cj#450> re: Question of Media Focus

1996-01-31

Richard Moore

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Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996
Sender: •••@••.••• (Joe Ferguson)
Subject: Re: cj#447> The Question of Media Focus

Great post Richard!

> [the media] are engaged in a much more creative endeavor than mere
> "reporting"  ... they are ... fabricating a ... virtual world that bears
> little resemblance to the actual world.

The mainstream media's job is to create a virtual reality for mass
consumption by a gullible public.

> you find the scale of Western war-mongering (even by the U.S. alone)
> staggers belief.

And the media has most of us believing the U.S. is the great champion of
justice!

Until people are somehow awakened to the fact that far worse things are
being done with their taxes than wasting them, the staggering nature of
what is really going on would be hard to sell even with the help of Madison
Avenue.

Most of the people we need "on board" have a great deal of "deprogramming"
to undergo!

Thanks for putting the Internet to such good use raising our awareness.

- Joe

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One _might_ say the western world is a moonie, and salvation lies in its
being deprogrammed...

-rkm

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Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996
Sender: "David E. Anderson" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: re: cj#447> The Question of Media Focus

I recommend Z magazine and Noam Chomsky for examples and analysis of this
issue.

Dave

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Apropos: this piece, which went out over AR yesterday, begins:
        >In early January, in an action that has NOT BEEN
        >REPORTED in the AMERICAN PRESS, the Chinese military leadership of two
        >southern provinces across the staits from Taiwan armed missiles in
        >preparation for an immediate strike against Taiwan.

Should we call this an "anti-demonization" campaign in favor of China?

The wire services (UPI et al) act as "narrow straits" between national news
markets, enabling (to some extent) country-by-country propaganda
customization.  During the Gulf War, shocking photos of suffering in Iraq,
though permitted in Europe, were filtered out at the wire-service feed into
the U.S.

One of the threats of Internet, is that it can short-circuit this
propaganda factoring...

-rkm

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                        *       *       *

FOREIGN AFFAIRS:  CHINA & TAIWAN
+
by Lucy Komisar
American Reporter Correspondent
New York, N.Y.
1/29/96
china

            CHINESE LEADER REINS IN GENERALS WHO WOULD ATTACK TAIWAN
                               by Lucy Komisar
                        American Reporter Correspondent

        NEW YORK -- In early January, in an action that has not been
reported in the American press, the Chinese military leadership of two
southern provinces across the staits from Taiwan armed missiles in
preparation for an immediate strike against Taiwan.
        The Chinese generals considered Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's
heightened diplomatic profile and assertion of Taiwan's political
independence unacceptable. They were also rankled at Lee's insults to
China's leaders during his June trip to America where he had called them
"ignorant" and "thieves." The generals decided to send a strong message to
Lee; and they moved without the approval of civilian officials in Beijing.
        The threat to launch missiles across the straits was a direct
challenge to the authority of Chinese leader Jiang Zemin who wants a
peaceful transition and the continuation of western investment. China lost
investment after the Tiananmen attack, and Jiang knows that war on Tiawan
would again frighten international businessmen who run from instability.
He told the generals the planned attack was unacceptable.  But he acceded
to their demand to declare a state of emergency in the region, and the
military mobilization has continued.
        This is a dangerous time for China. Until Deng Xiaoping dies and
Jiang is proclaimed his successor, Jiang needs to placate the
ultra-conservatives in the military.  An engineer and former mayor of
Shanghai, he did not rise to power with the support of important power
groups. While he now has the ability to exert his will, he must be
attentive to military concerns.
        One element fueling the military threat is the fact that the
elderly military chiefs don't want to retire, and they are holding up the
ascent of the 40 and 50 year-old colonels and one-star generals.  Like
military leaders the world over, the younger men hope that a war will help
their advancement. On January 23, to win loyalty and influence, Jiang
Zemin promoted four generals.
        Meanwhile, news that the missiles were being armed sent waves of
fear through Taiwan. Washington also worried about the situation.  Beijing
passed the word to Washington that it would attack Taiwan with one missile
a day for 30 days after the state's first democratic elections in March.
This is primarily a continuation of the war of nerves between China and
Taiwan, with Beijing's goal to reduce support for Lee and pro-independence
forces.
        China insists that Taiwan is a renegade province -- not a country
-- and has no right to call the elections, which it sees as a move in
Lee's campaign to win international support for Taiwan independence.  The
military, again without Jiang's approval, has set up a headquarters in
Fujun to coordinate action against Taiwan.
        These recent events were provoked by Lee's efforts to alter
Taiwan's relationship with China by increasing its international
diplomatic profile, including taunting Beijing with visits to the U.S.
and with expressions of American support in the Congress.  Lee has said on
several occasions that he is "Japanese," a reference to the fact that he
was born in Taiwan when it was ruled by Japan.
        This surprises and outrages both the mainland and Taiwan Chinese
as it appears to be a denial that he is Chinese.  It also raises the
specter of what the Chinese view as inherent Japanese militarism.  For its
part, Beijing is trying to get Washington to weigh in on its side, using
the threats of military action to get the U.S. to pressure Taiwan to stop
its diplomatic offensive.
        On January 25, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said that
while the United States "monitors very carefully activities in the strait"
of Formosa, "we have seen nothing that would indicate a build-up of
offensive military capacity directed against Taiwan by the People's
Republic."
        McCurry said there have been consultations with the Chinese
government through the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in which Washington "has
expressed our repeated concern that anything that escalates tension in the
strait is unnecessary and not in furtherance of productive relations in
the region."
        On that same day Secretary of State Warren Christopher also urged
China and Taiwan to conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with
the peaceful resolution of their differences.  Thomas Donilon, chief of
staff to Secretary Christopher, told me, "We don't see any imminent threat
to Taiwan.  The exercises fit a pattern. Before every election since 1988,
there have been Chinese exercises in this area."
        The current military tension is welcomed by the American arms
merchants who count cash when military threats escalate.  They have been
urging Congress to develop a policy of containment of China, which could
rationalize increase U.S. armed spending in the area and also fuel a
regional arms race.
        Ironically, Taiwan is more closely linked with China than ever
before.  Much of Taiwan's manufacturing has been peacefully transferred to
the mainland by Taiwan's practical businessmen.  The economic battle is
over.  Now just the political endgame remains.  Taiwan President Lee has
appealed to Washington to continue to sell it arms to protect it from the
Chinese threat.  Washington's best policy is not to give either side a
sense that it is in one corner or the other, but to press the Chinese and
Taiwanese negotiate their differences.  The higher economic stakes are
likely to make the results more peaceful than the present saber rattling
suggests.

                                -30-

   (Lucy Komisar is a New York journalist who writes on foreign affairs.)

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 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 •••@••.•••  | Cyberlib=http://www.internet-eireann.ie/cyberlib
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