PILGER, John . Top journalist on good journalists: "those who retain pride in our craft of truth-telling, no matter how unpopular and unpalatable the truth. The rest is not journalism"

John Richard Pilger (born 9 October 1939) is a renowned  expatriate Australian journalist and documentary maker who is  based in London. He has twice won Britain's Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received academy awards in Britain and the US. John Pilger in the opinion of the UK News Statesman: “John Pilger, renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker, is one of only two to have twice won British journalism's top award; his documentaries have won academy awards in both the UK and the US. In a New Statesman survey of the 50 heroes of our time, Pilger came fourth behind Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. "John Pilger," wrote Harold Pinter, "unearths, with steely attention facts, the filthy truth. I salute him.” (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Pilger  and http://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/2010/03/pilger-australia-murdoch-media ).



John Pilger (outstanding expatriate Australian UK writer and journalist) reviewing “The First Casualty” by Phillip Knightley (2003): “When I read the first edition of this remarkable book twenty-five years ago, I was struck by the following quotations. During the First World War, Prime Minister David Lloyd George told C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: "If the people really knew [the truth] the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know and can't know." The truth was reported, insisted The Times correspondent, Sir Phillip Gibbs (knighted for his services), "apart from the naked realism of horrors and losses, and criticism of the facts”…Like [William Howard] Russell's, the best journalism is the first draft of history: for that we are indebted to Phillip Knightley, whose clear-sighted and principled book throws down a challenge to journalists to examine their role in the promotion of the war, in propaganda and its myths, and the subliminal pressures applied by organisations like the BBC, whose news is often selected on the basis of a spurious establishment "credibility". The following pages ought to be read by every young reporter and by those who retain pride in our craft of truth-telling, no matter how unpopular and unpalatable the truth. The rest is not journalism.” [1].

John Pilger on “holocausts” inflicted on Muslims and others by the Western US Alliance (2012): Longer and bloodier than any war since 1945, waged with demonic weapons and a gangsterism dressed as economic policy and sometimes known as globalisation, the war on democracy is unmentionable in Western elite circles. As Pinter wrote: “It never happened even while it was happening.” Last July, American historian William Blum published his “updated summary of the record of US foreign policy”. Since World War II, the US has:

• Tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically-elected.

• Tried to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries.

• Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.

• Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.

• Tried to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

In total, the United States has carried out one or more of these actions in 69 countries. In almost all cases, Britain has been a collaborator. The “enemy” changes in name — from communism to Islamism — but mostly it is the rise of democracy independent of Western power or a society occupying strategically useful territory, deemed expendable, like the Chagos Islands. The sheer scale of suffering, let alone criminality, is little known in the West, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications, nominally freest journalism and most admired academy. That the most numerous victims of terrorism — western terrorism — are Muslims is unsayable, if it is known. That half a million Iraqi infants died in the 1990s as a result of the embargo imposed by Britain and the US is of no interest. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Western policy (“Operation Cyclone”) is known to specialists but otherwise suppressed. While popular culture in Britain and the US immerses World War II in an ethical bath for the victors, the holocausts arising from Anglo-American dominance of resource-rich regions are consigned to oblivion.” [2].

John Pilger on UK Leveson Media Inquiry (2012):In Britain, this world of subjugated news and information is concealed behind a similar facade of a “free” media, which promotes the extremisms of state corruption and war, consumerism and an impoverishment known as “austerity”… The iniquity of Rupert Murdoch was not his “influence” over the Tweedledees and Tweedledums in Downing Street, nor the thuggery of his eavesdroppers, but the augmented barbarism of his media empire in promoting the killing, suffering and dispossession of countless men, women and children in the US's and Britain's illegal wars.Murdoch has plenty of respectable accomplices. The liberal Observer was as rabid a devotee of the Iraq invasion. When Tony Blair gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry, bleating about the media's harassment of his wife, he was interrupted by a filmmaker, David Lawley-Wakelin, who described him as a war criminal. At that, Lord Leveson leapt to his feet and ordered the truth-teller thrown out and apologised to the war criminal. Such an exquisite display of irony is contemptuous of all of us.” [3].

John Pilger on Orwellian Mainstream lying (2014): It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country”…

As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device. Peace is “perpetual war”. “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.In the arts, hostility to political truth-telling is an article of bourgeois faith. “Picasso’s red period,” says an Observer headline, “and why politics don’t make good art.” Consider this in a newspaper that promoted the bloodbath in Iraq as a liberal crusade. Picasso’s lifelong opposition to fascism is a footnote, just as Orwell’s radicalism has faded from the prize that appropriated his name.

A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life”. No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice. Among the insistent voices of consumer- feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people … of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital”. [4].

John Pilger on “War by media and the triumph of propaganda”, New Matilda, 6 December 2014 (see: https://newmatilda.com//2014/12/06/war-media-and-triumph-propaganda ) ” Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers? Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power? These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003. The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions...

“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” It’s this kind of silence we journalists need to break. We need to look in the mirror. We need to call to account an unaccountable media that services power and a psychosis that threatens world war. In the 18th century, Edmund Burke described the role of the press as a Fourth Estate checking the powerful. Was that ever true? It certainly doesn’t wash any more. What we need is a Fifth Estate: a journalism that monitors, deconstructs and counters propaganda and teaches the young to be agents of people, not power. We need what the Russians called perestroika - an insurrection of subjugated knowledge. I would call it real journalism. It’s 100 years since the First World War. Reporters then were rewarded and knighted for their silence and collusion. At the height of the slaughter, British prime minister David Lloyd George confided in C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: “If people really knew [the truth] the war would be stopped tomorrow, but of course they don’t know and can’t know.” It’s time they knew.” [5].

[1]. John Pilger quoting Phillip Knightley  in “The people don’t know and can’t know”, Evatt Foundation, 13 March 2003 : http://evatt.org.au/news/people-dont-know-and-cant-know.html .

[2]. John Pilger, “The World war on democracy”, Green Left Weekly, 1 February 2012: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/49856 .

[3]. John Pilger, “John Pilger: Corporate media responsible for mass hacking”, Green Left Weekly, 9 December 2012: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/53019 .

[4]. John Pilger, “Gideon Polya, “The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother’s War On Israel, Ukraine and Truth”, Countercurrents, 3 August, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/pilger030814.htm .

[5]. John Pilger, “War by media and the triumph of propaganda”, New Matilda, 6 December 2014: https://newmatilda.com//2014/12/06/war-media-and-triumph-propaganda).