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This is great speech by journalist John Pilger on the powers and dangers of corporate media. I think what’s most interesting about it is that he breaks from the Left/Right dialectic that plagues social change movements and takes liberalism to task for some of its crimes. The liberal Clinton administration increased the size of the prison-industrial complex and justified the Iraq sanctions and bombing campaign as a humane method of dealing with a dictator. The parents of the 500,000 children who died as a result of those sanctions (according to the UN) would disagree, I think.

Pilger’s point here is not simply to criticise the dominant ideology of the intelligentsia, but to stress that no action is inherently just or good by nature of the beliefs that support it. Again and again the liberal media has supported wars of empire, and liberal Democrats like Truman, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton have instigated and supported violent oppression around the world. The responsibility to prevent tyranny then falls to the public, and if I have any criticism for Pilger’s speech it’s that his conclusion suggests few solutions beyond vigilance and a citizen fifth estate to watch the watchers. Valid, sure, but the real issue is how do we inspire people to want to be the fifth estate?. Still, it’s an educational, sobering, thought provoking speech that’s definitely worth watching.

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