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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The author was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organising the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. He is Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen. He was chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy, and he is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent book is Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century.
- Physicians have a sacred duty to their patients, whose lives are in their hands. The practice of medicine is not a business like any other business. There are questions of trust and duty involved. The physician’s goal must not be to make as much money as possible, but rather to save lives. Are broadcasting and journalism just businesses like any other business? Is making as much money as possible the only goal? Isn’t the truth sacred? Isn’t finding the truth and spreading it a sacred trust?
Questions of thermonuclear war are involved, or catastrophic long-term climate change.
The survival of human civilization and the survival of the biosphere depend completely on whether the public receives true and important facts, or whether it receives a mixture of lies, propaganda and trivia.
If the erratic, self-centered, bigoted, racist, misogynist, neofascist Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is elected to the US Presidency in 2016, it will be because mass media like CBS find his deliberately outrageous outbursts entertaining and good for ratings.
Besides being manifestly unqualified for the position of President, Trump is an avid climate change denier, and he has said that if elected, he would repudiate the Paris Agreement.
We need to wake up to the real dangers that are facing humanity. Terrorism is not a real danger. The number of people killed by terrorists each year is vanishingly small compared to the number killed in traffic accidents, not to mention the tens of millions who die each year from starvation and preventable diseases.
But the mass media shamelessly magnify terrorist events (some of which may be false flag actions) out of all proportion in order to allow governments to abolish civil liberties and crush dissent.
Meanwhile, the real dangers, the threat of thermonuclear war, the threat of catastrophic climate change, and the threat of a large-scale global famine, these very real threats remain unaddressed.
Our mainstream media have failed us. They are betraying humanity in a time of great crisis. Our educational systems are also failing us, too timid and tradition-bound to warn of the terrible new dangers that the world is facing.
What we need from all the voices that are able to bring a message to a wide public is a warning of the severe dangers that we are facing, combined with an outline of the practical steps that are needed to avert these dangers.
We need realism, we need the important facts, but we also need idealism and optimism.
The fact that our future is in danger must not be an excuse for dispair and inaction, but instead a reason for working with courage and dedication to save the future.
The statements and views mentioned in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of IPS.