Destaque Internacional - Informes de Coyuntura - Año VI - No. 138 - Responsable: Javier González, Buenos Aires / Madrid - Mayo 11, 2004.-

The Communications Media: The Manipulation of Human Compassion?

It is a process by which one is able to mold human feelings - tears are shed from the left eye, favoring revolutionary causes and damaging noble causes

We witness a political and psychological manipulation of feelings of compassion: in a matter of days, and even of hours, the sensibilities of vast sectors of world opinion can be modified in favor of revolutionary movements that are at a disadvantage, at the same time that they encourage indifference with regard to good causes which pass through difficulties, or that are even objects of persecution. Only with difficulty would they succeed in obtaining such extensive and distorted results, in so little time, without the cooperation of the communications media.

The case of Iraq is, in that sense, a paradigm. A few days ago television channels spread photos and videos showing objectionable humiliations and even torture committed against prisoners presumably linked to deposed dictator Saddam Hussein. Even when such conduct was not generalized, nor even involved any majority among the American troops, the communications media unchained such publicity-motivated pressure, both psychological and political, that the president of the United States and his Secretary of Defense had pressure put on them to make public apologies.

Nevertheless, what is evident to us is that these same communications media did not engage in proportional advertising campaigns with regard to the crimes of the Saddam Hussein regime - these indeed being generalized and lasting decades - including the use of chemical weapons for mass extermination of entire populations, compared with which the recent American humiliations against Arab soldiers seem almost irrelevant.

One could cite numerous religious, social and political situations in which just causes are at stake, which should incite compassion, sympathy, commiseration and even pity, and that nevertheless are received with coldness and indifference - the media of communication either ignore them or present them in a manner that does not impress people's sensibilities in any favorable way.

To continue, we give four examples of tragedies caused by Islamic radical movements, Communist movements, or those connected with the "theology of liberation," that have not inspired the compassion or even the interest proportional to the large agencies of the press.

* According to the Italian agency Fides, there exist at this time throughout the world 36 "forgotten conflicts," that involve 300,000 children recruited through forceful means. Many of those conflicts occur in Islamic countries where Christians are persecuted and tortured (Request Complete Documentation).

* Recently a documented work was launched in the Vatican entitled "Faith and Martyrdom: The Catholic Eastern Churches in Europe of the 20th Century," which contains moving testimonies of the martyrdom of the Catholic Church in the countries of Eastern Europe during the 20th century, particularly in the Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia and Ruthenia. During the launching, moving testimonies were heard such as that of the Rumanian priest Tertulian Ioan Langa, 82 years old, who spoke of his sixteen years in the Communist jails and described the diabolic "rites" used by the Communists against Catholics (Request Complete Documentation).

* In the Brazil of Lula, an explosive judicial-police action obtained a gag order against the civic organization Tradition, Family, Property, TFP, with procedures that caused stupor among well informed jurists, and in the midst of an almost generalized indifference of the press of that country. It is the case of an association of Catholic inspiration which in the 1960s played a doctrinal and ideological role that was fundamental for preventing Brazil from being transformed into a gigantic Cuba; and that in recent years systematically opposed, through its publications, the "theology of liberation" and organizations subservient to it, such as the pro-Castroite Movement Without Land, which have now succeeded in freeing themselves from one of their greatest obstacles (Request Complete Documentation).

* In the case of Communist Cuba, with the systematic violation of the rights of God and of twelve million Cubans during forty-five years, the silence of so many of the communications media of the entire world, which do not raise their voices to condemn that dictatorship and to contribute to the liberation of an enslaved people, becomes increasingly more unexplainable.

In this way, through the political and psychological manipulation of human compassion, they mold and even deform human sentiments - tears are only shed from the left eye, favoring evil causes and harming the noble causes, something that would not be possible without the decisive role, by action or omission, of the communications media. Thus an artificial consensus is created in which individuals or organizations are transformed literally into "pariahs of compassion," in relation to which one does not even have the right to show pity.

To alert others to the existence of these mechanisms, to encourage the specialists to study them and to indicate ways to protect oneself against them, constitutes a means of survival for the cause of liberty. Tomorrow, any of us could be the next victim.

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