Watch This | US public trust in media approaches historic low
The latest Gallup poll shows that only 34 % of the US public believes the mass media "report news accurately and fairly," the exact figure as last year and just two percentage points higher than the historic low during the 2016 US presidential election.
Deliberately manipulated political propaganda can often steer public sentiment rapidly during critical events. In 1990, Nayirah, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, gave fake testimony before the US Congress, claiming that Iraqi troops had committed atrocities in Kuwait. The US media heavily publicized this Nayirah testimony, and the US government, with overwhelming public support, was involved in the First Gulf War. By the time Nayirah was revealed to be the daughter of the then Ambassador to Kuwait and the so-called "testimony" was a fabrication, it was 1992 after the war, the repercussions of which were irreversible. Following this, Nayirah's testimony has become a classic example of modern atrocity propaganda.
In order to capture publicity, the Western media industry has developed a culture of "Gotcha Journalism." Many Western journalists use this tactic to manipulate words and set up traps. Some even forcefully interrupt their interviewees' speeches and repeatedly ask questions to provoke them until they catch the guest's slip of the tongue and use it as news footage.
Here are a few thought-provoking examples
In 2019, the world was shocked by the Essex lorry deaths in the UK. CNN claimed that "39 Chinese people were killed in a British lorry" despite the lack of evidence, implying that "Chinese citizens left China in such a hazardous way." The British police later confirmed that the 39 people killed in the accident were all Vietnamese, but CNN turned a blind eye to the truth and did not follow up on the report.
In February, a video titled "A Ukrainian father says goodbye to his daughter in tears before going to the battlefield" went viral in Western media and social networks. However, the father in the video was not fighting with the Russian army. He was a pro-Russian from the eastern part of Ukraine who was going to transport his daughter to Russia. The Western media, however, distorted the whole process to accommodate the propaganda.
In March, CBS's FACE THE NATION program interviewed Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang to invite him mainly to explain China's position on the Ukraine issue. In the short 9-minute interview, the host interrupted Qin 23 times in a row.
In the United States, political divisions have intensified in recent years, and fake news has become widespread. Many media outlets brag about their "independence," but they have never been free of capital. A small number of multinational behemoths with close ties to the European and American governments control several western media conglomerates that significantly impact global politics and culture.
In recent years, many mainstream Western media outlets have scrambled to reveal "exclusive news" about countries such as China or Russia, but many of these reports have been eventually discredited. Some analysts suggest that US politicians deliberately provide "exclusive information" to the media. The media has also been propagating these fake news reports without taking into account the long-term harm they could cause to US foreign policy and US interests.