March 27th, 2013
Regardless of one’s personal political views, the topics within should be relevant to virtually every person in the world. The strategy of modern media outlets is generally nothing short of deception for the sake of engaging an audience. News strategies stretch anywhere from simple hyperbole, to scare tactics, to outright lies. The mere fact that people have accepted the notion of liberal and conservative media outlets sheds an enormous light on the problem. News is supposed to contain factual information backed by credible and well-researched sources. Unfortunately that ship has long sailed and what’s been left in the wake is heavily biased opinions scientifically tweaked to maximize media profits. I can’t personally fault the businesses for wanting to make money, unethical as their tactics may be, but I do fault the general population for blindly accepting the stories told.
Our conversation starts off with a look at North Korea. We quickly spin off into a discussion about how North Korea has been recently used to fuel the media machine. We also spend some time discussing an interesting news story taking place in Guatemala and enjoy some light conversation about the FARC of Colombia.
Kevin: Hello and welcome to another installment of the JK Podcast, a podcast dedicated to the pursuit of liberty, humanity, and equality for all. For those who have not yet seen our website, please take a look at www.JKPod.com for show notes, and a complete episode listing. This week we discuss the role that the media plays in global conflicts.
Regardless of one’s personal political views, the topics within should be relevant to virtually every person in the world. The strategy of modern media outlets is generally nothing short of deception for the sake of engaging an audience. New strategies stretch anywhere from simple hyperbole, to scare tactics, to outright lies. The mere fact that people have accepting the notion of liberal and conservative media outlets sheds an enormous light on the problem.
News is supposed to contain factual information backed by credible and well researched sources. Unfortunately, that ship has long sailed, and what’s been left in the wake is heavily biased opinions, scientifically tweaked to maximize media profits. I can’t personally fault the businesses for wanting to make money – unethical as their tactics may be – but I do fault the general population for blindly accepting the stories that they tell.
Our conversation starts with a look at North Korea. We quickly spin into a discussion about how North Korea has recently been used to fuel the media machine. We also spend some time discussing an interesting news story taking place in Guatemala, and enjoy some light conversation about the FARC of Columbia. Jad and I are once again joined by our good friend, Tom DeLorenzo. We certainly hope you enjoy the content. Welcome back to the JK Podcast.
So there’s the natural – the whole North Korea thing – I mean, we could surely talk about that, it’s an interesting one because it’s like, bullshit upon layers of bullshit, wrapped inside of a crazy guy’s tiny country that can basically fire a bunch of sling shots in our direction, so –
Tom: Doesn’t he – threatening often specifically?
Kevin: Yeah, I saw people talking about that. What was the deal with that, like why did he say something about Austin?
Tom: I’m not sure.
Kevin: He did – he did say something about specifically Austin, I just –
Jad: Well I think he – he gave a list of cities, so he was like Washington, D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles, and somehow Austin was on that list.
Kevin: Oh, I see.
Jad: From what I understand.
Tom: David Letterman countdown.
Kevin: Right? That’s weird, why – I mean, could get like, Houston, you know? There’s a lot of cities that you could kind of understand why they’d be there, but why the fuck would – I mean, what’s to destroy in – Austin doesn’t have anything.
Jad: I don’t know. It’s the tech capital of Texas, I guess.
Kevin: It’s the capital, but I mean if you’re going to destroy a place, destroy the place that’s got the Space Center, I mean, that would – I mean, I get Houston, right? I mean, that’s our whole ticket to NASA, but Austin’s got a bunch of pot smoking hippies. I mean –
Tom: [?] picked up a lead on the Google fiber that’s coming in here.
Kevin: Oh, well there’s that.
Jad: That’s pretty funny.
Tom: So how well is the media machine invoking fear in the general population for North Korea? They’re just as dangerous as the Taliban and everything, and they’re a threat, and I mean, are they building the old preemptive strike type of mentality, or –
Jad: It doesn’t seem like it. They really can’t with North Korea because they can’t really militarily intervene there at all, and authority’s such a shit hole and it’s already fully sanctioned, so – but then it’s kind of funny though because it’s the opposite of Iran in a sense. I think Iran is pitched as like literally something scary. Like, it’s really supposed to be a country that really actually might drop a nuclear bomb on us if they ever got a chance to get one, whereas North Korea – which has nuclear weapons – it’s more of a joke. This is [?], really – I mean in which I don’t think either of them are a threat, but –
Tom: It’s probably more like the Soviet Union, they’re putting up like this big fronts and you know, it could collapse at any time due to the ineptness of the –
Jad: Well yeah, it has collapsed and I don’t think that country really actually exists in any meaningful way, but that’s not really – it’s neither here nor there when it comes to I mean, you know, it takes 12 people to really maintain a nuclear weapon once it’s built, so –
Kevin: Yeah, you know, I had some notes on it the other day – I wish I had written them down now – but I was looking through CNN and various other you know, online agencies, and for several days, each one of them of course was just throwing out all sorts of crazy propaganda like, “North Korea reports nuclear strike could be imminent”, you know, “it could be as soon as today”, or whatever, you know? Like, basically all these things like talking about the immediacy that North Korea could launch an attack on South Korea and if they did that the attack would very likely be you know, thermo-nuclear, that sort of thing.
So I noticed that was going on for a couple of days, and then I think it was just yesterday, but I saw on CNN or what have you, they were talking about the level of fear that’s been created because of the whole thing, and of course naturally you know, you just want to grab – who is it, like, Ted Turner, or whoever the hell is in charge of all the shit – and just grab them by the throat and be like, “you gotta fucking answer for this”, you know?
For three straight weeks, you can’t be telling people that the country’s in almost dire straits for being you know, nuked essentially, and then come back a few days later and say, “so why is it that people are actually so afraid of this”, you know, “where does the threat actually reside”, when in fact it’s the media that’s hyping this up, so I agree with what you’re saying.
But I think they’ve definitely played a role and right now, I’m reading an article that says, “North Korea nears ‘dangerous line'”, and it’s like, do they really – I feel that every article I’ve read has just been sensationalized, but of course as I go through the pictures that are included inside of this, it’s exactly what you say – there’s like a bunch of poorly dressed Koreans like, marching through the woods and shit like that. I mean, it makes them look really inept. Like, there’s basically 30 guys in a raft that are somehow going to conquer the world – which is just a joke.
Kevin: But I’ve been very critical of the media recently I guess is what’s kind of the bullet point of that. Maybe it’s not quite as specific as how they’ve been with Iran in the past, or even Iraq for that matter, or fuck it, even like, Syria and things like that. But I feel there’s a lot of bullshit that the media is more than happy to be disseminating right now.
Jad: Yeah. The other purpose of this kinda thing – other than as a run up for a military conflict – is just to knock other stuff out of the news.
Jad: And I don’t know what that would be exactly, maybe like Cypress, or Europe, or whatever. But so I don’t know what that would be, but that’s often times what’s going on as well. Someone said that the quantitative easing was going to be discontinued, which seems –
Kevin: Seems unlikely, but –
Jad: Yeah, very unlikely to me, but apparently the Feds said something today about that. But anyway, that’s just another purpose of this kinda nonsense.
Kevin: To the media thing like, even right now, I mean, I just went onto CNN and one of their headline articles right now says, “North Korea’s Missile Capabilities”, and I mean, you know, it’s just a map of basically the United States, Canada, and kind of Eastern Asia, and it shows like, a scud, it shows some of these other missiles – I don’t even know how to say this one – the Taepodong – the various types of that, and then it shows the UNHA III, which I guess is some sort of missile. And it basically – when you click on that one – it shows most of the United States in yellow – basically meaning like, holy shit, they’re going to fucking destroy us. I mean, it even says right here, it’s got a 10,000 kilometer range. They’ve only used this as a test missile so far, but this is well within the United States striking distance, and it’s just bullshit I mean, it’s just utter, utter nonsense that this sort of thing is being reported to people.
The opening paragraph on this map right now says, “the past few weeks, we’ve seen North Korea becoming increasingly belligerent towards the United States and South Korea with them threatening to ‘mercilessly’ strike its enemies”, and that very well may be true but you know, it’s – I don’t know, I have a hard time avoiding the sensationalism that I see on in.
Tom: And for most of this news, are any news people actually getting this news from the source, or are they just writing down reports that someone – intelligence gives them? I mean, is there any actual reporting investigating going on firsthand credible sources, or are they just you know, U.S. intelligence says that he said this, and is someone just telling stories and they’re passing it along, or is there any proof of anything being true?
Kevin: Well, I guess that’s what I’m getting at, I don’t even think it’s that much. I mean, this article which is on the cover of CNN right now says – it says, “map, missile range”, and when you click on it, it basically is like, showing everything epicentered in North Korea. But the fact of the matter is is that you’re just taking 6 different potential weapons that exist in the world and saying, “well if North Korea had any of these things, then here’s what they could possibly do”, and to me that’s just conjecturing based upon scenarios that have no basis in reality whatsoever, but – well of course they could exist, anything could exist – but there’s no basis of credibility for it.
There’s no article that says, “we know that North Korea possesses the following 6 missiles. We know that they have this many of them. Here’s how far each one of them can go, here’s the likeliness that they could actually launch them.” Like, it’s nothing like that, it’s just – I mean this thing may as well show, “here’s the bomb that we dropped in Hiroshima”. “If they have this bomb, here’s the damage it could do” – that sort of thing.
Tom: So that’s even one level of fluff beyond reality because you know, even when they quote officials as saying, “we know that they have yellow cake”, or whatever – those are basically lies too, so anything we know about North Korea – supposedly know – has to come through some kind of intelligence agency, and they rarely tell the truth. And then if you abstract that again and just get news people – like you say – conjecturing about what might be there, then they’re just telling stories.
Kevin: I don’t know if you guys ever use Reddit or any of those types of news aggregating sites that are pretty much mainstream, but still for nerdier people. A friend of mine was pointing out to me recently that I mean, there’s a lot of Koreans that use that website, and they were trying to explain what this threat actually means right now, and they’re trying to say you know, we get that, we see this all the time – there’s nothing new about this. This type of alleged threat from North Korea to South Korea is something that we’ve just grown accustomed to living with, so it’s been really interesting reading some of these comments from people our age who are – the South Koreans – the Koreans – and their point of view of course is just completely different from the point of view that we’re presented with.
Tom: And isn’t odd – and this is the case of nations in general – but I mean, in North Korea – I don’t know how many people live there – but they’re not all lunatics.
Kevin: Well, exactly.
Tom: How many people over there really are rattling the little sabers and have you know, control over the wealth and are really in control of all that, and all the poor people who live there have to worry that if someone takes them seriously, they’ll get carpet bound.
Kevin: Right. Well that I don’t know, I mean, the South Korea thing – I mean, to be fair or to be clear about it – it’s not that the people aren’t saying that there’s not a threat. I think most of the people that I’ve read, they are saying that there is a threat, and they’re saying, “no, we definitely live under the guise of a constant threat from North Korea”, but what they’re trying to point out is to say, “this isn’t new. The fact that you’re sensationalizing this in American media television all of a sudden is bullshit because whatever threat exists today, there was no more of a threat that exists today than existed say six months ago”, or six years ago for that matter, “we’ve been dealing with this for many, many, many years – decades for that matter. So to somehow suggest that all of a sudden it’s important because you’ve put it in American media is just preposterous. It’s – this is something that’s just part of our culture. We come to expect this.”
Tom: So there seems to be a real like, news cycle because you know, a few months back, Iran was the most dangerous thing in the world and Israel was going to drop a nuke on them and I don’t follow the news, so I don’t know. But it seems to me like that story’s gone away and now North Korea’s hot, and then it’ll roll into Syria in another month and you know – am I wrong? Doesn’t it seem to just kinda cycle from one place to another –
Tom: – and supposedly you know, they announce it as being so dangerous and then it passes and people lose interest, they move on to something else, and then six months later it’s like, “I thought that country was dangerous”, and now it’s nothing. Is that just actually the news cycling through things because they are watching ratings and they’re trying to keep people’s attention –
Kevin: Well –
Tom: – and purposefully you know – what’s the dynamic behind how they decide what to put up and how to present it, and when to move onto something else?
Kevin: Well I mean you know, I say all that and then I actually just jumped onto Reddit real quick to see some of their political positions and there was an article that just came up saying that – I mean, from RussiaToday.com – RT.com – showing the title of it says, “North Korean Missile Launch Pad Moved Into Firing”, and the article goes on to talk about how I guess they’ve got reports that some of the North Korean missile silos are genuinely preparing to launch. Now again, I take any bit of news with a grain of salt, but as a general rule, I do tend to turn to – as I think Jad does as well – but Russia Today, or Al Jazeera, or – what the hell’s the other one – the Asia Times, and I mean, I typically look to some of those newspapers for – or those articles – for a slightly different point of view.
So when I see one of them actually taking a similar point of view, or the exact same point of view, I have to give it some credibility, but it’s kinda like the crying wolf thing, I guess. Maybe in this particular case, some of the American media reports are actually correct, but the fact is is that they’re full of shit so frequently that I really am so dismissive of them as a general rule.
Tom: And of course, the U.S. has no weapons ready to launch anywhere against anybody else.
Kevin: Yeah, well that side of it’s obviously just completely ignored because we could annihilate the remainder of the world as far as I understand it and in a matter of minutes, so –
Tom: But I mean, wouldn’t North Korea have a more legitimate claim to self defense just by loading up a weapon to aim at us, considering there’s probably a bunch aimed at them already? Isn’t it the same logic – same reason?
Kevin: I mean, I guess maybe if the North Koreans, if they’d decided that they want to live in the whole martyrdom as well, you could take out a couple of cities and in exchange for your entire country just being flattened and turned into a radioactive wastelands, you historically would go down as the guy who managed to wipe out say, three American cities.
Tom: Yeah, if it only takes one crazy guy, you can always find a crazy guy who’ll do something like that – he could be in the White House for all we know.
Kevin: He may be. Yeah well actually, I was just ripping on CNN a little while ago for having that map, but oddly enough, Russia Today has a very similar map showing the distance of the rockets that Korea has – only they’re showing it with respect to Russia and Siberia and stuff.
Jad: There’s no reason to believe the Russian state media about a third party anyway, really. I mean you know, it’s just the NPR of Russia, so their – could be taken with the same grain of salt, I reckon.
Kevin: Yeah, if it’s true I mean, we – that’s typically the case when we’re talking about something that’s happening inside of America. So if America does something, it’s genuinely a good idea to read these outside newspapers to figure out what it is that their commentary is on it. If they don’t have a dog in that race then they’ll typically report on it differently. But you’re right, with respect to them having an alleged threat against them from North Korea and presumably Russia would be in a far greater position of threat than the United States is I mean, for obvious reason of proximity, so you’re right – I’m sure they would report it just as disingenuously.
Jad: Potentially, yeah.
Kevin: Potentially sure, I mean, I don’t know but –
Tom: I haven’t read enough of their articles, but I almost get the impression yeah like you say, when Russia Today – it’s a good source when the United States – you suspect they might be doing something and the U.S. news doesn’t cover it or say anything about it, whereas they’ll kind of eagerly point out all the flaws.
Tom: It’s almost like they do have a dog in the race and it’s to try and make the United States – I don’t want to say make it look bad – but uncover the news that the United States doesn’t want to report about itself.
Jad: Hey, speaking of which – and we don’t have to change the subject from North Korea – but here’s a story that’s not on the front page of the American press. I think the only article I found was one from Fox, but in Guatemala, they’ve got all of Regan’s and Ollie North’s henchmen that were I guess, the generally [?], and there’s a military dictatorship and all that kind of thing, mayors of cities, that you know, they actually killed like 200,000 people, and somehow some way through a clerical error or something, the attorney general of that country is charging all of them. I think the current president is one of the people who’s being charged with war crimes from the 80’s.
Jad: Yeah, and it’s like this remarkable story and I only know a little bit about it. Apparently, it’s just this attorney general is like, really on fire and like – I think it’s a she – like, the first thing she did when she got into office was to like, get rid of the entire justice department because it was just like, corrupt. And then she started bringing up all these people on charges from this stuff from the 80’s and I mean it’s like you know, the guy who was in charge of the country is being tried, and I think – like I said – the guy who is currently in charge of the country is being tried for some you know, secondary crimes against humanity or something, but they’re going to town on. And it’s kinda funny, it’s one of those – again – just a story, it’s not in the news even though it’s pretty huge.
Tom: So do you think the news would stay away from that because of like, Guatemala – nobody knows where that is.
Jad: Well I think it was Guatemala as too many people remember where that is, and remember who is running shit down there.
Tom: That’s a possibility too, yeah.
Jad: But I can’t quite figure out how it even came to be, you know? I would still think the United States had enough sway down there to disappear a few people or whatever, to make stuff like this not happen, but I mean, it’s just kinda – like I said, I can’t quite figure out why it’s happening, but somehow it is. And you know, who knows to what degree – maybe they’re promising not to bring in the part of the story where the United States was funding, and training, and all that sort of stuff, but that would be disappointing, I guess, but I can’t quite piece together how it’s happening.
Kevin: But these are Guatemalans trying to bring charges against other Guatemalans, is that correct?
Jad: Right, so in the 80’s the U.S. backed a military dictatorship that was expropriating the Indian remnants of the Mayans I guess, that were still up in the hills and whatnot, and they formed a resistance army of some sort and then the United States took the side of the military dictatorship, and armed them, and trained them, and even you know, even had its military on the ground –
Jad: – and then they basically just committed this massive genocide against the indigenous minds that were there, so that’s the aggrieved party I guess.
Tom: Did they at least give them any casinos afterwards.
Jad: I don’t think they even got casinos. I think most of them fled and a lot of them are dead –
Jad: But there are a lot of ex-patriots. Actually, it’s one of the more interesting stories – that’s totally a tangent – but this guy who was basically talking about the nutrition and how much of a role the nutrition plays in health. As you’re saying that the Guatemalan people are like –
Tom: They were short.
Jad: Yeah, so they were like – they were thought to be genetically short, but the average height is like 5 foot 1 for a man or something like that. But all the ones that were born in the United States after a significant number of them fled are all regular height. So all of the height difference – or most of the height difference rather than all of it – was just due to radical malnutrition.
Kevin: Yeah. I actually have read articles on that before.
Tom: And I think – if my geography’s not horribly off – that Guatemala butts up to the southern border of Mexico. I think the Mexican south border is – they don’t like people coming in from the south pretty much the same way the United States doesn’t like anybody coming in from the south. They’ve got a real tough border down there, so they have their own immigration problem, as they would call it. But coming up from Guatemala and – so you know, the United States has the problem of people from Mexico sneaking in and getting past the border and trying to militarize it, and they’ve – Mexico pretty much does the same thing on their south border. They’ve got their undesirable immigrants coming in.
Jad: I can’t remember what the corporate interest was, I think it was like United Fruit, or Dole, or one of those plantation style fruit places.
Tom: In Ecuador, that’s going on as well with like, Standard Oil, or an oil company where the Ecuadorian government pretty much gave them a whole bunch of land and they have their own police force and they were trying to just eradicate the indigenous people and a little bit of a battle going on there too.
Tom: I think so.
Jad: That’s interesting. Yeah, in the 80’s – I don’t know what it was, I guess it was just the proxy wars or whatever – but the 80’s, like the entire Central America was just not a good place to be. Nicaragua and – well Columbia even yeah I mean, that’s the kind of [?] – but you’re right, that’s when it started, in the 70’s I guess – the FARC and all that.
Kevin: Yeah, which are still present.
Kevin: I remember when I was in Columbia back in March, I asked some of my local Columbian friends – I was asking them about the FARC – and they told me all about it and they were like, “well, it’s not very prevalent anymore in like the central parts, but in the south it is very prevalent”, and they’re like, “yeah, you’d really have to be careful.” And I’m like, “well, what does that mean?” And they’re like, “oh, you’d really fetch a pretty penny.” They told me like, kind of all the terms of negotiation you know, it’s like, “well, you’ve got bright blue eyes and you’ve got fair skin and light hair, I mean, you would definitely would fetch a pretty penny – you’d be held captive for a long time.”
It was juts funny like, the Columbians kind of knew like, there was this monetization of certain genetic qualities I guess, and they had a whole story for it as far as just from what they know growing up you know, it’s not like any of them have ever been directly exposed to the FARC, but so who knows, maybe it’s as much of a fairytale as anything else is, but they seem pretty sincere in it – total tangent what we’re talking about, but.
Jad: [?] the 9th tangent, so we’re good. At some point we’ll make a circle.
Kevin: Yeah, eventually.
Tom: Guess it was a good thing I probably don’t have much market value and things like that around the world, so that’s good.
Jad: No one wants the Italians.
Kevin: Sorry, buddy. Nobody wants the Italians. I’m going to put that on a t-shirt for Jad.
Jad: I’ll have to stay out of Brooklyn.
Kevin: Yeah, you certainly will.
I think we were glad to end on a lighter note for a change. As always, thank you so much for tuning in to the show. Our audience has been growing steadily, and we genuinely appreciate all of the positive feedback we’ve received on the show thus far. We look forward to bringing you many more episodes in the future. If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can reach Jad at www.Jad-Davis.com, and Kevin at www.KevinLudlow.com. We have links on how to reach Tom on our website at www.JKPod.com. Thanks again, and we’ll be back with another episode next week.