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Since becoming a journalist I had often heard the advice to believe nothing until it has been officially denied. Claud Cockburn, A Discord of Trumpets p190
There are truths. And truths are often made up by facts. And facts on the ground are terribly important ... As a reporter, if I am to draw a conclusion, as I do in my films, that conclusion must be based on evidence I’ve uncovered or I’ve seen substantiated or I’ve witnessed personally. John Pilger, In Conversation
Journalism is nothing if it is not independent. ibid.
Journalism for me has always been about humanity ... They are not abstractions, they are about people. When we lose that we lose a critical link to both reality and truth. ibid.
They do have the power to act together. I think back to the time when Rupert Murdoch moved his operation in London to his fortress in East London called Wapping when everything changed. It was a sea-change. In the process he sacked five thousand people just like that. The journalists almost didn’t go. The vote was lost in the union ballots by about half a dozen. Now, had they voted not to go, I doubt whether that embodiment of everything that Murdoch stands for would ever have got off the ground. So journalists do have power. And it’s really up to them to organise that power. John Pilger, interview Melbourne 2009
It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and myths that surround it. John Pilger
Journalists who give a damn ... Governments fear good journalists. The reason the Pentagon spends millions of dollars on PR – Perception Management Companies – and tries to bend the news is because it fears truth-tellers just as Stalinist governments fear the truth-tellers. John Pilger
Journalism is not a product looking for a niche market: it is a vital extension of democracy, and without diversity journalists are merely the agents of power when they should be the agents of people. John Pilger, Breaking the Mirror: The Murdoch Effect, ITV 1998
Journalists ought to be the agents of truth not the courtiers of power. John Pilger, Freedom Next Time
If journalists can look behind the press-release version of events, or push back the screen of what is often propaganda but rarely recognised as such, then we will produce true journalism, not a form of PR. We ought to be the agents of people, not power. John Pilger, The War on Democracy
Paul Foot was the exemplar of journalists. When he and I started out, investigative journalism was unknown. Paul claimed that mantle more than any. John Pilger, Power and Responsibility
The deep bias that runs through our media is a bias in favour of the powerful. Journalists are agents of power not of people. And that’s the first lesson journalism students should be taught. ibid.
Telling the truth is often difficult. And you can’t always get the whole truth. You can sometimes get bits of it. But to look for it as truthfully as you can ... at their best, journalists are truth tellers ... Once you enter the so-called mainstream you enter a structure with certain ingrained assumptions. ibid.
Pilger’s Law: If It’s Been Officially Denied Then It’s Probably True. John Pilger
Beware false objectivity: the kind that promotes an establishment agenda ... Beware all news from official sources ... Beware the pack; never follow the fashion in news ... Beware all background briefings especially from politicians ... Beware celebrating technology until you find who controls it ... Have nothing to do with what is known as D-Notices ... All journalism should be investigative ... Take pride in the knowledge that media barons can’t stand the sight of us journalists. John Pilger, lecture ‘The Hidden Power of the Media’
Many journalists now are no more than channellers and echoers of what George Orwell called the ‘official truth’. They simply cipher and transmit lies. It really grieves me that so many of my fellow journalists can be so manipulated that they become really what the French describe as ‘functionaries’, functionaries, not journalists. Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words ‘impartiality’ and ‘objectivity’ is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They’ve been taken over ... now mean the establishment point of view ... Journalists don't sit down and think, ‘I’m now going to speak for the establishment’. Of course not. But they internalise a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity. John Pilger
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’s. 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. John Pilger, article December 2014, ‘War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda’
There is a pseudo-journalism now … to simply write down and swallow what governments tell you is the very antithesis of what real journalism is. John Pilger, Going Underground Special, RT interview 2018, Youtube 26.41
BBC: Its long-documented history of suppression, of doing the bidding of British governments, and of serving Western power. John Pilger, lecture 2018
The media’s long-time role as disseminators of state and vested interests’ propaganda. ibid.
Evidence is the root of real journalism. ibid.
The war in Yemen really is the Vietnam of this generation. John Pilger Special: ‘A look back at 2018, and going ahead to 2019’, RT Going Underground, Youtube 28.13 December 2018
It does tell us where so much of journalism has gone. Has been lost. ibid.
There is a litany of lies about Russia, about China, about so many issues that endanger us … The public have a right to understand truthfully. ibid.
Why are journalists doing this? ibid.
No real evidence at all of Russiagate … accepted by journalists as OK … ibid.
This was the slaughter known as the First World War. Sixteen million died and twenty-one million wounded. At the height of the carnage the prime minister of Great Britain, David Lloyd George, had a private chat with the editor of the Guardian, C P Scott. If people really knew the truth, said the Prime Minister, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don’t know and they can’t know. John Pilger, The War You Don’t See, 2010
The soundbites never stop, and the wars never stop. ibid.
What is the role of the media in rapacious wars like Iraq and Afghanistan? Why do many journalists beat the drums of war regardless of the lies of governments? And how are the crimes of war reported and justified when they are our crimes? ibid.
The resulting TV pictures gave no sense of the bloody conquest of Iraq. ibid.
As a result of the invasion of Iraq: 740 women are widows, 4.5 million people forced from their homes. ibid.
The respectable media has played a critical part in promoting war. ibid.
It’s definitely got worse … The media is an extension of the established order … The great change has been the closing down of spaces. John Pilger, On the State of the UK Media, interview Mark Curtis, Youtube 56.43
They [Pentagon] don’t have the pay journalists now; the service is for free. ibid.
Biggs escaped. For ten years police hunted the world for Biggs but it was an unknown journalist who tracked him down. Ronnie Biggs: Secret Tapes
One of the great newspaper scoops that never was. ibid.
The two became good friends. ibid.