Many of those who have researched events following the bombing of the Boston Marathon and followed the case of US v Tsarnaev are aware of and have indeed commented on the extensive use, by the government, of blatant propaganda.
Now that jury selection is underway in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and thoughts have turned to the possible penalty which could result from a conviction on a number of charges faced by Tsarnaev, my thoughts have turned to the seeming hypocrisy of some elected officials in regards to their declared stance on the death penalty.
The use of propaganda has been well documented throughout history and has been employed by numerous entities in addition to the governments of almost every nation on earth. These “numerous entities” who have used propaganda to further their cause or push their agenda range from corporations, (in the form of public relations and advertising), religions, (the Protestant church at the time of its’ separation from the Catholic church), to revolutionary theorists, (Marxists prior to the October Revolution), and extend to include some noteworthy and undoubtedly virtuous causes. (19th. century abolitionists.) The motives behind the use of propaganda are not always negative. (Although more often than not these motives are indeed insidious.)
One example of the more regrettable uses of propaganda which has now become endemic in the US, (and indeed other Western nations), is the use of the mainstream media to promote the perspective held by the USG and to give that perspective a higher priority than any given facts or truth. Many in the US retain the belief that news media promotes factual accounts of local, national and international events. When the unbiased accounts these people expect are replaced by government propaganda and this goes unrecognized a large sector of the American public, rather than being “informed” could more accurately be described as having been “dis-informed.” This is covert propaganda.
This covert propaganda has I believe, in recent years, led otherwise reasonable people to surrender their civil rights in order to be “protected” by the provisions of the Patriot Act, support unjust and illegal foreign wars, approve the torture of detainees and demonize and discriminate against those who adhere to Islam. (Some even believe that their militarized police force is in place to “protect” them rather than recognizing that this militarized police force’s true purpose is to suppress dissent!)
In recent months we have seen covert propaganda employed in the mainstream media coverage related to the slaughter of civilian population in Gaza, the political situation and war in the Ukraine, the demise of flight MH-17, (to name but a few examples), and yes, the bombing of the Boston Marathon and the criminal case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (And those cases which now beset several of Tsarnaev’s former friends and acquaintances.)
The propaganda in the case of the BMB and all associated cases began with the media’s unquestioning adherence to an unlikely and often, quite frankly incredible narrative. When this narrative showed signs of collapse in regard to credibility it was quickly supported by “leaks” to the media allegedly from “government” or “law enforcement” sources but these sources, understandably, remain “unnamed.” This has led to many amongst the general public becoming convinced of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s guilt long before his trial began and most certainly before we have seen any evidence suggesting that this is so. “Trial by media” is undeniably both unjust and immoral.
The most recent example of the use of propaganda in this case that I am aware of is the rumor that Tsarnaev’s defense sought a plea deal which was denied by the government. The source of this rumor, though allegedly “close to the case” was yet again “unnamed.” The intent behind the propagation of this rumor is obviously to reaffirm belief in Tsarnaev’s guilt in the public consciousness just prior to this case going to trial. Such tactics are indefensible.
Now that the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has begun, and as we are aware, carries the potential for the death penalty, I have come to dwell much on the irony that this trial is taking place in Boston, Massachusetts: A state which has been long opposed to the death penalty.
Also not lost on me is the seeming hypocrisy of some elected officials in regard to the death penalty. The most notable to me is the USAG Eric Holder and, at a more local level, State Senator (D) for MA, Elizabeth Warren. Holder, though he claims not to be in favor of the death penalty, has advocated for the death penalty in this case and Warren, although she claims to oppose the death penalty, has, to my knowledge, said nothing in regard to this case. Is this not hypocrisy in its’ most pure and unadulterated form?
In my humble opinion one either opposes the death penalty vehemently in all cases or one approves of this immoral obscenity. There is no “middle ground.” (Which is why I find the question asked of jurors in death penalty cases as to whether they could approve the death penalty “under certain circumstances” more than a little perplexing!)
Lastly, a side note:
There are those who believe that Tsarnaev’s defense intend to focus purely on mitigation. Omramzey alerted me, yesterday, to this quote from defense attorney David Bruck:
““Our question is not about penalty, it’s about guilt, I think that’s where rubber hits the road,” Mr. Bruck told the judge. “If [Tsarnaev] is found not guilty everyone would have to go home, they’d have to go home and face people and face up to that.”
Just a little curious as to what the “mitigation only” theorists made of this?