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Viagra, Gay Bloggers And Phony News – OpEd

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The corporate media continue to follow the dictates of people in power, ignoring their obligation to report factual information in as unbiased a way as possible. Instead they behave like scribes in a royal court, dutifully repeating the words of the king in hopes of currying favor and gaining access. Their shameless behavior is on view yet again as another president with imperial aspirations tells obvious lies in order to gain support for wars of aggression.

At the urging of the United States government and NATO, the International Criminal Court has piled on its anti-Muammar Qaddafi rhetoric. One prosecutor even claims that Qaddafi is giving his troops Viagra and using rape as a weapon of war. He has done so without presenting any evidence and even worse, the American media are repeating the assertions without investigation of any kind.

When George W. Bush made the case for invading Iraq, he too used rape as a rhetorical weapon of war, claiming that Saddam Hussein had “rape rooms” in his palaces that were used to assault dissidents. In 2003 as in 2011, the claim was reported without evidence.

The service to their masters takes on many forms. If a president lies about his reasons for killing people, the lie is never exposed. Sometimes the media are so eager for the story which won’t upset the powerful, that they will extend the parameters of their falsehoods.

Such was the case with “Amina,” a Syrian blogger and lesbian who wrote critically about the regime of President Assad. The blog “A Gay Girl in Damascus” was followed by incredulous people all over the world, but it turned out that Amina never existed. The blog and Amina were the creations of a heterosexual American man living in Scotland who wanted to hasten the end of Assad’s days in power. When the non-existent Amina was reported missing, an alleged kidnap victim of the Syrian police, even the state department grew alarmed and made inquiries as to her safety.

The hypocrisy manifested on the part of the United States government is quite stunning. While denying or minimizing the loss of lives caused by its actions in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Haiti and on the part of any of its allies, the government was willing to use its power to ensure the safety of one person in Syria.

The government does not have a monopoly on these hypocritical expressions of outrage. Private citizens too, are moved to speak and act by a strange set of values. The phony blogger who created Amina knew what he was doing when he created a gay, female persona. Americans and Europeans are convinced of their own moral superiority vis a vis the Muslim world. They rarely say a word about when their governments kill Muslim women with their acts of war. They gasp in horror over the treatment of gay people in some societies, but they know or care little about how their governments’ actions create suffering for all people all over the globe.

We have a media that follows the dictates of government and sensational news items, that is to say sensationalism which proves racist notions of superiority and which don’t create any difficulties for the powerful. The bombing of a university in Tripoli, Libya ought to create a sensation, but that information never makes it onto the front pages.

The media scribes not only pick and choose what they do and don’t think worthy of their attention, but they are also unable to keep very simple facts straight. They are now repeating the Obama administration claim of a significant troop draw down in Afghanistan. The president will reportedly announce a withdrawal of somewhere between 5,000 and 30,000. However, even if he were to withdraw the higher number he would still leave 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, twice the number stationed there when he first took office. Simple arithmetic is yet another criteria that is too much to ask the members of the fourth estate.

Citizens who want to know what is happening in this country and around the world are at a great disadvantage. The old saw that it is unwise to believe everything we read should be modified. When it comes to the corporate media, perhaps we should believe nothing we read. We certainly would be no less knowledgeable of the truth.

Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR (http://www.blackagendareport.com), and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.

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