Imperialistic journalism v. journalism based on universal rationality. [1]

This is an article in the Guardian about a group of Russian hackers who, apparently, have spent 3 years hacking the accounts of Russian officials – for money.

The Guardian is quite keen on this group. Previously, a Guardian journalist met with someone from the group on a yacht ‘outside a European city’.

The Guardian is quite happy to preserve the anonymity of this group, which appears to have been working to a commercial agenda. The articles are free of any condemnation or even criticism.

Apparent Russian hacking of the US Democratic Party in the run-up to the election, however, is reported on in terms of “interference”. Terms like “fake news”, “disinformation” and “cyber-espionage” activity are bandied about. All the US claims against Russia for “hacking the election” are taken as true. And this is in ‘reportage’ articles. The opinion pieces couldn’t condemn the (alleged) hacking more strongly.

Concerning another story; the woeful situation in Libya, which was torn apart by the NATO intervention in 2011, carried out on the basis of distorting a UN resolution, the Guardian today carries a report about how Russia may be about to help General Haftar seize power. The Guardian reports:

Diplomats are watching to see if Russia engages constructively in Libya, or seeks instead solely to back Haftar to undermine the laborious UN efforts to get the multitude of Libyan factions to compromise.


Moscow, which is eager to recover lost oil and infrastructure investments in Libya has feted Haftar, and also tended to his wounded soldiers.

“Constructively”, of course, means in line with Western interests and plans. That Moscow may be motivated by considerations regarding its oil and infrastructure investments in Libya is quite possibly true. That the West is motivated by exactly the same considerations in backing the process they are backing, is not mentioned. We are perhaps supposed to believe the usual hogwash that the West is always acting from some high and disinterested moral principals? Of course they are not. This is an article in Der Spiegel detailing the competition between European firms for a share of the Libyan oil market right at the time of the 2011 attacks on Libya. It shows how the “rebels” were already working on deals with oil companies even before Gaddafi was toppled (butchered on the battlefield with the assistance of the SAS).

What we see here is that the Guardian journalists write articles, without thinking, which adopt the narrative of Western power. The articles are written from the point of view that the West is “right” and anyone in conflict with the West is “wrong”. This is an imperialist outlook – which essentially dates from the Victorian era. It appears to be largely unconscious. Morality, as Kant pointed out, only works if it applies to everyone, equally, all of the time. There are two possible perspectives which journalists can write from. One is the imperialist perspective. From this point of view our spies are good, theirs are bad. We act out of high moral motives; they act out of low and sinister motives. And so on. This is a sort of “my country first” position. It has nothing to do with universal rationality. From a perspective of universal rationality such assumptions are not made. From this perspective one looks at the act as an act regardless of who made it. It would be entirely possible to do journalism from a perspective of rational universality. Such journalism could contribute to world peace. Imperialistic journalism will only prolong the war.



Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer