Examples of how ideology works

Carrol Cox cbcox at SPAMilstu.edu
Sat Dec 11 12:38:19 MST 1999

Louis Proyect wrote:

> Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1999, Friday
> Leaders of the ruling African National Congress have a tradition of
> standing by their friends from the struggle against apartheid--no matter
> how unpopular those friendships may be elsewhere.
> Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi received a hero's welcome when he attended
> President Thabo Mbeki's inauguration in June. The state-owned media openly
> gushed when President Fidel Castro of Cuba paid a recent visit. Some ANC
> officials even argued for leniency in the prosecution of anti-apartheid
> activist Allan Boesak, convicted of embezzling international donations,
> because of his credentials in the struggle.

I just this morning read the following in a story in the Chicago Tribune:
Tudjman, the autocratic ex-general who led Croatia to independence but
failed to bring full democracy to the new Balkan nation . . . ." Both quoted
passages, from the Times and the Tribune, follow the same pattern, and I
suspect it is spontaneous on the writer's part rather than any deliberate
intention to deceive. In the first, Castro's name pops up automatically in
a list of the usual suspects, and casual readers will carry away from the
article (which does not refer further to Castro) no more than a slight
deepening of the already taken-for-granted assumption that Castro's Cuba
is a great violater of human rights.

The Tribune sentence operates similarly. Tudjman "led Croatia to full
independence." He's just another George Washington, with not the
remotest hint of the question, what kind of independence from what
sort of dependence. He "led" -- no remote suggestion that there
might have been external forces involved. Then he "failed to bring full
democracy." Obviously his mission in life, in which after a noble struggle,
he only succeeded in partly, was to bring "full" democracy to his nation.
But it seems that (as with all of the U.S.'s bloody murderous friends, the
evils are merely aberrations, the intent noble). With Castro, on the other
hand, it is clear (without *ever* being said) that every weakness, every
injustice, that occurs in Cuba was the result of the very nature of Castro
and his revolution.

Interesting, No?

And both reporters would probably be sincerely shocked to be told
they  were lying or intending these effects.


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