You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Manufacturing Consent’ tag.

The introduction from a non officially approved version of what happened in Bolivia by Jeff Mackler and Lazaro Monteverde writing for Counterpunch:

“On Sunday, October 20 Evo Morales was re-elected president of Bolivia with 46.85 per cent of the vote against his nearest competitor, Carlos Mesa, who received 36.74 percent. In anticipation of a Morales victory the U.S. corporate media launched a fake news disinformation barrage nine days earlier aimed at discrediting the result and setting the stage for a well-orchestrated fascist-led coup. Presented to the world as a popular democratic revolution against a dictator, the coup was led by fascist groups in alliance with Bolivia’s defecting police and army. The relentless media watchdog, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), aptly reported: “The New York Times’ editorial (11/11/19) accused Morales of “brazenly abusing the power and institutions put in his care by the electorate. The Washington Post (11/11/19) alleged that ‘a majority of Bolivians wanted [Morales] to leave office’ –a claim for which they provided no evidence – while asserting that he had ‘grown increasingly autocratic’ and that ‘his downfall was his insatiable appetite for power.’ The Wall Street Journal (11/11/19) argued that Morales ‘is a victim of his own efforts to steal another election,’ saying that Morales ‘has rigged the rules time and again to stay in power.’” FAIR’s corporate media accounting goes on to list several major media outlets in the country that dutifully sang the same song. Not a single major daily challenged these baseless accusations. These “manufacturing consent” specialists were unanimous in denouncing Morales and his re-election long before the votes were tallied. The Bolivian coup was conceived as a relatively quiet U.S.-supported regime change endeavor in comparison to the overt and monstrous full court failed coup that U.S. imperialism conducted against the Venezuelan government of Nicholas Maduro several months earlier.

     On November 10, twenty-one days after his election victory Morales, in the name of “peace” and to avoid “violence and bloodshed,” resigned the presidency and fled to Mexico at the invitation of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. On November 22 Morales told a New York Times reporter in Mexico that the coup leaders had placed a $50,000 “wanted dead or alive” price tag on his capture. Mexico’s air force jet sent for the rescue operation arrived via a circuitous route including a stop in Paraguay after several nations – including U.S.-allied Peru and Ecuador – denied flyover or refueling rights. Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who greeted Morales upon his arrival, denounced the coup as well as the concerted interference with Mexico’s effort to retrieve Morales. No doubt the U.S.-backed coup makers had informed their allies of Morales’s departure plans, while evaluating the merits and demerits of arresting, if not murdering him by the still-undeclared formal coup leaders.”

Funny, this coup seem to just come and go.  The overthrow of democratically elected government not really a big deal.  As to the reasons why, I would assume that Morales was not big business friendly enough and thus, regime change was the way to go.

Contrast this with Pinochet coup and bloody dictatorship, that was open for business, and deemed quite acceptable by the major Western powers.

This is the world we live in, and the majority of people don’t even have the slightest clue about the depth of treachery and malfeasance being carried out in their name.

CJ Hopkins writes a polemic about one of the themes that crops up in leftist literature.  The elite, who are our real enemies (of the common people) will employ just about any set of tactics to keep the populace engaged in harmless activity.  Bread and circuses if you will.

The marriage of politics and power is nothing new.  Yet we get hyperbolic essays like the one Hopkins’ penned for Counterpunch.


     “See, up to now, the dilemma we’ve been facing (or some of us have been facing, anyway) is how to respond to the ruling establishment’s concerted campaign to “regime-change” Trump. On the one hand, Trump is a living embodiment of everything the Left opposes. On the other hand, going after Trump has meant carrying water for the fake Resistance, i.e., that global corporatocracy (which, by the way, does not mean “the Jews.” I always like to slip that in to piss off my anti-Semitic readers.) This has been a bit awkward for some of us, restraining our impulse to stick it to Trump (at least on whatever talking points the Resistance is currently putting out) because in doing so we would align ourselves with the ruling establishment’s attempt to demonize, and eventually depose an American president who isn’t playing ball with them properly. If we oppose regime change in other countries, shouldn’t we also oppose it at home? Or do the ruling classes get a pass this time because Trump is such an exceptional monster? But wait … wasn’t Saddam a monster? And Gaddafi? And all the other “Hitlers” that wouldn’t play ball with the corporatocracy? And Assad? Isn’t he a monster?

     You can see how confusing all this gets … when you’re trying to figure out how to oppose both the supranational corporatocracy that is superseding sovereign nations as the hegemonic power in the world and the neo-nationalist reaction against it, which is essentially fascist in nature, and which the corporatocracy also opposes … and desperately wants you to help them oppose by buying their manufactured hysteria about Russians, or Nazis, or whatever scary monster they wave in front of your face. After a while, your brain starts to hurt, and you just want someone to make things simple.

     Charlottesville Nazis to the rescue! How much simpler could it possibly get? Corporatocracy? What corporatocracy? We got goddamned Nazis coming out of the woodwork! Racist Nazis! Confederate Nazis! Nazi apologists! Nazi sympathizers! This is no time to worry about who’s actually wielding political power, or how they’re manufacturing hysteria and otherwise manipulating people (not you, of course … other people). No, what we need to do now is censor the Internet, and other venues for Nazi hate speech, and round up all these racist Nazis and subject them to anti-Nazi therapy, or anti-racist empathy programs, or just gang up on them and beat them senseless.

   OK, sure, that might sound extreme, or authoritarian, or just plain old creepy, but keep in mind that This Is Not Normal! And racism and Naziism is very, very bad. And Love Trumps Hate! And Scope Kills Germs! And we never literally meant that Trump was an actual Russian agent or anything. Forget about all that Russia stuff now. Trump is Hitler. Trump has always been Hitler. America has always been at war with Hitler. America will always be at war with Hitler.”

So what if the shadow elites are orchestrating the rise of token fascist groups in the US?  This evasion is still elevating the consciousness of people who were otherwise indisposed to think about, much less act on a political impulse.

If these are the machinations of the supranational corporatocracy it would seem that their plan has more than a few flaws because galvanizing people into action, even the against token enemies of the state, is still awakening people from their political slumber.


I’ve come across this message now in several books and other sources of information, some scholarly, some not so scholarly.  The condensed version is this:  Our elites cannot trust the leadership and management of society to the masses.  Said masses would structure society for their, and not the elites’ benefit, therefore public opinion must be carefully manipulated and groomed in order to keep the ‘proper’ order of society intact.  James Garvey weights in with his thoughts on this salient feature of our societies:

    “Democracy as we have it in the West might still respond to the will of the people, but that will itself is managed in part on behalf of those with money.  A case could certainly be made for the view that anything like a meaningful democracy ended for us just as it was getting started, early in the last century, as new forms of persuasion took hold and diminished the freedom of voters to come to their own conclusions.  It is hard write something like that without sounding like a conspiracy theorist , and you might wonder where that smear itself originates, but if it’s too rich for your, join me halfway: democracy is at least compromised by the fact that a great deal of what we think comes not from sound reflection and careful argument, but from our lifelong exposure to images and messages that serve the interests of those who pay for them.”

-James Garvey.  The Persuaders: The Hidden Industry that Wants to Change Your Mind p. 47.

    I’m about a third done Garvey’s book, it is a good read and would highly recommend it as it is a very approachable work that might get read as opposed to tossed over the shoulder like Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’or Lippman’s ‘Public Opinion’ because they are dry as the dessert academic works.

maclean-s    When one turns to the word “propaganda” images of totalitarian states come to mind – Pravda, The North Korea Times.  We envision an army of Winston Smith’s carefully scrubbing the news of improper thoughts and meanings, carefully crafting the government approved message of the day.  Of course we don’t have that here in North America, we have freedom of speech, we have a free press, we have liberty!  We also have institutionalized self-censorship,demarcated areas of approved debate, and a media establishment that tends to take the government’s word at face value.  These factors contribute to a media system that appears to be  free and without censure, but in reality, craft obsequious stories that pose no threat to power or the norms of society.  Essentially, the (self)censorship we have in the West is on autopilot, it is subtle, unremarkable, but yet *very* effective (for more detail on our system, see my post on Manufacturing Consent).

All this being said, sometimes our subtle system of media control goes a little haywire, it loses its subtle sheen, and becomes a little more transparent in how it operates.  Stories slip through the net and give the status-quo a good shake.  The recent furor caused by Maclean’s naming “Winnipeg: Where Canada’s Racism Problem is at its Worst.” is a prime example of such a happening.  The article pokes many holes in white Canada’s notion of a vibrant multicultural society.  Some highlights:

“One in three Prairie residents believe that “many racial stereotypes are accurate,” for example, higher than anywhere else in Canada. In Alberta, just 23 per cent do, according to polling by the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration (CIIM). And 52 per cent of Prairie residents agree that Aboriginals’ economic problems are “mainly their fault.” Nationally, the figure drops to 36 per cent.”


“Earlier this fall, Robert Falcon-Ouellette, director of the University of Manitoba’s Aboriginal focus programs, hit the Grant Park Shopping Centre in Winnipeg’s south end to hustle for signatures for his mayoral nomination form. The 37-year-old was a late entrant to the election. He’d cobbled together a campaign staff—idealistic political neophytes he knew from academia and activists he’d met at last year’s Idle No More rallies.

It was an ugly entry into politics. “I know you,” a shopper told Falcon-Ouellette, approaching him shortly after he arrived at the mall. “You’re that guy running for mayor. You’re an Indian,” he said, pointing a finger at Falcon-Ouellette. “I don’t want to shake your hand. You Indians are the problem with the city. You’re all lazy. You’re drunks. The social problems we have in the city are all related to you.”



   “Tyler Henderson, a 28-year-old Ojibway nursing student at the University of Manitoba, says he feels racism every time he walks out his front door. Henderson says Winnipeg police stopped him 15 times last year. “You fit the description,” police tell him when he asks what he did wrong. Once, police claimed he’d pulled to a stop a few inches beyond the stop line. “It makes me mad,” he says. “But there’s nothing I can do.” Some young indigenous men are stopped twice per month in the inner city, according to University of Manitoba criminologist Elizabeth Comack.


“Don Marks, a Winnipeg writer, recently visited an ER with an indigenous friend. They’d dropped a painting, and the broken glass had cut his friend. “Aw!” a nurse exclaimed in greeting them. “Have we been drinking and fighting again?” The nurse’s assumptions were harmless, says Marks, who edits Grassroots News, an Aboriginal newspaper. “But this was someone responsible for treating Native people in our hospitals. We all know racism exists in our health care system.”

I would go read the entire article at Maclean’s as it touches many important points and different facets of the racist experience going on in Winnipeg.  But the lowlights sampled here are enough to show that punches were not pulled in writing this article.

Response from the Mayor of Winnipeg was predictable.

“We have come together to face this head-on as a community,” Bowman added, noting that Winnipeg exists on what is traditional Treaty One territory.  We have to shine a light on it. Without the light, we can’t see what we’re fighting. We’re not going to end racism tomorrow, but we’re sure as hell going to try.”

Way to go Mr.Mayor.  Ending workplace inefficiency with enhanced system synergies is also on his “to do” list.  I find the reactions of Robert-Falcon Ouellette and Rosanna Deerchild to be much more interesting. 

Ouellette ran for Mayor in the last Winnipeg Civil election and of course faced racist comments on him an his campaign.  He is no stranger to the ugly tide of racism in Winnipeg, but when asked of the Maclean’s article he said this:

“The cover treatment Maclean’s gave the story is sensationalist, he said. The cover features a quote from a Winnipeg resident who says,”They call me a stupid squaw or tell me to go back to the rez.”

“They used the word ‘squaw,’ which is very, you know, derogatory type of comment,” Ouellette said. “But at the same time, I understand they need to be selling magazines and getting people interested to buy the magazine.”  Ouellette has experienced racism, including during his campaign, but it’s not something he sees on a daily basis. He said he believes the majority of people in the city aren’t racist, but that there’s always the loudmouth that stands out.”

His restraint and decorum in the face of such ugliness is  impeccable.  At the same time, troublesome because he’s just being so darn nice about the entire situation.  We see the same pattern with Rosanna Deerchild, here is what she says:

“They call me a stupid squaw, or tell me to go back to the rez,” the quote reads.  But on Friday, Deerchild recorded a segment for Saturday’s Unreserved, saying she does not want to be racism’s cover girl.

“I am far from the angry Indian complaining about being hard done by,” she says.

“Let me be clear. I love my city, my community, my home: Winnipeg, North End, Canada. But neither will I quantify, qualify or pacify racism in this place, or any place it rears its ugly head.”

I’m scratching my head a little over what she said.  I applaud her for being so diplomatic in the face of injustice, but I think that she has every right to be royally pissed off over the state of affairs regarding Winnipeg and racism.

Her choice of words speaks volumes to how the concerns of aboriginal woman have been treated in white Canada in the past.  She makes it very clear that she is not an “angry Indian complaining about being hard done by”.  Deerchild, even in her respected position in society (broadcaster for the CBC), is keenly aware of the stereotypes and negative tropes arrayed against her.  She is aware of what I was alluding to earlier in this post – the system of self censorship/censorship that marginalizes dissident views such as hers, in favour of the comforting white feel-good multicultural narrative that is an acceptable “truth” in Canadian society.

I applaud all those quoted in the articles, they are speaking directly to the problem of racism in our society.  The fact that this article is creating so much noise and buzz in Canada is a testament to how adept our media is at maintaining the status-quo most of the time and for generally not allowing articles of this calibre to be published within the mainstream news establishment.

[Source: – 1,2,3]



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