U.S. Propaganda Gets Even Heavier

W.J. Astore

You’d think watching the U.S. Open finals in tennis would constitute a break from incessant propaganda about war, but you’d be wrong to do so.

I’m a tennis fan so I watched this weekend’s finals with interest. A Pole defeated a Tunisian in the women’s final and a Spaniard defeated a Norwegian in the men’s final, which is a fair representation of the international flavor of the field. At both trophy ceremonies, what did the U.S. Tennis Association choose to highlight? The USTA boasted of raising $2 million for Ukraine war relief while describing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as “unprovoked.”

First of all, why is Russia’s war with Ukraine being mentioned at both trophy ceremonies? What has this got to do with tennis?

Second, why is the USTA raising money for Ukraine war relief? Shouldn’t it be raising money for, well, tennis? Perhaps for scholarships for underprivileged kids around the world to play tennis? After all, the U.S. taxpayer is already on the hook for nearly $70 billion in aid to Ukraine, roughly half of it in the form of arms and armaments. Compared to this sum, $2 million is a drop in the bucket.

Third, why is Russia’s invasion always described as “unprovoked,” as if Putin and Russia simply woke up one day and decided to invade a former Soviet republic?

Let’s think back to America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. Was that also “unprovoked”? (After all, Saddam Hussein had no WMD and nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.) Did the USTA raise money to help Iraqi civilians recover from U.S. war damage and crimes? Not that I recall.

Earlier this year, at Wimbledon, players from Russia and Belarus were banned from the tournament. (I guess because they were waging war with their tennis rackets for Putin?) At the U.S. Open, they were allowed to play but not under the flags of their countries. Do you recall U.S. tennis players being banned because of the “unprovoked” Iraq War? Neither do I.

The U.S. mainstream managers — even tennis officials! — are so concerned to describe the Russian attack as “unprovoked” that you know that they know it was provoked — and they’re at pains to deny it, even during tennis tournaments.

The heavy hand of U.S. propaganda only gets heavier when it intrudes on what should have been an apolitical and celebratory trophy ceremony for international athletes.

Note: I am, of course, against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What I would like to see is the U.S. supporting diplomatic efforts to end the war as quickly as possible. Currently, we hear much of Ukrainian victories, but it’s possible the war will only grow longer and more deadly as a result of these “victories.”

A classic “Tom Tomorrow” cartoon from 2002. Now, of course, “real Americans” must believe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was completely unprovoked, that Ukraine deserves a blank check in U.S. taxpayer funds, and that Russian athletes should be ashamed of their own flag

25 thoughts on “U.S. Propaganda Gets Even Heavier

      1. Not our leader, right? We got rid of the British monarchy almost 250 years ago. I think these fans were booing more because they were upset at being told what to do and how to feel, not because they hated the queen.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Maybe so. But I think the same mob mentality informs support for our Ukraine policy (“kill the Russkies”) as did their UFC chanting. Personally I don’t like mob mentality, regardless of subject. Something to be avoided and possibly feared.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. There’s a lot of resentment by many Americans who feel they are being given a model that they are to follow, condemned if they don’t. It’s a model that I approve of for the most part, such as being tolerant of gays, accepting of women as equals, etc. but the tendency to view a certain outlook as inherently superior and to see those who don’t share it as benighted can be very irritating. Thinking of anyone who is religious as a complete fool would be another example.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. CLIF9710,
            I think absolutely no subject is or should be off limits.

            It is the insistence that by religious apologists that their religion be immune from critical thinking and criticism is what many find irritating.

            No religion shouldn’t be above criticism. Supporting a religion that makes false claims is indeed harmful.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Thanks, Cliff.

            Yes, there’s a tendency to treat the faithful — perhaps of all religions — as dupes. Of course, atheists used to be persecuted and prosecuted. Religion and tolerance — they don’t go together that often.

            People should be allowed to believe what they want, worship how they wish to worship, including not worshipping at all, and not believing in god, gods, or any higher power.

            Judge not, lest you be judged.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Bil my hospitalist doctor daughter in Madison WI will sadly tell you of her experience working her ass off for many months to save the life of a critically ill kid. They were making progress. Her team pouring their hearts and souls into the effort. Until the day the parents were persuaded by their church/religion to take the child home and let God save him. (He had fallen into a manure spreader and severely mangled). And without modern medical care the kid died. What’s to say about that eh? Who am I to Judge. Judge not, lest you be judged eh?

              Liked by 1 person

  1. Ukraine/US propaganda will increase because Ukraine is making some territorial gains and Biden is working on another 13.7 billion dollar package for Ukraine, including a couple of billion for higher energy costs. The package is designed to carry Ukraine’s costs up through December after which of course there will be more, continuing on indefinitely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I use the term propaganda almost incessantly to describe, well, the incessant propaganda spewed by the legacy media to flip the script and colonize the minds of credulous Americans with whatever narrative serves their purposes. In its early phase, the Woke movement (whatever that loose term might mean) was intent on waking up others to being on the receiving end of manufactured messaging, ostensibly to garner the consent of the governed. Now Wokedom has succumbed to its own propaganda and lost its way. The large picture for me is a world gone mad (further argumentation and support withheld).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I follow international motorcycle racing. A sport with a huge following in Europe. Last week DORNA, the association who promotes the sport, announced that they are in talks with Saudi Arabia to run a race in their country starting in 2023. A large group of woke young fans, larger than I would have expected, lost their mind over their sport being hosted in a country with such a horrendous Human Rights record.

    I suggested on one of the more popular websites that this was more than just a little bit hypocritical given that the US Motorcycle Grand Prix is held in Texas every year. In a country whose military since WW2 has killed or helped kill some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 85 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries. And is complicit in facilitating Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen and illegally bombing people in Syria.

    I was promptly banned from commentating on that website.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nailed it again, Bill.

    Your piece invited me to ask myself: When was the last War that America was in that The Media wasn’t a total and complete Champion of, and Cheerleader and Chump for?

    Correct me if i am wrong, but i believe that it was Vietnam.

    If those NumbNuts at the Pentagon learned anything at all from that War, it was that The Media needs to have a very, Very tight leash on it.

    And sure enough, when the next War occurred ~ when our “liberation” of Kuwait happened in 1990-1 [dismissing Grenada and Panama as “Wars”] ~ the concept and reality of a so-called “embedded Media” became a fact of life. And thus did CNN burst onto the scene and show her compeers how to succeed by becoming essentially a wholly controlled mouthpiece for SwampLand.

    And thus did the relationship of The Media to the Pentagon and the whole National Security/Foreign Policy apparatus in every War since Operation Desert Storm become exactly that: totally and willingly “embedded,” and totally controlled and manipulated to become the Pentagon’s and White House’s primary PR outfit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeff isn’t it a fact that in ALL wars the majority of the countries Media is a total and complete Champion of, and Cheerleader and Chump for that war? Help us with some cases of contrary examples eh? Was it not true that the American Media was initially supportive of the Vietnam war – until wasn’t, and it all went upside down?

      IN WW1 and WW2 were there media outlets who were vehemently against America getting involved in those conflicts? Do you have any links where we can read about that?


      1. Reread the question, Dennis. It was “When was the LAST War that America was in that The Media wasn’t a total and complete Champion of, and Cheerleader and Chump for?”

        It wasn’t about ALL nations’ medias in All Wars; but the American Media in America’s recent Wars.

        And what’s the surprise about the American Media being “initially supportive” of our War in Vietnam, until it wasn’t?

        The important thing is that when it was no longer supportive, it did something about it by bringing the Reality of that War into the living rooms of America, and directly into the Hearts and Minds of the American People.

        Something that has not happened since because, as i stated earlier: The most important lesson the Pentagon learned from Vietnam was that The Media needs to be kept on a very tight leash.”


  5. It seems very difficult to separate sports from politics. This would expected at the Olympics but you’ve mentioned fly-overs at football games. Apparently competition in play and in power are hard to separate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. another numinous and scathingly accurate portrayal of the US zeitgeist, wja. thank you beyond the empyreal reaches for your thoughtful, insightful, and omni-present integrity. your finger is perpetually on the honourable key.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John Pilger: Silencing the Lambs — How Propaganda Works
    By John Pilger

    September 11, 2022: Information Clearing House — In the 1970s, I met one of Hitler’s leading propagandists, Leni Riefenstahl, whose epic films glorified the Nazis. We happened to be staying at the same lodge in Kenya, where she was on a photography assignment, having escaped the fate of other friends of the Fuhrer.
    She told me that the “patriotic messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the German public.

    Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I asked. “Yes, especially them,” she said.

    I think of this as I look around at the propaganda now consuming Western societies.

    Of course, we are very different from Germany in the 1930s. We live in information societies. We are globalists. We have never been more aware, more in touch, better connected.

    Or do we in the West live in a Media Society where brainwashing is insidious and relentless, and perception is filtered according to the needs and lies of state and corporate power?”



  8. The US and it’s European Vassals squandered the opportunity for a negotiated Peace long before the Pope Publicly said NATO may have provoked Russia to invade Ukraine.

    The 2014 US Coup/regime change of the Elected Russian friendly government, installing an anti-Russian government happened under the Obama/Biden/Nuland regime, precipitating the 8 year Ukraine Civil War.

    The Road Map to a negotiated Peace was embodied in the 2015 Minsk Accord signed by Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.
    A Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2202 (2015), Security Council Calls on Parties to Implement Accords Aimed at Peaceful Settlement in Eastern Ukraine.

    Instead of applying pressure on Ukraine to abide by the Accord it signed, the US, Germany and France did nothing as NATO entered Ukraine to arm and train their forces for the long anticipated and planned US War against Russia.

    Western Propaganda may hype the ‘Nuclear Option,’ but Putin already exercised it by cutting off all gas to Western Europe through Nordstream I.
    The World already forgot the US, under Trump, was so upset over Nordstream II solidifying European-Russian Economic Co-operation, they put Economic Sanctions on the Western Companies working on completing the pipeline.
    Russian Workers not fearful of US sanctions, finished the work so it could be started up whenever Germany agrees to it.

    The arrogance in the West is mind boggling. With the delusional belief in US exceptionalism, the US is free to apply Economic Sanctions they thought would crash the Russian Economy, but Putin can’t react in kind in a US/NATO proxy WAR?

    If the weak European US Vassal states will sacrifice their own well-being to maintain the failing US Global hegemony, let them freeze this Winter because of the choices made by their Political slaves to Washington.

    The latest by Jonathan Cook,
    ‘Europe, more than Putin, must shoulder the blame for the energy crisis’
    The same arrogant, self-righteous posturing from the West that fuelled the Ukraine war is now plunging Europe into recession……………………..


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I posted the same comment above in Richard Falk’s Blog article, ‘http://richardfalk.org/2022/09/14/ukraine-war-statecraft-and-geopolitical-conflict-the-nuclear-danger/.
      Below is his reply,

      Richard Falk September 15, 2022 at 3:53 am,
      I agree with you and Jonathan Cook. It is a matter of ‘assisted suicide’.


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