The sinister fourth estate

NO one should underestimate the forces behind what has been described as the fourth estate, which commonly refers to the print media.

It moulds public opinion as a conductor directs the orchestra. The national print media in subliminal and malevolent form can orchestrate public consciousness from editorial boardrooms.

The more independent regional media, such as this newspaper is freer. I often hear comments such as, ‘you would never read that in the…’  The correspondent then goes on to name what was once known as a Fleet Street broadsheet or tabloid, whose power can never be underestimated.

Less than three weeks before the outbreak of Second World War, the then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said: ‘History will judge the press generally to have been the principle cause of war.’

The British ambassador Neville Henderson echoed the boss’s sentiments: ‘I would feel confident (of peace) if it were not for the British Press.’

Reading today’s mainstream media one wonders; will much the same be written about the onset of World War 111 if Israel, the US and the UK make what they will describe as a pre-emptive strike on Iran. It is the case of all conflicts.

Today, with war constantly making the news headlines the astute observer will see manipulation of public sentiment. Much of it isn’t lies but the half-truth, Manipulated by experts at their craft it is hand in glove with censorship. Thanks to the internet people are now less dependent for information on their daily national newspaper; less trusting than were earlier generations.

Reading correspondents’ opinions on current affairs can lift one’s spirits; there are still free thinkers to be found in abundance. The task that needs to be done is to harness their sentiments and oust the social engineers; the pen-pushing camp-followers who bay the mob in whichever direction they choose.

It is often overlooked but many mainstream journalists, with professional accreditation, are ideally placed for acting as agents or agent provocateurs. For this reason, all countries as a matter of policy use journalists as spooks. One must assume that many top journalists may be wearing two hats.

The Russians and the British do it; so does the US and China; they all do it. One erudite correspondent in the 1930s claimed to have met many newspaper men who openly boasted they were employed by their country’s secret service. There is nothing new in this; all prime ministers; indeed all government ministers of all nations throughout the years have commented on the media’s role in shaping public opinion, preparing it for war and being paid by other interests.

As the West gears up for yet another war, this time against Iran and possibly Syria, one’s daily read becomes a lesson in the conditioning of the public mind. One can be certain of one-sided news in which the case for the defendants will be airbrushed out of all considerations.

Ernest Hemingway, one of the world’s greatest war correspondents wrote in the 1930s: ‘A country never wants war until a man, through the power of propaganda, convinces it. Propaganda is stronger now than it has ever been before.’ I wonder what the great writer would make of things today.

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