Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Insightful Interview in L'Humanite on the media and coups, etc.

An interview with Roberto Hernandez Montoya, president of the Romulo Gallegos Foundation Center for Latin American Studies (CELARG) in Venezuela.

Cathy Ceïbe for Humanité: Last April, you made a presentation at the Organization of American States (OAS) of your work on media totalitarianism. What does that concept cover?

Roberto Hernandez Montoya. That concept covers a change in civilization. Yesterday, there was an engaged press, on the right as on the left, and even religious. But it was not organized the way the big corporations are. That press had ideological and political tendencies, but it was not a global monolith in the sense that today, several media outlets - The Washington Post, Fox News, CNN - set the rhythm for the news and its contents. These are epicenters of the news that spread it. Moreover, if one pays attention, one will find that a news item is sometimes repeated with the same spelling errors. The media respond to events in extremely similar ways. It's a matter of dominance that is as much ideological as corporate. Media totalitarianism produces capitalist ideology, but also dangerous, even criminal, phenomena. The United States lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Media totalitarianism took up those lies to justify the invasion of the country, becoming in its turn a weapon of mass destruction. That invasion cost over a million Iraqis their lives. Media totalitarianism is not shared, but dictated. The milieus surrounding the military powers, the so-called military-industrial complexes, orient and decide. They carry out the creation of enemies, as during the time of the Inquisition when whoever failed to obey the Church's general orientation was accused of being a heretic. The right to a defense was abolished. At present, we are experiencing a similar situation. Take the case of the Taliban. Yesterday, they were heroes. President Ronald Reagan called them freedom fighters because they fought the Soviet Union; they were necessarily good. Today, they incarnate evil because they act for their own account. When Saddam Hussein warred against Iran, nobody had any complaints. But when he began to act for his own account, he became the enemy to bring down. Imperialism is a rather nervous master.