Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Jonathan Schwarz demonstrates exactly how the conspiracy of media censorship works, despite it's practitioners' protestations of ignorance

A Tiny Revolution:

I Happen to Have Marshall McLuhan Right Here

This is long and involved, but it may be my favorite post in the history of this blot.


Alex Perry, Africa bureau chief for Time, wrote a recent article about Congo that begins like this:

If you want to see what's wrong with Africa, take a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The size of Western Europe, with almost no paved roads, Congo is the sucking vortex where Africa's heart should be. Independent Congo gave the world Mobutu Sese Seko, who for 32 years impoverished his people while traveling the world in a chartered Concorde. His death in 1997 ushered in a civil war that killed 5.4 million people and unleashed a hurricane of rape on tens of thousands more.


Julie Hollar of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting pointed out:

...if you're going to charge Congo with being "what's wrong with Africa," you'd better give credit where credit is due. Independent Congo didn't give the world Mobutu; that gift belongs to the U.S. and Belgium, who supported the overthrow and assassination of democratically-elected Patrice Lumumba and helped prop up the horror that was Mobutu for decades afterward.


Alex Perry showed up in the comments section of Hollar's post and angrily berated her:

The idea that the US created Mobutu and maintained him in power belittles Africans and is typical of the kind of racism that dogs analysis of Africa...The US did not create Mobutu. They certainly did support him...The primary creator of Mobutu was Mobutu...

As for this lame idea that I, and the "mainstream media", are part of some giant conspiracy to lie, cover up, dissemble etc in the name of, I imagine, the "military industrial complex" or perhaps the CIA, what do you think happens here? Do you think I have a controller with a husky voice who directs my coverage by meeting me in badly lit subteranean car parks? Grow up. People who do my job die sometimes. I've known three myself. Do you really think we'd take those risk to tell lies? Your cheap and half-arsed conspiracies are insulting and infantile.

It's really an amazing freak-out by Perry; that's just part of it.


Larry Devlin was the CIA's Station Chief in the Congo during most of the sixties, and just before his 2008 death, wrote a book about his experiences there.

Early in the book, Devlin describes the frustration the U.S. government felt with Patrice Lumumba, who was elected prime minister of the Congo as it gained independence from Belgium. This section, from p. 46, is about a July, 1960 meeting in Paris between Devlin, U.S. Ambassador to France Amory Houghton, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium William Burden, and U.S. Ambassador to the Congo Clare "Tim" Timberlake.

As you see, U.S. government officials straightforwardly told Henry Luce, the owner of Time, how to cover the Congo:

We moved onto Ambassador Houghton's office where we were joined by Ambassador Burden for more detailed talks concerning the Congo and its problems...During our discussions, Tim brought up a delicated matter: "Time magazine plans to do a cover story on Lumumba with his picture on the front of the magazine." He continued, "Celebrity coverage at home will make him even more difficult to deal with. He's a first-class headache as it is."

"Then why don't you get the story killed?" Burden asked. "Or at least modified?"

"I tried to persuade the Time man in Leopoldville until I was blue in the face," Tim replied. "But he said there was nothing he could do about it because the story had already been sent to New York."

"You can't expect much from a journalist at that level," Burden said pulling out his address book and flipping through the pages. He picked up the phone and put a call through to the personal assistant of Henry Luce, Time's owner.

Luce soon returned the call. After a brief, friendly exchange that made clear his personal relationship with Luce, Burden bluntly told him that he would have to change the Lumumba cover story. Luce apparently said that the magazine was about to go to press. "Oh, come on, Henry," Burden said, "you must have other cover stories in the can." They chatted for a few more minutes before Burden hung up.

A few days later in the United States we picked up a copy of the magazine with a new and different cover story. Lumumba had been relegated to the international section.

Devlin writes about another meeting in the U.S. soon afterward with CIA chief Allen Dulles, in which Devlin argued it was critical for the U.S. to maintain power in the Congo because it was one of the world's few sources of cobalt outside the Soviet Union. Devlin says he was "preaching to the converted."


Time has an online archive of every issue they've ever published. Based on other events described by Devlin, the article about Lumumba that was moved to the inside of the magazine was almost certainly "Congo: The Monstrous Hangover" from the July 18, 1960 issue, or "Congo: Jungle Shipwreck" from July 25.

Devlin's story doesn't make clear whether the article's contents were changed or merely its placement. However, for Time's sake, I certainly hope the contents were changed too; both articles might as well be headlined "Crazed Africa Monkeys Rape the White Ladies."


This appears in the July 18, 1960 Time article:

The huge bonfires of joy died down in the cities of the Congo. The drums and tom-toms grew quiet. The last writhing dancers fell exhausted in the dust...

With a primeval howl, a nation of 14 million people reverted to near savagery, plunged backward into the long night of chaos. Tribe turned upon tribe. Blacks turned upon Europeans...

Prime Minister Lumumba gratuitously added new fuel to the flames. He...summoned the Belgian ambassador to make the fantastic charge that he had uncovered a Belgian plot to murder him. "The assassins were discovered and arrested in my residence," cried Lumumba. "They were armed to the teeth."

Lumumba was overthrown and murdered soon afterward by Congolese factions (including Mobutu) funded and supported by Belgium and the U.S.


In 2008, Alex Perry wrote an article for Time headlined "Come Back, Colonialism, All Is Forgiven." It's about a Congolese riverboat captain named Malu-Ebonga Charles who misses the old white masters terribly:

"On this river, all that you see — the buildings, the boats — only whites did that. After the whites left, the Congolese did not work. We did not know how to. For the past 50 years, we've just declined." He pauses. "They took this country by force," he says, with more than a touch of admiration. "If they came back, this time we'd give them the country for free."


None of this changes the fact that Time is a completely trustworthy source for information about Congo, and its edicts must never ever be questioned by the loony conspiracy racists of FAIR.

—Jonathan Schwarz

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