Tag Archives: Journalism

The Woke Media: Apologists for the State, by William L. Anderson

The mainstream media is one of the government’s most fervent propagandists. From William L. Anderson at mises.org:

In an earlier article, I looked at the rise of “Woke Capitalism” and the challenges that this development presents for a free society (or, to be accurate, a somewhat free society). For the time being we probably do not need to worry about the establishment of the People’s Republic of Google, but a much greater problem than left-wing business corporations has invaded our body politic: The Woke Mainstream Media.

It is one thing for Nike to discontinue a line of sneakers because the Betsy Ross flag offended someone or for PayPal to refuse to serve as a pay conduit for a conservative organization. One may decry the narrow-minded thinking from company executives, but they are private outfits that have — and should have — the privilege of refusing to do business with certain people — and if they make a bad economic choice, the company will pay financially. And, as I pointed out in the article, corporations are not governments, which really can kill and cage people who are helpless against state-sponsored predations.

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American Exceptionalism Driving World to War, by Finian Cunningham and John Pilger

The rest of the world grows increasingly resistant to the US government throwing its weight around. From an interview between Finian Cunningham and John Pilger at strategic-culture.org:

Australian-born John Pilger has worked for over five decades as a reporter and documentary film-maker covering wars and conflicts all over the world. In the following interview, the award-winning journalist says the world is arguably at a more perilous geopolitical juncture than even during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 at the height of the Cold War. This is because American “exceptionalism” – which, he points out, mirrors that of Nazi Germany – has developed into a hyper-rogue phase. The relentless denigration of Russia by American and Western media show that there are few red lines left to restrain aggression towards Moscow, as there were, at least, during the past Cold War. Russia and China’s refusal to bow down to Washington’s dictate is infuriating the would-be American hegemon and its desire for zero-sum world domination.

John Pilger also gives his wide-ranging views on the systematic deterioration of Western mainstream journalism which has come to function as a nakedly propaganda matrix for power and corporate profit. He further condemns the ongoing persecution and torture of fellow-Australian publisher Julian Assange who is being held in a maximum-security British prison commonly used for holding mass murderers and convicted terrorists. Assange is being persecuted for telling the truth and for exposing huge crimes by the US and Britain, says Pilger. It is a grim warning of a covert war that is being conducted against independent journalism and free speech, and, more ominously, indicative of a slide towards police-state fascism in so-called Western democracies.

INTERVIEW

Question: In your documentary film, The Coming War on China (2016), you assess that the United States is on a strategic collision path with China for control of Asia-Pacific. Do you still see the threat of war looming between these two powers?

John Pilger: The threat of war may not be immediate, but we know or should know that events can change fast: a chain of incidents and missteps can ignite a war which can spread unpredictably. The calculations are not in dispute: an “enemy” has barely 12 minutes to decide whether and where to order a nuclear retaliation.

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The CIA Wants To Make It Easier To Jail Journalists, and Congress Isn’t Stopping It, by Mac Slavo

How do you get rid of civil liberties and freedoms? One micro-incursion at a time. From Mac Slavo at shtfplan.com:

Free speech has been on the chopping block for a long time.  Journalists are already silenced and have to ask the government for permission before running stories while alternative media is censored and blocked by Google’s search algorithms.  But now it’s getting worse, and Congress isn’t stopping it.

The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) wants to make it a whole lot easier to throw journalists in jail if they say or write the wrong things. According to Tech Dirty, the CIA is pushing for an expansion of a 37-year-old law that would deter journalists from covering national security issues or reporting on leaked documents (such as those Julian Assange posted to Wikileaks and is rotting in a jail cell for).

Why EVERYONE Should Be Outraged At Assange’s Arrest

By now, most have heard that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested. The journalist was forcibly taken from the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange is perhaps most known for leaking Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor’s emails during the 2016 election.

Thanks to a disillusioned CIA case officer’s actions in 1975, there are currently a few limits to what can or can’t be reported about covert operatives working overseas.

In 1975, Philip Agee published a memoir about his years with the CIA. Attached to his memoir — which detailed his growing discontentment with the CIA’s clandestine support of overseas dictators — was a list of 250 CIA agents or informants. In response to this disclosure, Congress passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), which criminalized disclosing the identity of covert intelligence agents.

The IIPA did what it could to protect journalists by limiting the definition of “covert agent” to agents serving overseas and then only those who were currently working overseas when the disclosure occurred. It also required the government to show proof the person making the disclosure was “engaged in a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose” covert agents. The law was amended in 1999 to expand the coverage to include covert agents working overseas within five years of the disclosure. –Tech Dirty

The CIA wants all of these protections for journalists removed, including the word “overseas.”  This would allow the CIA (and all other intelligence agencies) to designate whoever they want as “protected” by the IIPA in perpetuity, and jail those who report about things the government wants to keep from the prying eyes of the public.

Under the proposed law, any journalist who, say, revealed the names of “covert” CIA officers that had engaged in torture or ordered drone strikes on civilians would now be subject to prosecution — even if the newsworthy actions occurred years or decades prior or the officer in question has always been located in the United States.

In fact, the CIA explicitly referenced the revelations of the agency’s Bush-era torture program in its argument to Congress for IIPA expansion. The New York Times’s Charlie Savage obtained the CIA’s private memo in which it lobbied members of Congress. Under the memo’s “justification” section, the CIA wrote:

“Particularly with the lengths organizations such as WikiLeaks are willing to go to obtain and release sensitive national security information, as well as incidents related to past Agency programs, such as the RDI [Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation — a euphemism used to describe the CIA’s illegal torture program] investigation, the original congressional reasoning mentioned above for a narrow definition of ‘covert agent’ no longer remains valid.” –Gen Medium

Democrats, such as Adam Schiff, are helping make sure journalists rights are trampled and the public doesn’t get any information the government doesn’t want them to have. When you take a good look at his record, Schiff has always favored the secrecy of intelligence agencies over journalists’ rights.

No administration should have the power to prevent journalists from publishing illegal acts undertaken by the government. Ever. For any reason. 

 

Industrial Rumpswabbery, by the Zman

Media commentators used to be experienced reporters; now they’re mostly well-educated twits. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:

Way back in the before times, when you got news and opinion from TV, newspapers and magazines, you just accepted the authority of the source. If you were a liberal, you were required to swear oaths about the objectivity and integrity of the news media. If you were a normal person you understood that all of it was biased. Alternative sources of information, however, were thin on the ground. If you were lucky, your city still had a paper run by normal people, like the Detroit Free Press or Manchester Union Leader.

Otherwise, normal people had to read their local paper or the news magazines with an eye for the bias. Some columnists made a career out of being lefty wackos, even getting a national reputation for it. Eleanor Clift was a proto-cat lady in the 1990’s, as a barking at the moon lefty for Newsweek. The late John McLaughin would have her on as a regular, mostly because she was such a loon. In the Clinton years he nicknamed her Eleanor Rodham Clift because she was such a ridiculous Clinton rumpswab.

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Postliterate America, by Linh Dinh

Both the quantity and quality of what people read has dramatically diminished. From Line Dinh at unz.com:

I was just interviewed by two Temple journalism students, Amelia Burns and Erin Moran, and though they appeared very bright and enterprising, with Erin already landing a job that pays all her bills, I feel for these young ladies, for this is a horrible time to make and sell words, of any kind, and the situation will only get worse. We’re well into postliteracy.

With widespread screen addiction, hardly anyone buys books or newspapers anymore. My local newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer (Inky), no longer has a book review section. Its retired editor, Frank Wilson, was never replaced. Frank had three of my books reviewed, Night, Again, Fake House and Blood and Soap, but the last was in 2004.

Frank lives near me, so I see him around. A lifelong Philadelphian, he takes pride in knowing the city well. Speaking of Steve Lopez, an Inky reporter who made his name with a novel about North Philly, Badlands, Frank sneered that Lopez didn’t actually try heroin, so he didn’t really know what he was talking about. Frank did.

If you mess with Frank, the bearded, snarling Irishman will maul you with his cane. Frank’s not just ancient, but old school.

After moving to Philly in 1982, I’d read Clark DeLeon’s daily column in the Inky. Covering the city with knowledge, heart and humor, DeLeon helped me to feel grounded, and challenged me to explore my new home. After 23 years at the “same sloppy-topped gun-metal gray desk,” DeLeon was fired, however, a casualty of postliteracy.

Clark, “For 16 years I wrote six columns a week for the paper’s metro section. In later years I was cut back to five columns a week. In the final year, I was down to 1 column a week in the feature section.”

No longer a professional journalist, Clark earns his keep by working as a costumed tour guideoutside Independence Hall. Done with work, he’d often down a few at Dirty Frank’s. A tall, square-jawed and rugby playing dude, Clark would sit there in his black tricorne hat, brown waistcoat and white shirt with billowing sleeves, like a hulking Paul Revere, here to announce the worst of possible news. The death of the word, and thus thinking, is coming!

To continue reading: Postliterate America

The Media Wall, by the Zman

Journalism and the truth started parted company in the 1960s. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:

The “fake news” phenomenon could turn out to be the most important turn of events in the Trump era. The simple reason is it has awoken millions of normies to the realities of mass media in America. Most white conservatives accepted that the news was real, but biased in favor of one side, the Progressive side. They never stopped to think that maybe the news was not even real, that the Prog news outlets were making stuff up. Now, most white conservatives assume the news is fake.

That’s a positive development, one that our side can certainly exploit. It’s a handy tool for whenever the megaphones start blasting the latest propaganda from our rulers. Simply yelling “fake news” has become a useful way to prevent the Progs from framing the debate, at least with regards to politics. The other aspect of the fake news stuff that is useful is that the mass media is no longer capable of doing real news. Mass media is no longer a feedback loop for the ruling class. It’s just agit-prop.

The origins of fake news lie in the New Journalism that emerged in the 1960’s. Telling a story around the facts of a news event turned out to be a good way to go from ink stained wretch to rock star. Guys like Truman Capote and Nornan Mailer were stars, because they made the news compelling. Why stick to old fashioned reporting, when telling a colorful tale, with colorful portraits of the main players, based on real events, was the road to fame and fortune? The result was New Journalism became the default.

An instructive anecdote in the book Banana Sunday, by the old Telegraph reporter Chris Munnion, is about the the new breed of reporters from America arriving in Africa. These “reporters” would show up and spend their time in the hotel bar, picking up tidbits from the real reporters, who went into the field to gather news. They would then salt their pre-written stories with these facts. As a gag once, the real reporters made up crazy tales to tell around the Americans. All of them fell for it, but they were never called on it.

To continue reading: The Media Wall

Why the media has broken down in the age of Trump, by Michael Goodwin

Journalists threw objectivity out the window and now America is throwing journalists out the window. From Michael Goodwin at nypost.com:

Since President Trump was elected, the media landscape has divided and hardened more than ever. Even the once-unimpeachable New York Times has been guilty of “fake news,” while on Tuesday CNN had to retract an article that slimed a Trump aide based on flimsy reporting. In April, The Post’s Michael Goodwin delivered this speech at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Atlanta, analyzing how we got here — and how journalism can survive.

I’ve been a journalist for a long time. Long enough to know that it wasn’t always like this. There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner. Today, all that has changed. For that, we can blame the 2016 election or, more accurately, how some news organizations chose to cover it. Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale — that most of what you read, watch and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close.

It’s not exactly breaking news that most journalists lean left. I used to do that myself. I grew up at the New York Times, so I’m familiar with the species. For most of the media, bias grew out of the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. Fueled by the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the media jumped on the anti-authority bandwagon writ large. The deal was sealed with Watergate, when journalism was viewed as more trusted than government — and far more exciting and glamorous. Think Robert Redford in “All the President’s Men.” Ever since, young people became journalists because they wanted to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, find a Deep Throat, and bring down a president. Of course, most of them only wanted to bring down a Republican president. That’s because liberalism is baked into the journalism cake.

During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution.

To continue reading: Why the media has broken down in the age of Trump