Media Censure of Current History: the Case of the BRICS

While it is not a big surprise to hear that the mainstream media is involved in censoring and producing lies about significant strategic developments, the “reporting” on last week’s BRICS summit offers a prime example of using “narrative creation” to promote ignorance and fear. That summit accomplished major advances in ending colonialism, and provided an alternative based on peaceful, cooperative development for the world. Yet, in the press in the “Global North”, the news was ignored, or distorted in such a way to claim the process which unfolded was an open attack on “democracy”, if not a “communist” plot to undermine freedom.

In the media which purported to cover it, two lines dominated. One, that the BRICS is driven by Chinese and Russian imperial interests, to rope poorer developing countries into an “anti-American” dynamic, designed to replace the dollar and destroy “capitalism,” for the benefit of their autocratic regimes! The second theme was that it probably wouldn’t work, since the different intentions among the five BRICS nations were incompatible, and an effort to expand the number of members would fail.

The outcome of the summit proved both of these lines to be malicious fabrications, ultimately coming from global financial interests centered in Wall Street and the City of London, which recognized that the real intent of the BRICS members is to end a unipolar order that demands submission to neo-liberal economic policies. The palpable fear of these networks is clear in the coverage.

What follows are some typical examples:

  • The Washington Post’s main story on Aug. 23 was headlined, “Putin and Xi face hurdles in bid to turn BRICS into anti-Western bloc”. While it does include statements from Presidents Putin and Xi on the battle against neocolonialism and giving all nations an “equal voice”, it sneers that the BRICS remains a “superficial structure” of nations with little to unite them.
  • The New York Times described China’s objective as “to shore up its own influence,” while an “isolated Russia needs new allies”. The authors conclude that the “nations in the group have very different interests, making common ground difficult to find.” One will search in vain for an explanation in the “paper of record” of how the agreement on expansion of membership occurred given the diverse interests.
  • Most extreme was The Economist headline prior to the summit, which asserted “The BRICS bloc is riven with tension; China’s plan to expand the club reveals the contradiction at its core”.

Missing in all the coverage was any effort to assess the plans to use the BRICS New Development Bank as a credit institution to fund infrastructure development and trade, which the International Monetary Fund has famously refused to do over the last five decades. Numerous sources referred to announcements coming from the event as “merely symbolic”.

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