The Media & War—Weekly Wisdom

War is hell. Especially on the truth.

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It is not easy to talk about anything other than war today. I can’t really comment on what is happening since it is early and everyone is blasting us with misinfo and disinfo. I do know somethings about media theory. I have even written about it a little. So this will be yet another special edition where I will only focus on one subject; how the media covers, affects, and transforms war.

💡Something I learned

Citation War

I have been following Vladmir Putin since he became Prime Minister for the first time in 1999. I do not like him. However, he fascinated 13 year old me(I was weird) and that fascination never went away. One of the first acts as PM was the brutal military operation in Chechenya. Even I didn’t know that the operation was triggered via a false flag operation…or not.

A excerpt from the wikipedia page for the second chechen war

These excessive citations for opposing viewpoints in a Wikipedia article is called a citation war. I am on the false flag side of the argument. A terrorist that does not take credit for his acts is not a very good terrorist. But it shows that it is quite hard to establish truth in war, even when lots of heads come together. The unreliability of information becomes the medium of communication.

📕Somethings to Read

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🗣Some Media, Quotes and Notes

Meme Lords

This is a contentious war. One side we have a decades old Imperialist regime and on the other side we have a Megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur. With Ukranians stuck in the middle. However there are memes like this going around in social media:

A meme about so-called hypocrisy of western public. Completely untrue

This meme is revisionist history. Iraq war was not that long ago. There were hundreds of protests throughout the world, including a single day of protest where millions participated. In the UK, the architect of New Labour, Robin Cook, resigned from his Cabinet post in protest. France and Germany outright refused to vote for any UN resolution on the invasion. The fervor against Iraq War had real traction outside the US. Impotent as it was in the end. In fact, the loudest voices propagating memes like this are from the middle-east and South Asia, where no such protest took place. I can admit the scourge of western imperialism. I can also admit that public of western nations have nothing but consistent.

Why does it matter? Because memes have become the the primary mass medium of this era. Memes are the reason you niece is a communist, your mom is an anti-vaxxer, and your uncle thinks Trump was sent to earth by god to save us from the lizard people.


Speaking of the popularity of the Iraq invasion in the US; it was wholly manufactured by the a complicit media. I think everyone who was in media should be ashamed of themselves. This clip from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, illuminates the how the US ‘independent media’ towed the administration line and depicted war like an action movie. Furthermore, they censored the actual violence of the war to make it more palatable.

There was similar complicity in the print media and early internet. While the Bush admin alumni try their own hands at rewriting history by depicting the whole invasion as an honest mistake, these people have escaped all scrutiny. People like David Frum, Ezra Klein, and Matt Yglesias made there careers shilling for the war and are now major media players. Mass-media can change how people see war. As Chomsky wrote, they can manufacture consent.

As an aside; Putin’s reason to start this invasion sound eerily similar to ‘Saddam has WMDs’.

Quiet Parts, Loud

If anyone ever tells you that White Supremacy is a fringe idea in Western Liberal Democracies, you can show them this compilation of clip.

Here the most prominent ‘mainstream’ news medium, TV news, tells us which wars are worth mourning and protesting. The flattening of Aleppo in Syria by the same despot does not deserve your sympathy. “The Syrians are not civilized. They don’t have blue eyes and blond hair. They deserve to be refugees”. It is disgusting. The media you consume tells who is deserving to be human and who isn’t.

Thank you for joining me this week. If you know some who might enjoy this, please forward this email to them. See you next week.

Mudassir Chapra

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