Posted May 4, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
The title of this post implies something that is not pleasant to suggest – that reason and truth have been among the first casualties of the Ukrainian situation/crisis. RT has perhaps the largest number of subscribers of any channel on YouTube, well over one million. People around the world who get their news from internet sources – a trend that has grown in a large way in recent years – sense from their various sources that there is certainly a type of information battle being waged with regard to events in Ukraine, and it could be said that most of these men and women are deeply disappointed because of it.
Disappointed because there are lives at risk in Ukraine, so people feel strongly that media groups have a very real responsibility to bring the truth in their broadcasts. On matters of war and peace, especially after the most recent example provided by the false narratives coming from news groups before and during the Iraq War, no person can fail to understand how people have come to distrust news reports coming through their television screens.
Before George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and others unleashed their “shock and awe” war campaign against the people of Iraq, virtually every news organization in America relayed their lies about Saddam Hussain’s “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD)and his involvement with the events of September 11, 2001. This occurred although there was an ample number of reputable people directly refuting the claims of Bush, Blair, Cheney, etc.
The extent to which news groups’ were in effect “cheerleading” the rush to war in Iraq was so large that a large percentage of the American populace believed Hussein did have WMD, and that he was guilty of involvement in September 11. Today, men and women around the world are aware that the American media were complicit in transmitting the lies of Bush, Blair, and Cheney, so nobody has to wonder why people get their news elsewhere. Mainstream media corporations have lost the trust of the people when it comes to matters of importance, and that – because of the Iraq War disinformation campaign – is a trust that will never be regained.
Unfortunately John Kerry, although he surely must have known about the lies coming from the George W. Bush and Tony Blair administrations, did not rise to call them lies and try to prevent what became one of the greatest foreign policy – and human – disasters in American and world history, much more importantly resulting in epic levels of death, destruction, and broken physical, mental, and spiritual lives. Secretary of State John Kerry still has the chance to recover the same moral strength that he displayed during the Vietnam War when addressing the U.S. Congress and asked, “How do you ask a soldier to be the last one to die in Vietnam?”
He can invite the two distinguished American professors who appeared recently on RT, Stephen Cohen (Russian Studies, Politics) and John Mearsheimer (Political Science), to the White House for discussions on Ukraine. The viewers of their RT appearance on “Crosstalk” were almost unanimous in their feeling that the show was the “best Crosstalk ever”, so talk to these men. The worst thing that could happen is that you will agree to disagree, but you won’t end up fighting and killing each other, and isn’t that what must happen in Ukraine most urgently today – reasoned, truthful peace talks?
Mr. Kerry, you know that both the Vietnam War and the Iraq War are among the greatest war disasters in human history, so please regain the spiritual power that brought you to lead the effort – to speak the truth – to end the Vietnam War and the heart-breaking toll it took on millions of human beings. Speak the truth now, and become the difference-maker between war and peace in Ukraine.
Call for a truth convention at the United Nations where every member state’s ambassador is given the opportunity to speak to arrive at what really happened in Ukraine since late 2013 up until today, even if that includes correcting RT, CNN, PressTV, Fox, etc. The overwhelmingly tragic wars of Vietnam and Iraq were started because lies became widely disseminated without the challenge necessary to prevent the resulting human catastrophes.
John Kerry has, because of his public statements surrounding what he believes is RT’s spreading of propaganda, half-truths, and lies – painted himself into a moral dilemma corner. With his bold assertions of dis/misinformation directed toward RT, he now has said to the world that he believes RT’s reporting is a problem. Being the Secretary of State in America he must do something to solve that problem, because when people act based on false information dangerous actions are possible, so correction of any false reporting about Ukraine must be a top priority.
If the world’s people take John Kerry at his word about RT’s propaganda/disinformation, what are the possible dangerous consequences which necessitates corrective action to disallow/prevent rash or violent actions by RT’s listeners? There are now possibly viewers in Ukraine who, because of a report by RT on television or internet, will become so enraged by what they’ve just heard that they grab the nearest rifle and start shooting and murdering people.
Because this serious possibility exists, and because John Kerry has enough concern about what he publicly stated on RT’s dis/misinformation, he has painted himself into a morality corner where the only way out is calling for a truth convention. He must challenge every important report that has come from RT and other news groups that he believes are either half or not true and, because the continuing absence of challenge and correction of those reports allows false and potentially dangerous ideas to remain in the minds of those uncorrected, use his real power to debunk and disprove them.
Morally, he has no other option.
A few of the reports which Mr. Kerry may have had in mind when he made his remarks about RT could include mis-characterization of Victoria Nuland’s phone call with Jeffrey Pyatt, the claim that snipers who murdered more than 100 police officers and civilian protesters in February were under the control of the new coalition government – not Viktor Yanukovych, mis-characterization of the intercepted phone call between Catherine Ashton and Urmas Paet, German television investigative news program ARD Monitor’s report on the Maidan Massacre, New York Times’ retraction of front-page photos of alleged Russian soldiers in Ukraine, and other either propagandized or false reports.
Certainly the list is much longer. Certainly the people of the world, especially those who could be negatively influenced by false information coming from media groups, must know the truth.
The form which such a truth convention takes may result in it occurring at the United Nations among member states’ representatives. It may result in RT, CNN, PressTV, Fox, and others organizing a team of their finest journalists – to address each story/report that John Kerry and the U.S. State Department has concluded is dangerous if left uncorrected. John Kerry’s State Department can provide the world their list of published news reports which they determine convey dis/misinformation on the internet, in the form of a press release, while he publicly announces that list in a press conference. Whatever it takes, John Kerry must now share with the world the reports from RT or other news groups that he asserts to have been partly or fully lies.
Finally, with regard to the focus of this writing, it is perhaps of some benefit to remember the words of English political economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873):
“If all mankind minus one were of the opinion, and only one person were of the opposite opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
“But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is always as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
(RT @ YT)