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  • Technorati: graph / links

    John Pilger has gone off the rails


    by Sunny on 14th November, 2008 at 11:23 am    

    Obama has barely been elected, and John Pilger can reliably be called upon to throw out the first far-left article accusing him of being an Uncle Tom. Obama is a stooge don’t you know! (via Olly’s Onions)

    And isn’t Obama aware that, “the American elite has grown adept at using the black middle and management class.” After all, the guy couldn’t have done it on his own back and defeated two of the most powerful campaign machines. It’s all a Zionist plot see, there’s too many Jews hanging around Obama. Jeez. Bring back George Bush, at least Pilger was happy then.

    Good to see the far-left hasn’t lost any of its stupidity. I think what really annoys the hell out of Pilger is that Obama has built the largest grass-roots movement in modern American political history, one more led by the people than the far left has ever managed to create. Marxists claim to speak for the masses but it must surely be a bit annoying that they’ve never managed to find so many volunteers or be so democratic as political movements.



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    39 Comments below   |  

    1. Marin — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:28 am  

      Sadly, John went off the rails a long time ago.

    2. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:31 am  

      I don’t care that obama is ‘black’..(rather than mixed race)…or that he is young, charismatic blah blah blah..all I care about is where he steers America in the next few years. He can’t undo all the crap that went before, but hopefully he will make a difference. A case of watch this space…I know that you’re really optimistic, but so was I when I voted in 1997 for a young charismatic leader called Tony Blair…

    3. fugstar — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:44 am  

      its not an annoyance. plenty of people see the limitations of obama, not least nader. its little to do with left or right. the us foreign policies will be similar, but their manners and sophistication improved. thats all.

      It just hard to hear these kinds of things when you’ve become so invested in an election scenario as you have.

    4. Justin — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:59 am  

      You can do much better than this, Sunny. This post reads like it was written by Iain Dale.

    5. Paul Moloney — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:59 am  

      I think it was Ralph Nader who was first out of the traps with the “Uncle Tom” insult, leading me to the horrific moral quandary of being on the side of a Fox News anchor:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibsP6XN2dIo

      P.

    6. Alan — on 14th November, 2008 at 12:14 pm  

      John Pilger was a lonely voice in 1997 warning that Blair was a dangerous fraud, a neocon in sheep’s clothing. As Pilger later pointed out, the media could hardly plead ignorance.

      http://www.medialens.org/alerts/index.php

    7. shariq — on 14th November, 2008 at 12:59 pm  

      Paul, fyi Shep Smith, the anchor in question has ‘gone rogue’. He also took Joe the Plumber to task for suggesting that a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel. He also did an excellent job during Katrina reporting on the lack of government assistance.

    8. Anas — on 14th November, 2008 at 1:00 pm  

      Sunny, one day, I’d like to see you write a detailed rebuttal of some of the points Pilger and other far left lunatics make in criticism of Obama, in particular of his stance on foreign policy and the economy. So far all your critiques of those on the left not swept up in the Obama moment amount to is to accuse them of being killjoys.

    9. soru — on 14th November, 2008 at 1:13 pm  

      That’s all very well for promoting the Pilger brand, but doesn’t seem particularly relevant to anyone not in the market for purchasing a set of individual opinions designed to clash intriguingly with their life-style.

      Talking about ‘Vichy regime’ in Britain is particularly edgy: isn’t the implication of that that morally, we should be _at war_ with America?

      It is a mistake to treat any of this as statements made with the intent of being taken seriously, as the basis for action. It’s just a type of performance, like the lyrics of a heavy metal song, destined to be sung along to by insurance clerks.

    10. David — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:15 pm  

      “Good to see the far-left hasn’t lost any of its stupidity. I think what really annoys the hell out of Pilger is that Obama has built the largest grass-roots movement in modern American political history, one more led by the people than the far left has ever managed to create. Marxists claim to speak for the masses but it must surely be a bit annoying that they’ve never managed to find so many volunteers or be so democratic as political movements.”

      If you had any knowledge of Pilger’s career in journalism, you would not make such ludricous statements. Pilger has mobilised support for causes such as Cambodia and East Timor through his TV journalism.

      Death of a nation- The timor cospiracy was broadcast on the 22nd february 1994 at 11pm. At the end of the broadcast:

      “A ‘helpline’ number followed, inviting to call for more information about East Timor. The response was unprecedented, according to British Telecom, which recorded more than 4000 calls a minute to this number. This continued into the early hour of the morning. Several thousand people wrote to their MPs”

      An update was then broadcast on the 26th January 1999.
      “The reaction to this updated programme was even greater than that of the original documentary. Cable and wireless, whose lines took the calls to a new ‘helpline’ number, registered 80,000 calls within secounds of the closing credits, 200,000 calls within half-an-hour and stopped counting when the figure passed half a million. This incredible response proved that, althought the documentary started at 10.40pm and attracted an audience that fluctuated between 3-4million, ‘ratings’- the yardstick for measuring the popularity of television- are, alone, seriously inadequate. sheer ‘quality of viewing and audience appreciation is not taken into account. Indeed, a fifth of those watching both the East Timor documentaries bothered to telephone their response, a remarkable demonstration of audience participation ion a medium often criticised for the passivity it induces.”
      Source: Hayward;In the name of justice:The television reporting of John Pilger

      This was done without a budget of $660 million dollars.

    11. Sunny — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:42 pm  

      Pilger used to be good back in the days - I’m not even going to deny that. I had respect for the man, I even have his documentaries here in my pile od DVDs.

      But I’m sorry, I can’t have respect for people once they reach for the Uncle Tom jibe. And really, there is no arguing against that either.

      Its become sadly typical of the far left that when a black or a brown person does good, they are accused of being stooges of the white man. Hey, I can make tons of money and be evil without the help of some Zionist conspiracy thank you very much, I just choose not to.

      A rebuttal of his points would follow… except Obama hasn’t actually been sworn in as president.

      As for comparisons to Tony Blair - I’m afraid there’s no point going down that road. Obama has a voting record and he also has an intellect. Blair was vacuous and always has been.

    12. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:47 pm  

      I’m not comparing the two..i’m comparing the hope that accompanie(s)(d) the two

    13. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:53 pm  

      But I’m sorry, I can’t have respect for people once they reach for the Uncle Tom jibe. And really, there is no arguing against that either.

      Well said, Sunny. Nader also said Obama was an “Uncle Tom” last week. Interesting how racism has many forms, and comes from all political spectrums.

    14. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:59 pm  

      I have a question about the campaign he ran as it was something someone mentioned…did a couple of obama’s campaigners as hijabed women to move out of a photo opp?

      It will be interesting to see what he does with policies relating to pakistan

    15. Sid — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:01 pm  

      Blair was vacuous and always has been.

      What are you saying?!
      Blair was a beautiful innocent and by blaming him you are giving ammunition to the all the evil bad people (”the muslims”) who want to blow me up!!

    16. Leon — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:04 pm  

      Nader also said Obama was an “Uncle Tom” last week.

      He did not.

      He said Obama has to choose between being an Uncle Sam for the country or an Uncle Tom for the corporations.

      I’ve got little time for Nader these days (he’s become a bit of a joke imo really) but I’m tired of people misrepresenting this comment.

    17. Sid — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:10 pm  

      Leon,

      Nader used the phrase “uncle tom” in relation to Obama. Whether than means:
      A toady for corporations or self-hating black man is immaterial. He wouldn’t use the phrase on a white politcian.

    18. Muhamad — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:12 pm  

      “Blair was vacuous and always has been.” That made me smile Sunny, and stuff like that makes me wanna read PP.

      I’ve actually read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and I see Obama as nobody’s uncle (no matter how desperately some Americans and non-Americans might wish him to be).

      And I don’t know about the Zionists, but I’m definitely with the Jews.

    19. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

      He said Obama has to choose between being an Uncle Sam for the country or an Uncle Tom for the corporations. I’ve got little time for Nader these days (he’s become a bit of a joke imo really) but I’m tired of people misrepresenting this comment.

      There is absolutely no misrepresentation. Nader has criticised Obama repeteadly during this whole year for being a lackey to corporations, and he criticised him for supporting the $700 billion bailout. Which is the whole reason for him to run against Obama. So, according to Nader, Obama has been effectively an Uncle Tom for coorporations as a presidential candidate. There is no other interpretation. Note that Nader’s arguments are valid, but his use of “Uncle Tom” is not.

      It is disgusting to see some elements of the hard Left using this term, as to insinuate that blacks should all be an uniform bloc, being “revolutionaries” against the oppressor, or otherwise, they have been sold out.

    20. Leon — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:48 pm  

      A toady for corporations or self-hating black man is immaterial.

      I was talking about the accuracy of reference to that interview not the rights or wrongs of using the word. It’s clear that it’s easy to get het up in the term as part of the smears against Nader.

    21. Sunny — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

      What Ravi said above.

      Its the soft racism of low expectations. Black and brown people are always the poor, oppressed minority you see. They have no brains. As soon as anyone out of them does good, he has to be a lackey of the rich white man or someone’s bitch. So Obama only got to the top thanks to the support of ‘the white man’, not because he was an intelligent, highly disciplined candidate.

      It’s the same for Nader. Why can’t he talk about Obama without the racial jibes?

    22. Anas — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

      A rebuttal of his points would follow… except Obama hasn’t actually been sworn in as president.

      Yes, but as you mention he has a voting record and an intellect with which he’s made statements about his intentions as well as promises about what he wants to achieve. This prior record, along with the alliances/compromises he’s made throughout his meteoric ascent bring the whole Obama-Messiah thing into question, in fact should give anyone pause on the man’s ability to effect significant change. And I think this is what bothers the “far left”: that all the indications seem to suggest that people’s optimism might just be a tad misplaced and premature (naming no names, Sunny).

      btw if there isnt enough of a basis to criticise him — which is what i assume u mean with ur rebuttal line quoted above- then surely there cant be enough basis on which to praise him on either — aside from the fact that yes, he’s managed to get into power — and therefore isn’t ur extravagant optimism just as bad as the dour pessimism of the “far left”?

    23. Sid — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:58 pm  

      I’m not het up Leon, I’m deeply disappointed with Nader. Its like finding out a favourite old uncle is a wanker.

    24. alana — on 14th November, 2008 at 5:14 pm  

      Sunny et al.

      Your point is completely confused. You cannot BOTH want us to take Obama as a person (beyond whether he is black or white) as the best candidate to lead the US (and I agree that he was given the choice and emotionally delighted that he won) AND refuse to accept any critiques of him.

      What is certain is that Obama does not share many of my politics on West Asia, the war in Afghanistan or gay marriage (to name but a few). This does not go against the fact that his election as a black person only 40 years since black people in the US were granted the vote is a momentous thing.

      I don’t think anyone can seriously call John Pilger racist (unless you are an ultra Zionist of course). His recent rehighlighting of the appalling treatment of aboriginals in Australia is but one case in point.

      I hope I am not going to come to be disappointed by Obama. But, realisticaly, I probably will be because I am an anti-capitalist and he is not, I am against imperial wars and he is not (always). Neither can he be as a pragmatist, a stance I believe he had to take to be elected and one which he will have stand by to carry on. That is the reality of politics.

    25. Leon — on 14th November, 2008 at 5:19 pm  

      I’m not het up Leon, I’m deeply disappointed with Nader. Its like finding out a favourite old uncle is a wanker.

      I hear that, my point is people are using the fact that he’s a wanker to now make out he’s a pedophile too.

    26. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2008 at 5:35 pm  

      should give anyone pause on the man’s ability to effect significant change. And I think this is what bothers the “far left”: that all the indications seem to suggest that people’s optimism might just be a tad misplaced and premature

      You make it sound like Obama promised “change” in abstract terms, and now people will be disappointed because their concept of change is not what Obama had in mind.

      Well, only people who were too lazy to hear what he said, and didn’t go to his website to see his detailed plan on every issue, will be disappointed. Otherwise, his plan is very moderate: it has many progressive aspects (universal healthcare, middle-class relief), and has some conservative aspects (pro-Israel policies, capitalist policies). So yes, the hard-Left will be very disappointed if they think Obama will govern from their point of view. Change means governing from the centre with competent people, as opposed to extreme-right wing incompetence.

    27. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2008 at 5:39 pm  

      I hear that, my point is people are using the fact that he’s a wanker to now make out he’s a pedophile too.

      What a nice way to make the point of not misrepresenting or exaggerating what people say. :)

    28. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2008 at 5:57 pm  

      I’d like to see you write a detailed rebuttal of some of the points Pilger and other far left lunatics make in criticism of Obama, in particular of his stance on foreign policy and the economy

      I agree with Sunny that once you cross the line, there is little point in engaging in a rational discussion. But I thought Pilger goes even beyond the line when he writes: He [Obama] says he wants to build up US military power; and he threatens to ignite a new war in Pakistan, killing yet more brown-skinned people.

      This seems like shameless race-bait. Why does he mention “brown-skinned” people in this context? Is he insinuating that a black man wants to kill brown-skinned people? And that’s mighty incorrect as well: Obama never said that America would engage in war against Pakistan, but that they would attack Al Qaeda pockets hiding in Pakistan.

    29. El Cid — on 14th November, 2008 at 6:25 pm  

      Well if you’re gonna have a pop at Bush for calling Obama a “Nazi-appeaser” in the Knesset, then it’s only fair to be consistent by admonishing Pilger for using the provocative “Uncle Tom.”
      Race is not some political football.
      However, I would like to proffer one key qualification to the very reasonable comment that once you cross the line, there is little point in engaging in a rational discussion.
      If the perpetrator apologises or at least recognises that his choice of words were wrong or offensive, then I don’t see any reason why people should be written off.

    30. Leon — on 14th November, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

      What a nice way to make the point of not misrepresenting or exaggerating what people say.

      You really think I give a fuck about smearing a Fox journalist?

    31. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:59 pm  

      What a nice way to make the point of not misrepresenting or exaggerating what people say.

      You really think I give a fuck about smearing a Fox journalist?

      You are definitely scaring me.

    32. Sid — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:09 am  

      Leon, unfortunately we have to live with the sickening irony of a seeing a smarmy Fox journalist pointscoring by evagelising on someone’s else’s racial slip.

      The shit is fucked up.

    33. Roger — on 15th November, 2008 at 10:22 pm  

      iF- as Pilger says- Rahm Emanuel has served as an Israeli soldier and presumably holds Israeli citizenship then I think there is reason to worry about his suitability for the post he has been given. That applies to some degree even if he is not an Israeli citizen. Would someone who has shown such powerful sympathy for any other country be considered for such a post in a U.S. government- someone who’d served even in the British army, say?

    34. Leon — on 15th November, 2008 at 11:45 pm  

      I’m sure Bananbrain will feel the beginnings of vindication for his prediction with the above…

    35. sam — on 25th November, 2008 at 9:46 am  

      Predictably, the phony progressives are spindoctoring like mad to attack anyone (in this case John Pilger) who even dares questions Obama.

      Unfortunately, these imperial American progressives cannot hide the fact that Obama’s rhetoric of “change that you can believe in” is an outright fraud in terms of both foreign and domestic policy.

      These so-called progressives would have one forget that Obama has supported the escalation of America’s criminal war in Afghanistan, called for the bombing of Pakistan, and that his “opposition” to the US aggression against Iraq is at best based upon cynical *tactical* concerns about availibility of US troops for other wars-and not the immorality of this American war.

      On domestic policy, these progressives cannot explain why a supposed agent of change like Obama would support the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street or why he voted for domestic spying measures supported by George Bush.

      It’s not John Pilger who has gone off the rails.

      It’s those American progressives who are drinking the Obama Kool-Aid.

      “Barack Obama: The Empire’s New Clothes”
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=879&Itemid=1

    36. Refresh — on 25th November, 2008 at 10:45 am  

      I’ve read Pilger’s piece and it is excellent.

      Sunny, I did not read any mention of Uncle Tom.

      That said, it is insightful. I do not for one minute think that governments around the world are suddenly fooled into dropping their guard. They will all be looking to shore up their defences, in recognition of the fact Obama is but a man who can at most be in office 8 years; when only one term is needed to undo anything progressive he might put in place.

      Whilst you yourself have said that you expect no real focus on foreign policy as Obama will have his hands full with the economy, healthcare and perhaps climate change; it does mean that he will not change course in a meaningful way where it will matter most to the rest of the world. What it does abroad.

      His and your lowering of expectation with regards to Israel and Palestine, and other major issues of global importance would be understandable if he felt his hands were tied. And perhaps that is precisely what Pilger is pointing out.

      It would be worth re-reading Pilger.

    37. bananabrain — on 25th November, 2008 at 10:46 am  

      i don’t like to say “i told you so”, but….

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    38. Refresh — on 25th November, 2008 at 10:51 am  

      In any case I can’t see why you would need to link to or write about Pilger’s article via Olly’s Onions, when Olly says nothing at all other than misrepresent the piece.

      BTW Olly mentions Mandela, and I suspect if you were to go look at South Africa and how the black population has fared since the end of apartheid you might come to a similar conclusion to Pilger. Images seem to matter more than outcomes.

    39. Refresh — on 25th November, 2008 at 10:52 am  

      ‘i don’t like to say “i told you so”, but….’

      What did you tell us?

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