US Media and Government Lies and Deception
Selective Media in the U.S. & Political crimes
by Gregory Halik
When tuning in to your nightly news, which may cover a range of topics including: weather, sports, international news, including politics, breaking news and other information which has been selected for dissemination; you may be wondering “What isn’t the news telling me?” The answer to this question is tied to the fact that the government of the United States has controlled the media since its inception and utilized its far reach to influence the perception of domestic and international acts of aggression as well as support of these acts in a favorable light. We will take a look at twelve pieces of media that substantiate my previous claims; others will shed light on how the government has supported, condoned, and participated in political/ war crimes, disseminated false information to the American people, created false villains, persecuted those who spoke the truth and ultimately used their influence to dance around the fact that by in large, The U.S. has participated in some way in the overwhelming majority of terroristic actions, civilian casualties, and other crimes which it refutes to this day.
The phrase fake news has become recently popular among conservatives, as described in the article by Jennifer Rose To Believe or Not to Believe, “that is, fake news can be ‘a rhetorical device for shutting down critical reporting’ (Gelfert 2018: 85); or it can be a phrase that is used to describe reports that are disliked or viewed as ‘unflattering’ by public figures (Klein and Wueller 2017: 6). (J. Rose) Donald trump has popularized this usage of the phrase however, fake news has had a long history in this country, starting with reporters and journalists utilizing it as a way to spread fanfare within their publications, by publishing outrageous or shocking stories, according to Jennifer Rose. However, as history has moved forward and more and more people have become further detached from the reality of truth, fake news has become an epidemic. Jennifer Rose delves into this topic by discussing a scenario in which one pro-democrat and one pro-republican are confronted with a real-life story regarding a ballot box discovered in Ohio filled with fraudulent votes for Hilary Clinton leading up to the 2016 election. Fake news, specifically found on the internet, has become nearly impossible to quickly discern from real or false. The credibility of the previously mentioned fake news article was at face value, credible enough to perhaps sway the vote of both democrats and republicans alike, and may have influenced the direction of up to six million votes, the number of views the article received. “The story went viral, reportedly reaching 6.1 million people, and was viewed by the media as giving Trump a boost in votes, thereby impacting on the outcome of the election (Garcia and Lear, 2016) (J. Rose) The rising number of news sources making false claims is rising exponentially, especially on social media websites such as Facebook, which has come under fire for not doing much of anything to combat the spread of misinformation on their platform. According to one Forbes article
“A team of researchers led by Andrew Guess of Princeton University tracked the internet use of over 3000 Americans in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. They found Facebook to be the referrer site for untrustworthy news sources over 15% of the time. By contrast, Facebook referred users to authoritative news sites only 6% of the time.” (M. Travers)
I strongly agree with the sentiment the author holds which is that the fake news epidemic is continuing to get worse, and we can only combat it my changing the way we think about beliefs we hold, and whether we can look deeper into the information we find, and have the ability to discern false information from true knowledge.
The documentary Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land is a notable piece which highlights the main points of the Zionist Israeli’s conflict with Palestine and surrounding Arab nations along with the pivotal role the U.S. media & government played and still plays today; how they have molded the perception of the average American into one that sees Israelis as the victims of Palestinian aggression and terror, when the truth is, in reality a complete one-eighty. The documentary breaks down in chapters the different tactics employed by our government, Israel’s government, U.S. owned Media Firms, and watchdog groups to make sure the story told on national television is always one that favors the agenda of Israel. Why is this relationship between Israel and the U.S. so? The documentary described Israel as a “buffer zone” between the U.S. and the rest of the middle east. Israel is our only friend in the middle east, and in an effort to consolidate pro-western ideology and create a nation in the middle east that can serve as a watchdog for the west the U.S. government is ready and willing to subvert the ideology of Americans. As stated by Prof. Robert Jensen, “Israel is fighting a war on two fronts, one is being fought with Palestinians via a military campaign in occupied Palestinian territories and the other is a public relation campaign being waged in the U.S. thru the American Media”. The facts of the conflict are hidden behind selective footage and coverage on the conflict that would leave the American viewer believing wholeheartedly that Palestinians were the aggressors. According to the documentary and clearly revealed when comparing U.S. Coverage to say Al Jazeera or BBC, the conflict is painted in two entirely different light. U.S. media always fails to mention the dichotomy of the relationship between the two countries and the fact that the Israeli military is driving innocent Palestinians from their homes, destroying crops, killing animals, and stealing natural resources. Building luxury communities on hilltops in occupied land with swimming pools and paved streets, while displaced Palestinians live in war torn rubble with no access to clean water. This is never mentioned in the news clips covering attacks of communities in occupied Palestine. Although this is a war fought between rebels with almost no infrastructure with no firepower, tanks, or fighter jets, the U.S. media highlights to no end acts of terrorism committed against Israel in the form of suicide bombings by the Palestinians. Though any act of violence is and should be condemned why does the media attempt to garner sympathy for Israeli victims only? The U.S. claims to have a neutral stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, yet the media and government show no support at all for the overwhelming number of Palestinian victims. From 1950-2000, 100 billion dollars in U.S. aid matriculated to Israel in some form, yet not penny to Palestine. It is clear and was further cemented that Israel and Palestine would not reach an agreement without a decided victor, as at camp David in 2000 a peace talk between Israeli and PLO leader, Barak former prime minister of Israel offered Arafat a deal where Palestine would lose virtually all sovereignty, natural resources, and freedom of movement within their country. The offer was a disgrace to Palestine and Arafat refused. The media Portrayed the offer as a “generous deal” when in fact the deal would have rendered Palestine a puppet state inside Israel. This documentary highlighted in great detail the fact that the U.S. is desperate to keep Israel in power in the middle east, and if destroying the nation and people of Palestine is objecting, the U.S. is willing to subvert the perspective of its citizens until they view Palestine as an enemy.
In the documentary presented by John Pilger titled Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror, Misinformation disseminated by The Bush Administration regarding the true reality of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are explored. Beginning around the time of the cold war, shortly before the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States was funding the training and creation of the mujahadeen a group of rebel fighters trained to fight soviet soldiers. One of the leaders of this groups was Osama Bin Laden. From the mujahadeen other groups were formed with anti-western sentiment, the Taliban & al-Qaida, responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks. The documentary revealed that the cabinet members and those surrounding George W. Bush including Donald Rumsfeld, Richard pearl, Paul Wolfowitz, all right wing Warhawks with outside interests; were pushing the terror attack as an opportunity to spread U.S. power & influence in the middle east. The war on terror according to John Pilger is akin to the façade of the past invoking the fear of the “red menace” to push U.S. interests abroad. The war on terror is a more bloody and inhumane war campaign than that fought in the past in the name of defeating communism. The war on terror being waged in the middle east is more akin to “A war of terror” (J. Pilger). In the documentary it is mentioned that the U.S. has 152 military bases abroad and claims they allow us to better fight terrorism, but in reality, the location of these bases are an attempt to create a network so that at any time, the U.S. can wage war on those who defy its interests, otherwise known as full-spectrum dominance. I strongly agree with the sentiment of this documentary that not only did we create a situation in the middle-east where a power vacuum was filled with unstable governments, but this was done intentionally as a way to advance U.S. interests and create a foothold, if temporary in the middle east-by establishing a long, drawn-out war, that devastates the local area and its inhabitants, only furthering distrust and hatred of the United States. The willful ignorance displayed by U.S. representatives while being interviewed blatantly lying about the origins and reality of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a clear display of the subversive tactics used by our government to hide the truth.
In The short video about events that took place while George H. Bush was president regarding an invasion of Iraq illustrates the lying and manipulation our government and media partake in. Iraq attacks Kuwait claiming that Kuwaiti oil drillers are taking oil from Iraqi land. In a poll to see if Americans would support going to war a poll showed that Americans would not support a role in the war. A press release in the conducted and a young girl from Kuwait goes on national television and tells a story about Iraqi soldiers killing children and removing babies from incubators and leaving them to die. After the statements American support for the war becomes overwhelming and operation Desert Storm is launched. The result of the war campaign is the death of over 130,000 Iraqi’s. A Canadian journalism company later revealed that the entire press conference was a sham, and the eye witness was actually the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter, used as a shill to boost U.S. support for the war. The allusion at the end of the video is one of writing on the wall. If Bush senior was willing to lie to the American people so Brazenly to advance his own interests, there leaves little room for doubt that George W. Bush would attempt to push the envelope further, and that he did.
Colin Powell was the U.S. secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration, and he played a crucial role in effectually selling the war in the middle east to Americans. The name of the game was Weapons of mass destruction and the target was Iraq. The then secretary of State went before U.N. hearing committee and lied, twisted words and evidence, to make a case that Iraq was hiding a nuclear program from the world. One example is when Powell played a recording of two Iraqi soldiers discussing plans for a pre-inspection they were conducting prior to a U.N. inspection. Their conversation regarding checking areas where left over materials, for what can be assumed to be used for the creation of weapons of mass destruction were stored and making sure everything has been removed in order to comply with U.N. mandates. Powell takes the translation and adds extra words and insinuates that the soldiers are attempting to hide materials from the U.N. and not making sure they are in compliance. Stated in the article “Powell took evidence of the Iraqis doing what they were supposed to do -- i.e., searching their gigantic ammunition dumps to make sure they weren't accidentally holding onto banned chemical weapons -- and doctored it to make it look as if Iraq were hiding banned weapons.” (J. schwarz)
This along with other misconstructions such as using the testimony of a then recently deceased Kamel, who was the head of Iraq’s WMD program who defected and admitted much information about the standing of the program admitted to the production of nerve gas, prior to the gulf war, long before we invaded Iraq. Powell intentionally misconstrues statements and muddles up the time line of events in order to paint Iraq in a nefarious light. There is little doubt he knew he was lying, but was most likely given the specific task of planting seeds of doubt and attempting to sway the U.N. into supporting the U.S. position that Iraq had WMD’s.
The next article by Eva Bartlett, is a commentary not only on the U.S. & North Korean hostilities, a product of mostly western aggression, but also on her personal experience and the views of common North Koreans. To this day and more so in the past, the media in the U.S. has cast the DPRK and its citizens in a negative light, and our government has been increasingly hostile in their treatment of the DPRK. Very little factual information about North Korea is shared on the news, according to Bruce Cummings, who was quoted in the article, “The demonization of North Korea transcends party lines, drawing on a host of subliminal racist and Orientalist imagery; no one is willing to accept that North Koreans may have valid reasons for not accepting the American definition of reality.” This quote illustrates that regardless of political affiliation, most Americans do not sympathize with North Korean people, viewing them as an enemy of America. In 2017 the State department banned travel to NK, what Eva Bartlett fails to mention is that this ban was enacted following the death of Otto Warmbier according to NKNEWS.ORG. While Otto was guilty of theft of government property, it is unclear how a government such as North Korea quoted as having such an excellent health care system, “As Professor Michel Chossudovsky noted: “North Korea’s health system is the envy of the developing world.” And, according to World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan, North Korea has “no lack of doctors and nurses.”” (E. Bartlett) That a foreign tourist who arrived in the DPRK in perfect health who suddenly came into the governments care could be returned to the U.S. after his trial in North Korea in a near death state, comatose & unresponsive, and dead within days of returning home. While this travel ban may have been warranted in the eyes of the State department, the author feels that this action will give support to the idea that North Korea is not a safe place.
In his commentary about the ever-growing hostility between Russia and the U.S. fueled in part by media propaganda, Robert Parry points out the obvious misstep in increasing tension with Russia as well as attempts made destabilize the current government, as the author puts it, “. The prospect of political chaos in Moscow - with extremists battling for power and control of the nuclear codes - should finally inject some sense of responsibility in the West's politicians and media, but doesn't.” (R. Parry) The obvious allusion is to the fact that in the past during campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, the U.S. was attacking weaker countries that were already destabilized due to years of colonialism practiced by the UK, France, and the U.S., but attempting to destabilize Russia could start a nuclear War. The U.S. continues to lie about the Russian government attempting to push blame on Russia for shooting down Malaysia flight 17. As we have seen in the past the U.S. government and media conspired to push a narrative of WOMD in Iraq, smeared Gaddafi for taking action against terrorists in Libya, and eventually destabilized the country to institute a regime change. The author argues that selective intelligence is the key to establishing a believable story. “The two themes have been central to the Western-backed "regime change" project in Syria and to the new Cold War with Russia. If U.S. intelligence analysts knocked down those themes in an NIE, valuable propaganda assets would be exposed and discredited.” (R. Parry) This is why perry claims, that our National Information agencies have yet to issue a threat level report on Russia, as it would decimate claims of the “red menace”.
In his article, Lies, Damn lies and Media, Parker Molloy takes a look at some of the deceptive tactics displayed by the right-wing entertainment company Fox News. Regarding Fox, they have made a strong transition from news to entertainment, their CEO is quoted saying “‘We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN,’” (Roger Ailes). The fact of the matter is that while many of the claims made of programs aired by fox, such as Hannity & Fox & Friends, like the green new deal will get rid of airplanes, cars, and even cows, as well as cost over a “Gazillion” dollars are obviously comments made in Jest. Being an entertainment company. Fox is obviously aware that this was a great opportunity to make the democrats look foolish. That is why according to the author, Fox ran thirty-four segments on the green new deal, while CNN, who bends over backwards to protect the Image of the democratic party, ran only 3 segments on the green new deal. While I would hardly call any of these satirical comments false and they are in my opinion, jokes, they do influence those who view their programming to be opposed to the green new deal by satirizing it. Other claims such as the comments made by Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam that New York had legalized infanticide, by passing a progressive abortion bill, is a more serious claim that works to vilify progressive policy regarding women’s rights. The Author makes the claim that there is no left-wing media source big enough to counter conservative voices, but this is an erroneous claim, for which there is no factual basis. Conservative opinions have become highly silenced, and the only Major right wing news source is Fox, Breitbart & the Drudge report. The University of Michigan’s report on major news networks found that CNN, MSNBC, NBC NEWS, Daily Show, The guardian, Al Jazeera, NPR, & New York times all lean left or far left. It is absolutely true that the conservative media as well as the liberal media both pander to a specific audience and they have a clear formula for opinions they hold on their respective programs. This ploy works to raise viewership but also works to divide average Americans.
The article by John Mcevoy speaks to the idea that mainstream media has a system of reporting of news that they deem “worthy or Unworthy”. He explores this idea by analyzing the data surrounding which media outlets covered the case of Julian Assange, as well as how many outlets covered the story that the CIA has plans to assassinate him, as well as evidence that they were spying on Assange as well as other journalists. Mcevoy notes that BBC one of the most outspoken journalistic organizations covered the story just once, while in the U.S the Washington Post and New York times all declined to publish a single page since July 2021. Some Journalists and British politicians have taken to slandering Assange, insinuating he is a coward for refusing to be railroaded by the U.S. Government. U.N. special reporter Nils Melzer was quoted saying “Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage” (N. Melzer) I believe that as the author asserts only independent journalists or outlets have the gall to publish news that has been deemed “unworthy” my major news corporations, which in turn decreases the likelihood everyday people will hear the real story.
The Documentary The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange, is a detailed look into the persecution of an award winning journalist and creator of Wiki-leaks who worked to expose the U.S. government for violating the privacy rights of Americans as well as revealing top secret information about U.S. and U.K. surveillance programs, he also revealed Government war crimes that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was officially charged with 17 counts of espionage. The Obama administration had stated that they could and would not pursue legal action against Assange because it would not only violate the constitution but also would endanger press freedom. The footage and documents published to wiki-leaks painted a horrific picture of U.S. action in the middle east, with several clips of civilians & even reporters being gunned down by attack helicopters as well as the annihilation of non-combatants attempting to flee the gunfire. According to U.N. reporter Nils Melzer after viewing the footage “it would not take an expert to determine that U.S. soldiers were intentionally massacring people” (N. Melzer)
The Footage sparked outrage in the journalistic community but after it was made clear that no prosecutions would be made for these actions, major media outlets slowly backed away from the story and with it support for Julian Assange disappeared as well. In 2012 Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in Great Britain and although the ambassador had reservations about granting Assange diplomatic immunity he was quoted saying “it was clear that he (Mr. Assange) would be denied due process”. While staying in the embassy The CIA conspired with a company, U.C. global who was in charge of security systems in the embassy, to plant secret devices which would be used to spy on Assange while the C.I.A. was building an extradition case against him. Someone working for the company came forward to reveal the covert operation when things got too serious and the company was asked to “target his family & help plan some form of assassination. These actions taken against an individual by the U.S. government was an informal way of sending a message to all journalists that this is what may happen if you cross them. Matt Kennard points out that in a previous cases involving the pentagon papers, Judge Byrne dismissed the charges against the accused due to improper government conduct. Due to the fact that so many of his rights had been violated any just court would be forced to dismiss the charges against Assange, but that never happened. In April 2019, the British police removed Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy and transported him to a high security prison. Documentarians noted that Julian Assange was indeed a victim of psychological torture while being held in custody and has been systematically been denied his basic rights including access to his lawyers. Not only has he been denied fair accommodation leading up to his trial, the judge appointed to his case has a strong conflict of interest as her family is involved in one of the U.K.’s leading cyber security firms. As one David Davies, a conservative MP states, “Assange is a symbol of the American sates affront to having its dirty laundry aired for the world to see… the Assange case is political, he is a political enemy of the U.S.” (D. Davies) The extradition of Assange to the circuit court in Virginia where he is to be tried is also no coincidence. The circuit court of this area draws its jurors from an almost entirely government employed or affiliated members of the public. If Assange was extradited and faced his charges in Virginia it is almost guaranteed he would lose his case. The entire legal system including the Judiciary in the U.K. and certainly in the U.S.it is essentially impossible for Assange to get a fair trial. The case is still ongoing and he is yet to receive a sentence regarding his extradition with an appeal hearing regarding his extradition set to take place October the 27th.
In the article from listverse, written by S. Grant, we can examine a few examples of whistleblowers who have exposed government secrets; while some have been punished severely, and others have walked free. The first example was Gary Webb, a journalist for San Jose Mercury News, published a story detailing the relationship between the C.I.A. and Nicaraguan Drug traffickers, whose sale of drugs in the U.S. was funding the Contras. His story was ill received and eventually lost his job, he was later found dead with two gunshot wounds to his head. Despite the glaring fact that a person cannot shoot themselves in the head twice, Webb’s family was insistent that it was a suicide. It was not until much later that Webb’s allegations were proven to be true by internal reports released by the government. Another example, one in which the defendant got off; it Former NSA executive Thomas Drake was charged under the espionage act for releasing information about a “trailblazer program” that was “ a method of sifting through the increasing amounts of electronic communications created by the Internet, cell phones, and elsewhere. While having a program to fill such a need is understandable, there was an alternative program (known as Thinthread) that was more efficient, only cost $3 million, and didn’t violate the privacy of ordinary citizens.” (S. Grant) His intention may have been to raise public awareness of violations of privacy or to attempt to force the NSA to waste less tax-dollars. The government eventually dropped the espionage charges, and instead drake was charged with only a misdemeanor. The true crime in this case was that a person with access to knowledge hidden from the public chose to speak up about an issue that not only aimed to protect the privacy of the citizens but also pointed out the exuberant expenditure our government devotes to spying on its citizens. One last example, Bradley Manning who was charged with twenty-one counts ranging from aiding the enemy to espionage, released thousands of clips of footage that ranged from war crimes, to evidence of U.S. involvement in child trafficking, all of which was posted to Wiki-leaks. Manning is described in the article as “a known disgruntled employee, who may have had ulterior motives for releasing the footage.” (S. Grant) Manning should be hailed as a hero by the public, but he has already been labeled a traitor and will most likely receive a life sentence.
The Global Times article entitled Supect no.1: Why Fort Detrick lab should be investigated… written by Lingzhi, Lanlan & Hui, Investigates the link between a lab leak theory and Fort Detrick Lab which was reported to have shut their facility down per CDC order in 2019 after citing them for “several violations which included four that were referred to as ‘serious violations’”(Lingzhi, Lanlan & Hui) The case remains that domestically media outlets only talk about a “lab leak” if it is regarding the possibility of a lab in China. However, the authors of this article argue that the likelihood of a lab leak occurring is much more possible from a U.S. facility given that the U.S. has “The US has many bio-labs in 25 countries and regions across the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union states, with 16 in Ukraine alone. Some of these labs have seen large-scale outbreaks of measles and other dangerous infectious diseases, according to media reports.”(Lingzhi, Lanlan & Hui). The U.S. facility at Fort Detrick is assumed by the authors to have “major loopholes in their management systems…one has to wonder what else was leaked with the mismanaged wastewater.”(Lingzhi, Lanlan & Hui)
Adding further suspicion to the theory, so far, the U.S. has denied the WHO access to investigate Fort Detrick in an effort determine if their closing in 2019 had anything to do with Covid-19. What is clear is that the WHO is open to the idea that the Covid-19 outbreak may have originated from a U.S. bio-lab, but the main stream media has not reported on this speculation; and as long as the Government denies the WHO access to their labs, we will not know. A former official from the Chinese CDC Zeng Guang is quoted saying “The US, the only country obstructing the establishment of a Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) verification mechanism, has systematic problems, Zeng said, adding that the US is afraid that the investigation into its labs would lead to more of its dirt being dug out.” (Lingzhi, Lanlan & Hui)
After an examination of each of these articles and their claims, we have seen over and over that the politicians, presidents, media corporations, and entire governments keep their establishment afloat with Lies. Lies about our military actions abroad, in third world countries where innocent people are gunned down by high tech weaponry; lies about deals made with freedom fighters who ten years later are labeled terrorists, lies about where the government spends tax money to benefit their own private interests. The corruption and violation of human rights and individuals’ rights such as those of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and other whistle blowers who sacrificed their freedom to expose the lies our government has told us. The overreach of power that is clearly illustrated by our government as soon as the typical American peeks through the veil, it is impossible to deny that the American citizen lives atop a metaphorical plateau, under which the lies of our nation’s leaders, along with the blood and bones of all the innocent people who have died from a result of U.S. influenced, funded, or propagated acts of violence. The role played by major media corporations has allowed the perspective of U.S. actions around the world to be shifted to a much more pleasant angle for viewing by the American audience. Nothing the U.S. supports or funds can be referred to as negative, and things that the U.S. does support and fund, such as the Israel Palestine conflict, acts of terror around the world and other acts of aggression, are not discussed and considered “un-newsworthy” to the eyes of major media outlets. These corporations should be forced to break away from their private interests in protecting the image of our government. If a politician or media corporation espouses lies they should be charged with endangering public safety or fraud, a charge that carries the distinction of knowingly and willingly deceiving an individual, in this case, the public.
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Fake News + Post Truth As Crime
By Gabriel Gurrola
October 20, 2021
The late Robert Fisk once said the Israel-Palestine conflict: “It’s the last taboo subject in America. You can talk about anything you want… but not America’s relationship with Israel or what Israel is doing”. In 2021, that is not the case. These days, journalists are being smeared for questioning the narratives surrounding topics such as Russiagate, China, COVID-19 and/or the alleged 2018 Douma attacks. Anyone who does any such thing is labeled a conspiracy theorist. Anyone who dares to say #FreePalestine is labeled as antisemitic. Anyone who opposes COVID vaccine mandates regardless of their own vaccination status are labeled as ‘anti-vaxxers.’ We live in a cartoon; all as the corporate elite and its bootlickers promote falsehoods and misinformation while accusing the proletariat of doing such thing. No one spews more falsehoods and misinformation than the elites.
It often feels as if oligarchs are creating their own world ruled by their own kind. Adam Curtis makes this case in his 2016 documentary titled Hypernormalisation. He details how, since the 1970s, the oligarchs have given up on a “real world” to build a “fake world” run by the corporate elites and maintained by capitalist politicians. It all started in 1975, during a battle between Hafez al-Assad and Henry Kissinger, where the idea of financial systems running society emerged. Also discussed in the film is President Reagan using Gaddafi as a pawn to carry out the 1986 bombing of Libya by blaming Gaddafi for airport attacks in Rome and Vienna that killed US soldiers. Then the devastating events of the Iraq War fuel Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, which did not work out so well for revolutionaries. The West is ultimately destabilized, fueling the rise of Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump. You often hear about how Trump is simply an aberration, not a representation of what the US is. But Trump is as American as apple pie. But there is nothing that fueled the rise of Donald Trump more than Bush’s megawatt lie fueling us into the Iraq War.
The events of 9/11 began the so-called ‘war on terror,’ a campaign bult on hypocrisy used to justify endless wars. The 2003 documentary Breaking the Silence features the incomparable John Pilger discussing the hypocrisy of the post-9/11 hysteria used to waste our tax dollars on wars. The documentary points out how the US funded Al-Qaeda in response to efforts to overthrow the Soviet Union and how President Bush used 9/11 to push an illegal war. Pilger grills chief of staff to VP Quayle, Bill Kristol, after saying: “The problem with America… is that we’ve been too slow to get involved in conflicts.” Pilger points out that the US has invaded 72 countries over the previous 15 years, a stat Kristol deems as “ludicrous.” Kristol is beloved by resistance liberals for his opposition to Trump despite paving the way for neocons everywhere. The film points out how the US approved the sale of weapons to Saddam Hussein and how the US lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. There were no WMDs, no threats, no links to Al-Qaeda. In the words of Ray McGovern, “It was 95% charade.” The invasion of Iraq was planned for years and there were methods that weren’t exercised that could’ve prevented 9/11. At the time of this film, it was estimated that 10,000 civilians have died in the attack on Iraq. This documentary is a scathing one, putting bad faith arguments for war on full display and how our elected officials lie about it.
Most of the knowledge people have about the Israel-Palestine conflict comes from cable news. And most of its coverage is pro-Israel as pro-Palestinian sentiment is silenced. In 2018, journalist Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for pro-Palestine remarks he made in a speech at the UN. Hill’s firing is just another example of how the media is shamelessly pro-Israel. The film Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land (which is age-restricted on YouTube for some reason) depicts this media spin and how they downplay Palestinian genocide or deny it altogether. Palestinians have been killed, tortured, had their homes destroyed, and have been denied humanitarian assistance. As Prof. Robert Jensen puts it: “Israel is really fighting a war on two fronts. The first is a military campaign being waged in the occupied territories against the Palestinian people. And the second is a PR campaign being waged here in the US through the American media to ensure continued support of Israel’s occupation.” One can make the argument that the US is complicit in Palestinian genocide by silencing pro-Palestinian sentiment or ignoring it altogether. For example, Rachel Maddow has not done a segment on Gaza since 2014 and the word itself has been mentioned just six times over her 13 years on MSNBC. Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land was released in 2004 yet remains relevant today as the conflict continues. This is only the beginning of corporate media’s crusade of brainwashing us either through omission, bold-faced lies, and deceptively edited images and videos.
When we read something in the news, we must think about whether or not the claims in each article are true or not. Sometimes, the images featured in these stories are fabricated to make the stories look believable. SpringerLink demonstrates this tactic Cameron Harris used to present a bogus story titled: “BREAKING: Tens of thousands of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” The story alleges that the Democrats pre-marked ballots supporting Hillary Clinton that were to be distributed and counted with actual election ballots. The story also “contained a photograph portraying a stack of election boxes that were marked ‘Ballet Box’ and the worker, who reportedly found the ballet boxes, inside a warehouse in Ohio. The photograph served as evidence for the alleged ballot fraud that the Democratic Party was charged with perpetuating… However, the story and the photograph were false. Cameron Harris admitted to fabricating the story and photoshopping the photograph.” (Rose, 2020). This is very similar to the Rolling Stone’s false story claiming gunshot victims were being turned away to treat people who overdosed on ivermectin, a possible COVID treatment. As Parker Molloy puts it: “[they] paired the story with a photo of a long line of people (readers might reasonably conclude that those people were waiting for the hospital, but that also wasn’t the case: it was a photo from January in Oklahoma of people lining up to get vaccinated.” As you can tell, both conservative and neoliberal media outlets fabricate stories to promote their narratives. Fake news knows no political party or ideology whatsoever.
We are indoctrinated to believe that the ‘pundits’ on FOX News are all-powerful boogeymen while CNN and MSNBC are truth-tellers. This is simply not the case. All these 3 media outlets have one thing in common: they lie at the behest of the establishment. Neoliberals want us to believe that right-wingers are the only ones who spew misinformation when they do the exact same thing. A 2019 article by Media Matters points out Sean Hannity’s fearmongering over the Green New Deal, which would: “[call] for a significant infrastructure investment through a 10-year national mobilization and jobs program.” FOX News pundits claim this would cause economic collapse, when the jobs program would actually boost the economy. Despite the accurate portrayals of right-wing media trying to fearmonger their audience to believe what they’re saying, this article, also written by Molloy, acts as if only right-wing media spews misinformation: “There is no left-wing equivalent of the right-wing ecosystem – at least not one using the same cutthroat strategy.” It is not just right-wing media who spew misinformation to their audience. Neoliberal media does it too from Rolling Stone’s fabricated story about ivermectin, Rachel Maddow’s deranged conspiracy theories about Russia, or Chris Cuomo’s bizarre claim that it is illegal for Americans to read Wikileaks. Any such claim that only right-wing media promotes falsehoods is simply not true. Conservative and neoliberal media promote falsehoods on a regular basis. And that has been the case throughout history.
Western countries will do and say anything to make an excuse to bomb other countries, this includes spreading lies and misinformation. A video explains how in 1990, Americans were split on whether or not to start a war with Iraq in response to an attack on Kuwait over oil fields. Then, a 15-year old Kuwaiti girl claimed that Iraqi soldiers took newborn babies out of their incubators and left them to die on the floor. This resulted in a spike in support for a war that eventually killed 135,000 Iraqis; an estimated 1 million Iraqis died as a result of a decade of sanctions. But there was never any truth to the Kuwaiti teenager’s claims. In fact, she is the daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador who was fed lines and trained in acting classes by a United States PR firm. This was a campaign of misinformation to manufacture consent into supporting a needless war that had absolutely nothing to do with the US. This is not the first falsehood Western media has told to brainwash the public into supporting wars.
Western media makes up stories about other countries out of thin air to get the public to support airstrikes and bombings of other countries. North Korea is an example of this. Eva Bartlett (who is labeled a conspiracy theorist by Wikipedia) demonstrates this perfectly. Bartlett describes how Trump to “totally destroy” North Korea and how Colin Powell vowed to turn the country into a “charcoal briquette.” Our political elites take pride in the destruction they’ve caused to North Korea, whom the US has sanctioned since 1950. We are built to believe that North Korea is an all-evil maniac, capable of bombing America at any moment. It is difficult for American citizens to travel to North Korea, with a travel ban the US claims is for the safety of their citizens. Bartlett traveled to North Korea on her Canadian passport and shared pictures of her trip in the article. Bartlett visited schoolchildren, hospitals, supermarkets, etc.; none of the images resembled this bleak image of North Korea that Western countries have portrayed. The travel ban proves how far Western countries will go to have their citizens not seek an alternative viewpoint about countries who they demonize. China is the target of such demonization by Western elites.
When you ask someone who has been so propagandized by corporate media who is to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic, their answer will be China. It is alleged that the coronavirus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. Western media has fueled this narrative, with 60% of the coverage from the US alone. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has accused Dr. Fauci of helping Wuhan to create the virus. Fauci himself, viewed as a messiah despite several mistruths about masks, herd immunity and vaccine mandates, has called for “any further investigation of what went on in China.” Western media focuses so much on China, but the focus is never placed on the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), which was temporarily shut down in 2019 after an inspection by the CDC. The USAMRIID claimed this was because the center did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater.” However, CDC documents on the center in Fort Dietrick, Maryland, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal several violations by the lab including systemic failure to “implement biosafety and containment procedures commensurate with the risks associated with working with select agents and toxins” as well as a lack of proper waste management, which “creates the potential for spills and leaks.” We don’t know how COVID originated, but if we want some answers, instead of focusing so much on Wuhan, the Fort Dietrick lab should be investigated. Not many people are aware of the Fort Dietrick fiasco in 2019, a few months prior to the nation’s first COVID case. Why? Because corporate media does not want us to know about it, all in an attempt to shift the blame onto other countries. How are we supposed to believe anything they say?
Since the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, an Alex Jones-level conspiracy theory known as Russiagate, allegations that Russia colluded in the election to help Trump win, has been hyped up. CNN and MSNBC gave legitimacy to the Steel Dossier and alleged that Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987. Even after the Mueller Report showed no evidence of any such collusion, mainstream media continues to peddle this debunked conspiracy theory. Putin has been portrayed as an all-knowing evil villain or a new Hitler. This is coming from the same politicians who misinform the public at every turn. George W. Bush misled the public into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction capable of wiping out millions of Americans in an instant. Hillary Clinton deceptively painted Gaddafi as “genocidal.” Clinton, as she chuckled, celebrated Gaddafi’s assassination with the infamous: “we came, we saw, he died.” Mainstream media has almost completely whitewashed Bush’s atrocities during the Trump era while Hillary is portrayed as a feminist icon. These two are professional liars who will say and do just about anything to get Americans to support invasions, airstrikes, and drone strikes. Anyone who eposes these atrocities is called a traitor to the country or becomes the target of a proposed assassination plot.
Just recently, Yahoo published a bombshell article detailing the CIA’s sociopathic plot to kidnap and assassinate Julian Assange, with President Trump requesting “sketches” or “options” on bow to kill him as the CIA plotted to kidnap him. Former CIA director Mike Pompeo seemed to confirm the findings, declaring that the former US intelligence officials featured in the report: “should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the CIA.” However, plots to assassinate Assange were originally reported by The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal in May 2020: “According to witness statements obtained by The Grayzone, weeks after [disgraced UC Global CEO David] Morales proposed breaking into the office of Assange’s lead counsel, the office was burglarized. The witnesses also detailed a proposal to kidnap or poison Assange.” Blumenthal’s investigative reported went largely ignored with only some left-wing journalists and YouTubers covering it. After the Yahoo article, “journalists” who mocked Assange or thought he should be put in Gitmo were awfully quiet after the findings. James Ball, a “journalist” for The Guardian once reported: “The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride.” Ball, who to this day thinks Assange helped catapult Trump to victory in 2016, reported on these findings, yet still showed the same disdain and scorn for Assange. The US has zero right to lecture any country about human rights when they are allowing Assange to be slowly tortured to death simply for doing journalism. Assange told a story that needed to be told and continues to pay the price for it.
President Biden, like his predecessor, is continuing the extradition of Julian Assange. If extradited to the US, Assange will not receive a fair trial. If convicted, Assange will spend the rest of his life in a supermax prison and will spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement; this would almost completely abolish press freedom as we know it. The film “The War on Journalism” sheds light on his case and how other journalists are persecuted simply for telling inconvenient truths. The documentary featured a video of a FOX News “pundit” calling to illegally shoot Assange while Trump suggested giving Assange “the death penalty or something.” In 2010, Wikileaks published a video of 11 Baghdad citizens being killed by US helicopters. This began over a decade of publishing stories that have never been retracted or disputed. Wikileaks has never had to retract a story, unlike most corporate news outlets who are forced to do so on a regular basis. Assange’s case will decide whether or not press freedom will live to see another day. Julian Assange is paying the ultimate price for doing journalism while the most bloodthirsty Bush-era war criminals have had their reputations rebuilt thanks to a few meaningless and vague anti-Trump statements.
As Julian Assange remains in a prison cell for doing journalism, war criminals are adored by mainstream media simply for the vaguest criticism of the GOP. Colin Powell experienced such rehabilitation when he began endorsing Democrats for political office. In the Trump era, Powell, and other Never Trump Republican grifters in the Lincoln Project, have all had their images and atrocities whitewashed. Neoliberals salivated over Powell’s criticism of Trump (he even spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention) conveniently forgetting that he misled the public into the Iraq War. As an article from Huffington Post puts it: “Powell’s loyalty to George Bush extended to being willing to deceive the world: the United Nations, Americans, and the coalition troops about to be sent to kill and die in Iraq.” (Schwartz, 2017). Powell, like most warmongers, think the American public is stupid. Therefore, he played an intercept of a conversation between members of the Iraqi army about inspections from the United Nations. Powell falsely translated the statements, making it appear as if Iraqis were violating with UN resolutions when they were actually complying with them. When investigating for “forbidden ammo,” the words “clear all of the areas… make sure nothing is there” were not in the intercept. Powell was never held accountable for his role in the big lie. Colin Powell died a free man and thanks to a few vague anti-Trump comments, his atrocities are all water under the bridge. It’s amazing to see how short the memory spans resistance liberals have. Resistance liberals and neoconservatives share a mutual disdain for whistleblowers who expose governmental corruption and deceit.
While warmongers like John McCain and Colin Powell are “treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media”, whistleblowers who expose governmental deceit and corruption are considered traitors to the United States and demonized by corporate media. Here are just some examples of brave individuals: Gary Webb exposed how the CIA turned a blind eye to Nicaraguan drug traffickers in the 1980s; Mark Felt anonymously fed sensitive details of Watergate to a Washington Post reporter that ultimately caused Nixon’s resignation. Daniel Ellsberg disclosed the Pentagon Papers that revealed several scandals from how US intelligence officials knew Vietnam was an unwinnable war but joined anyway to the JFK cabinet planning to overthrow Ngo Dinh Deim, the leader of South Vietnam. Coleen Rowley exposed how the FBI deliberately thwarted efforts which may have prevented 9/11 altogether. Edward Snowden exposed how the NSA planned to track our phone calls, monitor our emails, and their record of hacking into China’s computers, universities, and phone companies. There are many more whistleblowers and heroes to name; we can spend an entire semester discussing them. We must say their names, and we must say them loudly.
The question remains: Should news proven to be lies be a crime and dealt with as such? This is a hard question to answer because if we did that, there would be no CNN, MSNBC, or FOX News, who lie when their mouths move. Overall, the videos, articles, and documentaries we’ve analyzed prove that we must be free speech absolutists. Big tech should have absolutely no say as to who gets a platform and who doesn’t. The best alternative to hate speech or misinformation is to respond to it ourselves. For example, if we see Ted Cruz tweeting out some baseless neocon propaganda, let’s respond to it. If we notice the Rolling Stone’s fabricated story about ivermectin, let’s respond to it. Let’s tell others that these corporatists are lying at the behest of the establishment. That’s the power of free speech and we must protect it. Simple as that.
Bartlett, E. (2017, October 20). The North Korea Neither Trump Nor The Media Wants The World to See. Retrieved from https://www.mintpressnews.com/north-korea-neither-trump-nor-western-media-wants-world-see/233355/
Blumenthal, M. (2020, May 14). 'The American friends': New court files expose Sheldon Adelson's security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange. Retrieved from https://thegrayzone.com/2020/05/14/american-sheldon-adelsons-us-spy-julian-assange/
Curtis, A. (2016, October 16). HyperNormalisation. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/191817381
Grant, S. (2013, June 27). 10 People Who Exposed US Government Secrets And Lies. Retrieved from https://listverse.com/2013/06/27/10-people-who-blew-the-whistle-on-the-us-government/
India, W. T. (2004). Peace, Propaganda And The Promised Land. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/37869029
Lingzhi, F., Lanlan, H., & Hui, Z. (2021, June 28). Suspect No. 1: Why Ford Dietrick lab should be investigated for global COVID-19 origins tracing. Retrieved from https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202106/1227219.shtml?fbclid=IwAR05kTX2zxScqyv_Im_u96G_FpyqLsto_WUgJ7aOLWSAzsC2Gj5CNMjRlIw
McEvoy, J. (2021, October 8). Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him. Retrieved from https://fair.org/home/deathly-silence-journalists-who-mocked-assange-have-nothing-to-say-about-cia-plans-to-kill-him/
Molloy, P. (2019, July 26). Lies, damn lies, and media: Right-wing repetition of debunked narratives reshapes reality. Retrieved from https://www.mediamatters.org/sean-hannity/lies-damn-lies-and-media-right-wing-repetition-debunked-narratives-reshapes-reality
Molloy, P. (2021, September 10). "The 'It's about ethics in horse paste journalism' phase of the discourse". Retrieved from https://www.readthepresentage.com/p/ivermectin-rolling-stone
Parry, R. (2016, September 15). They lied about Iraq and Libya: Do you trust them now about Russia? Retrieved from https://www.sott.net/article/328475-They-lied-about-Iraq-and-Libya-Do-you-trust-them-now-about-Russia
Pilger, J. (2003). Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJZxir00xjA
PREMIERE- "The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange' - Film Screening + Q+A. (2020, August 30). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmpgh8MTKfg
Rose, J. (2019, August 12). To Believe or Not to Believe: An Epistemic Exploration of Fake News, Truth, and the Limits of Knowing. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42438-019-00068-5
Schwarz, J. (2017, December 07). Lie After Lie After Lie: What Colin Powell Knew Ten Years Ago Today and What He Said. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/colin-powell-wmd-iraq-war_b_2624620
The Incubator Babies Conspiracy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v94WsjWKQ3U
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More Americans Killed By Police Than By Terrorists: With Crime Down, Why Is Police Aggression Up?
This article first appeared at WhoWhatWhy.
You might not know it from watching TV news, but FBI statistics show that crime in the U.S.—including violent crime—has been trending steadily downward for years, falling 19% between 1987 and 2011. The job of being a police officer has become safer too, as the number of police killed by gunfire plunged to 33 last year, down 50% from 2012, to its lowest level since, wait for it, 1887, a time when the population was 75% lower than it is today.
So why are we seeing an ever increasing militarization of policing across the country?
Given the good news on crime, what are we to make of a report by the Justice Policy Institute, a not-for-profit justice reform group, showing that state and local spending on police has soared from $40 billion in 1982 to more than $100 billion in 2012. Adding in federal spending on law enforcement, including the FBI, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Agency and much of the Homeland Security Department budget, as well as federal grants to state and local law enforcement more than doubles that total. A lot of that money is simply pay and benefits. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the ranks of state and local law enforcement personnel alone swelled from 603,000 to 794,000 between 1992 and 2010. That’s about two-thirds as many men and women as the entire active-duty US military.
What these statistics make clear is that policing in America is ramping up even as the crime rate is falling.
To the advocates of militarized policing, this just proves that more and better-armed cops are the answer to keeping the peace. But former corrections officer Ted Kirkpatrick, like many experts in the field, warns against jumping to this conclusion: “Police will of course say crime is down because of them,” he tells WhoWhatWhy, “but they have a vested interest in saying that.”
Kirkpatrick has the credentials and training to look beyond statistics and simplistic answers to the underlying social forces at work here. In addition to his years of law enforcement experience, he is a homicide expert in the Department of Clinical Sociology at the University of New Hampshire, and Co-Director of the university’s Justiceworks program, a think-tank specializing in law enforcement and justice issues.
“When something goes sour, like an increase in crime,” Kirkpatrick says, “everyone looks for a way to explain why. Yet when things go well, like this long-term fall in the crime rate, nobody bothers to look at why.”
Surprising Reasons for Drop in Crime Rate
Militarized “pro-active” policing may have had some effect on the drop in crimes in the US. But Kirkpatrick says, “I don’t think it’s the big thing.” Crime is down even in many cities where police forces have been cut for budget reasons, and experts agree that the decline in crime began before the militarization of policing really started to take off.
Other factors likely play a bigger role. One is increased immigration since, contrary to common belief, communities with greater numbers of immigrant families show the biggest drops in crime thanks to those families’ “stronger social fabric.” Another factor is an aging population—older people commit fewer violent crimes.
So what’s behind the push to put more police on our streets, with ever more impressive military equipment, while training them to behave like occupying troops in Iraq or Afghanistan?
One might assume that the militarization of American law enforcement began after the national trauma of 9/11. But, in fact, its roots go back decades earlier, when media stories in the 1970s created the impression that the nation was awash in illegal drugs.
An aroused Congress passed a “no-knock” law in 1970. The law allowed police to conduct drug searches and arrests by entering homes without first presenting a warrant. President Nixon’s declaration of his War on Drugs a year later led to an exponential increase in warrantless drug searches, with an inevitable emphasis on military-style policing.
SWAT team actions soared from hundreds annually in the 1970s to thousands a year in the ‘80s to 40,000 a year by 2005, according to a report by the libertarian CATO institute. The author of that report, and academic experts studying the issue, now estimate there may have been as many as 70,000-80,000 such raids in 2013 alone. Hard figures are not available: the Justice Department does not keep records on SWAT-team usage.
On top of the increase triggered by Nixon’s War on Drugs, President George W. Bush’s War on Terror in aftermath of 9/11 gave a dramatic boost to the militarization of American police forces.
“There has been a clear escalation of violence by police, particularly since 9/11,” says Brigitt Keller, who heads up the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild. “The willingness of police to use very harsh measures against people has definitely increased.”
A big part of the problem, she says, is that these days “officer safety” is given primacy over “protect and serve.” A case in point: a South Carolina sheriff’s deputy in February shot and seriously injured a 70-year-old man at a traffic stop when the man tried to retrieve his cane from the back of his pick-up truck. The Sheriff’s Department said the deputy acted “appropriately,” as he had “a legitimate fear” that the cane might have been a long rifle.
In another recent example, New York City police shot and injured an unarmed man who was acting “erratically” in Times Square. The officers were exonerated, while the man they shot was charged with causing injury to several bystanders—who were hit by the police officers’ stray bullets.
“I’m all for police officers not getting hurt on the job,” says the Lawyers Guild’s Keller, “but if you make that your first concern, then it’s problematic, because you allow the use of deadly or excessive force in practically every situation between an officer and a citizen, and you end up with citizens getting hurt.”
In fact, while being a police officer has been getting less dangerous, killings committed by police have been rising despite the drop in police who are killed.
The numbers are eye opening. The Justice Department, which keeps all kinds of statistics on violent crime, does not tally up individuals killed annually by police. But by combing public news reports and other sources, the Justice Policy Institute has estimated that police officers in the U.S. killed 587 people in 2012 alone. Over the course of a decade, they’ve tallied more than 5,000 people in the U.S. during that period—far more than the number of people who lost their lives in acts officially classified as terrorism in roughly the same span.
The many instances of deadly police violence captured on video give a visceral reality to these statistics. They show police beating and sometimes needlessly shooting citizens—even those with their hands up or armed only with a knife or stick while standing too far from responding officers to pose a threat.
In some jurisdictions, police have responded to these damaging videos by routinely confiscating bystanders’ cell phones and threatening witnesses with arrest, even though federal courts have consistently held that citizens have a right to photograph and videotape officers engaged in police actions.
The National Police Accountability Project’s Keller suggests that, along with the public’s acceptance of military-style policing, the killing of civilians has become more acceptable too. Police are rarely punished for killing people—even those who were unarmed or already restrained—because in most communities, police shootings are investigated by the police themselves, or by a closely-allied district attorney’s office. Indeed, about 95 percent of police shootings end up being ruled “justified,” a statistic that hasn’t changed as the body count has risen.
“I think when non-targeted individuals are killed in a raid, or when a person is shot in the course of a routine traffic stop, it’s seen as a kind of ‘collateral damage,’” Keller says, “instead of as some tragic or criminal use of excessive force by police.”
Public indifference to “civilian” casualties in police actions highlights a disconnect: The public perceives rampant crime while the actual crime report suggests nothing of the sort.
This fundamental misapprehension seems to be fueling the continuing political push for more police and tougher policing. While the militarization of law enforcement has little or no relation to the falling crime rate, there is reason to fear that it is eroding our constitutionally protected rights under the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
“I’m not sure that spending money on more police, on Kevlar suits and on things like armored vehicles is the most efficient thing to do,” says UNH’s Kirkpatrick. “It might be better to spend it on Big Brother/Big Sister-type programs and other kinds of services for kids. The trouble is, we generally implement public policy based on sentiment, not logic or statistics, and thanks to the 24-hour news cycle and its really quite dramatic reports on crimes, the average Joe or Jane thinks that things have gone nuts.”