US War Industry Pulls Mainstream Media Strings on Ukraine
Published: Jul 05, 2023 03:23 PM
The US military-industrial complex is shaping the debate on Ukraine through allied think tanks which have been extensively cited by the American mainstream press since day one of the conflict, Bryce Greene, a contributor to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, told Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary podcast.

It's no coincidence that American media is unanimously calling to send more military supplies to Kiev and fight to the last Ukrainian, since the debate has been artificially narrowed by the US defense contractors, as per the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft's recent study.

The DC-based think tank has found that of the 15 think tanks most often mentioned by the mainstream press, just one – Human Rights Watch – does not receive funding from the US war industry. Quincy's analysis particularly demonstrated that the US media were seven times more likely to cite think tanks with ties to defense contractors than those without such affiliations.

"There isn't really an alternative voice in the media when it comes to these issues of war and peace," Bryce Greene told Sputnik. "The Beltway is usually on board with the drumbeat of the coverage. And this just shows how much the media relies upon these voices to shape the opinions, to shape the views of their audience. And it's especially dangerous when you consider that most of these think tanks don't even tell you how much they're getting from these corporations. One finding from this study was that these think tanks (…) are not required to report where exactly they get their money from. Anything they give us is really by their goodwill. But very often they don't tell you which companies are funding exactly how much. They might list some donors, but they don't give exact figures. So it's incredibly difficult to track the influence of this."

Even though the US media is ostensibly independent they still push the government's line by relying on and uncritically quoting those sources whose paychecks come from the US military-industrial complex, according to Greene. What's more, the US media never gives a hint that those views come from experts funded by Lockheed Martin, or Boeing or some other defense contractor benefitting from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the journalist continued.

Greene lamented the fact that it makes it very hard for a viewer to understand whether or not the information they're getting is unbiased and untainted by special interests.

"Most people know an institution functions on behalf of the people who fund it," Greene continued. "And the think tanks are working on behalf of the military-industrial complex and therefore the media are laundering the point of view of the military industrial complex in order to present them as independent outside analysis. The net result of this is that you have almost consistent drumbeat coverage in the US press calling for more weapons, for more intervention, and the US public is foaming at the mouth, waiting for just how many more weapons will it take to defeat Vladimir Putin. (…) We've been taught about this war that Vladimir Putin is a new Hitler hell-bent on conquering all of Eastern Europe. Again, this is all just propaganda on top of more propaganda. And it boosts the point of view that the US are the good guys who can end this war, who can bring peace if they only just pour enough weapons in. We only send another few billion dollars. We only send some tanks, some jets, and some high fliers. Everything will be alright in the fight against autocracy."

As a result, the argument about the necessity of peace talks and scaling down the US military assistance to Ukraine has been effectively suppressed, as per Greene. At the same time, little attention is given to the damage caused by the US efforts to protract the conflict.

Furthermore, nobody is questioning risks of a potential delivery of cluster shells to the Ukrainian military or depleted uranium ammo shipments that the US approved of earlier from the UK, to Kiev, the journalist continued. These weapons could essentially poison and irrevocably damage large areas of Ukraine and Russia causing lots of deaths among civilians, Greene warned.

"The Biden administration is talking about sending those to Ukraine as part of a future aid package," Greene said. "Well, the way cluster bombs work, unlike traditional munitions, is that they drop a series of smaller bombs when they detonate, and that spread out over a wide area, embed themselves in the ground. And they are excellent at reducing anti-personnel. They're very useful at attacking infantry forces. But the problem with these and the reason that they're internationally banned is that they are also extremely harmful to civilians for any given area where cluster munitions are deployed. There's no guarantee that all of these will explode immediately (…) So this really spits in the face of the Biden administration line that this war is being fought on behalf of Ukrainians, on behalf of Ukrainian democracy, to protect the people of Ukraine."