The Chris Hedges Report Podcast with Patrick Lawrence Examines How the Western Press Has Become a Propaganda Tool of the War Industry and Ukrainian Government
The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the loss of credibility within the western press, inflicting, journalist Patrick Lawrence argues, irreparable damage.
The Ukraine conflict has plunged the world into a geopolitical crisis. But this is not, as the writer Patrick Lawrence points out, the only crisis. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the crisis within the western press, inflicting damage that he believes is ultimately irreparable. The press in the U.S. and most of Europe slavishly echoes the opinions of a ruling elite and oversees a public discourse that is often unhinged from the real world. It openly discredits or censors anything that counters the dominant narrative about Ukraine, however factual. For example, on August 4, Amnesty International published a report titled “Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians.” The report charged Ukrainian forces with putting civilians at risk by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals, a violating the laws of war. To call out Ukrainian for war crimes, however well documented, saw the press and the ruling elites come down in fury on Amnesty International. The head of Amnesty International’s Kyiv office resigned, calling the report “a tool of Russian propaganda.” In one of the many broadsides the Royal United Services Institute in London wrote that “The amnesty report demonstrates a weak understanding of the laws of armed conflict, no understanding of military operations, and indulges in insinuations without supplying supporting evidence.” It is nearly impossible to question the virtues of Ukraine’s government and military. Those that do are attacked and banned from social media. How did this happen? Why is a position on the war in Ukraine the litmus test for who gets to have a voice and who does not? Why should a position on Ukraine justify censorship? Joining me to discuss these questions is Patrick Lawrence who was a correspondent and columnist for nearly thirty years for the Far Eastern Economic Review, the International Herald Tribune, and The New Yorker. He is the author of Somebody Else’s Century: East and West in a Post-Western World and Time No Longer: America After the American Century.