21 Sep The Puppets of Pandemonium
The Puppets of Pandemonium by Howard Bloom
You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths
Everything you’ve ever heard about pack journalism is true. In fact, it’s an understatement. Though journalists pride themselves on their intellectual independence, they are neither very intellectual nor even marginally independent. They are animals. In fact, they operate on the same herd instincts that guide ants, hoofed mammals, and numerous other social creatures.
In 1827, well before the sciences of ethology and sociobiology had even been invented, historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle said that the critics of his day were like sheep. Put a stick in the path as a lead sheep goes by, wrote the sage, and the beast will jump over it. Remove the stick, and each following sheep in line will jump at precisely the same spot…even though there’s no longer anything to jump over! Things haven’t changed much since then. If the key critics at the New York Times, the Village Voice, and Rolling Stone fall in love with a musical artist, every other critic in the country will follow their lead. On the other hand, if these lead sheep say an artist is worthless, every other woolly-minded critic from Portland to Peoria will miraculously draw the same conclusion.
That these principles of press misconduct are regularly applied in the world of pop music doesn’t really matter much. It will have hardly any effect on the fate of the world. But the same principles at work in the field of politics have wreaked havoc. In fact, they have made the media one of the most egregious collaborators in mass murder throughout the twentieth century. While millions were being killed in the Soviet Union, Western journalists participated in the cover-up. More than mere idealism was involved. Writers were determined to remain politically fashionable. They didn’t want to be snubbed by their peers.
Print journalists have traditionally been accomplices in mass violence. Television journalists have gone a step further; they have become instigators of violence.
So I am angry at the press. I am angry at its dishonesty. I am infuriated by its moral corruption. I am disgusted with its laziness and lack of intellectual independence. I am sickened by its phony selfimage. And I am furious that I was lied to in my youth. I hate The Reporter for telling me about Chiang Kai Check’s atrocities while hiding Mao’s. I hate the Village Voice for telling me about My Lai without informing me that the standard Viet Cong procedure for winning the hearts and minds of villagers was to take the most prominent village family—usually a dozen or more grandparents, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers, children, and infants—tie them to a few canisters of dynamite in the town square, then detonate the charge. I hate the press for turning me into a war protester against Nixon and Johnson when I should have been shouting just as loudly against Ho Chi Minh. And I am disconcerted that the tribe they have slated for the next Cambodian-style annihilation is my own.
Today, I read 30 different publications, most of them obscure periodicals from both the left and right. I never want to be deceived again. And I don’t want to see my own people victimized. Though I can’t for the hell of me figure out how to stop it. I could give you numerous other examples from personal experience and subsequent research, but it’s a long story and will have to wait for some other time. The surprising part is that just like Jonathan Swift, today’s journalists regard themselves as not only the guardians of honesty, morality and truth, but think they’re incorruptible. Human nature is so peculiar. In fact, it’s a bit worse than that—it’s downright dangerous. And the press is among the most dangerous of all.
Well, I see I’ve put you to sleep. But just remember, all you need is an automatic weapon and a sharp knife and you too can use Yasir Arafat ’s keys to publicity success. If you handle them properly, the press will fall for anything. Especially if it promises to spill a lot of blood.
-Howard Bloom Excerpt from
The Puppets of Pandemonium