Chris Hedges on the Decline of Journalism

by on Jul.21, 2012, under Police State, The General Pursuit

Most of us know something is wrong in America – something wrong in the world. We just can’t quite figure out exactly what. Bill Moyers undoubtedly has the same feeling – and is seeking answers weekly on his PBS show.

This episode with Chris Hedges softly, but directly, implicates specific entities like Israel, AIPAC (America’s pro-Israel lobby), and Goldman Sachs as villains; and impoverished people, for now, throughout the world as victims. We’re next. The freedoms and standards of living of the common man is going away.


” . . . when you spend that long on the outer reaches of empire you understand the cruelty of empire, what Conrad calls “The Horror! The Horror!”, and the lies we tell ourselves about what is done in our name. Whether that’s in Gaza, whether that’s in Iraq, whether that’s in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, El Salvador – I mean there’s a long list.

And, when you come back from the outer reaches of empire, you are, and I think, you know, many combat veterans feel this, come back you’re forever alienated. And, you seek to speak a very unpleasent truth about who we are; a truth that most people don’t want to hear. And yet, I think to hold that truth in and to remain silent and not to speak that truth destroys you.”


Hedges: “I think the really great journalists, like the great preachers, care fundamentally about truth. And truth and news are not the same thing. And the really great reporters, and I’ve seen them, you know, in all sorts of news organizations, are management headaches – because they care about truth at the expense of their own career.”

Moyers: “What do you mean truth as opposed to news?”

Hedges: “Well, let’s take the Israeli occupation of Gaza. If I had a dinner with any Middle East correspondent who covered Gaza, none of us would have any disagreements about the Israeli behavior in Gaza, which is a collective war crime. And yet, to get up and write it and say it within American society is not a career enhancer. Because there is a powerful Israeli lobby, and it’s a lobby that I don’t think represents Israel, it represents the right wing of Israel, and you know it. But the great reporters don’t care. And they’re there. But, you know, large institutions like the New York times attract huge numbers of careerists like any other large institutions, the church, of course, being no exception. And those are the people who are willing to take moral shortcuts to promote themselves within that institution. And when somebody becomes a headache, even if they may agree with them, even if they may know that they are speaking the truth, and it puts their career in jeopardy, they will push them out or silence them. So, I think that one can take sides, and Orwell becomes the kind of model for this. But one can never not tell the truth.”

This quote by H.L. Mencken is also point of discussion:

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who loves his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”— H.L. Mencken

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