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Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

The ridiculous corporate media freakout over Senator Bernie Sanders’ entirely legitimate accusations of pro-establishment bias continues today, with shrill, absurd new headlines like “Sanders campaign continues attacks on journalists” and “Bernie Sanders isn’t sorry” featuring hysterical MSM drama queens rending their garments over the suggestion that plutocrat-owned media outlets could be favorable to the plutocrat-owned establishment.

In response to this cartoonish display of billionaire-sponsored performance art, The Hill‘s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjati aired a segment on their online show Rising which is as damning an exposé on the dynamics of mass media empire propaganda as we are ever likely to witness. With startling frankness and honesty, the pair disclose their experience with the way anyone who is critical of the establishment consensus is excluded from mainstream media platforms, as well as the way access journalism, financial incentives, prestige incentives and peer pressure are used to herd mainstream reporters into toeing the establishment line once they’re in.

I strongly urge you to watch the eight-minute segment for yourself, but I’ll be transcribing parts of it as well for those who prefer reading, as well as for posterity, because it really is that historically significant. I will surely be referring back to this segment in my arguments about plutocratic media bias for years to come, because it confirms and validates everything that analysts like Noam Chomsky have been saying about mass media propaganda like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Status quo propaganda is the underlying root of all our problems, and Ball and Enjati have gifted us with an invaluable tool for understanding and attacking it.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ongoing Restructuring of the Greater Middle East

The Ongoing Restructuring of the Greater Middle East

Map showing the 40 military bases the US has been compelled to position around Iran to combat Iranian aggression.

So, according to the corporate media, and to President Literally Hitler, himself, while America was sleeping last Friday morning, the U.S. Air Force was just minutes away from bombing the bejesus out of some desolate outposts somewhere in the Iranian desert and launching another catastrophic military blunder in the Middle East.

At approximately 0400 Zulu time, President Hitler and his top advisors (among them, John “the Walrus of Death” Bolton) were gathered in the Pentagon’s War Room, flight paths arcing across the big board. The hotline to Vladimir Putin’s office in St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow had been activated. The full force of the U.S. military was about to be brought to bear upon a package of top-level Iranian targets with no strategic value whatsoever.

Apparently, planes were in the air!” It was all so terribly, terribly exciting.

This awesome demonstration of American resolve was meant to be punishment for the vicious slaughter of an expensive U.S. military drone, which was peacefully invading Iranian airspace, and not at all attempting to provoke the Iranians into blowing it out of the sky with a missile so the U.S. military could “retaliate.” 

The military-industrial complex would never dream of doing anything like that, not even to further the destabilization and restructuring of the Greater Middle East that they’ve been systematically carrying out the since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, which … more on that in just a moment.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the Concentration of Wealth is Driving a New Global Imperialism 

Shell Protest Philippines

How the Concentration of Wealth is Driving a New Global Imperialism 

Corporate media today is highly concentrated and fully international. Their primary goal is the promotion of product sales and pro-capitalist propaganda through the psychological control of human desires, emotions, beliefs, fears, and values. 

Regime changes in Iraq and Libya, Syria’s war, Venezuela’s crisis, sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Russia, and North Korea are all reflections of a new global imperialism imposed by a core of capitalist nations in support of trillions of dollars of concentrated investment wealth. This new world order of mass capital has become a totalitarian empire of inequality and repression.

The global 1%, comprised of over 36-million millionaires and 2,400 billionaires, employ their excess capital with investment management firms like BlackRock and J.P Morgan Chase. The top seventeen of these trillion-dollar investment management firms controlled $41.1 trillion dollars in 2017. These firms are all directly invested in each other and managed by only 199 people who decide how and where global capital will be invested. Their biggest problem is they have more capital than there are safe investment opportunities, which leads to risky speculative investments, increased war spending, privatization of the public domain, and pressures to open new capital investment opportunities through political regime changes.

Power elites in support of capital investment are collectively embedded in a system of mandatory growth. Failure for capital to achieve continuing expansion leads to economic stagnation, which can result in depression, bank failures, currency collapses, and mass unemployment.  Capitalism is an economic system that inevitably adjusts itself via contractions, recessions, and depressions. Power elites are entrapped in a web of enforced growth that requires ongoing global management and the formation of new and ever-expanding capital investment opportunities. This forced expansion becomes a worldwide manifest destiny that seeks total capital domination in all regions of the earth and beyond.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fetishization of the Corporate Media

The Fetishization of the Corporate Media

So the corporate media have gone and done it again. As they have, repeatedly, for the last two and half years, they shook the earth with a “bombshell” story proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton, or at least committed an impeachable felony in connection with something to do with the Russians, or Ukrainians, or other Slavic persons … which story turned out to be inaccurate, or not entirely accurate, or a bunch of horseshit.

This time it was BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold, “a reporter with a checkered past” (i.e., a history of inventing his sources) who broke the “bombshell” Russiagate story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit. Leopold, and his colleague Anthony Cormier, reported that Trump had directed his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about plans to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow, thus suborning perjury and obstructing justice. Their sources for this “bombshell” story were allegedly “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.”

Approximately twenty-four hours later, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office (i.e., the office “involved in an investigation of the matter”) stated that the BuzzFeed story was “not accurate,” which is a legal term meaning “a bunch of horseshit.” BuzzFeed is standing by its story, and is working to determine what, exactly, Mueller’s office meant by “not accurate.” Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief, has called on Mueller “to make clear what he’s disputing.”

Liberals and other Trump-obsessives have joined in the effort to interpret the Special Counsel’s office’s cryptic utterance.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The View from the Trenches of the Alternative Media

The View from the Trenches of the Alternative Media

What’s scarce in a world awash in free content and nearly infinite entertainment content?

After 3,701 posts (from May 2005 to the present), here are my observations of the Alternative Media from the muddy trenches.

It’s increasingly difficult to make a living creating content outside the corporate matrix. The share of advert revenues paid to content creators / publishers has declined precipitously, shadow banning has narrowed search and social media exposure and the expansion of free content and competing subscription-based publishing has made subscription services an increasingly tough sell.

The most effective ways to silence critics and skeptics is to 1) de-monetize their sites / platforms and 2) restrict their access to the public via shadow banning and search algorithm “adjustments.” The two are related, of course; as audiences dwindle, so do revenues and opportunities to sell subscriptions or promote patronage.

The corporate media’s lumping of all alternative media in with “fake news” and troll-farms has intentionally tarnished all alternative media, as underminings independent journalism and commentary is an essential part of unifying public opinion behind “approved” ideologically uniform narratives.

Significant swaths of the public get their “news” and commentary solely from social media (Facebook and Twitter, and to a lesser degree, Instagram) or a handful of corporate media (which included PBS/NPR). As these channels limit / delegitimize alternative media voices, the public’s access to alternative analysis and commentary diminishes even further.

A few quasi-monopolistic corporations have effectively become gatekeepers: what’s approved is allowed to be viewed / heard / read, what raises eyebrows effectively disappears.

It’s become increasingly difficult to make a living writing books. Advances for established authors have fallen from $10,000 or $20,000 to $2,500 or $1,000, and in the academic publishing world, $1,000 may be the entire sum paid to the author for writing a book.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Truth Is What We Hide, Self-Serving Cover Stories Are What We Sell

Truth Is What We Hide, Self-Serving Cover Stories Are What We Sell

The fact that lies and cover stories are now the official norm only makes us love our servitude with greater devotion.

We can summarize the current era in one sentence: truth is what we hide, self-serving cover stories are what we sell. Jean-Claude Juncker’s famous quote captures the essence of the era: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie.”

And when does it become serious? When the hidden facts of the matter might be revealed to the general public. Given the regularity of vast troves of well-hidden data being made public by whistleblowers and white-hat hackers, it’s basically serious all the time now, and hence the official default everywhere is: truth is what we hide, self-serving cover stories are what we sell.

The self-serving cover stories always tout the nobility of the elite issuing the PR: we in the Federal Reserve saved civilization by saving the Too Big To Fail Banks (barf); we in the corporate media do investigative reporting without bias (barf); we in central government only lie to protect you from unpleasant realities–it’s for your own good (barf); we in the NSA, CIA and FBI only lie because it’s our job to lie, and so on.

Three recent essays speak to the degradation of data and factual records in favor of self-serving cover stories and corrosive political correctness.

Why we stopped trusting elites (The Guardian)

“It’s not just that isolated individuals are unmasked as corrupt or self-interested (something that is as old as politics), but that the establishment itself starts to appear deceitful and dubious. The distinctive scandals of the 21st century are a combination of some very basic and timeless moral failings (greed and dishonesty) with technologies of exposure that expose malpractice on an unprecedented scale, and with far more dramatic results.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Is Social Media So Toxic?

Why Is Social Media So Toxic?

The desire to improve our social standing is natural. What’s unnatural is the toxicity of doing so through social media.

It seems self-evident that the divisiveness that characterizes this juncture of American history is manifesting profound social and economic disorders that have little to do with politics. In this context, social media isn’t the source of the fire, it’s more like the gasoline that’s being tossed on top of the dry timber.

My thinking on social media’s toxic nature has been heavily influenced by long conversations with my friend GFB, who persuaded me that my initial dismissal of Facebook’s influence was misplaced.

Our views of all media, traditional, alternative and social, is of course heavily influenced by our own participation / consumption of each type of media.Those who watch very little corporate-media broadcast “news” find the entire phenomenon very bizarre and easily mocked, and the same holds true for those who do not have any social media accounts: the whole phenomenon seems bizarre and easy to mock.

As for alternative media, many people accustomed to traditional media have never visited a single blog or listened to a single podcast.

Part of my job, as it were, is to monitor all three basic flavors of mass media, and do so as objectively as I can, which is to say, seek out representative narratives and commentaries across the full political and social spectra of each media.

So why is social media so toxic to healthy dialog and tolerance, and to those who live much of their lives via social media? I think we can discern several dynamics that direct the entire social media space.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Battle for Our Minds

The Battle for Our Minds

There are battlefields in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and elsewhere, but given the state of corporate media, perhaps the most consequential battle now being fought is for our minds, says Patrick Lawrence.


After reading The New York Times piece “The Plot to Subvert an Election” I put the paper down with a single question.

Why, after two years of allegations, indictments, and claims to proof of this, that, and the other did the newspaper of record—well, once the newspaper of record—see any need to publish such a piece? My answer is simple: The orthodox account of Russia-gate has not taken hold: It has failed in its effort to establish a consensus of certainty among Americans. My conclusion matches this observation: The orthodox narrative is never going to achieve this objective. There are too many holes in it.

“The information age is actually a media age,” John Pilger, the noted British–Australian journalist, remarked during a symposium four years ago, when the Ukraine crisis was at its peak. “We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media—a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.” Pilger revisited the theme in a piece last week on Consortium News, arguing that once-tolerated, dissenting opinion has in recent years “regressed into a metaphoric underground.”

There are battlefields in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and elsewhere, but perhaps the most consequential battle now being fought is for our minds.

Those who dispense with honest intellectual inquiry, healthy skepticism of all media, and an insistence that assertions require supporting evidence should not win this war. The Times piece by Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti—two of the paper’s top-tier reporters—is a case in point: If the Russia-gate narrative were so widely accepted as their report purports, there would have been no need to publish such a piece at this late date.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In Monsters We Trust: US Mainstream Media No Friend of the American People

In Monsters We Trust: US Mainstream Media No Friend of the American People

In Monsters We Trust: US Mainstream Media No Friend of the American People

Over the course of his turbulent presidency, Donald Trump has accused various media companies, with special attention reserved for CNN, as being purveyors of ‘fake news.’ In one early-morning Tweet last year, he slammed the “FAKE NEWS media” as the “enemy of the people.”

This week, over 300 US newspapers ran editorials on the same day – an event in itself that points to some high degree of collusion and groupthink – denouncing Trump’s insensitive portrayal of them, as if the notion that journalists were not in the same sleaze league as lawyers, politicians and professional con artists never crossed anyone’s mind before. Even the peace-loving Mahatma Gandhi recommended “equality for everyone except reporters and photographers.”

But is the MSM really an “enemy of the people?”

First, it cannot be denied that the US media, taken in all its wholesomeness, has been overwhelmingly consistent in its ‘style’ of reporting on Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS. And by consistent I mean unprecedentedly critical, misleading and outright aggressive in its guerilla coverage of him. If one is not convinced by the gloom-and-doom Trump stories featured daily in the Yahoo News feed, then a study by the Media Research Center (MRC) should do the job. From January 1 through April 30, evening news coverage of the US leader – courtesy of ABC, CBS and NBC – were 90 percent negative, which is pretty much the same incredible average revealed by MRC one year earlier.

The study looked at every one of the 1,065 network evening news stories about Trump and his administration during the first four months of 2018. Total negative news time devoted to Trump: 1,774 minutes, or about one-third of all evening news airtime. That’s pretty much the definition of a circle jerk.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The CIA Owns the US and European Media

The CIA Owns the US and European Media

William Blum shares with us his correspondence with Washington Post presstitute Michael Birnbaum. As you can tell from Birnbaum’s replies, he comes across as either very stupid or as a CIA asset.

When I received my briefing as staff associate, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which required top secret clearance, I was told by senior members of the staff that the Washington Post was a CIA asset. Watching the Washington Post’s takedown of President Richard Nixon with the orchestrated Watergate story, that became obvious. President Nixon had made too many overtures to the Soviets and too many arms limitations agreements, and he opened to China. Watching President Nixon’s peace initiatives water down the threat level from the Soviet Union and Maoist China, the military/security complex saw a threat to its budget and power and decided that Nixon had to go. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy had resulted in far too much skepticism about the Warren Commission Report, so the CIA decided to use the Washington Post to get rid of Nixon. To keep the clueless American left hating Nixon, the CIA used its assets in the leftwing to keep Nixon blamed for the Vietnam war, a war that Nixon inherited and did not want.

The CIA knew that Nixon’s problem was that he could not exit the war without losing his conservative base, which was convinced of the nonsensical “Domino Theory.” I have always wondered if the CIA concocted the “Domino Theory,” as it so well served them. Unable to get rid of the war “with honor,” Nixon was driven to brutal methods to force the North Vietnamese to accept a situation that he could depart without defeat and soiling America’s “honor” and losing his conservative support base. The North Vietnamese wouldn’t bend, but the US Congress did, and so the CIA succeeded in discrediting among both the leftwing and righwing Nixon’s war management. With no one to defend him, Nixon was an easy target for the CIA.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People

Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People

I detest the malignantly racist, sexist, narcissistic, and authoritarian pathological liar and bully Donald Trump on many different levels, and I share none of his sick world view, but the corporate media really is, well (to use Trump’s recurrent phrase), “the enemy of the people.” 

Here below is an essay I first published (on the venerable radical Website ZNet) in the late summer of 2015.  It is a longer version of a talk I gave (with the help of a translator) in Havana, Cuba in April that same year. It was written from a Marxist and international socialist and anti-imperialist perspective and not at all from a Trumpian, white-nationalist standpoint.

It struck me that it might be worth re-publishing this essay (which was written as Obama’s final term was winding down and many of us expected him to be succeeded by the “lying neoliberal warmonger”Hillary Clinton and did not yet take seriously the specter of pre-fascistic Trump presidency) in the light of recent bizarre developments.  “Liberal” CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, the Washington Post and much of the rest of the corporate news establishment are standing up against Trump in defense of blood-soaked U.S.-imperial spy-masters, surveillance chiefs, liars, and assassins like former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – and in defense of the supposedly noble imperial project that these and other current and former top U.S. intelligence and military operatives on Herr Trump’s security clearance “Enemies List” have long “served” in pursuit of what CNN and MSNBC talking heads absurdly call (no joke) “speaking truth to power.”     

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions

How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions

Photo by Mohamed Nanabhay | CC BY 2.0

Nazareth.

For several years now, I have been writing regular posts on my blog with one end in mind: to help open a door for readers and encourage them to step through. I select issues, usually those that dominate western media coverage and represent a consensus that we might term the Great Western Narrative, and try to show how this narrative has been constructed not to inform and enlighten but to conceal and deceive.

It is not that I and the many other bloggers doing this are cleverer than everyone else. We have simply had a chance – an earlier one – to step through that door ourselves, because of a jarring life experience that the Great Western Narrative could not explain, or because someone held the door open for us, or more usually because of a combination of the two.

My personal awakening

It is easy for me to identify my own process of awakening. It began with the dislocation of moving to Nazareth and being immersed in someone else’s narrative – that of the Palestinians. Then, I faced for the first time in my career as a journalist an impenetrable wall of opposition, even from my own former newspaper, the Guardian, as I tried to explain that counter-narrative. In fact, I found that the Palestinian narrative was invariably misrepresented as anti-semitism. These were dark years of disillusionment and the loss of a professional and ideological compass.

It is in such a moment of bereavement – deprived of the consolation of the Great Western Narrative – that one searches for a door to enlightenment. It can be a long journey to find it. My door appeared while reading about the Propaganda Model of Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book Manufacturing Consent, as well as stumbling across a website called Media Lens

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Then They Came for the Globalists

Then They Came for the Globalists

Photo by Francisco Osorio | CC BY 2.0

Thank God for the corporate media. If it wasn’t for them, and the ADL, I’d have probably never discovered that I’m a Nazi. Apparently, I’ve been one for quite some time … which is weird, as I had no idea. Here I was, naively believing that I’d been writing about global capitalism and the realignment of political power and ideology in the post-Cold War world, when all along I had really just been persecuting the Jews. I didn’t think I was persecuting the Jews. But such is the insidious nature of thoughtcrime. When you’re a Nazi thought criminal (as I apparently am), it doesn’t matter what you think you’re thinking. What matters is what the global capitalist ruling classes tell you you’re thinking, which it turns out is often a lot more complicated and horrible than what you thought you were thinking.

For example, I’ve been thinking and writing about globalism, which most dictionaries define as “a national policy of treating the whole world as a proper sphere for political influence,” or “the development of socioeconomic networks that transcend national boundaries,” or something like that … which was more or less my understanding of the term. Little did I know that these fake “definitions” had been infiltrated into these dictionaries by discord-sowing Strasserist agents to dupe political satirists like myself into unknowingly spreading anti-Semitism as part of Putin’s Master Plan to destroy the United States of America and establish worldwide Nazi domination.

Fortunately, the lexicography experts in the corporate media and the Anti-Defamation League cleared that up for me earlier this month. According to these experts, words like “globalist” and “globalism” don’t really mean anything. They are simply Nazi code words for “the Jews.” There is actually no such thing as “globalism,” or “global capitalism,” or “transnational capitalism,” or “supranational quasi-governmental entities” like the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank … or, OK, sure, there are such entities, but there is no legitimate reason to discuss them, or write about them, or even casually mention them, and anyone who does is definitely a Nazi.

Now, imagine my horror when I took that in, especially given my repeated references to “the corporatocracy,” “global capitalism,” and “the global capitalist ruling classes” in the essays I’ve been publishing recently. I didn’t want to accept it at first, but the more “authoritative sources” I consulted, the more glaringly obvious my thoughtcrimes became.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Authoritarians Who Silence Syria Questions

The Authoritarians Who Silence Syria Questions

Photo by watchsmart | CC BY 2.0

I am loath to draw more attention to the kind of idiocy that passes for informed comment nowadays from academics and mainstream journalists. Recently I lambasted Prof Richard Carver for his arguments against BDS that should have gained him an F for logic in any high school exam.

Now we have to endure Brian Whitaker, the Guardian’s former Middle East editor, using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum.

Whitaker’s arguments and assumptions may be preposterous but sadly, like Carver’s, they are to be found everywhere in the mainstream – they have become so commonplace through repetition that they have gained a kind of implicit credibility. So let’s unpack what Whitaker and his ilk are claiming.

Whitaker’s latest outburst is directed against the impudence of a handful of British academics, including experts in the study of propaganda, in setting up a panel – the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media – to “provide a source of reliable, informed and timely analysis for journalists, publics and policymakers” on Syria. The researchers include Tim Hayward of Edinburgh University and Piers Robinson of Sheffield University.

So what are Whitaker’s objections to this working group? Let’s run through them, with my interjections.

Whitaker: They dispute almost all mainstream narratives of the Syrian conflict, especially regarding the use of chemical weapons and the role of the White Helmets search-and-rescue organisation. They are critical of western governments, western media and various humanitarian groups but show little interest in applying critical judgment to Russia’s role in the conflict or to the controversial writings of several journalists who happen to share their views.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Washington has Engaged in Information Warfare, Including Fake News and Trolling, for Years

Washington has Engaged in Information Warfare, Including Fake News and Trolling, for Years

The howling in government and the corporate media and among many liberals about an alleged Russian information war, with bots, trolls and fake news being placed in social media to mislead and incite Americans against each other, might lead one think, like Sen John McCain, that we are practically at war with Russia. Yet it’s all actually pretty silly. After all, our own government has been playing this game for decades, both abroad, and also right here inside the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” and against us American citizens.

I know. I was a victim of such an attack, though initially, I didn’t realize what was happening.

Back on August 25, 2005, I published a piece in In These Times titled Radioactive Wounds of War about the devastating damage caused by the US military’s use of depleted uranium weapons in its brutal assault leveling Fallujah, the Iraqi city of 300,000 people that was destroyed by US marines in 2004 as retribution for the killing of four US contractors by the Iraqi insurgents who at the time controlled the city, and for their humiliating defeat of a smaller Marine assault on the city earlier in the year.

At the time I was and had been a contributing editor at ITT, a publication for which I had written regularly since it was founded back in 1978, and was listed on its masthead as such.

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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