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Ed Herman, Propaganda and Libya


 
It is the first of the month, and being a sustainer of Z Magazine I went to look for this month’s article by Ed Herman, and thankfully there is a new article. I was happy to read this comment,
A basic technique of news and opinion management and propaganda is the manipulation and stripping of context. This often takes the form of an intensive focus on the terrible plight of worthy victims and the villainous behavior of their tormentors, and the downplaying and antiseptic treatment of the condition of unworthy victims, along with ignoring or providing apologetics for their attackers. It sometimes calls for the avoidance of context that challenges a narrative that makes a villain purely villainous and the victims entirely virtuous.
Now while the article does not go intoLibya, the NATO war and how the media (even the “left” media) has responded to it, the quote above is helpful when trying to understand what has been going on in the north African country.

Gaddafi is the “villain” according to the popular narrative on Libya, and the rebels are saints who act without self-interest, and whose lives are in mortal danger (which is why NATO must bomb the place). You don’t have to look hard to find this narrative. So, when Al Jazeera wrote about Libya on August 22, 2011 they inform us that the rebels are “silencing the guns of brutality for good.”

 
But they said this of the leader of the rebels:
The NTC played its role, especially under the stewardship of Mustafa Abd Al-Jalil, an honourable man, who has not been motivated by self-gain or self-empowerment [...] Mr Abd Al-Jalil has the moral courage . . .
There you have it. An “honorable man” who is “not motivated by self-gain and self-empowerment” “has the moral courage” to silence “the guns of brutality for good.” Peppered throughout the Propanda System’s treatment of NATO’s War against Libya are claims about mercenaries, mass graves, genocide of Benghazi, and so on—and nearly none of it receives a modicum of validation. The claim that there are African mercenaries in Libya is taken at face value and repeated over and over despite no evidence of it whatsoever. At the same time, these same “journalists” are incapable of pointing out that there are foreign mercenaries in Libya unleashing horror on the people of Libya and they name of their organization is NATO.
 
Some of the context that is routinely avoided in the media is the treatment of black Africans (who have been beatened, tortured, raped, lynched, ethnically cleansed from their neighborhoods and driven out as refugees only to endure other nightmares), the considerable support Gaddafi still retains (two months an estimated 1.7 million Libyans came out in support of Gaddafi in Tripoli), and how Abd Al-Jalil was, until February, Gaddafi’s Minister of Justice (who twice upheld the death sentence for innocent Bulgarian nurses). As well as much, much more.
 
The plight of worthy victims (see anti-Gaddafi rebels, whether they are former generals that comprised “the guns of brutality” or Islamic jihadists) is worth attention so much so that the ICC pressed charges against and issued a warrant for Gaddafi, though the plight of unworthy victims, like black Africans, has caused no such arrest warrant for the rebels.
 
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