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10/7 LEE SIU HIN - Poison Ivy: Rupert Murdoch''s U.S. State-Sponsored Global Propaganda Machine
Poison Ivy: Rupert Murdoch's U.S. State-Sponsored Global Propaganda Machine
How a public privately run neocon/CIA far-right top-down propaganda machine destabilized other countries and served U.S./Western empire building
Lee Siu Hin 李小轩
October 7th, 2022
Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire is a $10.3 billion business. Besides the parent company, the News Corporation’s whose most well-known asset is Fox TV. They also operate hundreds of major English-language media around the world, including: The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun in U.K.; Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Melbourne’s Herald Sun, The Australian and The Weekend Australian in Australia; The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Dow Jones, as well as HarperCollins, a major book publisher in the U.S.; The Irish Sun; The Scottish Sun; and so on.
According to the media watchdog mediabiasfactcheck.com, Murdoch’s media outlets can be rated as having a “center-right bias” as can be seen in their story selection that typically favors the right; its bias is mixed as far as factual reporting because they fail when fact checked; or leaning to the right-biased “based on editorial positions that align with the right and factually questionable due to the promotion of propaganda, conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, their using poor sources, making numerous false claims and failing fact checking.”
Much has been said about how Fox TV and the WSJ spread far-right propaganda in the U.S., but less has been told about how Murdoch’s media empire is able to coordinate his networks of global propaganda in the campaign against the enemies of the U.S. neocons.
The News Corporation cheers on western military invasions and color revolutions around the world while supporting far-right reactionary forces inside the U.S. Our investigations have found patterns in its news reporting that connect to the neocon/CIA, U.S. multi-national corporate interests, and U.S. psyops. Evidence shows how they use their global media outlets to help the U.S. coordinate their worldwide propaganda campaigns and serve U.S. pro-war neocon foreign policies.
State-sponsored propaganda machine
It’s an open secret that Rupert Murdoch had historical connections with neocons and the CIA. According to Robert Parry, the rapid expansion of America’s right-wing media began in the 1980s as the Reagan administration coordinated foreign policy initiatives with conservative media executives, including Rupert Murdoch. The CIA-organized a “perception management” operation which aimed Cold War-style propaganda at the American people in the 1980s, including the CIA’s covert war in Nicaragua, according to declassified U.S. government records (12/31/2014 Consortium News Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/31/murdoch-scaife-and-cia-propaganda/ ).
News Corp was a key supporter of the Iraq War. Of the 173 Murdoch papers worldwide, only one, the Hobart Mercury from Australia, opposed that war, John Menadue, former Australian government official and the founder of the Centre for Policy Development, pointed out (8/24/2021 White Man’s Media: Rupert Murdoch and the U.S. Imperium https://michaelwest.com.au/white-mans-media-rupert-murdoch-and-the-us-imperium/ ).
The U.S. neocon/military intelligence connection is not unique to the U.S./western corporate media. What separates Murdoch’s News Corporation from other big media such as the New York Times, CNN and BBC etc. is that they only have headquarters in their own country and have not established foreign local media operations. The News Corporation has numerous worldwide media subsidiaries that at one point, during its 2010-2020 peaks, covered almost every household in the world with their local media network directly spreading their targeted messages to the local population.
Here’s how it works: The News Corp controls their editorial policy globally by hiring their own editor; while each of their local media networks produces their own local pieces, for their international section from the top, they’ll use the articles from the Wall Street Journal and the video clips from Fox News. Local networks have less chance to submit their work to the “top” or to influence the global editorial direction in most cases.
In turn, their global editorial policy is coming from U.S. headquarters, which means they reflect U.S. policy and advance the U.S. neocon political and ideological agenda, along with Murdoch’s personal agenda, via their media network from the highest U.S. political levels to the rest of the world. Their message is very clear: far-right anti-communist, pro-multinational, corporate neocon Christian fundamentalist values, Russophobia, Sinophobia, Islamophobia with fundamental support for U.S. and Israeli imperialism.
For example, in a NY Post piece on the Fox Business News (9/2/2022 “Russia’s Gazprom indefinitely closes Nord Stream 1 Pipeline to Europe” https://www.nypost.com/2022/09/03/russias-gazprom-indefinitely-closes-nord-stream-1-pipeline-to-europe/), it reported on the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The Australian’s “Kremlin acts to ‘liquidate’ Jewish emigration group” piece was an article reprinted with a different headline from their U.K. subsidiary – The Times (8/22/2022) where it ran under the headline “Moscow takes aim at agency that helps Jews to flee” https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/moscow-takes-aim-at-agency-that-helps-jews-to-flee-6hbhc82c7 ). The Times is considered to be one of the most important newspapers in the U.K., equal to the New York Times in the U.S.
In the “top-down” media distribution pattern, the “top-level” Murdoch news outlets, such as the WSJ, Fox News, and The Times are the first tier, sending news to second tier “lower-level” news outlets such as the NY Post and their The Sun newspaper outlets around the world, not the other way around.
“The ‘world view’ we get in Australia is a view of the world as seen from London, New York and Washington,” John Menadue further explained. His analysis continues: “A person from Mars who reads and listens to Australian media would conclude that we are an island parked off New York or London” dominated by the domestic events and issues of interest to UK and U.S. readers, nothing related to Australia. He continued, “The latest antics of the British royal family, Donald Trump, the governor of New York or vaccination rates in Alabama.” (1/11/2022 White Man’s Media: Legacy media in the U.S. and UK frames and conditions our thinking and actions https://johnmenadue.com/white-mans-media-how-legacy-media-in-us-and-uk-frames-and-conditions-our-thinking-and-actions/ ).
A far-right religious mouth-piece and anti-communist cult
While conservative right-wing political ideology and their personal values are very different around the world, in the eyes of Murdoch’s global media empire, it is the combination of U.S. far-right Christian values, an anti-communist religious cult, and Islamophobia that is the only “correct” right-wing ideology for the world. Through its media network it influences the ideology of the right-wing in the U.S. and around the world.
For U.S. conservative Christians, abortion is their “big” issue; since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion and ended the constitutional right to abortion on June 24th, Fox News has been running a lot of anti-abortion propaganda on their network programs. “My baby saved my life. Now I help save others” (9/4/2022 https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/my-baby-saved-my-life-help-save-others ), “Big companies like Disney encouraging abortions: 'Good for their bottom line.'” Rebeccah Heinrichs, mother of five with the far-right Hudson Institute on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight,' claims many big corporations discourage maternity leave through public declarations of abortion coverage (9/3/2022 https://video.foxnews.com/v/6311781211112 ); “Gutfeld calls out Biden's 'soul of a nation speech,' saying he 'sold his soul to pro-abortion lobby'” in which Fox News host Greg Gutfeld used religion to attack President Biden’s pro-choice advocacy based on Gutfeld’s interpretation of pro-life tenets laid out in the Bible.
However, in many western countries around the world, even some run by pro-U.S. conservative governments, abortion is legal (or mostly legal) and public support for abortion rights is high, such as the U.K., Ireland and Australia. The News Corp local media outlet in these countries (Irish Sun, The Times, Melbourne’s Herald Sun) will avoid discussing “pro-life” abortion issues. Instead, they focus on a coordinated global media campaign to promote U.S.-style conservative Christian religious values. On February 24th, 2022, a WSJ article: “There’s No Crisis of Faith on Campus” made a false “scare” analysis claiming many religious parents worry that higher education “will weaken their children’s belief, but evidence shows the result is often just the opposite.” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/theres-no-crisis-of-faith-on-campus-11645714717 ). The same rhetoric also appeared in the article of January 8th, 2022, in The Times “Christians are under threat in the cradle of their faith” (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/christians-are-under-threat-in-the-cradle-of-their-faith-3hs53lf2z ).
Another example: July 9th, 2022, NY Post, “Christians are sick of being punished for their views in America” (https://nypost.com/2022/07/09/christian-americans-are-sick-of-being-punished-for-their-views/ ) which advanced a position against the constitutional separation of church and state. And a story on Fox TV on September 2nd, 2022, covering “Limbaugh father-daughter book about the Bible aims to inspire everyday people in their faith” (https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/limbaugh-father-daughter-book-bible-aims-inspire-everyday-people-faith ).
Besides promoting U.S. far-right Christian values, the News Corp is also working with U.S.-backed religious cult publications; one such example is its connections with anti-China religious cult newspaper The Epoch Times — the Falun Gong’s flagship propaganda arm.
The Epoch Times is a hard-core supporter of former President Donald Trump. It has published many false articles against China and yet is picked by WSJ and Fox News as a legitimate media source.
The most notorious recent example is when, along with the Washington Post and WSJ, The Epoch Times coordinated the propaganda campaign to spread the so-called “Wuhan man-made virus” hoax at the beginning of the initial COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020.
There are also reporters who work at both networks: Katabella Roberts, a London-based British journalist has extensive ties with The Epoch Times and NTD Television (Falun Gong’s TV arm) and also works closely with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in the UK and Australia. According to her public record, she writes for various News Corp publications including The Sun, News.com.au, The Daily Telegraph (Australia), The Irish Sun, The Scottish Sun, The Mercury Australia and The U.S. Sun. (5/31/2021 The Mysterious Epoch Times Reporters' Connections with Mainstream Media http://www.actionla.org:8080/actionla/front/detailed3.jsp?title=5/31:%20Lee%20Siu%20Hin%20-%20The%20Mysterious%20Epoch%20Times%20Reporters%27%20Connection%20with%20Mainstream%20Media&newsId=1919&filename=1622537103906&ext=jpg ).
While Murdoch himself and his Fox and WSJ news networks keep mum on their relationships with The Epoch Times, interestingly the latter newspaper has special sections dedicated to The News Corp (https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-news-corp ), Fox News (https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-fox-news ), and the WSJ (https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-wall-street-journal ), listing mostly pro-News Corp/Murdoch coverage (11/18/2021 Murdoch Accuses Facebook, Google of Censoring Conservative Voices https://www.theepochtimes.com/murdoch-accuses-facebook-google-of-censoring-conservative-voices_4110916.html ). By comparison, The Epoch Times also has special sections for The New York Times (https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-new-york-times ) but this has more negative coverage.
Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba’s socialist governments are bad vs Brazil’s far-right government is good
The News Corp serves as the mouthpiece for the U.S. neocon foreign policy. It promotes far-right U.S. allies and slanders left-wing socialist governments that the U.S. strongly opposes.
In Latin America, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba are the most hated targets of U.S. neocons. The media coverage of these three countries is very negative in Murdoch’s global media empire. On the other hand, his empire is the cheerleader for the U.S.-supported dictators/far-right governments of the world. It’s not a coincidence that his obsession against Nicaragua is historically connected with his first big “break” covering the CIA in Central America during the Reagan years in the 1980s.
According to a declassified National Security Council (NSC) memo from August 9th, 1983, the CIA’s top covert action specialist Walter Raymond Jr. wrote to NSC Advisor William P. Clark suggesting that Murdoch be viewed as a source of funding to “sell” Reagan’s aggressive policies in Central America (https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/raymond-clarkmemo.pdf ). Raymond referred to Murdoch as if he were already helping out (12/31/2014 Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/31/murdoch-scaife-and-cia-propaganda/ ).
Therefore it’s not surprising that his media empire reports extremely negatively on Nicaragua using unsupported loaded words such as “dictator” or “brutality” in the reporting. These negative reports are linked to the recently renewed hostility of the U.S. towards the Central American nation because of its decision to cut ties with Taiwan and resume diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China last December. (12/14/2021 Nicaraguans hail resumption of diplomatic relations with China http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/14/c_1310370975.htm ), The negativity is also because Nicaragua is building a socialist economy and moving away from U.S. influence.
A July 20th, 2022, WSJ article “U.S. to Escalate Pressure on Nicaragua with a Limit on Sugar Imports” shows increased pressure on the government of President Daniel Ortega, describing him as “an authoritarian leader with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-escalates-pressure-on-nicaragua-with-a-limit-on-sugar-imports-11658363253). An article in the August 17, 2022, NY Post recounts that “Nicaragua exceeds Cuban brutality — and even former fellow travelers are sounding the alarm” in an opinion post by Humberto Fontova, a Cuban-American and anti-socialist author, blogger, political commentator, and conservative polemicist. On June 16, 2022, Fox News reported that “Nicaragua approves Russian troop access to country, defies U.S. objection.” The report invited Roberto Salinas-Leon, director of the Center for Latin America at the far-right neocon organization Atlas Network, to cheer U.S. sanctions against Nicaragua and the administration’s decision not to invite Ortega to the Summit for the Americas last summer in Los Angeles, CA (https://www.foxnews.com/world/nicaragua-russian-troop-access). On June 20th, 2022, an article in The Times reported “Nicaraguan dictator uses ‘Putin law’ to keep his grip on power” (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nicaraguan-dictator-uses-putin-law-to-keep-his-grip-on-power-hc8t5fcl2 ).
It’s the same type of sensationalized anti-communist rhetoric and pro-regime change coverage against Cuba and Venezuela, the socialist countries in the region. The WSJ August 14th, 2022, reported: “Cuba Faces a Power Vacuum” and “The revolution is dead, and so are its leaders. Can the nation break free?” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/cuba-faces-a-power-vacuum-matanzas-fire-fuel-food-transportation-electricity-shortage-communism-castro-lopez-calleja-black-market-farmers-11660504085 ), On March 12th, 2022, “U.S. Talks to Ease Oil Sanctions on Venezuela Get Blowback” saying “Republicans and leading Democrats oppose any move to lift sanctions to help boost crude supply amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-talks-to-ease-oil-sanctions-on-venezuela-get-blowback-11647118157 ). In the NY Post, August 10th, 2021, “‘There is a terrible fear’: Inside Cuba’s crackdown after dramatic protests.” The News Corp wanted to paint the small scale U.S.-backed protest as a national uprising, and protesters who had been arrested were treated for “a terrible trauma from the violence they experienced, either in the protests or in the prisons and in the police stations” without offering any substantial proof. On August 10th, 2021, “Maduro regime seizes office of one of Venezuela’s last independent newspapers” (https://nypost.com/2021/05/15/maduro-regime-seizes-office-of-one-of-venezuelas-last-independent-newspapers/ ).
On Fox News on July 11th, 2022, “Reconnect Cuba to internet: Biden admin can show support for pro-democracy movement” reporters María Elvira Salazar and Brendan Carr called for Congress to pass legislation to counter internet blackouts by the dictatorship in Cuba (https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/reconnect-cuba-internet-biden-admin-support-pro-democracy-movement ). On March 11th, 2022, the coverage was “Biden ‘humiliating and embarrassing’ the U.S. by begging dictators for oil, ignoring Canada.” Fox TV talk show host Sean Hannity said President Biden “continues pandering to dictators in search of oil imports to hold fast to his promise to the pro-climate movement not to speculate for energy at home” (https://www.foxnews.com/media/hannity-biden-oil-crisis-dictators-maduro-venezuela-raisi-iran-inflation ). The Times reported on July 13th, 2022, “The Times view on the anti-government demonstrations in Cuba: Cuban Crisis” (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-times-view-on-the-anti-government-demonstrations-in-cuba-cuban-crisis-wr097hj0r ). Sydney’s Daily Telegraph May 23rd, 2018, ran an article “Useful idiots never learn lessons of socialism,” falsely claiming that “Venezuela's descent into poverty and despotism follows the path of all socialist regimes” (https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/unions-favoured-ideology-is-a-recipe-for-total-ruin/news-story/26ea96e1e4762aa77f70bd759f60998c ).
However, Murdoch’s views on the current far-right Brazilian government is completely the opposite, with reporting that is positively cheerleading, despite the fact that President Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure has been full of corruption responsible for his country’s economic decline, environmental destruction, and a failed anti-COVID campaign that as of September 5th, 2022, had led to at least 34.5 million people being infected and 684,000 people having died. Many Brazilians are fed up and are protesting against him.
The News Corp’s warm and approving coverage supports President Bolsonaro because he’s facing an uphill battle to win the upcoming presidential election that will take place October 2nd-30th, 2022. Most observers believe former left-wing President “Lula” Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds a double-digit lead over the far-right incumbent and will win the election. Such a win will certainly change Brazil’s far-right policy back to socialism, moving Brazil away from U.S. influence and building closer ties with China, Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba. U.S. imperialism cannot accept such a move.
To support U.S. policy, Murdoch is using his global media network, creating a coordinated media campaign supporting a one-sided pro-Bolsonaro message. Many fear that if Lula wins, Murdoch’s media empire will quickly help Bolsonaro spread the false Lula “stole” the election lie, then call for a recount and national protests. The U.S. will declare the election “illegitimate” and impose sanctions against Brazil, forcing Lula to step down. It’s a hypothetical but text book process that the U.S. and their media have carried out in Nicaragua and Venezuela, the regime change and color revolution propaganda campaign that the U.S. has been following around the world for many years.
On June 30th, 2022, the Fox News Tucker Carlson Show spent an hour doing an exclusive interview with Bolsonaro in which they talked about his upcoming reelection fight, China's “expansion” into Latin America, COVID, the media, and LGBTQ rights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-szmfM3yG3M ). It seems like a publicity stunt, to slander Lula and weave a false narrative of Bolsonaro as a faithful ally in the U.S.’s new cold war against China, which Carlson claims is “trying to take over the world. “[A]llowing Brazil to become a colony of China would be a significant blow to us” (6/30/2022 Fox News https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-allowing-brazil-become-a-colony-of-china-significant-blow ).
A covert action-type rhetoric worried Brian Mier, co-editor at Brasil Wire: “To millions of casual U.S. news consumers, Fox’s propaganda blitz preemptively sets the stage for the normalization of a possible military coup in Brazil this October – something which is already being announced by Bolsonaro’s vice presidential candidate, Gen. Walter Braga Neto.” Furthermore, in Cold War psyop tradition, “it sends a message to Brazilian elites that at least part of the U.S. integral state would support an extra-legal maneuver by Bolsonaro and his military to stay in power, even if he loses the election to Lula.” (7/25/2022 FAIR “Fox Seeks Allies Across the Political Spectrum to Shill for Bolsonaro” https://fair.org/home/fox-seeks-allies-across-the-political-spectrum-to-shill-for-bolsonaro/ ).
Multinational corporate greed vs. environmental justice vs. Hong Kong, China
Murdoch’s global media propaganda campaigns are largely based on his love of U.S. cold-war type foreign policies against their “enemies” (China, Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba), pro-Israel Islamophobia (Iran, Palestine, Syria), support for U.S. invasions (Syria, Afghanistan), far-right Christian religious fundamentalist values (homophobia, anti-abortion), extreme racism and hate against any people of color/developing nation rising and affecting U.S. WASPM’s status quo (Brazil’s Lula, Black Lives Matter movement), and unlimited multinational corporate greed (anti-environment).
To support his psyop-type rhetoric, they often use a “one-side against another” game: unapologetically deploying deceptions and false rationales (the same rhetoric also used by U.S. liberal and many “progressive” media), using “scare” tactics for seemingly “care” the people from the country U.S. against, affected by the common social issues, then leading them into the mind-trap that you must obey “us” against “them”: truth is on our side, you’re either with us (good), or with them (bad).
They clearly show their true face when talking about the climate issues in the U.S. and South America, a message falsely painting environmental activism as having ruined people’s lives and having even affected U.S. national security. They say that it’s better for U.S. corporations to take over other countries’ natural resources (“our” resources) then to let China to “steal” them.
An article in the WSJ, April 1st, 2022, “Climate-Change Activism Has a Cost,” falsely argues “the flip side of environmentalist sanctimony? The West’s reliance on a ruthless autocrat to supply the energy it fails to produce for itself.” It goes back to the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, when U.S. and western countries tried to use Ukraine as a proxy to destabilize Russia and economic sanctions to destroy the Russian economy. Since this has failed, the WSJ now angrily creating a myth, says Russia is using energy to “blackmail” Europe – a crisis created by European countries themselves by imposing sanctions that damage only themselves – falsely blaming everything on Russia and environmental activists:
“For decades, the environmental lobby has, with no little sanctimony, owned up to its efforts to keep energy in the ground. It stalls gas pipelines, shuts down coal-fired plants, blocks oil production and organizes hostility to nuclear power.”
“Those same activists who dismissed the importance of energy security must now share ownership of the miseries resulting from energy insecurity, and from a war stemming in part from the West’s reliance on a ruthless autocrat to supply the energy it failed to produce for itself” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-change-activism-oil-gas-nuclear-energy-cost-prices-russia-war-11648826535 ).
The same lie also appeared in a WSJ article on August 10th, 2022, “The Place With the Most Lithium Is Blowing the Electric-Car Revolution” where the reporter pretends to “care” about Salar de Atacama, Chile’s environment and Indigenous peoples’ rights while bad-mouthing Chinese electric vehicle (EV) giant BYD Co.’s recent lithium mine project that caused their local unpopularity: “Indigenous residents took to the streets, demanding the tender (with Chilean government) be canceled over concerns about the impact on local water supplies (https://www.wsj.com/articles/electric-cars-batteries-lithium-triangle-latin-america-11660141017 ).
The Journal then links anti-neoliberal and Indigenous resistance to ecological destruction and resource plundering presenting them as pesky obstacles to green capitalist innovation. “The story is one of corporate tragedy: The so-called ‘Lithium Triangle,’ a region that covers parts of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, is flush with the white metal that is integral to electric vehicle (EV) and battery production. But EV companies don’t have the full access they want, as Indigenous groups and leftist governments resist these foreign multinationals taking the spoils and harming the environment while they do it.” The progressive media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) criticized the WSJ’s hypocrisy (8/23/2022 WSJ Sells Lithium Neocolonialism as Climate Necessity https://fair.org/home/wsj-sells-lithium-neocolonialism-as-climate-necessity/ ).
These “use them when suitable, throw them under the bus when they become an obstacle” mentality has appeared everywhere in Murdoch’s media.
In a NY Post column July 19th, 2022, “Across the world, environmentalists leave only misery in their wake,” columnist Rich Lowry falsely accused green activists of destroying the world: “Without a doubt, the climate-obsessed green movement is the most stupidly self-destructive force in the world today, leaving a trail of irrationality, folly and misery wherever it goes.” He further accused environmentalists of causing the world to surrender to Russia, “making Western Europe needlessly vulnerable to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s energy blackmail and stoking higher energy prices in the United States that have contributed to the fastest decline in real wages in 40 years” (https://nypost.com/2022/07/19/across-the-world-environmentalists-leave-only-misery-in-their-wake/ ).
The same redbaiting scare media tactics also appeared on Fox News July 25th, 2022, “Climate activists embrace extreme tactics, violence as deadline to 'save the planet' draws near,” labeling environmental activists using non-violent direct action as irrational violent terrorists serving Russia’s Putin interests (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/climate-activists-embrace-extreme-tactics-violence-deadline-save-planet-draws-near ). In Sydney’s Daily Telegraph January 11th, 2022, the article “Climate activists issue chilling threat to Sydney” spread the fear that the environmental activist group Blockade Australia, “the climate protesters infamous for disrupting the Hunter’s rail lines, are now threatening a week-long shutdown of the nation’s economic powerhouse” (https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/extreme-climate-protesters-blockade-australia-pledge-to-shut-down-sydneys-cbd/news-story/7a2a461c9cf4a7c2e5f490d6a3e35357 ).
However, if the violent protests are supported by U.S./western countries, and the color revolution was intended to destabilized the U.S. “enemy,” then “protesters” are suddenly labeled as “peaceful” activists and those trying to stop them are “brutal” government forces, as happened in the recent CIA-backed “umbrella” violent protests of 2019 in China’s Hong Kong.
For example in The WSJ on July 1st, 2022, “How China’s National Security Law Silences Hong Kong” painted the well documented western-backed violent protest organizers as “peaceful” activists, the political prisoners “Jailed pro-democracy leaders are being ground down by months without trial and the fear they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-chinas-national-security-law-silences-hong-kong-11656673119 ). In the NY Post July 1st, 2022, “Beijing nails coffin shut on dissent in Hong Kong” also failed to mention that Apple Daily, the city’s once-biggest “pro-democracy” newspaper (https://nypost.com/2022/01/01/beijing-nails-coffin-shut-on-dissent-in-hong-kong/ ), was funded by the U.S. government, and the key force behind funding and organizing the Hong Kong violent protests. Its founder Jimmy Lai (currently in the prison) didn’t even hide his connections with the U.S. and Taiwan.
It’s the same loaded rhetoric at Fox News August 21st, 2022, “China arrests Cardinal Zen and religious freedom now faces a grim future in Hong Kong” (https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/china-arrests-cardinal-zen-religious-freedom-faces-grim-future-hong-kong ). The Times June 30th, 2022, in “Liz Truss: UK won’t rest until Hong Kong has its freedoms back” presents the British right-wing point of view that Hong Kong is now a living hell and that people there were better off when the city was a British colony 25 years ago. Melbourne’s Herald Sun April 22nd, 2022, “there is ‘worry’ in Hong Kong that from July there will be a new leader and that the ‘worst is to come’” (https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/there-is-worry-in-hong-kong/video/26bcac8c215b80ada76dc11b6fca42e7 ).
This is typical white imperialist propaganda. I was born in Hong Kong, China, during the colonial period; I’ve witnessed history first hand for the past fifty years and what they’re saying is simply not true.
As John Menadue, former Australian government official and the founder of the Centre for Policy Development, argues “the US, our (Australia) media showed no interest in ‘democracy’ in Hong Kong throughout over a century of British rule. But now that Hong Kong is properly recognized as part of China, the U.S. government, supported by its media, suddenly became concerned about democracy and independence for Hong Kong. They encouraged the 2019 insurrection.”
Menadue further compares U.S./western countries’ treatment of Muslims: “The U.S. has rained death, destruction and displacement on tens of millions of Muslims in the Middle East over the past 20 years. Now the U.S. media shows a remarkable and belated concern about the persecution of Muslims in China. The U.S. record, like Australia’s treatment of Indigenous people, is a blemish for all time. But who seems to care? Certainly not our own media, who waste no opportunity to attack China. We cherry-pick human rights abuses that suit our agenda.” (1/11/2022 John Menadue White Man’s Media: Legacy media in the U.S. and UK frames and conditions our thinking and actions https://johnmenadue.com/white-mans-media-how-legacy-media-in-us-and-uk-frames-and-conditions-our-thinking-and-actions/) The same tricks were used by the overzealous News Corp media empire against Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba to support U.S.-backed violent protesters.
So who’s afraid of Rupert Murdoch?
While it’s correct to argue that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is one of the worst and most shameful examples of the far-right media, they are just part of the U.S. imperialist propaganda machine’s ecosystem.
According to the March 2019 Swiss Policy Research report “The Propaganda Multiplier,” Murdoch’s Fox News and the WSJ are just part of several dozen major western media, from liberal “left” to far-right, that control global propaganda; at their top are the three major global news agencies: New York-based Associated Press (AP), Paris-based Agence France-Presse (AFP) and New York-based Thomson Reuters. Most local news agencies around the world simply rely on the three global agencies and copy and translate their reports. Two of these agencies are based in U.S. and are covertly controlled and overtly influenced by the U.S. government (https://swprs.org/the-propaganda-multiplier/ ).
Nury Vittachi, the editor of Fridayeveryday.com, a new media and events group based in Hong Kong, China, argues that the scale of the western media-control problem is huge: “the majority of news outlets around the world, whether you’re reading the Bangkok Post in Thailand or the Hindu in India, their international news is provided by the same news agencies, from the United States and Western Europe. All three have received cash from NATO governments, and all have the exact same biases.” Vittachi points out that the BBC, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, CNN, the Washington Post, and so on; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and others, “All of them are from the… Same. Two. Places”: U.S. and U.K. (8/25/2021 John Menadue White Man’s Media: two places, Western Europe and the US, control the global public mindset https://johnmenadue.com/white-mans-media-two-placeswestern-europe-and-the-us-control-the-global-public-mindset/ ).
Vittachi argues that all this is frankly disastrous for the rest of the world, “and particularly the places not allied to the lucky eight per cent” (the percentage of U.S. + Western Europe vs. global population). By being seen as “the enemy,” we get a rough ride in every news bulletin, every day, every week, every year. My home country, China, is demonized to a ridiculous extent, but we’re not the only ones.
We shouldn’t forget the “liberal” media – New York Times and CNN – are the key propaganda government mouthpieces to support EVERY U.S. invasion and color revolution as long as we can remember. How about the NYTimes reporter Judith Miller, who faked Iraqi WMD stories that led to the U.S. invasion?
These days’ Chinese bloggers have a new satire about the U.S: “I will tell you a joke about the U.S.: Freedom of speech!” The fact that “eight per cent of the world provides international news for the rest of the planet is a dangerous anomaly,” Vittachi concludes.
Murdoch’s global media empire is very bad for the world, but they’re not alone.
About Lee Siu Hin 李小轩
Lee Siu Hin, a Chinese-American immigrant activist from Los Angeles, CA, is the founder and national coordinator of the China-U.S. Solidarity Network (CUSN) and the National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN). He is a long-time community, labor, antiwar and immigrant rights activist for grassroots struggle. He's also a long-time Pacifica Radio KPFK Los Angeles unpaid reporter and producer and war correspondent who has worked in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.