The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

U.S. Media:
Propaganda Machine for Imperialism

Mar 14, 2022

Any Russo-Ukrainian war is likely to be bloody for the combatants, result in a wave of refugees, and further destabilize an already precarious regional security situation.”

This accurate prediction about the war in Ukraine came from John R. Deni, a research professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute in an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal in December 2021, TWO MONTHS BEFORE the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

Deni further asserted: “If Russian forces enter Ukraine yet again, Kyiv is likely to lose the war and the human toll will be extensive.”

So, based on the compassion and sympathy U.S. officials and news media are professing for the Ukrainian families victimized by this horrific war today, you would think that Deni, and the Wall Street Journal, would have advised U.S. leaders to make every effort to prevent a war on the ground.

But no; Deni went on to advocate the exact opposite instead: “Nonetheless, as diplomatic efforts unfold, there are good strategic reasons for the West to stake out a hard-line approach, giving little ground to Moscow over its demand to forsake Ukrainian membership in Western institutions [including NATO, the Western military alliance] ... Rather than helping Russian President Vladimir Putin back down from the position he’s taken, the West ought to stand firm, even if it means another Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

In other words, being fully aware of the terrible human cost of the war, this expert in military matters and war was telling U.S. leaders to continue to push Putin into starting a war (which the Biden administration did), all in the name of strengthening a U.S. policy of expansion at the expense of Russia. An IMPERIALIST policy, that is.

This kind of frank policy discussion is very rare in the major U.S. media—and simply non-existent since the standoff between the U.S. and Russia has escalated into war in Ukraine. Instead, images of the human suffering caused by war have filled U.S. media reports at a level not seen in decades.

Yes, the number of refugees this war is generating—2.5 million and counting, according to reports—represents a terrible human disaster. But the same media that brings us this horror has been all but silent about the plight of the refugees from the wars the U.S. started in Afghanistan and Iraq. They number a staggering 14.5 million, according to a report by Brown University published in Sept. 2020. Yes, Putin is a war criminal—but then don’t George W. Bush, who started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and every U.S. president after him who continued them, also deserve the same title?

Yes, when U.S. media commentators tell us that the Russian media would not tell the truth about the war to the Russian people, we have every reason to believe it. But how much can you trust a media that shows Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush’s foreign policy advisor during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “is certainly against every principle of international law and international order,” with a straight face?

No, the U.S. corporate media is every bit a propaganda machine in the service of aggressive war-mongering as media outlets in countries run by open dictatorships are. The billionaires who own the U.S. news media are every bit part of a greedy, war-mongering ruling class as their Russian rivals (and business partners)—those greedy oligarchs behind Putin that the Biden administration and U.S. media are now teaching us to hate. And the Biden administration represents every bit the interests of our own “oligarchs,” the billionaire bosses who exploit us here in the U.S.

In the service of this greedy U.S. ruling class, every U.S. administration since the collapse of the USSR has expanded the military presence of the U.S. and NATO around Russia, threatening it. And now the current administration, with the complicity of the corporate media, is cynically trying to use the suffering of Ukrainian people to gain support from the American people for future wars of conquest.

To these henchmen and mouthpieces of imperialism, working people in Ukraine, Russia—and the U.S., for that matter—are just cannon fodder in their wars of expansion. We have every reason to try and stop the bloody, imperialist wars they keep starting in our name.