Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hot Japan?

The Japanese just love foreign expressions .  Yes, "asshole" and...umm..."godstomper, rad, connoisseur" -- and, of course, "cool", which is just really, really "sexy", not that anyone really knows what any such words mean.

And that is the problem with “Cool Japan” .  Nobody knows what it means, even the godstompers in the ad companies.   

Rad Japan
National slogans? Rad, baby, rad.

You want them to express a clear concept of national identity – not only what you think it is --or (more correctly)  has been – but what you want it to be.   

“Cool Japan” doesn’t do that.    
Japan Joins the 'In' Crowd.  Rad!

General MacArthur referred to the Japanese as a nation of children.  He was right.  If he were alive today he would have to say a nation of childish nerds -- or "otaku" as the Japanese call it.

"Cool Japan" is just that geeky kid hoping against hope to join the "in" crowd, unaware that "in" is just another kind of pre-pubescent nerd-dom.  
Japan and the World

The only thing that distinguishes "in" and "out" is the circle.

No matter-- Japan wanted to emulate “in” countries like the UK.   Not what it is -- what it was.

“Cool Britannia” was a slogan generated by the  Brit Youth Movement in the 70s --all about the creativity, individuality – and most important of all – the rebellion of horny young people.  Sadly, Japanese young people are into conformity not revolution, not into sex either.  

The Model for Cool Japan

This is a country that has just legalized dancing.  No tattoos here.  No body piercing either.  And a joint will get you 5 years in prison. 

Can Canadian PM Trudeau visit Japan?  He smokes dope, too.

Another “in” country is/was the US, where exoticism became “cool” in the late 20th and early 21st Century – with ethnic everything -- trendy  Mexican food, German cars and French fashion, African music, Kung Fu, and …oh yes…sushi, Japan animation and manga and bukkake.  

After all, America is the “melting pot” and their theme song:  “We are the World”.


Not that the Japanese want diversity.

When the Americans decided Japanesey stuff was “cool”, Japan reacted like a nerd who’s just be invited to sit at the Cheer Leaders' table in the cafeteria -- oblivious to the fact he was only invited because his parents have money and they want to use his house for a party.  
Fashion Advice

When Douglas McGray wrote his article Japan’s “Japan's Gross National Cool" in Foreign Policy, it caught on -- and the Gaimusho wet its collective pants.   A nation of children indeed.  Especially the Todai people, who populate the ministries.

Nope. Japan isn't that cool!

Still another “in” country is/was Bhutan whose Idea of Gross National Happiness (1972) was, evidently, the stimulus for McGray’s article.   In Bhutan, marijuana grows everywhere and is mostly fed to pigs.  The Bhutanese didn't realize it was drug until TV arrived in 1978.   Then -- they got really happy!

Nobody in Japan knows where Bhutan is – or what it is.  Or why it's Gross National Happiness was so successful.  But, hey, they (the Bhutanese and their pigs)  are “cool” aren’t they?  Ask Puff the Magic Dragon.

Blonde, blue-eyed kakko-ii 

In Japanese ‘cool” is often translated as “kakko-ii” – basically, something that looks good – not necessarily something that is good or is different or unique – and certainly not something that individuates you.  

You are “kakko-ii” if everybody around you (‘the “mawari”) confirms you look good.  Yes, conformity -- not creativity.

Stand in not out
To the extent that the Japanese fear being “dasai” (crude, vulgar, or from the suburbs) – they often confuse “cool” with snob values – thinking that high price tag or a brand name makes something “cool”.   Taste has to be certified.  And certification is through advertising.  
Paper is cheaper

This obsession, of course, makes the Japanese the object of ridicule worldwide -- at least in places where people realize that good taste cannot be bought and quality is not the same as price: that “premium” is not the same as “cool’-- indeed, often the opposite.

 By foreign standards, the Japanese are irredeemably bourgeois. 
Are the Japanese bourgeois?

One of the main points of the ethnic craze in “noughties” in the US and elsewhere was choice -- being able to choose from many alternatives -- discriminating value from price, inherent value from advertising.      

The point was not going to expensive French restaurants in Manhattan and getting a tiny bit of beef on a huge plate with gold cutlery – it was knowing the best restaurant for a date– sometimes a little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant in Soho – where the chef’s name is Luigi and comes from San Remo and you don't know the name of the wine but it's always really, really good.  You can’t buy “Cool” – any more than you can buy ambiance -- it's something you are supposed to know


National identity is very much like personal identity.  In this sense.   US, “cool” really has two sides – one is uniqueness – which individuates and confers status.  The other is cosmopolitanism – in personal terms, what you share with other people, making communication, friendship and social inclusion possible.  

So, “cool” is  both interactive and creative.   It takes advantage of existing conventions and traditions and re-makes them, creating new rules, standards and values – which inevitably confirm old ones.  And by so doing allows you social access.

Creativity is universal

This why Japan is missing a huge "soft power" opportunity by selling “Cool Japan” as “Kakko-ii Japan”, which is necessarily backward looking, imitative, and conformist. For Japan, "soft power" is literally a limp dick.

Japan should be selling itself for what it really is.

This is a country with a unique culture – derived from an exceptional history and traditions, including customs and arts.

There are many ways to get a seat on the subway

It is also a country with a cosmopolitan culture – that offers something for everyone – that partakes of the best that the world has to offer –on its own terms.   The two things go together.  Japan is insular – but to survive it has had to look outwards to the rest of the world.  

Where do  you think much of Japanese culture came from, including its writing system, back in the mists of time?  Yup, China and Korea.  Japan has always borrowed from other countries and adapted what it has borrowed to its own needs.
Ummm...maybe Japan is "alien"

The end result is that when people visit Japan, they realize it is not an “alien” world – the gravity is not different and you can breathe the air –but there are lot of things that are different -- and fun and interesting.  

At the same time, you can all the conveniences and comforts of home.
Actually Howard Schultz doesn't drink coffee

The trouble is that the Cool Japan program is not communicating this.  It is just giving money to various companies to help them promote their products abroad – fostering cultural stereotypes --which the world would do anyway.  The Japanese government evidently hopes that world will visit Japan to experience the Otaku world.   

What Japan needs is international advertising that targets both Japanese uniqueness and cosmopolitanism in an innovative way that catches the imagination of the foreign public.    

Now, that would be cool!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The PhD Game and Assange

 Colleges and universities are about social and political certification -- rather like joining the Communist Party in China.  If you can afford to graduate, you get an "in".  But you have to be careful what you learn and what you say.  Best to avoid anything "lefty" and stick to stuff that sells.

Are US academics who cite WikiLeaks blackballed?
Chris Spannos |
 While WikiLeaks continues to make strong interventions into the global news cycle, important debates have been simmering between editor Julian Assange and international relations scholars about whether or not the more than 2 million US diplomatic cables and State Department records WikiLeaks began publishing in 2010 (2,325,961 to be exact) are relevant to understanding how the world’s super-power operates and if Anglo-American academic institutions in the international relations discipline are biased toward the interests of US empire.

The debate raises difficult questions. Do the cables provide insight into full-spectrum diplomacy, foreign relations, and concepts of sovereignty? If so, how can the indifference of certain prestigious associations and journals in the international relations discipline to WikiLeaks’ material be explained? Do these powerful institutions prefer to turn a blind eye to evidence that shows their theories wanting? Do they operate to provide a distorted view of the world and help prepare international studies graduates for jobs serving questionable US government interests?

Academe is Indoctrination
Speaking to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine in July 2015, Assange suggested that institutions within the international relations discipline have failed to understand the intersection between current geopolitical and technological developments. Specifically, Assange charged that the US journal International Studies Quarterly (ISQ), published by the prestigious International Studies Association (ISA), would not accept manuscripts based on WikiLeaks’ material.

Professor of international politics Daniel W. Drezner hit back on July 30 in The Washington Post, arguing that there were other explanations for why the journal was not publishing WikiLeaks’ material. However, he did concede that it is possible that the “structural forces” opposing WikiLeaks were so powerful that a scholar would eschew WikiLeaks’ publications for “fear of being blackballed”.

For the thousands of undergraduate to PhD students, fellows and academic researchers facing a precarious employment market, self-censorship for fear of freezing one’s career is not unlikely. One publicised incident from November 2010 concerning the office of career services at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), which according to The New York Times “grooms future diplomats”, provides the perfect illustration. That year the office sent an email to students warning them against commenting on or posting WikiLeaks’ documents on social media because “engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government”. The warning came to the office through a SIPA alumnus working at the State Department.

College Education is Mis-education
Years later, the tone of the warning continued to reverberate through the halls of one of the most reputable universities in the world. In documenting human rights abuses in June 2013 a Columbia University graduate class produced the anonymous academic paper “WikiLeaks and Iraq Body Count: the sum of parts may not add up to the whole — a comparison of two tallies of Iraqi civilian deaths”. The acknowledgements section of their report refers to the 2010 warning email and states that in light of that email it would be “unwise and perhaps unethical to acknowledge all the participating students by name”.

Others participating in a peer-review process have cited additional factors curtailing their use of comprehensive and illuminating WikiLeaks publications. Former US presidential candidate for the Green Party Cynthia McKinney, for example, says that she was forced to scrub her PhD dissertation from any reference of WikiLeaks material.

A PhD will not get you laid...but

However Drezner, who is an ISA member and on the ISQ’s web advisory board, claims that WikiLeaks’ published diplomatic cables “are not nearly as significant as Assange believes” and that the “academic universe is indifferent to WikiLeaks”. A surprising claim, given that international human rights courts have not been indifferent to evidence derived from WikiLeaks’ published cables, including cables that show the insidious ways in which European officials attempt to conceal CIA torture in secret prisons.

To help address the gap in scholarly analysis of the more than 2 million US diplomatic cables and State Department records published by WikiLeaks since 2010, WikiLeaks has produced a new book, The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire, published September 7, 2015.

Add caption
The book brings together journalists, researchers and experts on international law and foreign policy to examine the current cables and records. The documents are extensive. They expose US efforts —  across Bush and Obama administrations — to use bribes and threats to keep the US protected from facing war crimes allegations, conveying the fading effervescence of concepts such as “international justice” or “rule of law” in the face of a superpower that clearly believes that “might makes right”.

Analysts review the efforts US diplomats take to maintain ties with dictators. They examine the meaning of human rights in the context of a global “War on Terror”. Like the cables they seek to illuminate, the 18 chapters of the book touch upon most major regions of the world.

Experts on US foreign policy such as Robert Naiman, Stephen Zunes and Gareth Porter examine cables that reveal US meddling in Syria, US acceptance of Israeli violations of international law, and how the US dealt with the International Atomic Energy Agency in relation to Iranian nuclear development. The book offers a user guide written by WikiLeaks’ investigations editor Sarah Harrison on how to research WikiLeaks’ cables including meta data and content.
Writing in the book’s introduction, Assange proposes that the diplomatic cables provide “the vivisection of a living empire, showing what substance flowed from which state organ and when”. Assange notes in his introduction that academic disciplines outside international relations, and where career aspirations do not go hand in hand with patronage by government institutions, have voluminous coverage of the cables. But the ISA does not accept submissions citing WikiLeaks’ material. Although ISA executive director Mark Boyer denies that the association has a formal policy against publishing WikiLeaks’ material, he says that journal editors have discussed the implications of publishing material that is legally prohibited by the US government.

According to Gabriel J. Michael, author of the Yale Law School paper Who’s Afraid of WikiLeaks? Missed Opportunities in Political Science Research, the ISQ has adopted a “provisional policy” against handling manuscripts that make use of leaked documents if such use could be interpreted as mishandling “classified” material. According to an ISQ editor quoted in Michael’s paper, this policy prohibits direct quotations as well as data mining, and was developed in consultation with legal counsel. Stating that editors are currently “in an untenable position”. According to the editor, ISQ’s policy will remain in place pending broader action from the ISA, which publishes several other disciplinary journals.

The ISA and ISQ concerns about handling material that the US government forbids —  which include WikiLeaks’ cables —  amount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The cables go into the heart of an empire, and reflect on matters that affect everyone.

Without WikiLeaks, the public would still be in the dark about the Trans-Pacific Partnership “agreement” currently being negotiated. The treaty aims to rewrite the global rules on intellectual property rights and would create spheres of trade which would be protected from judicial oversight. Such agreements have the potential to change the fabric of how states operate, and the leaked cables shed light on how states negotiate significant treaties, aiming to keep citizenship participation in politics out. Where academia bans the use of important leaked documents the public loses out.

Friday, December 18, 2015

How To Read The News

If "Big" Media lies -- where do you go for the truth?  To the TruthTellers, silly!  This is the Information Age.  Seek and ye shall find.

Assange’s Battle; A Fight for Democracy
by The Indicter 

By Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D.

In its nine years of existence, WikiLeaks has become the first global 4th estate. Their 2008 release of the classified US military video documenting the slaying of Iraqi civilians in New Baghdad made the whistle-blowing site a household name. Despite the US government’s efforts to stop their publications, the organization has proven itself to be the most effective publisher of last resort, with over 10 million documents in their library and a perfect record of authenticity.

This year, their vitality shone more than ever, with the release of the texts of secret trade agreements like TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and TiSA (Trade In Service Agreement). Numerous other critical disclosures were also released, ranging from EU plans for military intervention against refugee boats, a Trident whistle-blower’s alert of potential nuclear disaster and CIA director John Brennan’s unauthorized emails.

As WikiLeaks continues to liberate concealed information, shedding light on abuse by governments and corporations, the founder Julian Assange remains trapped in London. December 7, 2015 marked the fifth year of his detainment without charge, first in prison and solitary confinement, then house arrest, and now for more than three years in asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy.

Since Assange entered the embassy in June 2012, the UK government has spent over £13 million of UK taxpayer money on the embassy siege, with police encircling the building 24-hours a day, which has recently shifted into more covert measures. To this day, the UK government has obstructed his safe passage to Ecuador, vowing that, were he to leave the embassy, he would be arrested. They not only denied his right to asylum, but have also been denying his right to receive medical treatment.

What brought him to this situation? He is a refugee, abandoned by his own government, deprived of natural light and air, in a small room, under the diplomatic protection of a brave Latin American country. In a functioning democracy, these questions would be explored. Yet, before the public was even able to examine the issue, the corporate media quickly set the frame and gave a prescribed answer.

(To read the complete article, click here).

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

WaPo Loses A Bar Fight

  Once again WaPo loses out to the Onion.

China, this is why democracies beat autocracies in a fight. (So back off the South China Sea.) 

 Who wins a bar fight? The person with the most friends at the bar.

Who wins a war? The country that fights alongside the most allies.

This simple intuition provides an overlooked explanation for an important academic controversy. Democracies win almost all of the wars they start and about two-thirds of the wars in which they are the targets. If we push the bar fight analogy a little farther, we can also understand why
being a democracy, and seeking a particular type of objective, is helping the U.S. build a large coalition to prepare for potential bar fights in places like Eastern Europe, the Middle East or the South China Sea

    (For whole article click here)
Here are our academic bar fighters.

You want them on your side in a bar fight?    I don't.   Somehow they don't look like the kind of guys who know anything about  bar fights -- umm...much less anything else.
My kind of guys
The writers of the WaPo article are academics attached to the foreign policy and defense establishment.  Pilot fish at the maw of the shark. Academic symbiotes and scavengers.

Their article neatly divides the world into "Us" (democracies, "Good Guys") and "Them" (autocracies, "Bad Guys".  I think I saw this movie before.  Avengers 19?

Remember High School?  It was ever  so important to be "in" with the "good guys" -- who were necessarily trendy.  As I said before, everything begins in High School -- and our three erstwhile academics prove that nothing is learned there -- and even less afterwards.  Why would anyone go into debt seeking "education" from the likes of these people with their eighth grade ideology?  
The argument?  We are "good guys" and everybody likes us, so we have a bigger, badder gang --  which means we will always win.  

OK...now forget that we haven't really won any war since World War II, which was really won by the Soviets -- so there might be a flaw in this reasoning somewhere.  Vietnam?  Nope. Iraq?  What a mess!  Afghanistan?  Oh...maybe Grenada?

Oh, I know...the war on drugs!

So, most of the world actually hates us.  And our "gang" is formed the same way that Hell's Angels set up their gangs -- a lot of investment in chrome and shiny metal and black leather and looking badass.  Drone strikes on wedding parties and hospitals.

 Forget too that our problems int the China Sea have less to do with international law, treaties and agreements, all of which we  ignore anyway-- and much more with maintaining imperial order. 

Then there is that other question: are we really a "democracy" -- and is China really an "autocracy"?  No, both the US and China are oligarchies -- with China, as often as not,  more benevolent. They have a smaller percentage of their citizens in prison.

In any case, our "gang" favors  alliances with headcutters like   the Saudis over secular quasi democracies such as Gaddafi's and Assad's.
Our friends

The article is cheap journalism.  And its writers demean themselves as academics.   "Higher" education?  Your average hooker has more intellectual rigor 

Is that nasty ad hominem stuff Well, yeah, but bar fights are nasty too.  And if you can't take a punch, stick to cocktail lounges in the Faculty club.
Academics wear gloves. Brawlers don't.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Are you the problem?

  Is the Media the problem?  Or is it you?


Over and over again for many years, the "news" has misrepresented world events, which means that you cannot take "honest reporting" "for granted: or the most part, it just doesn't exist.  That lso means you  should you not take what you believe for granted because most of that is based on misinformation (aka "lies").

Never Happened


Is Putin a thug and a dictator?  Most assuredly not.  Are David Cameron or Barak Obama "thugs" and "dictators".  Ummmm...let me think.

And how about Syria's Assad?   Nope. Wrong again. Less so certainly than Barak, who has fewer excuses.

Is Assad Evil?  His people don't all think so. 


Why do so many think so?

Why do you think so?

The "Media" -- which includes Hollywood, of course -- is not about "truth" it is about selling us stuff and entertainment.  For any story to be entertaining we need heroes and villains.  Shakespeare 101.  And you pay to get into the theater.

The new Anti-Semiticism

In its defense, you can say that the Media is just responding to what the Collective Mind wants and once the System is in motion it is hard to stop.  Does the public brainwash the Media --or vice versa?  Takes two to dance. 

That aside, consider basic ethics.   

 If you uncritically accept the Media story -- or, if you prefer -- the tyranny of the Uncritical Middle which is public prejudice--  you are an accessory after the fact to murder -- in the same way that most people like to say the German public was. 

Yup, murder begins at home.

Below, some counter-spin.....


 The Illusion of Western News

Finian Cunningham

Multi-million-dollar advertising money has long been suspected as an unspoken filter for Western news media coverage. If the news conflicts with advertising interests then it is simply dropped.

(click to read the whole article ...)


In the view of Syrians, the country’s president, Bashar al Assad, and his ally, Iran, have more support than do the forces arrayed against him, according to a public opinion poll taken last summer by a research firm that is working with the US and British governments. [1]
The poll’s findings challenge the idea that Assad has lost legitimacy and that the opposition has broad support.
The survey, conducted by ORB International, a company which specializes in public opinion research in fragile and conflict environments, [2] found that 47 percent of Syrians believe that Assad has a positive influence in Syria, compared to only 35 percent for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and 26 percent for the Syrian Opposition Coalition.

(click to read the whole article )

  America’s “Dirty War on Syria”: Bashar al Assad and Political Reform

It should go without saying that the internal political processes of a sovereign country belongs to the people of that country, and no-one else. Nevertheless, as Washington insists on a prerogative to determine who can or cannot lead another country, some background on Bashar al Assad and the political reform process in Syria might be useful.

We find little reasonable discussion of either, in western circles, after the Islamist insurrection of 2011. Instead, the wartime discussion descended into caricatures, conditioned by ‘regime-change’ fervour and bloody war, of a bloodthirsty ‘brutal dictator’ mindlessly repressing and slaughtering his own people. None of this helps sensible or principled understandings. Fortunately, there are a range of Syrian and independent sources that allow us to put together a more realistic picture. If we believed most western media reports we would think President Assad had launched repeated and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, including the gassing of children.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Media Thuggery or Media Buggery

The American Media:  Vladimir Putin is a thug and a dictator and he wants to revive Soviet Imperialism.

Right?  Obviously...

We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.
It seemed, however, far from learning from others’ mistakes, everyone just keeps on repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally.
But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.
I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you’ve done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.
                                                Vladimir Putin (Speaking to the UN)

Hmmmm.... Maybe not....

Dog Lover
 Can you declare war on a dog lover?   

Oh, but we need war don't we.  We need enemies.
 That's why we have the New York Times and WaPo.  What would a honest world look like anyway?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Whatever It Knows The Media Learned In High School

The New York Times lies.  It can't help it.  It's run by Teenagers for Teenagers.

Of course, there is no such thing as "adulthood" anymore -- that died years ago with the advent of the industrial revolution.  What we have today is only only extended adolescence.  High School is an institutional archetype -- the basis for all organizations in our society.   

What do you learn first at high school?  You learn to lie

As a "teenager" you were taught that your identity was a role in a drama written by someone else, with your value dependent on the applause of the audience -- teachers, parents, your "peers", even your Facebook "friends".      

You were judged on your performance of various scripts, according to the occasion -- everything, an act.

That continued in college, your first job, even if you  became an entrepreneur.

So, the present day  "You" is a lie in the sense that all fictions are.  Of course, every member of the audience is the same.

Outside the theater, what are we? It's a lonely walk home all alone. 
Lonely, Mr. Lonely

Usually our lies are socially acceptable -- and useful in avoiding conflict-- but deceptions nevertheless. 

What you really want in life is usually not what you say you want. After a while, not even you know what your real purpose is.   

What do you REALLY want?

Adolescent rebellion?  For a teen, "adults" are just dictators: they have the money; they have the power.  But teenagers learn the value of guerrilla ware -- subversion and deception , the need for camouflage in particular -- all useful tools that allow them to survive as individuals and which they hone and refine later throughout life.  We are always controlled by someone.  And there is no such thing as a fair fight.

"Why are you late from school, Johnny?"

"Oh I was working on homework with Bill".,

In fact, Johnny and Bill looked at their homework for about five minutes..  Boring.  So they played video games, fantasized about killing, smoked a joint, and tried to hit on a couple of skanky girls to no avail, dreaming of the ultimate sex orgy.

Real "You"
That took several hours.    Technically,  they did "work" on homework.  And if they were two hours late -- the five minutes spent on homework -- however little -- did contribute. Later in life, if you went  into business,they could  use this kind of accounting to inflate their billings or pad their expense accounts, where five minutes becomes an hour and you get paid for it. 

Fake "You".  No zits

Moms and Dads have an image of their kids graduating from school, all shiny-faced, happy and  welt-scrubbed, zitless attractive.  Fake...fake...fake...

We cannot bear too much reality.  
Free at last!

Perhaps, at long last -- when the kids leave,  Mom and Dad will be free to get that divorce they were thinking about -- or maybe they will stick together and organize orgies with the next door neighbors in the living room.They had kids because...y'know...that's what you do -- and once they were there -- they loved them.  When they are not there, they will love them even more.

Mom, in particular, wants to think Johnny is a "good" kid because that's what Moms are supposed to do, right, even though they were teenagers once and know that the stereotyped TV image of a "good kid" is really, really hard to find.  If you do find one, they are Dexter or Ted Bundy.

In her heart, Mom knows that Johnny is telling her just what she wants to hear.  And that's OK because she does that kind of thing too.   Always and forever. 

We learn very early on that illusion,  delusion and deception are necessary to lubricate the mechanics of ordinary social life. It's all OK until your kid gets a gun and kills somebody -- at which point, you affect surprise and shock.

" He was such a 'good kid'".

Is Johnny a serial killer?

Is it so strange then that the Media do exactly what everybody else does?   

The "Media" are made up of people, reacting to a social environment-- so they lie -- while pretending not to. They are between the public, which has is multifaceted -- and media owners who represent a neoliberal elite, largely psychopathic relative to the  wants of ordinary people -- who they need but fear. 

The Media are people -- not these -- they're actors (homo theatricalis)

These are real media people

When you were a teenager you were caught between the cafeteria crowd, who you needed to like you -- but mostly hated -- and your parents and teachers -- authorities --  who essentially owned you.

Persona = Stereotype = Tribal Identity
Caught in between you learned to :
  • assume one or more identities
  • lie a lot
Lies make society rock
The Media do that too  -- just like Johnny -- mixing little bits of fact with a lot of editorializing and omissions, trying to fit in with a particular segment of the public-- while also trying keep everybody happy -- even if they hate some of them -- the "scum", the "mob", the "great unwashed".
The best lies always look true

Everything turns on  trust.

Johnny wants Mommy and Daddy's trust.  He lies to get it.

The Media want your trust too. And they lie to get it.  After all, without that trust,  how can they get advertisers?   How can a journalist go into a pub and get free beers just by saying "I'm a journalist". Trust doesn't come from open-ness or honesty -- it comes from the appearance of it.  Real transparency will earn you nothing but doubt and exclusion.
Dishonesty breeds trust

Johnny needs Mommy and Daddy's trust -- because they have the power to severely curtail his freedom of operation --if only by cutting his allowance or by confining him to home, which for most kids is really a minimum security prison.    We learn about social hierarchy at home: at the end of the day it's all about economics and power and control. 
Want your kid to get ahead?

Similarly, the Media need your trust -- because, as noted -- without it they don't get advertisers -- which means they are out of business.  The Media are an organ of the advertising industry, which must cater to big corporations.  "Public media" such as the BBC or PBS are at the media of Government, which is at mercy of lobbyists.
Who owns the news?  Who owns YOU?

Our "owners" -- the few hundred people who literally own most of the world's biggest corporations  have many freedoms and privileges and great power -- but it all depends on the acquiescence of the Crowd -- your unwillingness to stir from the Comfort Zone.   

Things can change.  Revolutions happen.  

But the Status Quo fears Truthtellers more than barbarians at the gates. 

The Media: false equivalences, false debate

The Western media blackout any facts or opinions that undermine the themes of the propaganda they purvey as "news".  The US government attacks alternative sources of information Wikileaks, of course, Edward Snowden -- and, naturally Russian news organs such as RT.

Russian (radar) data almost never shown in the Media

Mike Whitney writes:

In candid remarks to the Russian media, Putin implicated the US in the downing of the Su-24 stating that the US military was briefed on the warplane’s flight path and then immediately passed along that information to Turkey. Here’s what he said:
“We told our US partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don’t control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our US partners.”
Putin’s damning remarks have not appeared in the so-called "mainstream media" -- or, if it has, it is paraphrased and undercut with caveats. The net result is that people who don't read RT or some of the foreign press on the Internet don't know that Turkey is financing ISIL, while making bundles from the war.   Mike Whitney comments further:
“I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them,” Putin told the journalists.
“I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products. The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon,” Putin added, comparing the convoy to gas and oil pipeline systems.” (Putin: ISIS financed from 40 countries, including G20 members, RT)
Don’t look for this story in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post. You won’t find it. It’s not in the interest of the major media to publish information that suggests that Washington and its allies are providing material support for terrorist organizations.
             -- Mike Whitney

The President of the US can out and out lie about Syria's alleged use of nerve gas, long after it has been established that his favorite "moderate rebels" were the guilty party -- and the New York Times will faithfully report it.
NYT:  "News"?

He will talk about Turkey and its "right to defend its borders" by shooting down Russia aircraft which haven't transgressed those borders -- but the  "mainstream" media are not going to point this out -- as what it is:  lying.  
The Man Who Should Have Gone Into Advertising

Big Media wants you you perpetually "in the middle" like a person happily drunk.  Then, they can sell you anything.  So you end up in the middle of the road, with the cars whizzing past.  Hitler knew.
Are you middle class?

If you think I am exaggerating,  just look at how the UK Media --which is rather better than the US Media -- treat  "Corbynistas", hundreds of thousands of people who have the radical, if not extremist belief that the elected representatives of the people should actually represent their constituents, rather than themselves.  Of course, Corbynistras  are all "terrorist sympathizers" aren't they?
How to be a journalist

Notice, too, how the GOP wants to ban the Russian news source RT because it tends to report things differently from the official Washington narrative.

"No, no, they don't" lie you say, "they don't just tell one side of the story.  They give the other side, too.  Can they help it if most opinion favors one position over another?'  This is the Fox News argument:  "fair and balanced".  LOL.

Sure...and that's how we got the Iraq War, Afghanistan and Gitmo.

The best lies have the semblance of truth.   Johnny knows.  The Media know.  Hitler knew.  

The truth is often hard -- and we don't want that -- we want comfort.