Real Media: John Pilger on the ABC of Media Power

kamsandhu —  November 26, 2014 — 21 Comments

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

Last week, renowned journalist John Pilger spoke at a Q&A on media power with Des Freedman from the Media Reform Coalition who released his new book ‘The Contradictions of Media Power.’

We have picked some of our favourite quotes from John Pilger during the talk, which give us an insight of his experience and understanding of media power, which is something we can all learn from. And he definitely puts it best.



“The whole essence of media is not about information. It’s about power.”


“Today the media is, as the father of propaganda, Edward Bernays described, ‘an invisible government.’ It’s in the government. It’s in the government’s vested interests. The Prime Minister is a PR man by trade, and not a very good one. That’s all he is. He shouldn’t be taken seriously, he just has the position. That position allows him certain aspects of power. But the real power resides in propaganda and the media. That’s true now all over the world.”


“In the run up to the invasion of Iraq, the journalism played a very, very critical role in ensuring that invasion took place. Especially in the United States, which has constitutionally the freest press in the world.

“Now, when discussing this with a number of distinguished colleagues in the US and in this country, following the invasion, they were unanimous in saying, had journalists in responsible positions, both in television and in newspapers (especially television because of it’s power), had they questioned the deceptions, had they challenged them, had they done their jobs as journalists, had they as Dan Rather of CBS said – asked the critical second question, instead of amplifying and echoing the lies told as pantomime. Had they done their job, they believe that invasion might not have taken place. The fact that they were saying that, and these are people from well inside the media establishment on both sides of the Atlantic, saying that had those journalists done their job, that invasion might not have taken place, and hundreds of thousands of people would be alive today. That’s the power of the media.”


“You’re working within a system that is inherently hostile to truth telling. And I don’t say that as satire, I mean that. It is hostile to truth telling. One only has to see the media reaction to the truth tellers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange. The bitter reaction of people who shamed much of the media, almost at a stroke.”


“There is something called censorship by omission. You don’t really discuss what you leave out but it’s left out.”


“If you look back to 2008, the stories on BBC News, all over the papers, the banks were suddenly crooks. When Northern Rock collapsed, the banks were crooks, they were all exposed. The Guardian was full of tombstones of copy about how the banks were rotten from the inside. It was the story.

A glimpse. That story ended after about three months and it was turned around, that it wasn’t really the bankers, but it all came down to a national debt and a controlled narrative was there and it’s called austerity and that debt had to be paid off. Why? Why did it have to be paid off? The people that you quote (46% of people believe that austerity has gone too far or is not needed) that’s a majority really. If you’re getting that in the poll, 46%, that’s a majority. Proving again that most people are ahead of the media. They usually are, they’re ahead of the media as far as going to war, they’re ahead of the media in terms of the economics of their lives, how they live.

So we saw this glimpse of the truth of this massive criminality……all the rotten architecture had collapsed…almost collapsed. Banks were nationalised. Banks were nationalised with no conditions. The consciousness of how this happened which was there, for I suppose about six months, was, thanks to a very effective propaganda system, was shifted. That it wasn’t the banks’ fault, it was our fault.”


“We’ve almost got to stop using the term mainstream. It’s a misnomer. We’re always drawn to look through this prism of something called the mainstream. It’s not. It’s actually an extreme. What could be more extreme than various institutions that propagate rapacious illegal war, deception about economic policies. What could be more extreme than that? There’s nothing mainstream about that.”


“The greatest propaganda institute in Britain is the BBC. It is that because it has the greatest reputation. It has the greatest credibility. It has a worldwide reputation. Some of it earned. In news and current affairs, almost none of it earned. And I don’t say that again satirically. So this idea that we concentrate on the demons, Murdoch , the Daily Mail (bad enough), because in a way the Mail and the BBC compliment each other and they all follow each other. …It’s about understanding that spectrum of propaganda and how it affects all of us.”


Should journalists represent the people? Yes of course but as Martha Gelhorn famously said; “All journalism should be from the ground up, not from the top down.” It almost never is. And that is something again that has to be taught to young journalists.  These basic things that you do, the most reliable sources of the truth, not all the truth, but of a way of finding the truth are to be found at ground level. That’s my experience as a reporter. And I had to find out that the people who were above ground level, especially up there, were not reliable sources.”





21 responses to Real Media: John Pilger on the ABC of Media Power


    Reblogged this on sinclairgordon2012 and commented:
    ABC of Media Power


    Reblogged this on dylankjoneswriter and commented:
    This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the deceptive nature of our media system.


    This article mentions the BBC, I would further add that in the UK, the level of media bias in support of a no vote in the recent Scottish independence referendum was on a par with Goebbels in Nazi Germany. Out of over 35 newspapers (can’t remember the exact number) only ONE the Sunday Herald backed a yes vote. The referendum was held on a thursday which meant that on the day itself NOT A SINGLE newspaper on the shelves was backing a yes vote.

    In addition to that the BBC acted as nothing more than a propaganda outlet for the UK establishment with such examples as this –


    Reblogged this on discordion {Artist Ian Pritchard} and commented:
    Inspiring my research dissertation for my MA


    The closest views to the truth that I have recently seen. An “invisible government of vested interest” … which as been painted white by the media, how accurate can you get? The only question I must ask here is: whether this government is made solely of humans or is it a mixture between demons and servants? The reason I ask is because they are only selling to the populations – through he media – tyranny, oppression and war!


    As usual…I find myself agreeing entirely with John Pilger!

    The awfulness of the media is that the lies and conflation of facts and the omissions of the reality is there for all to see…but no-one can see it because, despite having a free press, the power of the corporate interests that own the media is such that it drowns out reality even when that reality has been revealed for all to see!

    It was truly awesome (the only word that I can find to describe it) to see how, after the collapse of the financial industry in 2008, (caused entirely by that same financial industry and corporate interests in a vast pyramid scheme), within six months the media turned the story around 180 degrees and blamed the victims who had lost everything…the poorest in society. That is still the story current today.

    The collapse of the entire Worlds banking system was caused by poor people who flim-flammed the ‘smartest guys in the room’ and the ‘Gods of Wall Street’ into loaning them money for worthless shotgun shacks in Georgia!

    But I keep telling anyone who will listen: “Follow then money!” Those same poor people who lost their homes are living under the freeways of Detroit, so where are their millions? Meanwhile, the bankers didn’t lose a single penny because they off-shored their money (and pay no taxes) in the Bahamas! So why are we still bailing them out!!

    Keep on telling the story John…but I’m sorry to say that there may not be many who can hear you.


    I was amused recently by the audacity of a BBC commentator, playing a ‘response from Russian state television’ to a news item. The BBC definitely qualifies as U.K. state broadcasting i.e. top man appointed by the PM and approved by the Queen. It’s been, primarily, the establishment mouthpiece since its inception, for that purpose.
    Orwell’s time there, and at British intelligence, equipped him well for ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’. He could clearly see the trends…


    Reblogged this on Smoke and Mirrors and commented:
    Pilger, as usual, is spot on. In the Thai situation, it isn’t just the media that is hostile to truth.


    Just on Iraq alone, we can see how powerful MSM is. The agenda, was to place Iraq’s Oil, back under the ‘Petrodollar’, as Saddam had asked permission to sell it in Euros.

    “But as America’s manufacturing and agriculture has declined, the oil producing nations faced a dilemma. Those piles of US Federal Reserve notes were not able to purchase much from the United States because the United States had little (other than real estate) which anyone wanted to buy. Europe’s cars and aircraft were superior and less costly, while experiments with GMO food crops led to nations refusing to buy US food exports. Israel’s constant belligerence against its neighbours caused them to wonder if the US could actually keep their end of the petrodollar arrangement. Oil-producing nations started to talk of selling their oil for whatever currency the purchasers chose to use. Iraq, already hostile to the United States following Desert Storm, demanded the right to sell their oil for Euros in 2000 and in 2002, the United Nations agreed to allow it under the “Oil for food” program instituted following Desert Storm. One year later the United States re-invaded Iraq, lynched Saddam Hussein, and placed Iraq’s oil back on the world market only for US dollars.

    Following 9-11, the clear US policy shift away from being an impartial broker of peace in the Middle East to one of unquestioned support for Israel’s aggressions, only further eroded confidence in the Petrodollar deal and even more oil-producing nations started openly talking of oil trade for other global currencies.

    Over in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi had instituted a state-owned central bank and a value-based trade currency, the Gold Dinar. Gaddafi announced that Libya’s oil was for sale, but only for the Gold Dinar. Other African nations, seeing the rise of the Gold Dinar and the Euro, even as the US dollar continued its inflation-driven decline, flocked to the new Libyan currency for trade. This move had the potential to seriously undermine the global hegemony of the dollar. French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly went so far as to call Libya a “threat” to the financial security of the world. ”

    Compliments to Michael Rivero, for above information.

    The fact that the gold of these two nations, went missing at the same time, is secondary?
    British press kept up the pretence, with the Inquiry into WMD. The poor Dr Kelly, being hung out to dry, literally. This piece, from the London Times; speaks volumes of the players and adds more meat for the arrest of Blair?




      It has since come to light, that the US, and their incursion into Ukraine, secreted their gold from the central bank to US?
      It is no surprise, that MSM, is owned by the same NWO corporations driving the Agenda 21 program and have vested interests in the results. Interestingly, it also appears that Russia, China and other BRIC’s nations aren’t particularly interested in the NWO? Could this be the real reason for such atrocities against these nations?
      See here for ‘alternative reporting’ on US activity and here; for an interesting story as to why the whole crew of a US warship, resigned?
      Stories MSM won’t report about!

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