Unworthy Victim: Ray McGovern in the Propaganda Model


Can you just imagine how our government and media would be acting if while giving a speech condemning the arrest and brutalization of protesters and stifling of speech by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez or North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a protester silently protesting them by standing up, turning their back on them and wearing a shirt that said “[enter noun here] for Peace” was nabbed by police and other officers in civilian clothes, dragged away kicking and screaming only to be found later jailed, beaten, bloody and bruised?

They would have a field day, especially if that official from an enemy state never paused while giving their unctuous speech. That would be the icing on the cake.

But it happened in Washington, DC on February 15, 2011 while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made such a speech and a protester wearing a “Veterans for Peace” shirt was arrested and accosted.

The protester turned out to be none other than Ray McGovern, veteran Army officer, former CIA analyst who was an intelligence briefer for former President Ronald Reagan and who put together the Presidential Daily Briefs for the first President Bush, and now anti-war/pro-justice activist.

A video of the arrest can be seen here. Notice how Clinton never allows the incident that highlights her hypocrisy to interrupt her speech. While she was giving her sermon from the bully pulpit on how other governments need to be more tolerant of dissent—otherwise they "will eventually find themselves boxed in" in their own "dilemma" where they will "have to choose between letting the walls fall or paying the price to keep them standing"—an elderly American dissident is dragged away in plain sight. I guess Washington has made their "choice."

How did our media cover it? I looked at the New York Times, the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and as of today I have found no mention of the incident at all. None. Nada. Zilch. One Washington Post blog was about the speech but the arrest of McGovern was nowhere to be found.

Using the Propaganda Model (Chomsky and Herman) this is predictable. McGovern is an “unworthy victim” of our attention. Down the memory hole!

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