That media freedom in a capitalist democracy is a hoax (“U.S. media independence: the rot within,” July 13) is something that has been established. Albert Einstein, in his essay Why Socialism?, says that in a capitalist system, “under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”
The author deserves praise for his incisive analysis of the flip-flops of the U.S. print media on waterboarding — one of the cruellest torture techniques. Freedom, human rights and tolerance of dissent are the values that the U.S. prefers to observe only in their breach. While it seeks to punish Iran (and punished Iraq) on the ground that it is checking nuclear terrorism, the U.S. betrays no compunction in providing Israel and Pakistan with the necessary material, moral and logistical support to enable them to promote territorial violence and subversive activities.
The findings of the study referred to in the article, although disturbing, hardly come as a surprise. The US cable channels do not do a good job of fair and balanced reporting either. They have an inherent bias and lean towards their ideology by picking and choosing news of their choice. Some networks act as right-wing propaganda machines, while some have a liberal bias. In essence, the news story is filled with distortion.
The U.S. news media were never unfettered or unbiased. They always had their own agenda and interests which could not be violated. The most recent examples of how aggressively the news establishments react were evident when 90-year-old Helen Thomas, the senior most White House correspondent, was forced to retire after she made a pro-Palestinian remark, and when Octavia Nasr, Middle East editor with the CNN, was fired for paying tributes to a Shia cleric who died last week.
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times are quite free to write what they feel about the U.S. government. If, despite this, they kowtow to the government's ways, it is because they feel it is not wrong in its approach. We find quite a lot of articles in The New York Times that condemn waterboarding and the Guantanamo Bay.
Is it necessary to carry articles criticising the government to prove to others that the media are free from state interference?