Propaganda and the Media
Part 2 – Deception on a Grand Scale
By Larry Romanoff for The Saker Blog, May 16, 2021
Much of the US media attention directed to China is unrelated to news in any sense, but is part of an extensive propaganda program designed to inflict serious discomfort on China’s government, using the political pressure of the media in attempts to force China to accommodate US and European political and commercial interests. This is often done in attempts to mitigate the punishment for corporate crimes (especially of corporate executives, who are virtually immune from criminal prosecution in the US), or to assist an American (or European) multinational in trashing other countries’ consumer and food safety laws. This is not limited to China; such a media barrage can occur against the best of friends, including Canada, Germany, France and the UK.
The important point here is that a media flood does not happen by accident. These circumstances are created by plan, with meetings, discussions, strategies arranged to create the most discomfort and political pressure, and will almost certainly involve the corporation, many members of the media, the US Commerce Department and, as often as not, the intelligence agencies.
These people are skilled at mounting a mass media campaign to present their colored version of events to the Court of Public Opinion, hoping to create sufficient domestic and foreign pressure to sway a foreign government’s position on political, social, and commercial issues. The intelligence agencies will do their part by paying heavily for domestic newspaper articles if they can arrange them, and by flooding a country’s social media (China in this case) with CIA sock puppets purporting to be native Chinese who side with the foreign company’s position against their own government. This is the primary reason Twitter and Facebook are banned in China.
Beijing’s Bite of the Apple
Briefly, the situation was that Apple was offering warranties outside the US that were much inferior to those at home, drawing flak from most governments in Europe and Asia. Chinese consumer law, like that of European nations, classified Apple’s ipad as a computer and demanded a 2-year warranty. Apple, being too greedy for its own good, refused, insisting that the ipad was a phone and providing only a one-year warranty. Hence, an enormous amount of media noise attacking China and its regulations and much else, in attempts to create sufficient unpleasantness that the government would back down and permit Apple to continue to plunder Chinese consumers at will. A second prime objective was to teach the Chinese to cast a fearful eye at “US interests” before embarking on any consumer protection laws more stringent than those in the US.
In real life, neither the NYT or WSJ could care less about China’s warranty regulations on computers, but when Apple, the darling of the US stock market, is having trouble plundering Chinese consumers to its heart’s content, the NYT and WSJ are always there to lend a helping hand. And you, dear reader, are taught to hate the Chinese for being unreasonable and ‘picking on’ Apple because they are dictatorial communists who hate your freedoms. As well, the propaganda masters widely claimed the Chinese government, envious of Apple’s success, wanted to cripple Apple to provide breathing space and support for China’s hoped-for “national champions”. (1) (2) (3) The entire series of US media reports about Apple in China were political and commercial propaganda designed to (a) insulate American firms from foreign laws, and (b) create sufficient public pressure to ensure a foreign government designed its domestic laws to please the Americans.
Alibaba – Almost as big as China
In early 2021 we had a spate of articles about Alibaba’s unfortunate collision with Chinese financial authorities, resulting in the cancellation of the company’s imminent IPO and Jack Ma being rather strongly reined in (slapped down, actually). (4) The US media were unanimous in claiming China was severely restricting the activities of ‘technology companies’ (since Alibaba is widely seen as such), but it wasn’t Alibaba that was being harnessed. Jack Ma’s Ant Financial was being hugely expanded into an online under-the-radar banking institution hiding between the pages of an IT firm and thus bypassing all the country’s financial and banking regulations. This would be similar to EBay or Amazon suddenly opening the largest retail bank in the US, while flying the flag of a consumer goods market and subject to only those laws and regulations.
The media were filled with claims that China was “tightening the screws on the country’s tech champions” with “a regulatory crackdown on the internet sector”, but it was the financial industry, not the technological, that the authorities moved to regulate. News media like the NYT and WSJ would know this, and would have no reason to bury this information for their own purposes, which means that someone instructed them on how to frame the story as China curtailing tech firms.
The US financial vultures had been severely pressuring China to open up its financial sector, and the small flood of Alibaba articles was meant to put political pressure on China to not limit American ambitions to plunder China’s economy as they so freely did in the US. Again, neither the NYT nor WSJ could care less about either Alibaba or China’s financial sector, but when their friends want to move to China and are concerned about regulations that might cripple their greed, US media editors and columnists will answer the call. This means that Alibaba was irrelevant in everything you read about Alibaba; the media flood was a political warning to China to not extend their financial regulations to American predatory vulture firms.
But this is a game two can play. The Chinese media included this statement in one of their articles: “Chinese regulators summon internet finance firms, a demonstrative move for other players to investigate [their] own issues.” (5) A message was clearly also being sent in the other direction, at which point the US media flood quickly ceased.
US Trade Deficits
Until recently, there was for two decades a huge amount of weekly media noise emanating from Washington about the US trade deficit with China which increased to many hundreds of billions of dollars per year, with no signs of moderating. The NYT and WSJ solemnly informed us this occurred because China was cheating on its currency exchange rate, that the RMB was grossly under-valued to make its exports competitive and foreign imports prohibitively expensive.
Thus, in addition to constant complaints about China’s US trade surplus, we were treated with non-stop media noise about the necessity of China revaluing its currency upward by “at least 25% to 40%.” That sounds reasonable until you discover the things they forgot to tell you.
The first is that the last US trade surplus was in 1975, the US having run annual trade deficits for 46 straight years with a list of countries that has increased to more than 100. (6) (7) (8) Do we suppose all those countries are cheating on their exchange rates? Of course not. The reason the US has a trade deficit is because the country has so de-industrialised itself that it no longer makes anything anyone wants to buy. China is irrelevant in this picture. If the US didn’t buy from China, it would have to buy from someone else, but the deficit would remain. And as to the currencies, China runs trade deficits with many other countries – whose currencies trade freely – which means the world’s exchange rates are also irrelevant to the problem.
Now we know something we didn’t know before, and now we can identify this economic ‘news’ as the propaganda that it is, and we can also ascertain its purpose: the crippling of China’s economy. I mentioned in Part 1 of this series the Plaza Accord that was forced onto Japan who, being a US colony, had no choice but to accept. In that case, the Yen was eventually revalued by around 300%, leaving Japan permanently crippled. And, as I stated, this was the plan for China, the immense, 2 decade-long media onslaught by the US was an attempt to force Chinese leaders to commit economic suicide. Happily, they refused.
It is important to understand that this prolonged situation was not a reflection of reality. It was not like me saying, “This is the 76th time I’ve had to speak to you about your cat digging in my rose bushes.” There was no ‘news’ here, no ‘event’, and the media noise was unrelated to trade or deficits or currency values; it was a long-term plan to create sufficient worldwide pressure to collapse China’s economy by forcing an unwarranted revaluation. It should be obvious that such a program, unremitting for 20 years, was not something that happened by chance. It was part of an overall strategy, as US-China Ambassador Jon Huntsman so frequently stated, to “bring China down”.
During those two decades, the editors and columnists of the major US media would have been in regular and frequent contact with the US FED, the Departments of Commerce and the Treasury, the Council of Economic Advisers, the OMB, the National Security Agency, and again the intelligence agencies, certainly the CIA and NSA. It would also have been necessary to conscript specific columnists – like Paul Krugman of the NYT – to carry the torch and take the lead in this propaganda war.
Indeed, the media function as the microphone of the US State Department, full partners in scripting propaganda campaigns to achieve foreign policy objectives.
This entire media flood was 100% political propaganda, geo-political at its root, geared to the destruction of one particular nation. You can imagine their almost savage determination in continuing this strategy for more than two decades before surrendering. And it had the beneficial side-effect of teaching people in all countries to “hate China for cheating”.
Criminals in Need of Protection
Few people are aware that all but one of the largest consumer frauds perpetrated in China during the past ten years, were by foreign firms, mostly American, the US media (and AmCham) in every case doing their best to protect the criminals from prosecution, relying on public propaganda to intimidate the Chinese authorities from doing their duty. It is almost comical that each time an American company is charged with a massive fraud in China, AmCham releases a report informing us that foreign firms suddenly feel “less welcome” in China, dutifully reported in detail by Bloomberg (9), while the WSJ whines that China’s “crackdown on monopoly pricing and corruption . . . unfairly targets foreign companies”. (10)
In one such case in 2014, the American OSI food-agricultural giant in China was exposed for repackaging expired and dirty meat on a massive scale extending for many years, complete with two sets of record books for deceiving the authorities. Company officials tried desperately to block the investigation, refusing entry to the plant by the Shanghai food and drug authority for a long enough time to destroy evidence. The authorities had to seize and destroy millions of kilograms of diseased and dirty meat, in a scandal that would eventually cover all of China.
The Shanghai FDA produced more than 5,000 crates of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, pork patties and beef steaks that were all expired and moldy. TV video showed employees mixing expired and fresh meat in new packaging, and saying that if their clients knew what they were doing, the firm would lose its contracts. This was not a small thing: Chinese health authorities assigned nearly 900 investigators to inspect the company’s many sites before all the evidence could be destroyed.
Of course, everyone was “shocked, shocked” at the news, the US media dutifully reporting that Sheldon Lavin, CEO of OSI Group, described the scandal as “unacceptable” and “terribly wrong”, and would ensure the “missteps” never happen again. The New York Times blamed the victims and suppliers, attributing the entire criminal plot to “weak links in China’s food chain”. (11) The NYT also stated OSI “was halting operations” and “would review all its China plants” – after the authorities had already shut them down and imprisoned the executives. And of course instead of condemning the (American) criminals for their crimes, the NYT spun the story into “Food safety in China faces big hurdles”. (12) There was also a protective layer of defiance in attempts to create political pressure to mitigate the damage, with statements that for the Shanghai government “to define [OSI products] as ‘questionable’ … is totally without factual, scientific or legal foundation.” Not really, but nice try.
Consumer Fraud? Just Do it!
At the end of 2011, Nike admitted to a scheme of false advertising in China. At the time, a new Nike sport shoe had become the newest ‘must-have’ item for the kids. A prime feature in Nike’s advertising was that the shoe had two air cushions, to provide shock absorption. The shoe, which I believe was made in China, was priced in the US at 700 RMB ($125), while the price in China was 1,300 RMB (over $200). Nike heavily advertised the product in China as being the original; however the company made a much cheaper substandard version of the shoe to be sold in China. Chinese consumers picked up on the fraud very quickly and reported the matter to the authorities, China’s SAIC eventually levying a fine of nearly $1 million and instructing Nike to refund the full purchase price to all customers. Interestingly, Nike repeated this exact same fraud some years later, apparently learning nothing the first time.
I’m using a bit more space than this event would warrant because Nike had not only the backing of the US media but of an American lawyer named Stan Abrams (13) (14) who frequently appears on the criminal side of the consumer ledger in China to lend weight to the media propaganda narrative. Abrams defended Nike’s consumer fraud in China by perpetrating another of his own.
He began by stating: “There are two issues here: differential pricing and product quality/features.” No, Stan. “Differential pricing” is a hamburger at $2.40 in one location and $2.50 in another. And ‘product features’ are irrelevant since the issue was fraudulent advertising.
Abrams wrote that “consumers certainly have a right to complain . . . assuming that these air cushions are at all functional and mean anything. (I doubt it.)”. So if my Mercedes dealer assures me the car seats are leather but prove to be plastic, I shouldn’t complain since the leather isn’t functional and doesn’t mean anything anyway. I suppose the same would hold true when Abrams finds himself unable to consummate his marriage. He could simply tell his disappointed new bride that the missing feature “wasn’t functional anyway”, and wouldn’t have meant anything even if it had been.
Our too-clever-by-half lawyer continues, “Is it illegal to have a product overseas that has one air cushion and another one here that sells with only one? Absurd. Of course that’s not a legal issue. Companies are of course free to sell products in different markets that are not identical.” Abrams’ comments are strictly true, but irrelevant. The question is not different product features but the advertising of features that don’t exist. We call that consumer fraud. Abrams’ view of all this? “So we’ve got false advertising, potentially fraud, advertising law, consumer law violations, blah blah blah . . . Chinese consumers should be guaranteed the lowest global price for any consumer product? If a product feature is offered to a consumer anywhere in the world … the company [must] offer that feature in China as well? That sounds crazy, but maybe I’m missing something here.” Cheap attempts by a man holding the microphone, to make young Chinese ashamed that they dislike being cheated.
I have an important second reason for the length of this segment: the events that must have taken place prior to this fraud. A shoe factory is a large place, with production and assembly lines generally created for only one product design. Nike would have to create a new design and factory specifications as well as build a new assembly line to manufacture the substandard Chinese version of this shoe. But Nike’s Marketing Department would not quietly design and manufacture a substandard version of a popular product and plan to fraudulently misrepresent it without the knowledge and acquiescence of the CEO, because of the potentially serious legal repercussions to the company, and the obvious threat to their employment. And that means the top management of Nike, very likely including the Board of Directors, shared the prior decision to make a substandard copy of a product and fraudulently flog it to the Chinese as an original, on the assumption that customers would either be too unsophisticated to know what they bought, or be too meek to complain. And that constitutes executive fraud at the highest level.
In case you’re still tempted to think this might have been the first time such a thing has occurred with Nike, here is a quote from Charlie Denson, President of the Nike brand, in a conference call with financial analysts:
“The [Chinese] consumer is becoming more discerning and sophisticated … creating short-time challenges for retailers. It’s a natural evolution we’ve seen in many markets, so we’re not surprised.” (15)
The US media were in full support of Nike, the WSJ telling us only 300 pairs of these shoes were sold “with an inaccurate product description” (16), so really a tempest in a teapot for so large a fine of 5 million RMB and compulsory refunds.
Not too long ago the pharma company GSK was involved in one of the largest frauds China has ever experienced, with bribery, payoffs, false accounting, involving at least half a billion dollars. (17) (18) Upon discovery, Mark Reilly, the company’s China President, was on the next plane out of the country “on a previously-planned business trip” to England, “to help with the investigation from that end”.
The UK media obediently flogged the propaganda narrative that it wasn’t the company’s fault, that GSK was itself “the victim” of fraud committed by its Chinese staff, including apparently bribing doctors with sexual favors and with half a billion dollars of the company’s cash that for years nobody noticed was missing. (19)
There have been many of these foreign frauds in China and in each case the propaganda machine worked overtime to condemn the Chinese authorities for stamping them out. In one huge case involving the foreign auto industry in a massive price-fixing collusion, the media informed us the foreign firms were “a casualty of a renewed state media assault on foreign automotive brands”. Or foreign baby milk companies or foreign foods or mobile phones. In every case we saw a small flood of US propaganda denouncing the Chinese government of launching “an assault” on foreign firms, neglecting entirely the criminality involved, and with the same purpose of pressuring the Chinese government to deal gently with American criminal corporations.
We have seen media floods in defense of a long list of corporations whose criminal enterprises have been exposed. All are propaganda designed to pressure foreign governments to treat American (and some European) companies gently, even in the face of massive and serious criminal activity. There are two others I would like to bring to your attention, one involving Coca-Cola and espionage, the other the illegal compilation of data concerning China’s oil production. Both are of immense importance and are covered in a previous article. (20) Both were exposed to major media propaganda floods and even consular intervention in attempts to mitigate the fallout.
It is important to keep in mind that ‘the media’ is not some amorphous, inanimate object but a group of real people with names, who plan, script and conduct these propaganda campaigns. I have had encounters with some of these ‘reporters’ and ‘columnists’. Many of them qualify as gangsters, acting as front men for a criminal enterprise, using their public power to shield and defend those who should be imprisoned and trashing anyone who stands in their way.
In contrast to hearing much media noise on a topic, we sometimes have only a deafening silence which is equally a guarantee of propaganda, this time in the form of censorship. When the entire Western media unanimously have no comment on an important current topic, we can be certain that much has happened behind the scenes to ensure this result.
Bottling Coke and Spilling Blood
Some years ago, Latin America was almost up in arms about the fact that virtually every union leader attempting to unionise a Coca-Cola bottling plant was suddenly found dead, the evidence substantiating the thesis that these were gangland hits organised by the bottlers. Coca-Cola disclaimed responsibility on the basis that many of the bottling plants were locally-owned. The claims were entirely suppressed and the disclaimer received only a few brief mentions in the US and none anywhere else that I could discover. (21)
In similar fashion, and more recently, the Mexican news media ran an excited flurry of stories that Coca-Cola employees had voted to form a national union and that the next day all were forced to resign, apparently many at gunpoint. They would be re-hired later, but no union. I returned to those sites the next day to learn more, but was surprised to discover that the entire Mexican media landscape had been scrubbed clean. All prior links were dead, no news medium (in Mexico or indeed in any Western country) contained any reference to this event, Facebook and Twitter no longer had any posts referring to it, and Google suddenly had no idea it had ever happened.
You might care to pause for a moment to think of all the persons who would have to be involved to accomplish such a result. You might also contemplate that the Coca-Cola Company hasn’t the leverage to do this, and ask yourself who took the lead in this effort and what was the source of their power to ensure 100% compliance of so many media outlets in so many nations. And so quickly.
Vaccinations against Pregnancy
In this same category, a vaccination program was initiated some years ago under the auspices of the WHO that sterilised about 150 million women in developing countries – without their knowledge and against their will. Briefly, a tetanus vaccine was created which also contained the female hormone hCG which is essential in implanting a fertilised egg into the uterus wall; the absence of this hormone will inevitably result in miscarriages or spontaneous abortions. These vaccinations were carried out in many nations in the guise of protection against tetanus, but the recipients were limited solely to females of child-bearing age, and immediately resulted in voluminous reports of spontaneous abortions since many vaccinated females were already pregnant. Testing of the vaccines proved the presence of hCG. The WHO attempted many denials and defenses but were moved to silence by the overwhelming evidence. This is not conspiracy theory but heavily-documented fact. I researched the matter thoroughly and in fact the WHO’s own website had a list of scientific papers that documented extensively how they spent 20 years and more than $400 million dollars to develop an “anti-fertility” vaccine containing hCG and using tetanus toxoid as the carrier. I wrote a detailed article on this, with substantial documentation (22). I recommend you read it; it will change the way you look at many things.
In terms of media propaganda, of the negative side of censorship, not one of the many hundreds of major Western news media made any reference to this despicably tragic program. You might again ask yourself how many individuals in which places must have been involved to ensure such a complete blanket of silence, and what is the source of their power to do this.
In a nearly identical circumstance, two prominent European medical experts recently swore that at least some current COVID-19 vaccines contain a female hormone with a function similar to hCG and that the vaccines have the potential to function as an abortifacient. (23) (24) I have not researched this one thoroughly and cannot testify to the validity, but I can offer the following:
Dr. Mike Yeadon was a 17-year veteran at Pfizer’s R&D unit in Sandwich, England, and was the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of the entire group and in charge of the company’s respiratory research program. In the autumn of 2010, Pfizer lost interest in, and decided to terminate, their Allergy and Respiratory Diseases programs, eliminating the entire unit. However, Pfizer agreed to finance Yeadon in the formation of a new company to continue this same research, turning over to Yeadon all the assets of this research group not for cash but for equity, Yeadon then raising private capital to finance the continued operation of the new company named Ziarco. It was so successful that Novartis eventually acquired 100% of the stakes less than 10 years later for what was reported to be more than $1 billion.
Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg is a German physician, pulmonary specialist, and epidemiologist. “Both Dr. Yeadon and Dr. Wodarg stated categorically that Pfizer’s vaccine contains a spike protein called syncytin-1, which is vital for the formation of the placenta in pregnant women, and were so concerned about its sterilisation effects that they filed an application with the EMA, the European Medicine Agency, for the immediate suspension of all SARS CoV 2 vaccine studies, in particular the BioNtech/Pfizer variants.”
It would seem unusual that two internationally-respected epidemiologists would claim a non-existent spike protein and pursue their ignorance to the point of requesting an international body to immediately cease vaccine research due to this totally imaginary problem.
I have to state it would appear as a deranged conspiracy theory to suggest that the powers wanting us vaccinated would also want us sterilised, and would do so in what could only be a monstrous conspiracy contrived by Satan and executed by his lieutenants. But these same people created similar vaccines used by the WHO for the same purpose, a program too well-documented to be denied. If they would do it once, why wouldn’t they do it again? I have no answer for you. You decide. But the salient point here is that neither of these two cases rated even a mention anywhere in the Western mainstream media – at least none that I could find.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into more than 30 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’.
His full archive can be seen at https://www.moonofshanghai.com/ and https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/
He can be contacted at: email@example.com
(20) If You Do It, It’s Spying. If I Do It, It’s Research
(22) A Cautionary Tale About the WHO – May 10, 2020
The original source of this article is The Saker Blog
Copyright © Larry Romanoff, Moon of Shanghai, Blue Moon of Shanghai, 2021