CAN THE CREDIBILITY OF WESTERN POLITICAL & MEDIA ELITES SURVIVE UKRAINE... AND BEYOND?
There may be some reading this commentary who agree with the sentiments and style of reporting being exhibited by what is in effect virtually all western mainstream media news outlets on the events now taking place in Ukraine. However, I doubt that even the most enthusiastic proponents of this style of reporting would contend that the resulting coverage is an impartial assessment of the history, motivations, geopolitical factors and events on the ground there.
When a nation or coalition of nations go into war mode, or better said their elites do, then all objectivity tends to be lost in the collective desire to support 'their side' and demonise that of the other.
I would suppose that just as the war mode exhibited in a knee jerk fashion to almost all potential enemies after 9/11, and the subsequent regime change wars that took place and were arguably universally disastrous, most westerners will likely forgive the war mode subjectivity seen now as they did then. But I wonder.
It could be argued that all the bias exhibited by western mass media during such times has no long term effect. I suspect however that there are two long-term effects to this phenomenon.
The first effect is to create among a certain minority a solidifying effect on their prejudices against those portrayed as irredeemably evil (the effect most often sought for when in war mode in personifying the chosen enemy).
The second and generally opposite effect is to degrade the trust yet another minority have in what is said by western mass media news generation as a whole and subsequently to seek out the views of, and perhaps even support, those labelled 'the enemy'.
As the western powers press forward with what is surely by now a quite clear attempt to undermine and replace those leaders and systems of governance they disapprove of, it seems to me that both the minorities above will grow and be in increasing conflict.
As I see it the western elite project, ongoing since at least 9/11, has no reverse gear therefore its targets being many, including but not related only to Russia, China, Iran and Syria, this division engendered by western mass media will become an ever more prominent feature.
Naturally western MSM will be supported in its stance by western political elites. It will also continue to be supported by those in category one who implicitly believe (or choose/dwish to believe) what they are being told by this source.
Those who wish to assess the historical context, motivations, behaviour and acts of 'the other side' not content to accept anything that smacks of subjective bias, jingoism or war mode partiality, are taking increasingly to social media to express their dismay at being misled by the war mode mentality of western mass media.
Though it is difficult to ascertain which is the faster growing minority of the two described above due to the largely silent majority I rather suspect that there is growing disenchantment with the state-supporting stance seen across western mainstream media news on Ukraine currently. On Twitter and Facebook in particular it is undeniable that over most of the past decade the number of those specialising in revealing uncomfortable facts for western political and media elites have grown exponentially and on Ukraine in particular.
This rise in the willingness and indeed desire, to show the 'other side of the coin' is naturally disturbing for western elites who have the goal of presenting a unified stand against 'the enemy', the norm in any war mode situation. This has initiated calls for changes and on social media changes in policy regarding freedom of speech whereby penalties, including exclusion for "inappropriate" words or images.
More than ever, many westerners now fear that the much-lauded freedom of speech they supposedly have as of right is not only under threat but being actively attacked.
Western political elites need every "enemy" leader to be portrayed as the next Hitler, Nazi Germany being the ideal example of 'pure evil' that war mode requires to be most effective. However, this need to portray the same and necessarily false picture is in conflict with the mythology of neutrality, impartiality and honesty that western elites also like (indeed need) to promote.
In total these conflicting societal influences cannot help but add yet another level of internal confusion, division and disquiet within western nations as the dynamic of supposedly increasing personal power meets the insistence of state authorities that they simply accept their word, do what they say and think as they desire them to.
With the 'forever war' as initiated by the USA having no end goal that does not reach its ultimate conclusion without some for of heavy surveillance oriented virtual prison planet of 'right thought' and 'right action', I would posit that the West is in for a tumultuous time ahead.