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The battle for control of our minds – and the invaluable role of independent journalism

The battle for control of our minds – and the invaluable role of independent journalism

Journalists like myself were the first to break free of corporate media servitude. Now we face a backlash to disappear us by the very media establishment we threaten

The true costs of the West’s corporate media system have been hidden from view. It entails restricting control over information dissemination to a corporate elite. It depends on an advertising model that makes us the product, not the truth. And it necessarily promotes an economic model of endless consumption that, as should be all too clear, is destroying the planet.

Here is a short extract from a talk I gave about how journalists like myself were the first to break free of corporate media servitude, and how we now face a backlash to disappear us by the very media establishment we threaten:

[see link above to access]

My full talk can be watched here:

“It’s Disgusting What They’re Doing”: Tucker Carlson Describes Visit With Julian Assange

“It’s Disgusting What They’re Doing”: Tucker Carlson Describes Visit With Julian Assange

As Julian Assange approaches his ‘final’ appeal against extradition to the United States, where he faces some 18 counts related to the release of vast troves of damning and embarrassing evidence against the US government, the 52-year-old WikiLeaks founder received a visit from Tucker Carlson to discuss his situation.

Carlson describes Assange as “one of the greatest journalists of our age,” who has “spent his adult life bringing previously concealed facts to the public about what our leaders are doing.”

Perhaps most notably, Assange published internal emails from the Democratic National Committee, revealing among other things that the Hillary Clinton campaign conspired to cheat against rival Bernie Sanders. These leaks, claimed by Democrats to be Russian hacks, were actually internal leaks, according to Carlson.

What’s more, Carlson noted how a fabricated, media-amplified sexual assault charge in Sweden was used against Assange, who spent more than seven years in asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. And when he exposed the CIA’s spying apparatus, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo discussed kidnapping or assassinating him while not being charged with any crime in the US at the time.

Watch below as Carlson lays out the Assange situation…

Subscribers to the Tucker Carlson Network (which of course, everyone should be) can watch the rest of the segment, in which Carlson describes sitting down with Assange for around an hour (no cameras allowed). He also discusses the situation with Assange’s wife, Stella.

Highlights:

  • “We talked about why he is in prison, and my first question to him was: ‘what do you think this is actually about?’,” to which Assange replied that he “first became famous when WikiLeaks published documents and videos that the US government had kept secret from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were politically embarrassing to the Pentagon…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Chris Hedges: The Trump-Russia Saga and the Death Spiral of American Journalism

Chris Hedges: The Trump-Russia Saga and the Death Spiral of American Journalism

The media caters to a particular demographic, telling that demographic what it already believes — even when it is unverified or false. This pandering defines the coverage of the Trump-Russia saga.
De-Pressed – Mr. Fish

Reporters make mistakes. It is the nature of the trade. There are always a few stories we wish were reported more carefully. Writing on deadline with often only a few hours before publication is an imperfect art. But when mistakes occur, they must be acknowledged and publicized. To cover them up, to pretend they did not happen, destroys our credibility. Once this credibility is gone, the press becomes nothing more than an echo chamber for a selected demographic. This, unfortunately, is the model that now defines the commerical media.

The failure to report accurately on the Trump-Russia saga for the four years of the Trump presidency is bad enough. What is worse, major media organizations, which produced thousands of stories and reports that were false, refuse to engage in a serious postmortem. The systematic failure was so egregious and widespread that it casts a very troubling shadow over the press. How do CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Mother Jones admit that for four years they reported salacious, unverified gossip as fact? How do they level with viewers and readers that the most basic rules of journalism were ignored to participate in a witch hunt, a virulent New McCarthyism? How do they explain to the public that their hatred for Trump led them to accuse him, for years, of activities and crimes he did not commit? How do they justify their current lack of transparency and dishonesty? It is not a pretty confession, which is why it won’t happen…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Western Journalists Are Cowardly, Approval-Seeking Losers

Western Journalists Are Cowardly, Approval-Seeking Losers

Listen to a reading of this article:

Research conducted by New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics into Russian trolling behavior on Twitter in the lead-up to the 2016 US presidential election has found “no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior.”

Which is to say that all the years of hysterical shrieking about Russian trolls interfering in US democracy and corrupting the fragile little minds of Americans — a narrative that has been used to drum up support for internet censorship and ever-increasing US government involvement in the regulation of online speech — was false.

And to be clear, this isn’t actually news. It was established years ago that the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency could not possibly have had any meaningful impact on the 2016 election, because the scope of its operations was quite small, its posts were mostly unrelated to the election and many were posted after the election occurred, and its funding was dwarfed by orders of magnitude by domestic campaigns to influence the election outcome.

What’s different this time around, six years after Trump’s inauguration, is that this time the mass media are reporting on these findings.

 

The Washington Post has an article out with the brazenly misleading headline “Russian trolls on Twitter had little influence on 2016 voters“. Anyone who reads the article itself will find its author Tim Starks acknowledges that “Russian accounts had no measurable impact in changing minds or influencing voter behavior,” but the insertion of the word “little” means anyone who just reads the headline (the overwhelming majority of people encountering the article) will come away with the impression that Russian trolls still had some influence on 2016 voters.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Prestigious Liberal Watchdog Condemns New York Times’ Russiagate Coverage

Prestigious Liberal Watchdog Condemns New York Times’ Russiagate Coverage

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) has issued a scathing indictment of the New York Times for yellow journalism during the Trump-Russia saga.

In short, the hyper-partisan ‘paper of record’ was operating in bad faith.

It’s wasn’t just the Times either. CJR’s findings accurately reflect what most objective thinkers have known this whole time – they were all operating in bad faith.

That said, CJR aimed the majority of criticism towards the NYT.

“No narrative did more to shape Trump’s relations with the press than Russiagate. The story, which included the Steele dossier and the Mueller report among other totemic moments, resulted in Pulitzer Prizes as well as embarrassing retractions and damaged careers,” wrote CJR executive editor Kype Pope in an editor’s note.

The findings were published in a lengthy, four-part series. The first section begins with a story about then-New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet’s reaction when he found out Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn’t plan to pursue Trump’s ousting, telling his staff “Holy s—, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.”  –Fox News

“Baquet, speaking to his colleagues in a town hall meeting soon after the testimony concluded, acknowledged the Times had been caught ‘a little tiny bit flat-footed’ by the outcome of Mueller’s investigation,” according to Jeff Gerth – the author of CJR’s lengthy retrospective.

“That would prove to be more than an understatement,” he continued. “But neither Baquet nor his successor, nor any of the paper’s reporters, would offer anything like a postmortem of the paper’s Trump-Russia saga, unlike the examination the Times did of its coverage before the Iraq War.”

According to Gerth, the Times destroyed its credibility outside of its “own bubble.”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Western Journalists Are Cowardly, Approval-Seeking Losers

Western Journalists Are Cowardly, Approval-Seeking Losers

Research conducted by New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics into Russian trolling behavior on Twitter in the lead-up to the 2016 US presidential election has found “no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior.”

Which is to say that all the years of hysterical shrieking about Russian trolls interfering in US democracy and corrupting the fragile little minds of Americans — a narrative that has been used to drum up support for internet censorship and ever-increasing US government involvement in the regulation of online speech — was false.

And to be clear, this isn’t actually news. It was established years ago that the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency could not possibly have had any meaningful impact on the 2016 election, because the scope of its operations was quite small, its posts were mostly unrelated to the election and many were posted after the election occurred, and its funding was dwarfed by orders of magnitude by domestic campaigns to influence the election outcome.

What’s different this time around, six years after Trump’s inauguration, is that this time the mass media are reporting on these findings.

The Washington Post has an article out with the brazenly misleading headline “Russian trolls on Twitter had little influence on 2016 voters“. Anyone who reads the article itself will find its author Tim Starks acknowledges that “Russian accounts had no measurable impact in changing minds or influencing voter behavior,” but the insertion of the word “little” means anyone who just reads the headline (the overwhelming majority of people encountering the article) will come away with the impression that Russian trolls still had some influence on 2016 voters.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Elon Musk Calls Out ‘Corporate Journalism’ Over Coverage of His ‘Twitter Files’

Elon Musk Calls Out ‘Corporate Journalism’ Over Coverage of His ‘Twitter Files’

Elon Musk has criticized mainstream media outlets over their coverage of the so-called “Twitter Files.”

“Why is corporate journalism rushing to defend the state instead of the people?” Musk wrote on Twitter on Dec. 27, in response to a tweet from journalist and documentary filmmaker Leighton Woodhouse. The latter was sharing his new Substack post about how corporate media rushed to defend the FBI and the state instead of exposing them.

“The Hunter Biden laptop story shows the extent to which the corporate media has become the propaganda arm of the state,” Woodhouse wrote in his Substack, pointing to the recent release of the seventh installment of Twitter’s internal documents.

Independent author Michael Shellenberger published the seventh installment on Dec. 19, revealing how there was an “organized effort” by federal law enforcement agents to discredit the 2020 Hunter Biden laptop report, by targeting social media and news companies.

Other installments of Twitter’s internal communications have shown how the media giant placed certain individuals on “secret blacklists,” debates over how to handle former President Donald Trump’s account before it was suspended in January 2021, and how the FBI allegedly flagged accounts and tweets for Twitter to take action against.

The FBI has dismissed the “Twitter Files,” alleging that “conspiracy theorists” are attempting to discredit the bureau.

A Twitter user responded to Musk’s question by writing, “Simple… it’s Corporate Journalism… Not Journalism.”

To which Musk replied: “Exactly. Why would anyone trust corpo journalism?”

Substack

In the same thread, Musk also said that he was “open to the idea” of buying the Substack platform, while responding to a tweet from Wall Street Silver.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

No Such Thing As An Objective Journalist: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

No Such Thing As An Objective Journalist: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Listen to a reading of this article:

I feel like we haven’t been talking enough about the fact that US government agencies were just caught intimately collaborating with massive online platforms to censor content in the name of regulating the “cognitive infrastructure” of society. The only way you could be okay with the US government appointing itself this authority would be if you believed the US government is an honest and beneficent entity that works toward the benefit of the common man. Which would of course be an unacceptable thing for a grown adult to believe.

It’s still astonishing that we live in a world where our rulers will openly imprison a journalist for telling the truth and then self-righteously bloviate about the need to stop authoritarian regimes from persecuting journalists.

Look at this scumbag:

Look at him. Can you believe this piece of shit? The gall. The absolute gall.

There is no such thing as unbiased journalism. If someone tells you they are unbiased they are either knowingly lying, or they are so lacking in self-awareness that you should not listen to them anyway.

The divide is not between biased journalists and unbiased journalists, it’s between journalists who are honest and transparent about their biases and journalists who are not. There are no unbiased journalists. There are no unbiased people. You’re either honest about this or you’re not.

Of course journalists should try to be as fair and honest as they can. It’s just the epitome of childlike naivety to believe that western mainstream journalists do this.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Turkey Adopts Legislation That Could Jail Journalists for ‘Disinformation’

Turkey Adopts Legislation That Could Jail Journalists for ‘Disinformation’

Measure heads to president for final approval

Turkish lawmakers have voted to adopt a law that aimed at preventing “disinformation” in the media and online, despite widespread concerns about the measure’s potential to quash free speech.

Lawmakers from President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which together have a majority, voted in parliament on Thursday to approve the legislation. The bill now goes to Erdogan for final approval.

While government officials have said the highly controversial bill is needed to combat fake news and disinformation, opposition members of parliament as well as European countries and media rights activists have called to scrap it.

Many have taken issue with article 29 in the measure, saying that it may be used to enforce censorship and quash free speech, as well as threaten independent journalism, since the Turkish government currently controls a majority of major news outlets in the country.

Article 29 says that people who are found guilty of spreading false information online intended to “create fear and disturb public order” could be punished with a prison sentence of one to three years. The measure also stipulates that if anonymous accounts are used to spread the alleged disinformation, sentences can be increased by up to half.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

33 Problems With Media In One Chart

33 Problems With Media In One Chart

One of the hallmarks of democratic society is a healthy, free-flowing media ecosystem.

In times past, that media ecosystem would include various mass media outlets, from newspapers to cable TV networks. Today, the internet and social media platforms have greatly expanded the scope and reach of communication within society.

Of course, journalism plays a key role within that ecosystem. High quality journalism and the unprecedented transparency of social media keeps power structures in check—and sometimes, these forces can drive genuine societal change. Reporters bring us news from the front lines of conflict, and uncover hard truths through investigative journalism.

That said, as Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley and Carmen Ang detail below, these positive impacts are sometimes overshadowed by harmful practices and negative externalities occurring in the media ecosystem.

The graphic above is an attempt to catalog problems within the media ecosystem as a basis for discussion. Many of the problems are easy to understand once they’re identified. However, in some cases, there is an interplay between these issues that is worth digging into. Below are a few of those instances.

Explicit Bias vs. Implicit Bias

Broadly speaking, bias in media breaks down into two types: explicit and implicit.

Publishers with explicit biases will overtly dictate the types of stories that are covered in their publications and control the framing of those stories. They usually have a political or ideological leaning, and these outlets will use narrative fallacies or false balance in an effort to push their own agenda.

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

“The Typhoid Mary of Disinformation”: Nicolle Wallace. Nobody Spreads it More Relentlessly.

“The Typhoid Mary of Disinformation”: Nicolle Wallace. Nobody Spreads it More Relentlessly.

From her days as Bush/Cheney propagandist, to her stint on The View, to her role as beloved-by-Democrats MSNBC host, Wallace has perfected the art of sociopathic lying. Watch our original video.

Screen shot from our new original video about Nicolle Wallace, “The Typhoid Mary of Disinformation” (credit: Matt Orfalea)

The most blatant and shameless liars from the first term of the Bush/Cheney administration have, revealingly, enjoyed great success in media and journalism. That is because serial deceit is not a liability for a thriving career in corporate journalism but rather a vital asset — provided that the lies are in service of ruling class policies. Tawdry propagandists who helped drive post-9/11 America into a bottomless pit of lies and self-destruction have become the most highly-paid and beloved stars of liberal media. They include:

  • Former Bush White House speechwriter David Frum of The Atlantic and CNN;
  • Bush/Cheney CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden of CNN;
  • Ubiquitous amoral neocon warmonger Bill Kristol of MSNBC and various #NeverTrump groups;
  • Al-Qaeda/Saddam conspiracy theorist Jeffrey Goldberg, now editor-in-chief of The Atlantic;
  • The various scumbagscon artistspredator-protectors and fraudsters of the Lincoln Project, drowning in #Resistance cash and frequent MSNBC appearances;
  • Pro-war Florida GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough, now a multi-million host of MSNBC’s flagship morning show and anchor of its corporate brand; and,
  • Rep. Liz Cheney, long-time vocal supporter of her father and now a literal “hero” to American media liberals.

But few Bush-era propagandists have thrived more, made more money, and developed a more devoted and swooning liberal fan base than the official Communications Director of the Bush/Cheney White House and 2004 Bush/Cheney-reelection campaign, Nicolle Wallace…

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

Media Lies & the Sacred Rites of the Vaccine CultThe coverage Szilveszter Csollany’s death shows you being called an “anti-vaxxer” is more about what you think, than what you do.

Media Lies & the Sacred Rites of the Vaccine CultThe coverage Szilveszter Csollany’s death shows you being called an “anti-vaxxer” is more about what you think, than what you do.

The Independent has put out an early (and strong) entry for “Worst Journalism of the Year” award, reporting yesterday the death of Hungarian gymnastics coach Szilveszter Csollany under the headline:

Anti-vax Olympic gold medalist Szilveszter Csollany dies of Covid, aged 51

The glaring issue with this headline becomes clear just three paragraphs into the article [our emphasis]:

While Csollany had, according to [Hungarian newspaper Blikk], expressed anti-vaccination views on social media, the six-time World Championship medallist had been vaccinated to allow him to continue to work as a gymnastics coach.

The journalism is terrible, criminally bad.

The evidence supplied for Csollany’s supposed “anti-vaccination views” is non-existent. Second-hand hearsay, at best. No direct quotations, no sources provided.

OffGuardian would be ashamed to publish something so flimsy. Any outlet should.

But, of course, that isn’t the most egregious part – as you can tell from our emphasised quote – the supposed “anti-vaxxer” had been vaccinated.

To bury that in the body, under that headline, is deliberate deception. They know many people will read the title and assume he hadn’t had the vaccine without ever reading the body of the text, and they are relying on that to spread an intentionally false impression.

The very definition of disinformation.

After deliberately misrepresenting the man’s life, they proceed to do the same to his death. Not even granting him the respect of an honest appraisal of his last weeks alive, they totally ignore all the relevant questions pertaining to the man’s health.

They never question why a previously healthy 51-year-old would ever need to be put on a ventilator, or consider how ventilator-associated pneumonia or ventilator-induced trauma may have contributed to his death.

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

Fact-Checkers Are Used to Confuse the Public: Sharyl Attkisson

Fact-Checkers Are Used to Confuse the Public: Sharyl Attkisson

Five-time Emmy award-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson said she has seen an increased effort to manipulate the public to appreciate censorship and disapprove of journalism. One of the strategies that has been employed is the use of third-party fact-checkers, she said.

“Nearly every mode of information has been co-opted, if it can be co-opted by some group, [and] fact-checkers are no different,” Attkisson told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders.”

“Either they’ve been co-opted, in many instances, or created for the purpose of distributing narratives and propaganda,” said Attkisson. “This is all part of a very well-funded, well-organized landscape that dictates and slants the information they want us to have.”

Attkisson said she first started to notice news being controlled in the early 2000s when the media company she was working for was actively trying to suppress certain stories.

“The pushback came to be more about keeping a story from airing or keeping a study from being reported on the news, not just giving the other side, not just making sure it was accurately reported,” she said of pharmaceutical company stories she was covering at the time.

In 2016 Attkisson heard former President Barack Obama say news needed to be curated, after which mainstream media outlets started to consistently use the term fake news to describe mostly conservative news stories that they deemed untrue.

“And I remember thinking that was such a strange thing to say, because there was no big movement among the public, that people needed to have their information curated, that someone needed to step in and tell us what to think, curate what was online…

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

Tomorrowland Has Fallen!

Tomorrowland Has Fallen!

Has anyone else noticed just how odd it is that so many people on the progressive end of our cultural landscape are frantically trying to convince everyone that the Omicron variant, the latest mutation of the Covid-19 cold virus, really is the end of the world? I freely grant that a lot of people are ill just now—that’s what usually happens in the temperate zone’s winter, you know, when the latest respiratory viruses make their rounds.  I grant just as freely that hospitals are scrambling to keep up—many of them have laid off up to half their staff as a result of vaccine mandates, after all, and they’re being besieged by mobs of people who have been convinced by the media that ordinary cold symptoms mean they’re about to die.

The result is a collective frenzy being eagerly fed by a great many people. Of course it’s not surprising that the corporate media would push scare stories at full volume. Whoring out the news to sell advertising space is their stock in trade, and “if it bleeds, it leads” has taken precedence over responsible journalism since before there was responsible journalism.  Still, this isn’t limited to the media.  A great many people seem remarkably eager to insist that the pandemic can’t be winding down. In that eagerness I sense the approach of convulsive change.

Granted, a case can be made that there are practical if unmentionable reasons for this habit of sedulously cultivated panic. To begin with, as Freddie deBoer has pointed out in a trenchant post, being terrified of the Covid virus has become a venue for status competition among members of the privileged classes.  It’s an old story, at least as old as that fine fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”…

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

Julian Assange should be freed

Julian Assange should be freed


The appeal by the US government to extradite Julian Assange to the United States bewilders this writer. Even that the US should seek to extradite Julian Assange for the crime of WikiLeaks’ publication of secret US military documents a decade ago is equally bewildering. For the opinion of this writer is that Assange has done no wrong. That he has in fact revealed information that we, the general public, have every right to know, He should be freed.

Even President Biden’s administration plans to continue to seek to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.

And yet the Australian government has consistently refused to support him.

The UK court of appeal is equally confusing. Lord Burnett of Maldon, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and Lord Justice Holroyde ruled that the lower court ought to have afforded the US “the opportunity to offer assurances” about Assange’s treatment. The judges accepted that the assurances now provided-by a state which, they were told in the appeal hearing, plotted Assange’s “assassination, kidnap, rendering poisoning”-were “sufficient to meet the concerns” about his well-being. It ordered that Assange be extradited.

The inspiration for Assange’s revelations through Wikileaks was Daniel Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated that the Johnson Administration had “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.” Ellsberg is now regarded as a hero. Assange should equally get the same regard.

What did Julian Assange do that such powerful countries want him condemned ? For he is not guilty of any crime. Guilty only of exposing wrongdoings that we, the general public, had the full right to know.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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