By Caitlin Johnstone
The last few days in the United States have seen a parade of wealthy freaks fellating each other’s egos and preening for the cameras in outlandish garb while ordinary Americans suffer more and more.
The weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner saw a gaggle of media celebrities congregate to congratulate one another on what a great job they’ve been doing bravely telling the truth and holding the most powerful government on earth to account. The host, Trevor Noah of The Daily Show, gushed with enthusiasm about how much freedom the press have in America to say things the powerful don’t like.
“As we sit in this room tonight, people, I really hope you all remember what the real purpose of this evening is,” Noah said. “Yes, it’s fun. Yes, we dress nice. Yes, the people eat, they drink, we have fun. But the reason we’re here is to honor and celebrate the fourth estates and what you stand for — what you stand for — an additional check and balance that holds power to account and gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one.”
“And if you ever begin to doubt your responsibilities, if you ever begin to doubt how meaningful it is, look no further than what’s happening in Ukraine,” said Noah. “Look at what’s happening there. Journalists are risking and even losing their lives to show the world what’s really happening. You realize how amazing it is. In America, you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth even if it makes people in power uncomfortable, even if it makes your viewers or your readers uncomfortable. You understand how amazing that is? I stood here tonight and I made fun of the president of the United States, and I’m going to be fine. I am going to be fine, right? Do you really understand what a blessing it is?”
Of course there are people who’ve said things that US presidents don’t like who are not in fact fine. Julian Assange continues to waste away in Belmarsh Prison as the US government continues its efforts to extradite him to he can become the first publisher ever tried under the Espionage Act. Edward Snowden, an American, remains in exile because one US president after another continues to refuse to pardon his heroic whistleblowing about the sinister surveillance practices of the US intelligence cartel. Daniel Hale, also an American, sits in prison for exposing the depravity of America’s monstrous drone program.
Trevor Noah did not mention these people, or the many others who’ve been persecuted, silenced, imprisoned and killed for saying things the powerful individuals who govern the US don’t approve of, because as a member of the mainstream media his job is not to inform but to propagandize.
Far from providing “an additional check and balance that holds power to account and gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one” as Noah claims, the people in his audience on Saturday night are tasked with manipulating public thought in facilitation of the interests of the powerful. The mainstream news media in America, and throughout all the so-called free democracies of the western world, are propaganda institutions whose first and foremost job is to manufacture consent for oligarchy and empire.
Which is why the President of the United States, when he took the podium that night, had nothing but friendly words for the mainstream press.
“What’s clear, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, is that you, the free press, matter more than you ever did in the last century,” Biden said. “We’ve all seen the courage of Ukrainian people because of the courage of American reporters in this room, and your colleagues across the world who are on the ground taking their lives in their own hands.”
This past weekend also saw a friendly gathering of brave fourth estate truth warriors and political and government operatives of the US empire at a party hosted by the billionaire owner of the neocon war propaganda rag The Atlantic.
David and Katherine Bradley and Laurene Powell Jobs hosted a dinner at the Bradleys’ home. SPOTTED: Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Cabinet Secretary Evan Ryan, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, CIA Director Bill Burns, press secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy A.G. Lisa Monaco, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands), homeland security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Jeffrey Goldberg, Nick Thompson, Peter Lattman, Anne Applebaum, Russell Berman, Franklin Foer, David Frum, Elaine Godfrey, Adam Harris, Mark Leibovich, Jeff Dufour, Heather Kuldell, Kevin Baron, José Andrés, Enes Kanter, Mitch Landrieu, Dafna Linzer, Rachel Martin, Judy Woodruff, Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer, Jonathan Capehart, Katty Kay, Steve and Jean Case, John Dickerson and Jen Palmieri.
Yep, when you see a shady basketball player/empire propagandist fraternizing with the CIA Director while surrounded by media celebrities and government insiders at a party hosted by a media-owning plutocrat, you know you’re in a country where power is held to account. Right, Trevor?
The orgy of embarrassment was capped off by the 2022 Met Gala, a big weird dystopian parade of rich freaks dressed like Hunger Games aristocracy and laughing in the face of everyone who can’t afford to live.
An honest Met Gala dress would have a corset made from the bones of Yemeni children, draped with a cloth of stolen gold and lithium spun by the tiny hands of child slaves, with a full-length train that leached oil and blood wherever it went.
This while ordinary Americans struggle just to survive. While American women appear to be on the precipice of losing their reproductive sovereignty. While money is poured into a proxy war which threatens to escalate into a conflict that could easily end all life on earth.
This is your dying empire, America. This is your end-stage capitalism. This is your dystopia, in all its weird, phony, stupid glory.
It is horrifying. The longer you look at it, the creepier it gets.
Breathe it all in, folks.
We’re in for a hell of a ride.