News on developments around the world are generated by the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House and by think tank “experts”, who deliver the official point of view.
“Under intense financial pressure, most American newspapers, magazines, and broadcast networks have drastically reduced their corps of foreign correspondents,” he says, stressing that a lot of important news about the world now comes from reporters based in Washington.
“In that environment, access and credibility depend on the acceptance of official paradigms,” he adds.
The author cites as an example the coverage of the crisis in Syria.
As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening, the author acknowledges.
“Americans are being told that the virtuous course in Syria is to fight the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian partners. We are supposed to hope that a righteous coalition of Americans, Turks, Saudis, Kurds, and the 'moderate opposition' will win,” Stephen Kinzer continues.
“This is convoluted nonsense, but Americans cannot be blamed for believing it. We have almost no real information about the combatants, their goals, or their tactics. Much blame for this lies with our media,” he further states.
Everything Russia and Iran do in Syria is described as negative and destabilizing, simply because it is they who are doing it — and because that is the official line in Washington, Kinzer says.
However, Kinzer warns that the ignorance of ordinary Americans is even more dangerous, because they “act on it”.
“The United States has the power to decree the death of nations,” he says. “And it can do so with popular support because many Americans — and many journalists — are content with the official story.”