Date: 27/09/2016
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Committing Pilgery

There is no shortage of journalists on the Left for whom attacking the West, particularly America, is more important than consistency, proportion or moral sense. Thus they ally themselves with North Korea, or China - or Islam, for that matter - simply because those countries or ideologies oppose Western democracy.

John Pilger is a particularly egregious example of this kind of useful idiot. His very name, which means "pilgrim" is holier-than-thou. Of Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims he is the Pardoner, cold-blooded and self-righteous. This self-styled "voice of conscience" inspired the late Auberon Waugh to coin a verb "to pilger", meaning to report in a sensationalist manner in order to reach a foregone conclusion. Noam Chomsky, whom Pilger resembles in his pained expression and his useful idiocy, wrote that pilger and pilgerise were "invented by journalists furious about his incisive and courageous reporting, and knowing that the only response they are capable of is ridicule". Incisive, perhaps, like the dog that bit Jacques Chirac, and courageous in the Yes Minister sense.

I think Pilger is a bilger. David Thompson seems to agree:

Here’s a taste of Mr Pilger’s idealistic anger, from the pages of the New Statesman:

Returning to Texas, I am struck again by those so unlike the redneck stereotype, in spite of the burden of a form of brainwashing placed on most Americans from a tender age: that theirs is the most superior society in the world, and all means are justified, including the spilling of copious blood, in maintaining that superiority.

No evidence is advanced to support this claim of “brainwashing” and no explanation is offered as to why so many actual Texans should have escaped its burdensome effects. Though the reader is left to presume that, however this brainwashing works, it leads inexorably to a presidential “blood fest” and the “killing [of] yet more brown-skinned people.” The same article also tells us that “Condoleezza Rice… has worked assiduously to deny the Palestinians justice” and states as fact “liberal democracy’s shift towards a corporate dictatorship.” Sadly, the particulars of such things are left to the reader’s wilder imaginings.


Pilger described British, American and Australian troops as “legitimate targets” and revealed the true, fiendish scope of America’s ambitions: “Unless the United States is defeated [in Iraq], we’re likely to see an attack on Iran, we’re likely to see an attack on North Korea and all the way down the road it could be even an attack on China within a decade.”

China indeed. Based on the above, andmuch elsebesides, it isn’t clear how such a worldview could help those “brown-skinned people” who, reasonably enough, prefer democracy to despotism. One might, though, note that Mr Pilger is much more animated by the diabolical schemes he ascribes to America, with its designs on China and rampant “brainwashing,” than he is by, say, North Korea’s concentration camps and gas chambers.

Such is the voice of conscience. Hear it roar. 

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