Tag Archives: Legacy media

Corporate Media’s War to Snuff Out Independent Journalism, by Jonathan Cook

For the legacy media, the competition hasn’t gotten too big and too popular. From Jonathan Cook at consortiumnews.com:

Journalist Jonathan Cook’s searing talk at the International Festival of Whistleblowing, Dissent and Accountability on Saturday on the counterattack from legacy media.

I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about my experiences over the past two decades working with new technology as an independent freelance journalist, one who abandoned – or maybe more accurately, was abandoned by – what we usually call the “mainstream” media.

Looking back over that period, I have come to appreciate that I was among the first generation of journalists to break free of the corporate media – in my case, The Guardian – and ride this wave of new technology. In doing so, we liberated ourselves from the narrow editorial restrictions such media imposes on us as journalists and were still able to find an audience, even if a diminished one.

More and more journalists are following a similar path today – a few out of choice, and more out of necessity as corporate media becomes increasingly unprofitable. But as journalists seek to liberate themselves from the strictures of the old corporate media, that same corporate media is working very hard to characterise the new technology as a threat to media freedoms.

This self-serving argument should be treated with a great deal of scepticism. I want to use my own experiences to argue that quite the reverse is true. And that the real danger is allowing the corporate media to reassert its monopoly over narrating the world to us.

‘Mainstream’ Consensus

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Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It, by Matt Taibbi

The mainstream press in this country can’t even be called the press. It’s better termed a public relations agency for the government and the Democratic party. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

News companies are pioneering a new brand of vigilante reporting, partnering with the spy agencies they once oversaw

Former CIA director John Brennan was a media villain, now he’s media himself.

What a difference a decade makes.

Just over ten years ago, on July 25, 2010, Wikileaks released 75,000 secret U.S. military reports involving the war in Afghanistan. The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel helped release the documents, which were devastating to America’s intelligence community and military, revealing systemic abuses that included civilian massacres and an assassination squad, TF 373, whose existence the United States kept “protected” even from its allies.

The Afghan War logs came out at the beginning of a historic stretch of true oppositional journalism, when outlets like Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The New York Times, and others partnered with sites like Wikileaks. Official secrets were exposed on a scale not seen since the Church Committee hearings of the seventies, as reporters pored through 250,000 American diplomatic cables, secret files about every detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and hundreds of thousands of additional documents about everything from the Iraq war to coverups of environmental catastrophes, among other things helping trigger the “Arab Spring.”

There was an attempt at a response — companies like Amazon, Master Card, Visa, and Paypal shut Wikileaks off, and the Pentagon flooded the site with a “denial of service” attack — but leaks continued. One person inspired by the revelations was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who came forward to unveil an illegal domestic surveillance program, a story that won an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize for documentarian Laura Poitras and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. By 2014, members of Congress in both parties were calling for the resignations of CIA chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, both of whom had been caught lying to congress.

The culmination of this period came when billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launched The Intercept in February 2014. The outlet was devoted to sifting through Snowden’s archive of leaked secrets, and its first story described how the NSA and CIA frequently made errors using geolocation to identify and assassinate drone targets. A few months later, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden admitted, “We kill people based on metadata.”

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Information-Management in the U.S. Dictatorship by Eric Zuesse

“Information-Management” is a nice term for brutal suppression and censorship on the one hand, and the manufacture of blatant propaganda on the other. From Eric Zuesse at strategic-culture.org:

Instead of fearing to be held to account like the Nazis were at Nuremberg, America’s tyrants face no such international prosecutions whatsoever.

The dictatorship manages information both by deceiving the public to believe what the regime itself knows to be actually false (such as that Saddam Hussein might be only six months away from having an atomic bomb), and also by removing the lie from its ‘news’-media as soon as that lie has served its purpose and becomes no longer useful to the regime. The lie goes down the memory-hole, instead of being focused upon and analyzed by the regime’s media, and the reason why they disappear the lie is that after a certain amount of time, the percentage of the public who know that it was false has risen high enough so that any further mention of that false allegation (remember ‘Saddam’s WMD’? Does anybody today even discuss that lie?) would serve only to increase the percentage of the public who will figure out that it hadn’t been a mistake, but instead had been an intentional deception of the public — a lie. The media hide their lies, instead of report on them. The lie is not investigated; it’s always a corpse that was buried without any autopsy, and that will always stay buried, by the regime.

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State Attorneys General Threaten to Silence Dr. Mercola, by Joseph Mercola

Dr. Joseph Mercola asks questions and raises issues that the Corruptocracy and legacy media would rather ignore. He’s been a breath of fresh air during the coronavirus outbreak. From Mercola at lewrockwell.com:

While, for many years, I’ve been a popular target for Big Pharma smear campaigns, 2020 onward has really given new meaning to what it means to be under attack. I’m not alone, by any means, as censorship of anti-propaganda narratives have ratcheted up to unprecedented levels for many others seeking to uncover the truth.

These days, even elected government officials misuse their positions of power to openly call for censorship of certain groups, organizations and individuals in direct violation of Constitutional law — the highest law of the land.

The latest in this series of attacks comes from two state attorneys general, Letitia James of New York and William Tong of Connecticut, who in an April 8, 2021, op-ed1 in The Washington Post stated, right in the headline, that “Anti-vaxxers put us all at risk,” and that “Facebook and Twitter must ban them.”

According to James and Tong, COVID-19 vaccine availability marks “the end of the pandemic and the start of our recovery,” but “vaccine availability means nothing without vaccine acceptance.”

This lack of acceptance of novel gene therapy technology, they claim, is all because a small group of individuals with a social media presence — myself included — are successfully misleading the public with lies about nonexistent vaccine risks.

“The solution is not complicated. It’s time for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to turn off this toxic tap and completely remove the small handful of individuals spreading this fraudulent misinformation,” they write.2

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Journalists, Learning They Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace a New One, by Glenn Greenwald

Remember the Russian bounty story? When it comes to the legacy media and the intelligence community, it’s: Fool me once, fool me again . . . and again . . . and again. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The most significant Trump-era alliance is between corporate outlets and security state agencies, whose evidence-free claims they unquestioningly disseminate.

A US soldier in Afghanistan CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

That Russia placed “bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.

The saga began on June 26, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA’s claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump’s refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump’s “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”

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Media Concern Trolling About Afghanistan Withdrawal Again, by Caitlin Johnstone

There will always be an excuse for interventionists not to quit intervening. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Concerns mount that US withdrawal from Afghanistan could risk progress on women’s rights,” blares a new headline from CNN.

“Concerns are mounting from bipartisan US lawmakers and Afghan women’s rights activists that the hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan could be lost if the United States makes a precipitous withdrawal from the country,” CNN tells us.

What follows is yet another concern-trolling empire blog about why US troops need to stay in Afghanistan, joining recent others geared toward the same end like this CNN report about how the US military will open itself up to “costly litigation” if it withdraws now because it signed defense industry contracts into 2023, and this one by The New York Times about a US intelligence report urgently warning that a withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to the nation being controlled by the people who live there.

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Study: U.S. Media’s Covid Coverage Slants Heavily Negative, by Brian McGlinchey

You can’t scare people to death with positive stories. From Brian McGlinchey at starkrealities.substack.com:

Mainstream outlets stoke fear while shielding us from encouraging facts

If you’ve felt the media has heavily emphasized bad news throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, your judgment now has some scholarly corroboration.

Dartmouth College and Brown University researchers have analyzed tens of thousands of Covid-19 articles and found major U.S. media outlets have overwhelmingly pushed negative narratives about the virus.

“The most striking fact is that 87 percent of the U.S. stories are classified as negative, whereas 51 percent of the non-U.S. stories are classified as negative,” according to the study by Dartmouth economics professor Bruce Sacerdote, Dartmouth’s Ranjan Sehgal and Brown University’s Molly Cook.

Thwarting Public Clarity About Covid-19

Though the study doesn’t delve deep into the societal implications, there’s little doubt excessive media negativity has contributed to public misunderstanding of the nature of the disease and the risk it poses to various segments of society.

Consider one of study’s most glaring findings: Even when Covid-19 cases were falling nationally between April 24 and June 27, major media discussed rising caseloads 5.3 times as frequently as falling ones.

The impact was evident: A June CBS News poll found a record number of Americans felt the fight against coronavirus was going badly. Of course, news of the poll was itself another negative story, feeding a media-facilitated vicious circle of fear.

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Society Federal Judge Calls Left-Leaning Media a ‘Threat to U.S. Democracy.’ So Who Will Tell the People? by Robert Bridge

The monolithic and captured legacy media will not be the instrument that conveys to the people that is monolithic and captured. From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:

The American people are presently trapped in a Catch-22 situation in that any criticism that is leveled against the U.S. mainstream media is channeled away from social discourse by the very institutions under attack.

A prominent DC circuit judge has delivered a scathing attack on the Democratic Party’s “ideological control” of the U.S. media landscape. Yet who will heed the call if legacy and social media are empowered to suppress news and debate at will?

Donald Trump, the first sitting president in U.S. history to have had his voice deliberately blocked from reaching the American people, is not the only one who has a beef with the control-freak liberal media. Senior Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman, 85, appointed in 1985 to the U.S. Court of Appeals by Ronald Reagan, thrust the question of liberal media bias into the spotlight during an otherwise ordinary libel case.

Silberman took umbrage against the 1964 court case New York Times v. Sullivan, which made it incumbent upon those parties looking to sue media outlets to prove that the latter’s reporting was the result of “actual malice,” or a “reckless disregard for the truth.” That ruling, critics say, has made it exceedingly difficult to hold media outlets accountable for what Trump regularly denounced as “fake news.”

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How The Censors Won, by Michael Tracy

Step outside the bounds of acceptable, mainstream political debate as dictated by liberal politicians and the captured legacy media and you’re a Russian stooge. From Michael Tracy at mtracey.substack.com:

Thomas Rid testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017

On March 30, 2017, the Senate Intelligence Committee convened one of what would become an endless series of exhaustive hearings on “Russian interference in the 2016 election.” Media, cultural, and political elites — bewildered and angry — were desperate to get to the bottom of how a former beauty pageant proprietor and reality TV show host could have possibly just won the presidency

Understandably dissatisfied with explanations that would require any kind of reckoning with their own seismic faults, politicians and journalists poured an enormous amount of resources into directing blame for the ascendance of Donald Trump at nefarious external actors, with Russia and its devious online trolling initiatives suddenly catapulted to public enemy no. 1.

The star witness in that 2017 hearing, appearing right alongside former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander, was Thomas Rid. Impressively presented by C-SPAN as a “War Studies Professor” at King’s College London, Rid made a passionate case that the US body politic had been woefully unprepared to contend with an onslaught of what he called “the dark art of disinformation.” Rid’s mission was to alert the Senate and the Nation as a whole to just how dire a threat this new breed of “disinformation” posed.

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If The Rich Were Propagandizing Us, We’d Have Heard About It In The News, by Caitlin Johnstone

They wouldn’t lie to us, would they? From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The primary obstacle in getting people to realize that they are being propagandized by our rulers is their unquestioned assumption that if there were a mass-scale narrative management operation geared at manufacturing consent for the status quo, they would have heard about it in the news or learned about it in school.

And, of course, they would not have, because both the plutocratic media and the modern schooling system are designed to indoctrinate people into accepting the status quo. From the time we are children our minds are deliberately and systematically warped to psychologically align us with the interests of the ruling class, and then we are passed on to the news media to ensure that we are continually shaped and reshaped in real time throughout our adult lives based on the specific needs of the oligarchic empire from year to year. A brainwashing institution is never going to teach you to be skeptical of their brainwashing.

Our indoctrination into the establishment worldview is not just in training us to espouse certain beliefs and think a certain way, it’s in training us to look to the sources of our indoctrination for guidance throughout our lives. What do we do when we are unsure about something, class? That’s right, we go to reliable, authoritative sources like The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and any other outlet that has consistently supported every war we’ve ever been deceived into by our rulers.

Our indoctrination isn’t just in what to think, it’s in how to think.

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