BEHIND THE NEWS JUNE 1981
Speaking at a symposium arranged by the National Women’s Register in Johannesburg on May 16, the theme was “Censorship”, Mr. Ivor Benson made a few points on the subject of the news media that may be of interest to all those who subscribe to investment and other newsletter and small but independent publications of all kinds. Mr. Benson has summarized parts of his address below. – JB
No one is in a position to evaluate the performance of any particular newspaper who knows no more than that newspaper tells him.
A newspaper or news magazine, like IME, can be technically almost perfect and yet fail in its true purpose by omitting, not just this or that important fact, but entire dimensions of vitally important information and interpretation. Example: TIME magazine of June 23, 1980 devoted 45 pages to the subject Inside the USSR without any mention of the fact that nearly all the industrial and technological development described has been put up there by the West, mainly the USA, with finance also supplied by Western banks. This entire dimension of information is excluded because it would upset TIME’s more than 27-million readers to discover that the same banks and multinational companies that are helping to build up the Soviet Union are at the same time servicing the West’s own huge defense spending.
It might shock readers even more to discover that much of what the Soviet Union has been getting from the West was “paid for” with loans that may never be recovered, and that it is they themselves who are bearing the burden of it through inflation and excessive taxation.*
Dieticians are often quoted as saying that “we are what we eat”; it would be equally true to say that “we are what we know and understand”.
The supply and processing of information are vitally important for all living creatures, even the tiniest insects. When the pictures formed in our minds are out of register with what is happening in the world about us, we are confused and, in varying degrees, discouraged and even demoralized.
The human mind is made for truth in much the same way that the lungs are made for fresh air; a scarcity of poisoning of either cause the flame of life to burn less brightly. Millions of people in the Western world today are deeply afflicted by the secretly censored and corrupted service of information they get from the establishment media.
‘Confusion is a Weapon’
Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, one-time principal of Columbia University, remarked that people can be divided into three main groups: a tiny minority of men who MAKE things happen; a second group, only slightly larger than the first, who WATCH AND UNDERSTAND what is happening; and a third group, made up of the rest of mankind, WHO NEVER KNOW what is happening.
This is a correct statement of the situation at a time when people are daily bombarded with news and commentaries, via newspapers, radio, television, etc, as never before in history.
Why is the world so badly served by its entire most important media? Alexander Solzhenitsyn provides part of the answer in his Harvard address of 1978, when he remarked:
“The Press is the most powerful institution in the Western countries, more powerful than the legislatures, the executive and the judiciary, one would like to ask: by whom was it elected and to whom is it responsible?”
In a word the establishment media are power-orientated and not ethically information-orientated; from which it follows that editorial policies are geared mainly to the purposes being promoted so that it becomes necessary to exclude entire dimensions of information which conflict with such purposes.
Whose property then is “Press freedom”?
In today’s world monopolized by those who are wealthy enough to buy and control vast newspaper and radio networks, plus book trade; what they call “Press freedom” is their right to exercise huge unelected power, unhindered by legislature, executive or judiciary.
The Press freedom that is really precious can be defined as the people’s right of access to information they need in order to fulfil themselves, live healthy and happy lives and maintain institutions that go
‘Conspiracy of Truth’
The major Western media have a uniform policy. How do we explain this phenomenon?
All the major media in the West adopt substantially the same attitude on all major issues, suggesting that we should be looking for some common purpose as the motivating factor. Such a common purpose has been clearly identified but cannot be explained in a few words, although summed up in the statement that a worldwide concentration of financial power is being accompanied by a drive for corresponding concentration of political power.**
One of the best sources of information on this subject is a book, TRAGEDY AND HOPE, a 1300-page “history of the world in our time”, by Dr. Carroll Quigley, former professor of history and international relations at Georgetown Foreign Service School, Washington DC, a book withdrawn by the original publisher, the Macmillan Company of New York, but now available in a “pirate” edition.***
Censorship – is it good or bad?
It is no more possible to defend censorship as such than to defend the amputation of human limbs. Censorship, like amputation, means the abridgment of what we prefer to possess unabridged; but there are circumstances when the alternative is much worse and when some censorship and amputation are much to be preferred.
Media censorship is nearly always of doubtful utility. It is of little use trying to control those who own the media by chivvying them from outside. There are two quite different ways in which news can be “censored”: by those who manage the news and by governments who try to censor it or control it from outside; the main difference is that the first is vastly more effective than the second.
The most effective antidote is a supply of the missing dimension of the necessary true information. And this is a method now being applied – but not by governments: all over the world there have come into existence innumerable organizations, both large and small, dedicated to the task of increasing the size of that “small second group”, those who watch and understand what is being made to happen – giving rise to a vast exchange of small publications and newsletter, and a growing volume of book literature, all designed to fill in the missing dimensions in establishment reporting.
Ref: * NATIONAL SUICIDE AND WALL STREET AND THE BOLSHEVIC REVOLUTION, both by Dr. Anthony Sutton. (This kind of “foreign aid” is also practiced as policy in Southern Africa – see THE INEQUALITY PRINCIPLE by A.T. Culwick & J.C. Oosthuizen; ** THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN CONTEMPORARY HISTORY by Ivor Benson (forming h. 5 of the Battle for South Africa). *** Professor Quigley’s story, and Dr. Sutton’s, appear in A TIME TO SPEAK by Ivor Benson.
More ‘missing dimensions’ are given in – INSIDE STORY by Chapman Pincher (Sedgwick & Jackson), and BEHIND THE SCENE by Douglas Reed.
The word of truth is always an explosive force, but coming at the right moment, its consequences are incalculable. W.D. Chalmers – THE CONSPIRACY OF TRUTH.
Enormous freedom exists for the Press, but not for the readership, because newspapers mostly give enough stress and emphasis to those opinions which so not openly contradict their own and the general trend. – Alexander Solzhenitsyn.