well as a man currently being held in detention who was allegedly planning a series of attacks but who has yet to be charged and may well, in the supposed interests of security, be deported! Both have served to conveniently wipe from memory the disturbing reports that someone working on behalf of Canadian state security appeared to be assisting in the recruitment and travel plans of young people headed for ISIS territory.

via Lost in the ’50s with Harper’s anti-terror pablum | rabble.ca.

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