Most liberals take their cues from the New York Times, which provides the narrative for the American empire. Indeed, the Gray Lady’s chief role is to enforce accepted US imperial diktats and neoliberal orthodoxy.
Oligarchic imperialism is our dominant state narrative. It is the manual that everyone reads from. It is what shapes and molds our culture. It is what the war on terror is all about. It’s what the power of the military/industrial/complex is organized around. It’s what you’re branded a heretic for rejecting. It’s just as fake as any other ruling dogma and just as crafted toward the advantage of the powerful, and just as dependent upon narratives.
Adherents of the old ruling dogma’s used to read the Bible; adherents of the new read The New York Times.
Anyone who disagrees with the consensus is branded a heretic and cast into the wilderness. See Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Maté, etc. Or they are labeled a “Putin apologist” or “Assadist” or worst of all: a “conspiracy theorist”, like yours truly. These labels exist because if publications like the Times admitted that they weed out anyone who disagrees with status quo oligarchic imperialism, they would have to admit that they don’t publish “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” but are in fact propagandists for an ideology.
Just as an example let’s go to way back machine. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq there was no bigger cheerleader than the Times, eagerly printing lies that Iraq had WMD and that its leader, Saddam Hussein, was colluding with al-Qaeda–claims that were easily disprovable at the time. But it didn’t matter because the Times said so and they kept saying so.
And as we observed with Russia-gate, they can gin up a new narrative in a matter of days. And no matter how crazy the script becomes the good little liberals will nod along.
The New York Times and it’s accomplice the Washington Post are key to this narrative extolling fairy tales about a liberal world order which must be preserved by a beneficent superpower and its allies through “humanitarian intervention”. The reason both papers were in an uproar for the entirety of Trump’s tenure is that he gave the game away. Trump proved to be an even more disastrous salesman for war than George W Bush. Trump made war look and sound exactly as it is, rather than packaging it as “intervention” intended to help women and minorities. In a interview he asked Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, “You think our country’s so innocent?”
Going further, I believe that a lot of the animus directed towards Trump by the Times is a result of his accurate criticism of the invasion of Iraq that the paper lustily cheer-leaded for.
Most liberals who read the Times are so propagandized that they can barely imagine a functioning world without our system of oligarchic capitalism and empire. But because it’s the Times with its Style section and delicious recipes it’s all good.
US imperialism is different in that much of the machinery is outsourced to corporations and justified by corporate media organs like the Times. The dirty little secret of why our wars are forever is that they require the state to invest its money in the horrendously expensive and destructive products of the “defense” industries, from fighter planes to bombs, justifying the transfer of yet more public resources into private hands.
As the Biden administration takes shape the outline of the “new” liberal world order is being promulgated by the Times, who is already celebrating the diversity of the incoming members. This is our brave new world where we will still “torture some folks”, bomb wedding parties and administer the empire but it will be done by women or people of color or those who hold an LGBT sexual preference.