Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dept. of False Dichotomy

Will Afghan women remain repressed,
or will they be free to buy beauty products?

The subject line most found in my email box the last couple of days is about who will get reporter Helen Thomas' coveted front-row seat in the White House press briefing room. Ms. Thomas was a career journalist best known for asking the hardball questions the big boys in the White House Correspondents' Association shied away from, e.g. on May 27: "When are you going to get out of Afghanistan? Why are we continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse? And don't give us this Bushism, 'If we don't go there, they'll all come here'." She resigned amid a furor caused by her suggestion in an interview that Zionists return whence they came.

So I am deluged with emails suggesting I take action so that NPR gets the front-row seat, not FOX “News.”

These are the choices we are offered in the declining days of the empire. As if NPR had not sold out years ago to the corporations that sponsor it, and was some sort of bulwark of the free press against the info-tainment fear mongering and race baiting of FOX talking heads.

It is analogous to the “choice” voters were offered in the last election: who would you rather have in the White House, Obama (“I'm not against wars, just stupid wars”) or McCain (“Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”)?

Or you could vote for a third party candidate you really wanted, like Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader, and have your friends accuse you of throwing the election the wrong way. Our two-party system is the very essence of a contrived either/or choice that blocks out other possibilities.

False dichotomy is a reliable method of propaganda, effective in that it frames the question falsely, excluding the myriad possibilities that exist outside the either/or. I wrote about it here in the context of the media flap over Gen. McChrystal trash talking the president. False dichotomy as in: who's in charge of the war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon or the White House?

Another F.D. that's currently making the rounds of big corporate “news” outlets like the New York Times: will Afghan women be sacrificed, or will NATO stay the course in the the fight against the Taleban? Time Magazine is so shameless they put a photograph of a woman with her nose sliced off on their cover. The timing suggests that recent wikileaks revelations about US and NATO atrocities against civilians, including female children, must be a real threat to the manufactured consent for the war on terror.

Look for front page stories soon on repression of women's rights by the lunatic, theocratic government in Iran. “News” stories are sure to accompany the sabre rattling as we surround that piece of prime real estate controlling the eastern shores of the Persian Gulf.

, here we come.

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