An Interview with Pepe Escobar, journalist and author
‘For politics / economics, the real information is on the net’
In Part 1 of this interview Pepe Escobar discussed the way in which Hugo Chavez is portrayed in the mainstream media. In this second part of the interview he discusses the context of the corporate media more generally and some of the factors which lead to its fatal inability to reflect either reality or truth in the cases of Iraq and Iran.
[PE – Pepe Escobar, MB – MediaBite, David Manning and Miriam Cotton]
MB – Noam Chomsky, I believe, has suggested that it is sometimes instructive for readers to consider news reports in reverse, i.e. that important contextual information is often ‘tacked’ on loosely to the end of pieces. Would you have any advice for readers wishing to become more discerning or critical consumers?
PE – If you read the mainstream/corporate press, that’s exactly the case: the crucial info most of the time is in the next to last paragraph, and the story is buried in the bottom half of page A-21. News agency copy is required to provide contextual info – but it’s usually superficial and in many cases (e.g. Iran, Palestine, Russia) heavily biased. Papers always need to fill up blank space. That leads to papers in the Middle East, for instance, publishing agency copy – or conservative syndicated columns – that totally contradict their own reporting.
My suggestion is that readers forget about reading serious news on mainstream/corporate media: stick to the sports and entertainment pages. At least you can’t politicize infotainment to death – like Sarkozy having an affair with Carla Bruni (well, the Times of India put it on the front page, like it was a major political story…) In the case of weeklies, stick to the actual reporting and forget about editorials (well sometimes even that is impossible; in Time magazine ideology drips from every report). The Wall Street Journal or The Economist may carry excellent reportage, but frankly no one has to swallow as fact Wall Street and the City of London’s wishful thinking.