The “Old” Media Machine?
One my good friends, David, who I respect immensely for his intelligence and professional acumen, responded to a comment I made on Facebook about the Trump/ Biden debate where I suggested Biden might win, thanks to the support of the “Media Machine” (my words) which provides the optics for the American view of the world, their society and themselves.
“The old Media Machine doesn’t determine much of anything these days. The New Media Machine — all digital, all in your face, all manipulated by everyone from QAnon, to foreign hackers, and the Zuck himself — is what formulates public opinion these days. As someone put it, Al Gore tells you want to think. That is, Al Gore Rhythm, of which there are many and they all aim to feed you what you want to hear. Pity the poor Independent voter who gets spammed with propaganda from both sides constantly. “
The “old Media Machine” is the one that died in the Cronkite era and with the end the Fairness Doctrine and wasn’t really a “machine”at all, at least not compared to the current one that combines print, TV and the Internet — all controlled by just a few companies, part of a general trend towards monopolization in the economy.
Today, most of the public’s perception of the world is seen through the eyes of just a few companies that represent the interests of the thousand or so people who own the world, or at least most of the Western World . You are not seeing the world at all as it. “Media” are by definition…well…media. Your eyes are not your own.
Media concentration enforces conformity of viewpoint.
Media companies like MSN, MSNBC, CNN, the NYT, WaPo and Fox are vast machines, dominating print, the Internet, and television. They mix information like movie and TV guides, with straight out propaganda and entertainment — movies and TV series — that contains political and social messages.
Go to Google News, and look for political messages on domestic and foreign events, you will see remarkable uniformity, in many cases even the exact same language, as if one writer had written everything. It wasn’t one writer, of course, it was two or three at AP, Reuters, and so on, then copied endlessly. Goebbels must be turning in his grave in envy.
The NYT or WaPo or the BBC don’t have to repeat a lie themselves — they have the huge echo chamber represented by media like Google News. Big Lies. Little Lies. All lies.
So it is that 70% of Americans think that Putin interfered in the 2016 election and a similar percentage think that the Chinese caused the COVID19 pandemic. Do a Google search and you will see thousands of articles repeating these falsehoods? Yes, they are lies. There is not a shred of evidence to support these things. There is probably more evidence that the world is flat.
Such manipulations do not come from QANON, which is not an organization anyway, but a conspiracy theory on the same level as the Protocols of Zion and the Illuminati. Nor do they come from “foreign hackers”, laboring away on antiquated laptops in their bedrooms in Mom and Dad’s little apartment in Vladivostok or Wuhan. Nor even from The Internet Research Agency, a somewhat juvenile Upworthy wannabe clickbait farm in St Petersburg who just really, really wish the SVR would take notice of them and donate a few rubles.
I rather think Upworthy did more to help Trump win the 2016 election. Putin just wasn’t interested.
Mark Zuckerberg does not proselytize much. Not much is known about his political views, although they are clearly “mainstream” since Facebook bans sites like the Unz Review, which is libertarian and posts articles from both far right and far left. The MotherZucker doesn’t like “far” anything clearly.
Twitter, clearly hews to the US government line, banning posts by Venezuelan officials and others.
Even Wikipedia is not politically neutral as you can see from its article on the Internet Research Agency. It has a lot of “facts” which on closer examination turn out to be mostly unverifiable as Aaron Mate points out in a wonderful debate with Jefferson Morley.
The 1000 want to own the Internet — that is very clear. If they don’t already own most of it, they certainly own you.
This brings us to the concept of “fake news”, a term which was coined by Craig Silverman, an editor at Buzzfeed in 2014 (or so he says).
Here’s his definition:
For a while I kept trying to be clear about my definition of fake news: completely false content, created to deceive, and with an economic motive. But then reality sets in and it’s just like, I gotta try and avoid it. I still do use it at times but have moved more towards talking about mis- or disinformation or hoaxes or media manipulation.
Silverman’s original concept was a little different from the one we see today. He was talking about individuals trying to make money from the internet — not media organizations and governments trying for control of the public mind — “fake news” as power. Of course, power=money and money=power in a society owned by a 1000 people
I used the term a lot in reporting I did in 2016, whether it was about Canadian teens making money with fake stories about Justin Trudeau, or about those now-famous Macedonian teens and young men making bank by spreading false pro-Trump stories on Facebook. Then, in January of 2017, Trump did a press conference and called CNN “fake news,” and us at BuzzFeed News a “failing pile of garbage.” From that moment forward, any attempt to be specific about what “fake news” is went out the window. It became weaponized and popularized at the same moment, and in the end. Trump has really taken a certain level of ownership over it.
Trump’s redefinition of the term was actually correct insofar as he was arguing that the Mainstream Media could not be trusted, that they were bought and paid for by political parties and the “Deep State” — not that he really cared about the truth — just that most of the media were targeting him personally.
In China, the government controls the news. Everyone knows who is running things. But who is the” government”? The government is the CCP — 100 million people. A rather bigger oligarchy than the Western World’s 1000 — and considerably more representative of ordinary people since entry into the Party is based on merit, rather than wealth. In any case, people assume that the “news” is skewed — not for the political interests of any particular party since there is only one but for a broader perception of the public interest. They look for what is really happening through personal communication, social media, and hacking the Great Chinese Firewall.
The Chinese people are not passive. Their last revolution lasted almost ten years, ending in 1976. They are not as brainwashed as Americans.
The US has never had a revolution — not a real one since the American revolution was less a revolution and more a civil war, which was not about personal freedom or democracy but rather enhancing the wealth and position of the American version of landed gentry.
The American state was not founded on any notion of freedom, democracy, or the public interest, but the aggrandizement of elites. The Constitution and the Bill or Rights were, in effect, propaganda used to create an “inverted’ authoritarian state. America was founded as a fascist state and still is today — except for “alternative” media, which provide points of view outside of the control of the political establishment, even the 1000.
The US government funds, infiltrates, or otherwise controls a full range of organizations from the NED to the HRI to even Amnesty. The simple test to see whether an organization is under governmental control is to look at their positions on Venezuela, the Syrian Chemical attacks or more recently the “poisoning” of Navalny.
A good example of a governmentally compromised company is Graphika, As the Grayzone says:
Graphika’s partners include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon’s Minerva Initiative, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and the Syria Campaign — the billionaire-funded public relations arm of the Syrian White Helmets.
Graphika has been involved in numerous cases of media disinformation including smearing Jeremy Corbyn just before the UK election as a quasi-Russian agent.
More recently, the company which went so far as to set up a “leftwing” site, Peace Data, running attributed articles from legitimate leftwing sites. The idea was to then associate Peace Data with the Russian SVR, and to smear the sites that appeared on it — guilt by association. This is well documented on Grayzone. Now , almost nobody would know anything about Graphika — except for it getting coverage in the mainstream media, which ignore more legitimate sources of real journalism such as Consortium News or, say, Moon of Alabama or the Grayzone or Lee Camp on RT.
How would know what Graphika really is? You would have to read the GrayZone.
If you want to understand what is really happening in the world, the facts are available with a little critical thinking and a tiny bit of effort. You have to cure yourself of the habit of thinking that you can get information all in one place, like snacks in a convenience store. Rather you have to shop around — Moon of Alabama, FAIR, RT, Sputnik News, MintPress, CGTN the superb Media Lens, Global Research, the Unz Review and others.