US' role more questionable as Hersh loses stardom among US media outlets
Published: Feb 13, 2023 09:41 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Veteran journalist Seymour Hersh's investigative report, that the US was behind the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage, is supposed to be a bomb in news cycle. Yet Western media outlets, who are normally always hungry for scoops, have covered their eyes and ears. Amid the silence, a handful of Western reports that touched upon the disclosure are filled with suspicion toward Hersh. 

At the sage of 85, Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize winner, unveiled not only the hidden hand behind the mysterious Nord Stream explosions, but also an unspoken truth that Western media, which labels itself as being free and independent, has totally become a propaganda arm of Washington. 

Business Insider, which called Hersh "investigative journalist" in 2015, labeled him as "discredited" on February 9. On the same day, Der Spiegel named Hersh a "controversial US journalist." But in 2016, the media outlet dubbed him "legendary." Apparently, because of the Nord Stream report, Hersh turned from "legendary" to "controversial" and even "discredited." Because when Washington wants to rob the public blind over the case and make them angry at Russia, Hersh set a roadblock.

Hersh's disclosure is supposed to promote, or pile pressure on, relevant investigations. Yet right after the White House rejected Hersh's claims, media outlets from the US, and even those from other Western world, kept up with the stance. They have made a clear-cut posture - when divergences occur between professional journalism and interest groups, they would take the side of the latter, and flush the pursuit of truth into toilet. This also makes people doubt whether they are covering secrets for the current US administration. 

A more noteworthy phenomenon is not the change of Hersh's reputation, but the widespread silence of Western media's response. It's been days after the revelation, why hasn't the all-mighty US propaganda machine made any powerful case to contradict or overturn the accusation against Washington? When the US failed to disapprove the claims, it signals that the White House could really be a major suspect, Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, told the Global Times. 

If that is the case, it means the US has stabbed its allies' backs in real sense. Yet blowing up Nord Stream pipelines is a terrorist act. Some observers even call its nature viler than the September 11 attacks. Without doubt, the US will not admit it. As former President George HW Bush's once said, "I will never apologize for the United States — I don't care what the facts are." The reason is simple, acknowledging or apologizing the wrong deeds US committed could shake the legitimacy of US leaders' political power. 

In such a toxic American political atmosphere, there is almost no room for facts, truth, and criticism against the establishment.

Hersh first gained recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. At that time, a growing number of Americans were wising up to the fact that the US could not win the war. Hersh's report helped political forces who wanted to pull American troops out the battlefield. That was a period of time when US political elites were willing to make self-examination on their policies. Those days are over. At present, US policymakers are stuck in their arrogance, without any interest to make introspection. US media outlets playing fool in the face of Hersh's latest report is a sign. 

However, when both elites and the media are reluctant to disagree with mainstream US narrative, the country may run into greater blunder in the future. 

The North Stream case has not been settled. But the question of who are harmed and who have benefited is as plain as daylight. At this point, media outlets from US allies, especially those from Germany, should think twice before throwing their weight behind whitewashing Washington. What good would turning themselves as US propaganda assets do? After all, Germany is a vivid example of "to be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal."