Imperialism, War, and Journalism
“The first causality when war comes is truth,” warned Senator Hiram Johnson in 1917. Those words resonate strongly today. When the country goes to war, the corporate media are virtually cheerleaders. Journalists extol the noble virtues and intentions of U.S. state power. There’s a time-honored system of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. If you want that important interview with a White House official or if you want to be called upon at a press conference you’d better be certain that you’ve established yourself as obedient and not likely to ask the wrong questions. Play the game and you’ll make yourself rich and famous. Stray from the pack and you’ll get, as Marlon Brando says in On the Waterfront, “a one-way ticket to Palookaville.”
John Pilger is an internationally renowned journalist and documentary filmmaker. Born in Australia, he has long been based in London. He has twice been selected as Journalist of the Year. His award-winning documentaries include Palestine is Still the Issue and The War on Democracy. He is the author of The New Rulers of the World and Freedom Next Time.