This headline is stolen from a former high-ranking Soviet journalist.
A member of a group that used to spend their time writing speeches for top Soviet officials of the time, including communist party boss Leonid Brezhnev and its top ideologist, Mikhail Suslov, this journalist would with time lose most of his illusions.
He said he noticed the first signs of disappointment with the system when he was called upon to act as a political officer with a Soviet army unit in 1968 (and a few months onwards) in occupied Czechoslovakia.
In any case, in the second half of the 1970s, he wrote an analytical paper about the state of the communist media, with the conclusion mentioned in the headline (Товарищ Геббельс бы нами гордился in Russian). The paper, distributed by the so-called “samizdat network” would fall in the hands of the almighty KGB. The Soviet journalist was arrested, but in a strange twist of a power struggle between party chief Brezhnev and KGB boss Yuri Andropov, he wasn’t sent to any of the Gulag concentration camps but, rather, kicked out of the Soviet Union aboard the first plane flying west (it turned to be the Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy).
No empty threat
The time is coming when those in previously free North America who think differently will be forced to use the samizdat (самиздат in its original Russian) again. People whose works wouldn’t pass the ideological muster in the official publications would publish their stuff on their own, without official authorization and censorship. Needless to say communist authorities viewed such behaviour as criminal acts.
And so do today’s politically correct gurus in today’s North American mainstream media.
The days of samizdat are ahead of us now. Again.
Here’s where we are: in for pretty long four years of official sucking up to everything Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In that order for a brief period of time, and in reversed order (or minus Joe Biden) shortly afterwards.
And then? Who knows?
In any case, gone are the days of media independence. Not that journalists have ever been totally free to write, tell and show everything they thought was fit to print, as the New York Times likes to say about itself. But they tried, at least.
In fact, a journalist who claims that s/he has never had her/his work censored is lying through her/his pearly-white teeth. Either that, or the copy they produced must have been so boringly irrelevant, even the censors wouldn’t read it.
The change in journalistic attitudes that makes them political propagandists rather than people recording the first version of history has been happening slowly, but quite distinctly.
Today’s media have introduced a few new words into our vocabularies. Wrongthink, for example. The line from feudal times and the invention of newspapers to today’s holy war on free speech is perfectly straightforward.
Not so long ago, newspapers used to declare their political affinities. In fact, some would belong to political parties. They would toe the party line no matter what, and, quite often, the truth be damned.
Then came the era one would call “nominal independence.”
Of course, upsetting the applecart to such a degree people would stop reading you, boycott you, even, that would still be unacceptable. Advertising revenue would spiral down the tube as a result, and where’s the poor owner or publisher supposed to get the money to pay the journalists to keep them living at levels they have grown used to, right?
Still, the principle that media is supposed to provide their readers (listeners, viewers) with all the facts that are available seemed to have become the norm.
Note the word: seemed.
The era of political correctness whose stated objective is to make sure we think and speak so politely that nobody can be offended, has become firmly rooted in modern culture. So firmly rooted that truth be damned if someone doesn’t like it.
The theoreticians of this new trend have come up with a new view: new society does not require freedom of speech. If you turn this statement around, it confirms one thing: these new theoreticians haven’t a leg to stand on. They can’t compete against other opinions or statements of fact. So, they simply ban them outright.
A few examples
A couple of so-called social media providers ban the then-sitting president. Their reason defies not only basic logic, it also goes against the law that demands that anyone accused of anything is innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond any doubt, reasonable or otherwise.
What do the mainstream media (MSM for short) do?
They praise those social media providers to high heaven. The then-sitting president’s views clashed with those of their own, and, besides, he could support his views with his record, both in the field of America’s national economy, and on the world stage (who, pray tell, negotiated the impossible peace between Israel and some of her staunchest foes?).
Of course, nobody mentions this blatant conflict of interest: Jeff Bezos owns Amazon, and his company kicks Parler.com, the free-speech defender, off its servers, and The Washington Post, owned by that same Jeff Bezos, is perfectly happy, telling its dwindling numbers of readers that Parler, after all, is a very dangerous idea. People can post whatever comes to their minds, and nobody censors them.
Who cares that Amazon has broken a valid contract? And who cares that Amazon’s decision is an open attack against the concept of freedom of expression?
The fact that a group of Harvard University students and alumni demand with brazen openness that their Alma Mater strip its degrees from people who had the chutzpah to support Donald J. Trump and his presidency becomes a sign of heroism.
Demanding that cable television companies deprive of their network services signal providers whose opinions don’t match theirs has become a usual part of those people’s rhetoric.
These people have hijacked the word “progressive,” claiming it describes them and nobody else.
On one hand, they praise the High-Tech poohbahs for their censorship efforts, on the other, they say social media don’t go far enough. They blame social media for not making sure organizers of the recent attack on Capitol were not prevented, at the same time publishing stories of Trump supporters as part of the violent mob, and perfectly ignoring the real culprits.
Of course, social media are stealing massive numbers of eyeballs from them, but that issue will have to remain on the backburner until the MSM settle their accounts with Donald J. Trump, his supporters, and his deeds.
In any case, for the time being, at least, the MSM are working hand-in-hand with the High Tech crowd in their attempt to (another wonderful word) “deplatform” sites that provide independent information. True, some of this information does not necessarily have to be completely factual, but intelligent users will unmask those who mislead them pretty quickly. They do not need the MSM to tell them.
In any case, MSM slogans, such as “words are violence,” stink. No wonder research shows that most Americans have lost all faith in the mainstream media.
They are now asking what’s happening, how it could happen. And they put all the blame on social media for stealing eyeballs away, instead of looking at their own mirrors.
Comrade Goebbels would have been proud of them, indeed.