The Real ‘Fake News’ Crisis

The secret of Donald Trump’s political success rests largely on his experience with the fake reality of “reality TV” via “The Celebrity Apprentice” – and how fake drama has spilled into political “news,” as JP Sottile explains.

By JP Sottile

Everything you need to know about “fake news” happened on July 19, 2017. That was the day the media stopped in its tracks and turned like well-coiffed, bronzer-addicted lemmings to collectively hurtle themselves into the abyss of infotainment. It was a truly telling moment because they actually had to hit the pause button on the morphine drip of TrumpTV to carry the live feed of O.J. Simpson’s piddling parole hearing in a Nevada conference room.

Graphic for “The Celebrity Apprentice” when it was starring Donald Trump.

Amazingly — or, perhaps, predictably — this utterly inconsequential event was carried by CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News and ESPN. That’s right, this scandalous ghost of obsessions past received the same treatment as a spectacular terrorist attack or a deadly hurricane or a political assassination.

But, no … it was just O.J. pandering to a parole board. As expected, he was granted his release for a crime unrelated to the famous murders, troubled investigation and showy trial that made him America’s first news-cycle superstar. And it provided a strangely poetic full-circle moment for the media.

When the Juice squeezed out the omnipresent President, it was like he’d come back for a ceremonial handoff to the new star runner before he ambled down the field into the opposition’s broken coverage.  This interruption in our regularly scheduled programming also confirmed something Trump has made central to his media-fueled rise as America’s first full-fledged celebritician. That’s right folks, President Trump is actually right about something … CNN and much of the news media is, in fact, “fake news.”

The problem is that he’s right for the wrong reason. He wants you to believe fake news is part of a Deep State plot to keep him from Draining the Swamp™ and because the media doesn’t want him to Make America Great Again™.  According to Trump, that’s why the “fake news” media — as embodied by CNN — is churning out fallacious stories. It’s supposed to explain away the obsessive coverage of Russia-gate, dismiss his impressive array of self-inflicted wounds and account for the media’s petulant refusal to tout his “historic” number of as yet undetermined accomplishments. It’s a self-serving — if understandable — fiction Trump sells with his unique brand with reality showmanship.

The Real Fake News

But the true story of fake news is at once far more banal and yet ultimately just as pernicious as Trump’s fake news boogeyman. Sorry, Donald … the problem is not that the news is a bunch of made-up lies or salacious slanders cut from whole cloth. Nor is it a conduit for some nefarious political agenda. Their primary motive is the most All-American motive of all … it’s the profit motive.

Look no further than their bottom line since becoming Trump’s bête noire. The ratings, revenue and executive compensation … are all up. Frankly, CNN and MSNBC were mired in a crisis before the Trump came down the elevator of Trump Tower in June of 2015. And the New York Times and Washington Post were battling their own declining readership and relevance. But that was then. And this is now.

And now they’ve got their own bête noire in Trump … a walking, talking tabloid complete with salacious headlines, wild accusations, shady connections and a willingness to say anything so long as it keeps him on the tips of the media’s wagging tongues. Trump mastered the art of the headline-friendly spiel in the hurly-burly of New York’s tabloid-driven media marketplace. And he knew how to stay on the front page, even if it meant pretending to be his own press agent. By the time he’d done a reality show and peddled the racially-tinged tripe that Barack Obama was an African interloper, Trump had also mastered the art of dealing with the infotainment-driven national news media.

And in a plot twist befitting the side-show state of American politics, it turns out that fake newsiness is also one of the main reasons he became president in the first place. The media’s addiction to cheap and easy, scandal-driven coverage perfectly fit Trump’s one-man circus act. And they forked over the $5 billion in free media coverage to prove it.

Distrusted And Unverified

Now, that’s not to say the news media hasn’t repeatedly taken refuge behind a wall of willful ignorance or told lies of both omission and commission. This has been particularly true whenever Uncle Sam spoils for war with yet another enemy. It’s been that way since the start of the Cold War (and even earlier), but the lead-up to the “product launch” also-known-as “The Iraq War” remains an all-time low for the mainstream news media … with Knight-Ridder’s real-time debunking of Saddam’s ominous aluminum tubes as the heroic exception that proved the rule.

The U.S. military’s “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad at the start of the Iraq War, as broadcast on CNN.

By 2003, “Mission Accomplished” had devolved into a rolling catastrophe of roadside bombings, suicide attacks and what would become the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. Not coincidentally, 2003 was the Rubicon moment when the percentage of Americans with a “great deal or fair amount of trust in the media” finally dropped below 50%, according to Gallup’s tracking poll. Since then the media has battled Congress for the ignominious title of America’s least liked and least trusted institution.

Given that turning point, it’s probably not coincidental that Trump’s campaign took off when he attacked Jeb Bush as the catch-all proxy for the Iraq debacle. The media’s complicity in the snipe hunt for WMDs widened a trust gap that may never be fully repaired … and Trump exploited that rift to great effect, both on a hapless Jeb and on the ever-present media that Trump turned into a de facto political opponent.

Diving Deeper

However, Gallup’s tracking poll also shows that the GOP’s loss of faith dates back beyond the Iraq War … to the middle of the Clinton years. It makes sense that the last time a majority of Republicans trusted the media was during the daily feeding frenzy right before the GOP’s failed attempt at impeachment. To wit, Republican trust hit a partisan high point of 52 percent in 1998. But it’s been a deep decline in trust for Republicans ever since. No doubt, the crashing and burning of the Bush Administration after Hurricane Katrina didn’t quite recapture their trust.

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

The daily media drumbeat again targets a Republican and overall confidence in the media is slowly rising. But “slowly” is the operative word … with newspapers up to 27 percent from a low of 20 percent in 2016 and television up to 24 percent from a low of 18 percent in 2014. That’s an aggregate number that includes Democrats and Independents (although it’s likely that the modest rise represents Democrats who appreciate the media’s daily bashing of Trump).

For Trump, the important number is the 89 percent of Republicans who trust him versus just 9 percent who trust CNN. They’ve been primed for his fake news attack on the media for a long time. As Jonathan Marshall recently detailed, there’s been a long-standing, concerted effort by right-wing activists to discredit news organizations under the bias-laden rubric of “The Liberal Media.” It began in the Nixon years and it was designed to produce miasmas of doubt around a host of issues and scandals.

Trump cranked-up that fog machine to create a self-serving narrative of “fake news.” It allows Trump to cast shadows of doubt on each and every damaging story by dismissing them all as the equivalent of aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds. But, like so many of Trump’s misdirections, that’s not really the problem. The issue is not that the “news” is a bunch of made-up lies or salacious slanders (although there is surely some of that). The true story of fake news is all about overhead.

It’s News To Them

Sadly, the truth is that much of the news that fills the 24-hour cycle simply isn’t newsworthy … and a lot of it really isn’t even news at all. It is mostly a serialized soap opera. It is personality-driven drivel. And it is rarely original reporting based on actual news gathered from around the United States or, even less so, from the far corners of the world.

Instead, the news gathering business has become little more than a news blathering business – with a teeming mass of in-studio experts, commentators, surrogates and columnists poised to chime-in on the latest installment of the ongoing drama du jour. It is like watching a perpetual Bachelorette after-party show where contestants — in this case, pundits — sit down to chew over the machinations of tonight’s shocking episode.

But don’t laugh. There is a really good reason why the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise has notched a combined 28 seasons. The unavoidable truth is that it works. It’s an easy formula to replicate. And it’s profitable. That’s why television is brimming with reality shows … they’re cheap, easy to produce and people watch ‘em.

And that formula also explains why today’s cable news landscape is largely bereft of hard news. The blatherati-centric style of “news” is cheap, easy to produce and people watch it. Turn on any of the big three (CNN, FOX & MSNBC) and you’ll find actual reporting makes up a tiny fraction of what you might see on a given day.

You’ll find very few first-person reports by journalists in the field. And most stories are simply regurgitated newspaper reports the hosts toss over to blatherati trapped in Brady Bunch boxes. They tell us what they think and, if the producer is lucky, they’ll “make news” by calling out one of their colleagues in a viral moment of righteous anger. Much of what they talk about is what politicians say to permanent reporters stationed on Capitol Hill. Very little of it is actual news.

On some days, there is no original reporting at all. Genuine investigative reporting is rarer than a solar eclipse and “breaking news” stories from outside the Beltway are only likely to penetrate that rare air inside the news bubble if the word “terror” fortuitously intersects with an American or European locale. If the bomb goes off in Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan? Not so much.

Milking Disasters

But if a natural disaster or mass shooting happens inside the U.S., they will go … and go in force. Then they will milk it for all it’s worth. All the reporters they deploy and stringers and satellite trucks they hire are a sunk cost, after all. So, why not get all they can out of it?

Hurricane Harvey’s path.

Hour upon hour is devoted to coverage, whether or not they are advancing the story. The rest of the world fades away as experts and commentators pore over every detail and the same bits of video loop over and over again. Whole news cycles get gobbled up with this paint-by-number style of news programming. It really programs itself. Editorial decision-making is a breeze when there is only one story to cover … be it Charlottesville, Hurricane Harvey or Donald Trump tweeting out the day’s agenda before they sip their first cup of coffee.

What you don’t see are one-to-three-minute-long video “packages” edited from originally shot video in places were stuff is actually happening. That’s the kind of high-overhead reporting that requires a news organization to deploy reporters, producers and camera crews out into “the field” … a.k.a. “the world.”

It’s the kind of thing you can still find if you get BBC World on your cable or satellite system. On a good day, the BBC can give you eight packages on eight stories from eight different countries in 15 minutes. Sometimes it is less because they might actually go live to one of the many dozens of reporters they’ve deployed around the world. This allows them to report from the scene of an ongoing crisis or break news from nearly every part of the globe. And this is the sort of reporting CNN used to do in its heyday … before the TimeWarnerAOL merger eroded what remained of Ted Turner’s dream of a globe-spanning network that could report from just about anywhere in real time.

The Way It Was

Back in the 1990s, when CNN was riding high after its on-the-spot coverage of the Gulf War, it had reporters deployed around the globe in bureaus big and small. Mike Chinoy reported regularly from China, Charlayne Hunter-Gault reported regularly from Johannesburg, and Lucia Newman reported around Latin America, often deployed from Havana. And every Sunday, CNN devoted two hours to a long-since-defunct show called “World Report” that compiled video packages from local news sources around the world … ranging from Madagascar to Benin, from Bolivia to Finland and Belarus.

Former football star O.J. Simpson during his murder trial as broadcast on CNN.

But sadly, that model was already in trouble by the time every network and cable news channel cut to the live feed of O.J. driving his white Bronco down a Los Angeles freeway.  The most important factor was the rise of “news divisions” as profit centers for the mega-corporations that owned them. To get there, the key was to find ways to grab eyeballs while also lowering overhead. Reporters and camera crews in bureaus around the world and, perhaps even more distressingly, around the United States were costly investments that drained profitability away from the bottom line. Sure, the packages they delivered were crucial to filling the day’s schedule, but cutting the cost of labor is always a tempting step for corporate number crunchers.

The solution to this problem came in two parts. One was the advent of “Crossfire” on CNN. The idea of filling a slot with two hosts and two walk-ons who only wanted a shot at making their names as political celebrities was programming gold. It was loud, contentious and often dramatic. And it was cheap, easy and profitable.

The second part was the rise of the serialized scandal. In some ways, the Gulf War portended the future. The daily build-up to war provided an irresistible plotline. Still, in spite of the Pentagon’s attempts to pool coverage, manage the narrative with snazzy videos of self-guiding bombs and the coming of expert Generals as commentators, the Gulf War was news. It was not a scandal, per se. The end of newsgathering began in earnest when O.J. Simpson was cast as the star of the ultimate courtroom drama.

The Juice Machine

The story arc played out over the course of 16 months and each day saw CNN parsing the details of the day’s events, particularly as the trial began in earnest in September of 1994. It was the endless chattering about O.J.’s trial that gave us the rise of the blathering class. Greta Van Sustern became a star and she has since hit the trifecta — having worked at CNN, FOX News and MSNBC. By the time the verdict came in on October 3, 1995, the die was cast.

The following year — timed nicely with the corporate-friendly Telcommunications Act of 1996 — saw the launch of FOX News and the beginning of the celebrity-branded “news” show with the coming of Bill O’Reilly.  It was as if Roger Ailes had a premonition of things to come.  The format was set and then replicated and “refined” with the Clinton-Lewinsky Impeachment saga. It was the gift that kept on giving. Even more so than O.J., the “Devil On A Blue Dress” storyline finished the transformation of the cable news model away from gathering news and towards constant blathering about the news and the celebrification of politics.

It was a smooth transition to Elian Gonzales. Then came Bush v. Gore with its epic recount and infamous “hanging chads.” After that came 9/11, the Iraq War build-up, the brutal years of war, the catastrophe of Katrina, and the Sandy Hook tragedy and so on.  And that’s what TrumpTV is for cable news … another serialized plotline of daily drama often ripped from the headlines that cable news incessantly ponders. Rarely do they break news. Mostly they “confirm” the work of others with their “own sources.”  Then they talk about it.

Lemming Meringue

If television news ever decided to forgo the low overhead and once again send reporters and producers and videographers out into the world beyond the semi-permeable bubble of D.C.-N.Y. axis, these teams could do the one thing that only television can do … and that’s go to a story where it is happening to “gather” the news and the sound and the pictures and send it right into people’s living rooms.

Legendary CBS News’ correspondent Edward R. Murrow.

It’s the unique power of words and pictures working together to transport people to places they might never otherwise see and to hear from people they might never otherwise meet. It’s the kind of reporting that provides context to complicated issues and generates knowledge, understanding and maybe even a little empathy for someone outside of one’s own experience. And it’s the kind of power that Edward R. Murrow implored his colleagues to cherish back in 1958 when he warned them that their callow interests risked turning their miraculous opportunity into little more than “lights in a box.”

Pictures and reporting still matter. And one wonders how Americans would respond if they saw reports from Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Mali or anywhere the U.S. military is active and people are dying. Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference, but at least Americans could decide for themselves. As it stands now, there is almost no input, no information nor anything that shows America’s wide array of targets as human beings with lives and families and burnt-out homes.

Really, this is the true fakery. It’s the mind-numbing bubble the news media created. It’s a semi-permeable barrier that has become what Murrow feared … a shiny object designed to grab eyeballs, drive revenue and enrich the media moguls whose massive compensation packages rise with the ratings and the revenue.

That’s the bottom line. The lemmings in the media who cut to O.J.’s parole hearing believe they are giving the lemmings in the audience what they want. And the ratings say they are right. But in another ironic plot twist the oft-recited story of lemmings throwing themselves over a cliff is … fake news!

That’s right, a 1983 investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation determined a Disney documentary made in 1958 faked the lemming mass suicide story. The filmmakers used a variety of tricks to create the illusion of a stampede before intentionally throwing some lemmings off a cliff to film their deaths in the water below. It was a stupefying story everyone talked about despite the fact that no one actually saw it happen … which sure sounds a lot like the lemming-like march of cable news into an abyss of its own making.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. He blogs at Newsvandal.com or you can follow him on Twitter, http://twitter/newsvandal.

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64 comments for “The Real ‘Fake News’ Crisis

  1. Sally Snyder
    August 31, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Here is an article that explains how America’s long-term relationship with fake news goes all the way back to the Second World War:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/07/americas-long-history-of-fake-news.html

    As politicians know only too well, the peddling of fake news in the United States is a phenomenon that has great potential to sway public opinion.

    • BobS
      August 31, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      “…America’s long-term relationship with fake news goes all the way back to the Second World War.”

      Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst beg to differ.

  2. August 31, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Although you didn’t ask for an answer as to why things have changed, there is at least one. The internet news needs subscribers, so the Internet news has to be conservative or neo con or progressive. What internet news can’t be is either Moderate Republican, or Moderate Democrat, specifically because ratings will suffer.
    So fake news is rooted in an audience that generally wants their news on a slant.

  3. August 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    I believe most of the corporate media promotes and writes junk journalism. Meanwhile, the war criminals in our midst are getting away with murder, (No pun intended.)
    More info at link below
    October 23, 2016
    Are The Corporate Media Propaganda Pushers For The War Criminals?
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/are-corporate-media-propaganda-pushers.html

    • JWalters
      August 31, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      You make a very important connection. The war criminals own the corporate media, so naturally the corporate media runs interference for them. The vast profits of war and drugs have enabled them to buy up all the major news outlets. In addition to your worthwhile link, there is
      War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror
      http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

      And turning reporters into junk reporters is a very sensible way to keep the public ignorant.

  4. Bill
    August 31, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Are you sure that profit is the only thing motivating the NY Times? They’ve got an agenda and it’s not a subtle one.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Bill – there most certainly is an agenda, a very clear one. On the few occasions I do turn on the TV and there’s an interview between a reporter and some political hack or some so-called expert, occasionally the guy being interviewed slips up, says something that could possibly explain why the “enemy” has done something or attempts to expand in the “wrong” direction, and you can see the reporter’s face change immediately, and he quickly directs the hack back on track. It is very noticeable.

      God knows that Trump provides reasons for the media to criticize him, but so did Obama, Bush and Clinton, and yet they did not pull out the surgical scalpel until now. They have absolutely vilified Trump 24/7. No other President in the history of the United States has ever been crucified like Trump has been. He is an outsider and he wants to change things. No can do! There’s a reason that top reporters are part of the Council on Foreign Relations.

      There is a ton of looting going on on Wall Street, and yet you hear nothing about that. Buyouts and monopolies forming, and yet crickets, no discussion. The Clinton Foundation, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hillary’s deleted emails, destroyed hard drives, Loretta Lynch, wiretapping – nothing. Do you think these matters wouldn’t garner the same attention as the O.J. trial? There’s about 20 O.J. trials just sitting there, waiting to be picked up by the media, and yet nothing.

      The media go out of their way to paint Antifa or Black Lives Matter as all good and anything on the Right as bad. No hours of going over exactly who pays for these organizations, i.e. George Soros, how much they’re getting, etc. Nothing.

      Is there an agenda? Oh, yeah, there most definitely is.

      • JWalters
        August 31, 2017 at 9:04 pm

        “There is a ton of looting going on on Wall Street, and yet you hear nothing about that.”

        That should be a huge story. The NYT, Wall St Journal, CNN, MSNBC, etc should be all over that. But, somehow, it escapes their attention … somehow.

    • Gregory Herr
      August 31, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Strip away the ratings game, all the non-news and filler, and analyze the deceptive reporting about real events (take your pick), and what we see has little to do with investigating and reporting facts, providing context, or generating further questions. The Times, the Post, CNN and the MSM in general are stenographers…yes, their agenda is to make money, but the “news” they regurgitate is something else altogether. Toe the line or lose your job, Phil Donahue (he had ratings).

      Fake News works as an apt descriptor for me.

      • ScottB
        September 1, 2017 at 2:39 am

        Tru dat, Greg.

        Add to the fake media, decades of fake FBI investigations, (fake) fiat currency and manipulated “markets” – throw in a generous helping of fraud, warmongering and co-mingling of western governments with greedy multinational corporate interests (“facism”) – and one has to seriously ponder whether our present existence is real or fake.

        Did the world we once knew come to end? Or did the dream become a nightmare. The only innocents are the children.

        Prepare for a very real Cataclysm is about to wake everyone up!

        indifference to evil is the gravest threat.

    • JWalters
      August 31, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Right you are about the New York Times. The news faking at the NYT has been well documented. Some examples for readers who haven’t seen them:

      “Rabbis want to criticize Israel but fear donors (and NYT buries the news)”
      http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/rabbis-criticize-donors

      “NYT should stop hiding the truth: settlements are illegal under international law”
      http://mondoweiss.net/2017/02/settlements-illegal-international

      “NYT bias amazes: long article about online incitement in Israel/Palestine only blames Palestinians”
      http://mondoweiss.net/2016/12/incitement-israelpalestine-palestinians

      “Critiques not fit to print: Students and allies respond to ‘NYT’ coverage of Palestine activism on campus”
      http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/critiques-students-coverage

      “How the NYT Plays with History”
      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/19/how-the-nyt-plays-with-history

      “NYT’s Fake News about Fake News”
      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/22/nyts-fake-news-about-fake-news

      And the NYT leads the journalism pack in the U.S.

  5. D5-5
    August 31, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    A lot of fun in these remarks. Edward R. Murrow by the way died at age 57 of lung cancer following many years of 60 to 70 cigs a day. It’s good to know lemmings disperse rather than commit mass suicide (interesting link in this piece), although evidently humans today are taking Disney’s myth seriously as a model for what to do.

  6. jo6pac
    August 31, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    This calls for some music to go along with the article.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHimia_Fxzs9

    Edward Barney would proud of today 24/7 propaganda noise machine

    • Annie
      August 31, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Loved the video clip, and to a great extent it’s true that bad news grabs people’s attention, but I also feel the corporate media has it’s role in keeping people in line with the country’s agenda, as Norm Chomsky said when your a dictatorship you can keep people in line by hitting them over the head, but a “democracy” needs propaganda, and the one’s best suited for that is mainstream media.

    • Joe Wallace
      August 31, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      jo6pac:

      Thanks. Great video!

  7. Zachary Smith
    August 31, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Look no further than their bottom line since becoming Trump’s bête noire. The ratings, revenue and executive compensation … are all up.

    This is obvious after having my nose rubbed in it, but the notion that Big Media and Trump were doing a super-sized version of Entertainment hadn’t occurred to me at all! It explains a lot…

    I avoid the Evening News like a plague, but every now and then I’m forced to watch it. Yesterday was such a time, and the relative with me pointed out that the network we were watching had a single superstar reporter who popped up whenever there was a Big Story – he’d make a quick trip to wherever it was. This fellow was in Korea at the time, but next week he will be somewhere else. This is economizing on a heroic scale – just one go-to guy with a couple of backups who hardly ever travel, but who will “cover” the story from wherever they happen to be.

    The networks make piles of money by cutting out the actual “news” reporting and instead read handouts from the some Government agency or some department of a Big Corporation.

    No wonder the “news” is a shadow of itself when compared with 40 years ago ago.

  8. fudmier
    August 31, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/one-statistics-professor-was-just-banned-google-here-his-story
    Several corporations have created privately owned, global in access and reach, infra structures that lie on top of the public information network (Internet). Such infra structures consist of automatic algorithmic software capable to integrate into the public social fabric of nearly every community of people in the world and capable to provide private intelligence services to the various nations of the world. Basically, the information control corporations have replaced God as the environment providers to the people of the world. After all, intelligent life, is nothing more than, the sum total of one’s stores of experience and methods to use it. These corporation information structures, methods and proceeds and algorithms, etc. are or soon will be able to, control human experience from birth to death. Already important scientific information is locked behind costly gated libraries and search algorithms and other technology allow the corporations to direct, redirect or deny access to users as they see fit. This allows corporations to keep scientist in their place. Big institutions can buy volume discounted access to these library resources, but the little guy scientist, the guy likely to invent something so new the big guys will have to buy it have been blocked ($35 to $100 a page to view a single article in a single journal when it used to be free).

    Several corporations have developed methods and tools capable to monitor human behaviour at the most detailed level (capture, track, classify, analyse, store, retrieve every Internet bit transmitted between any computer attached to any network which uses the
    public Internet and now it is announced the government itself has hired many of these corporate giants who manage people’s access to news and other information to use their structure, methods and tools to do spying for a living? ).

    Government grants and private capital together have funded much of the development of these methods, algorithms and procedures and copyright and patent laws have allowed the corporations that used these funds to patent and keep with they developed.
    Will these corporations use their structure, methods, and procedures as mind and thought weapons? These kind of weapons are not lethal weapons in the sense of mass destruction, they instead are weapons of mass control WMCs.
    IMO WMCs are magnitudes more dangerous than atomic powered weapons. because WMCs do not destroy the infra structure of a target nation or a private information competitor provider, instead WMC destroy or rewrite the thinking (experience and methods to use that experience) (Erase culture, erase childhood lessons, erase culture and political history). I call these WMCs (Weapons of mass control) and I think the hidden motive Bill is looking for is revealed in the deployment of these WMCs.
    Advertising revenue funded, these tools. infra-structure and methods (TIM) that constitute the substance of WMCs can drive the re-make of the thinking, the culture, the morality of nearly everyone in the world. Conceivably WMCs could enslave the people of the world; to conform to corporate boardroom dictates. I think Bill is right there is an agenda, and the link at the top of this comment suggest of its object.

    the intelligence agencies have already given big contracts to WMC owner corporate monopolies to provide the information, the intelligence agencies of the nation states want. Spying has become big business. Controlling human behaviour and human development and human morality is already under way by the same corporations and governments that bring chaos, war, regime change, and deficit spending.

  9. mike k
    August 31, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    This article is a lot of gossipy drivel. It mimics the fake news it seeks to decry – or does it? Seems to me he is letting these propagandists for the deep state off way too easy. Is it a coincidence that the real owners of these organs makes tons of money from war? This piece is trivia about trivia, when it could have had a more serious focus. The author is too concerned with being witty and clever to deliver anything solid. Waste of time……

    • F. G. Sanford
      August 31, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Mike, for what it’s worth, I agree completely. The “planners” who determine our national agenda have been in bed with the media from the get-go. Formerly, the repertoire provided the illusion of substance, a holdover from newspaper and then radio broadcasting, where the medium required sufficient copy or dialogue to satisfy the expectation of content. Prescott Bush and the financial elite of the Eastern Establishment raking in profits from Nazi Germany was practically an open secret, but it never made the news. Tonkin Gulf was a complete fabrication, and when the “Pentagon Papers” story broke, it had already been published in France by ‘Le Monde’. Instead of allowing the public to watch the Zapruder film, Dan Rather got a private viewing, then assured his audience that, “The President’s head was thrust violently down and forward.” Now, Charlottesville is a big story, but nobody is willing to remind the public that the Obama administration voted against the U.N. Resolution to condemn Naziism, putatively to avoid offending our new “allies” in Ukraine. The Trump administration claims we will no longer engage in “nation building”, while Nikki Haley insists that, “We will not tolerate a dictatorship in Venezuela”. Judicial Watch insists that, “Benghazi isn’t going away, because four Americans died there.” Meanwhile, four thousand died in Iraq thanks to a big lie. Speaking of “big lies”, I’ll have to avoid some of the biggest ones, because they are third rail, hot button, politically incorrect or ‘tin-foil hat’ invitations to ridicule, but some people appear to be waking up. The “planners” have achieved a cumulative record of disasters thanks to their own nefarious machinations. It has snowballed out of control, and threatens disaster on myriad levels. If the “rule of law” meant anything, half the Obama administration could have been prosecuted based on that Evelyn Farkas interview on ‘Morning Joe’. Hillary Clinton had her State Department secure internet server wired to transfer classified information to a nonsecure server, then had the temerity to tell Matt Lauer, “Me in handcuffs will never happen.” Has anyone asked themselves what she has up her sleeve to create that kind of certainty? Nobody is likely to go to jail. Lying to congress will be overlooked. I’m betting that the Mueller investigation will dry up and blow away. The Awan brothers will play the dutiful patsies, and DWS will quietly disappear. If a real investigation into any of this were conducted, hundreds of politicians and political appointees would be facing the pokey. The pandemonium President Trump creates is the greatest gift the “deep state” could hope for. The alternative amounts to a lot of canaries singing their hearts out to avoid the cage.

      • Jessejean
        September 2, 2017 at 5:07 pm

        F.G. DWS is filling up my inbox with solicitations for cash for some neo-nits she’s backing. I was shocked. Who in their right mind would give money to that washed up, burn out DNC power whore?

    • JWalters
      August 31, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      “Seems to me he is letting these propagandists for the deep state off way too easy.”

      Agreed. We simply cannot understand current events if we omit the Oligarchy from our analysis. That includes its tentacles in the media and MIC.

    • Donna
      September 2, 2017 at 3:26 am

      I agree. The author is certainly not a good writer. He’s even less of a “real” reporter. It’s absurd when he says the media paints Antifa as “all good.” No they don’t. That’s fake news. You Trumpians always come up with the same boring conspiracy theories. I once thought you geniuses had interesting, intelligent things to say. I was mistaken.

  10. August 31, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    This article is true to a degree, there is also a clear agenda in the news shows depending on the owners. If the agenda of say the owners of FOX news is to support right wing agendas by constantly attacking Bill Clinton or Al Gore, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, and whatever Democrat agenda is going on, then the Democrat surrogates in CNN and MSNBC spend their time defending them. And vice versa. If we look strictly at the numbers the ratings of cable news is not good, to say the least. I mean look at how they put on whole days of old documentaries or prison reality shows which cost so little. Hardly anyone must be watching. Why do they do it? Because they still make money, and they believe that people do not go to TV so much anymore for news. It used to be that if people wanted news and didn’t want to read newspapers they relied on network and local TV news, then cable news came around and soared in popularity. But when the Internet grew and grew people gave up on their enthusiasm for cable news, except older people who were slower to get online. Which is if you watch cable news the ads are dominated by products for older people, e.g., medications and so on. So it wasn’t just a profit driven motive that caused the current paradigm of very little news gathering or reporting and relying on “new blathering”. This was caused by a confluence of events. And as the Internet grew in use and people gave up on cable news more and more, that meant less revenue, which meant less spending, which made the news worse, which led to less people watching. This vicious circle keeps them always looking to cut costs, which along with the directives of their owners to push partisan political propaganda, has led us to the current situation.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 31, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Kali Ma – totally agree that the Internet has really changed things. But there are a bazillion things the media COULD be making into big stories, but they are not. They are picking and choosing. Do not talk about wars, except when you want to vilify the enemy, don’t discuss or investigate false flags (don’t even inform the public what they are), keep the narrative running in a straight line of lies and hate. Throw in a few dead bodies of children to hammer home your point. Don’t talk about corruption at all.

      There’s much to talk about, lots of scandal, and I believe people would tune in if the media started reporting these scandals in a balanced, fair and exhaustive manner, but they don’t.

      As we’ve said so many times on here, corporations rule the world. It’s why our NGO’s, CIA’s and armies go into countries and clear a path for them. The banks bankroll them. The propaganda – I mean news – we hear (or don’t hear) is all geared towards allowing these corporations to run roughshod over all of our lives.

      Look how Google, Facebook and Twitter are now censoring. These corporations are gatekeepers. They are controlling the narrative for the corporations.

      Politicians, lobbyists, Google, Facebook, Twitter, NGO’s, intelligence agencies, armies, wars, the media, academia, the judiciary, Wall Street, Hollywood – all there to ensure the continued life of the corporations that own us all.

      These multinational corporations want globalism. This is a fight between globalism and nationalism, and the media are on the side of globalism. Most likely the author is too. His other articles say as much.

      • August 31, 2017 at 6:25 pm

        Well yeah, that was why I mentioned profits were only one part of the equation. The other two were the political persuasion of the owners and the rise of the Internet leading to disinterest in TV news. All three combined to lead us to where we are today where the cable and network news shows all do the same thing from different perspectives for the same reasons. They could do more actual news but as the article above states it costs much much less to just have guests come on for free or pay some nominal fee to talk for hours on end. The owners do not care about news, they care about profits and pushing their political agendas, so whatever maximizes both is what they are all doing now.

        • backwardsevolution
          September 1, 2017 at 12:53 am

          Thank you, Kali Ma.

  11. ranney
    August 31, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Sally’s link to fake news being part of the problem for a long time is good. Part of the fake news method is “omission”. I keep saying it, because it’s so important. ” Omission is the most powerful form of lie” : George Orwell.
    We have constant fake news from both sides – both Democrats and Republicans, neither type of news organization will give you the whole story, or , for that matter, even so much as HINT at the whole story. I had to laugh at Sottile’s description of the news as being “serialized soap opera” with the “blatherati simply carrying on about the “latest installment of the the drama du jour”. I have felt that way for a long time and was happy to see someone put it so clearly. And he’s right that “genuine investigative reporting is as rare as a solar eclipse”. Nicely said.
    Unfortunately, Sottile didn’t venture to guess what will happen to this country. as our children and grand children grow up in a world filled with fake news and where historical truth has been eliminated. But then maybe we need’nt worry; very likely no one will be alive to care.
    I do know this: The America I was born into in 1933 is not even remotely like the one we have today in terms of philosophical view point and I’m not referring to the Atom bomb, TV or better phones Today we have a semi (or neo) fascist oligarchy; up until about the 70’s( or maybe before, or maybe a little after) we had a republic. Right now we have an insane, very scary clown pirate remeniscent of horror movies like “Friday the Thirteenth” calling the shots with the assistance of the fascist oligarchy, and no news outlet is wiling to call it.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 31, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Omission is the most powerful form of lie” : George Orwell.

      Yesterday when I was forced to watch the news for a while I found myself yelling at the TV. It wasn’t that they were lying, but some really critical details had been left out of the story so as to lead the viewer to draw the wrong conclusion. Possibly the story was tossed together by an overworked intern and the error wasn’t deliberate, but the net result was “fake news”.

      Orwell was right.

  12. alley cat
    August 31, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Yes, the plutocrat-owned U.S. news media is chasing profits alright, just not in the way the author claims. Sottile indirectly acknowledges this when he admits that the U.S. news media has “told lies of both omission and commission…whenever Uncles Sam spoils for war with yet another enemy.” But Uncle Sam (aka the neocons, the Deep State, the MIC, etc) is always spoiling for war with someone. War is the path of least resistance to windfall profits and global domination, and Trump’s proposal to ease tensions with Russia put those profits and domination in jeopardy. The neocons and the Deep State are real, you know, not just figments of Trump’s imagination, and they don’t just sit on their hands when someone threatens their gravy train. They conceived the preposterous Russiagate hoax and their news media publicized and embellished it. Would Sottile have us believe that the 24/7 anti-Putin and anti-Trump smears pushing this country toward war are, unlike the WMD hoax, merely a pursuit of higher ratings?

    Russiagate is exactly what the president says it is: fake news promoting a real conspiracy, driven by a nefarious political agenda.

    • mike k
      August 31, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      Exactly. Well said.

    • Gregory Herr
      August 31, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      “Russiagate is exactly what the president says it is: fake news promoting a real conspiracy, driven by a nefarious political agenda.”

      That’s a fine point of emphasis.

  13. August 31, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    More info on the Freaking Fakers at link below:
    ——————————————————-
    January 7, 2017
    “The Faking Establishment and Its Fake News Media”
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/01/the-faking-establishment-and-its-fake.html

  14. backwardsevolution
    August 31, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I like how Trump called out the media (CNN, NBC, New York Times) at the Al Smith fundraising dinner held about 20 days before last year’s election (go to 7:30 minutes at the link). He called them Hillary’s “team”. Towards the end of his funny “roast” of Hillary, he does get some boos from the audience of elite, but it’s a good illustration of just how tough Trump can be.

    Imagine standing up there in a room filled with mostly Hillary supporters and saying what he said, and saying it with confidence. That takes balls. Trump doesn’t flinch, not once. He is funny and gracious.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnRVAzFa6Og

    While the media may have given Trump “free” election coverage (while they were stabbing him), that certainly was not their intention. Their intention was to keep all talk on Trump and none on Hillary’s many scandals (screwing Bernie Sanders, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Brazile feeding Hillary questions ahead of time, private email servers, deleted emails, destroyed hard drives, Loretta “tarmac” Lynch, and all the rest of the crimes).

    • turk151
      August 31, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      That wasn’t just team Hillary, that was the Archdiocese of New York. I wonder how the Catholics in Action felt about Trump’s clever remarks.

  15. August 31, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    The Censorship of the Internet and Alternative Media is already underway by the Corporate Controllers. See Link Below:
    ————————————————————-
    YouTube “Economically Censors” Ron Paul, Labels Videos “Not Suitable” For All Advertisers
    By Tyler Durden
    Zero Hedge
    August 31, 2017
    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/08/tyler-durden/youtube-economically-censors/

    • backwardsevolution
      August 31, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Stephen J. – yep, they are losing the narrative and they want it brought back in line. Mustn’t lose control.

  16. Drew Hunkins
    August 31, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    “If television news ever decided to forgo the low overhead and once again send reporters and producers and videographers out into the world beyond the semi-permeable bubble of D.C.-N.Y. axis,..”

    …They would have recognized that Trump had a very strong likelihood of winning the 2016 presidential election, because: 1.) they would have recognized how turned off vast swaths of the Rust Belt were to “free” trader Wall Street sycophant Killary, 2.) they would have recognized how most of the voting public in the Midwest was likely to not even turn out to vote, and 3.) they would have recognized how Trump’s somewhat populist lines on eviscerating the TPP and controlling illegal Latin American immigration (which weakens tight labor markets in certain sectors) was playing well in Peoria. Moreover, Trump’s overtures to make peace with Russia and scale back Washington’s military footprint in the Middle East were vote getters. How all this works out, time will tell.

  17. August 31, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Is this What Total Globalist Control Looks Like?
    See Link Below:
    http://www.globalistagenda.org/

    • Zachary Smith
      August 31, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      From your link:

      The Globalist Agenda represents a plan to bring all of Earth’s inhabitants under the control of a single, global state.

      This Globalist Agenda is badly needed, for we are a single species inhabiting a single planet. The devil is in the details – how can a World Government be brought into being, and how can we guarantee it will be both decent and competent and enforcing a fair legal system for every human on earth.

      We’ve seen the Communists take their shot at it, and that didn’t work out well for the people under their control. We’re currently watching Big ???? trying to enforce a Corporate version, and so far the suffering from the victims (internal and external) has been immense.

      Since those Corporate types don’t seem to give a damn about anything except the almighty dollar, Climate Change alone is probably going to make civilization extinct. Perhaps also the most of Life On Earth will be dragged down as well.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 31, 2017 at 10:55 pm

        Zachary Smith – “This Globalist Agenda is badly needed, for we are a single species inhabiting a single planet.”

        Really? If people would just produce things locally, stop shipping things all over the world or all the way across the States, live close to where they work, reduce the population using good birth control methods, we could maybe turn climate change around.

        No, Communism didn’t work, and Capitalism is destroying the planet. But George Sorosism isn’t the answer either.

        Is that the alternative, Zachary? Soros is just a pretend do-gooder. He’s really a worse shark than the rest because he does what Capitalism does, but he also destroys sovereign nations and cultures to boot.

        We need Globalism like we need a hole in the head.

        • Skip Scott
          September 1, 2017 at 10:29 am

          I’m with you on this B.E. The bigger the power structure, the bigger the corruption. Nations that represent the will of their citizens and engage with other nations that share their values is the way forward. One world government (globalization) is a recipe for Neo-feudalism. What Zachary fails to realize is that different cultures have different mindsets and a one world government would never be able to serve those diverse populations to their liking. Local control and local production is the answer.

          • backwardsevolution
            September 1, 2017 at 11:54 am

            Skip Scott – yes, “different cultures have different mindsets”, and this is what the globalists want to eradicate.

  18. mark
    August 31, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    This lets the loathsome MSM off far too lightly, as just facile but basically harmless rubbish in pursuit of ratings.
    This is the media that brought us the Iraq incubator babies, the Iraqi WMD, and all the other lies to justify the endless wars of aggression that have killed millions.
    This is the media that is a tireless cheerleader for every war that any and every political psychopath wants to start.
    This is the media with the blood of millions on its hands, many of them children.
    This is the media that is owned by six oligarchs exclusively to protect and further their interests.
    This is the media made up of servile, fawning, cringing, obsequious, toadying establishment stenographers.

    In the 1930s, there was a “journalist” in Bavaria called Julius Streicher. He published a scurrilous newspaper full of anti semitic articles and cartoons. He was such an unpleasant individual even Hitler couldn’t stand him and sacked him before the war. He didn’t exercise any power or hold any position of responsibility. Despite this, at the end of the war he was put on trial for incitement and hanged.

    I would equate anybody and everybody who works in the MSM with Streicher.

    The MSM is dying on its feet. Nobody takes it seriously any more. They get their news from alternative more reliable sources. Hence their frantic efforts to control and censor alternative media. This won’t work. The media have destroyed their credibility and forfeited all trust by their endless lies.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 31, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      That Hitler could dislike someone who was a perfect Jew-hater struck me as worth investigation. Much of the Wiki for Streicher was taken from a 1982 book, and here is a link to the section on him.

      h**p://tinyurl.com/y8c7jzey

      Turns out your source about this was in error – Hitler liked Streicher from the moment he met him and never stopped liking him. The feeling was mutual – see the end of that link.

      Streicher was indeed every kind of pervert all right, but that didn’t bother Hitler. It was when Streicher started claiming Goering was impotent that Hitler removed Streicher from his party positions, but let him keep his Der Stürmer job. Streicher ought to have realized that in any spitting match between himself and the other Nazi Party Big Brass, he wasn’t going to come out on top.

      Regarding Big Media sources, I’ve read that some of them are not above stealing from internet sites and not even mentioning where the material came from.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 31, 2017 at 10:40 pm

        Zachary Smith – I wouldn’t believe everything you read on Wiki. I don’t know if things are changing at Wiki, but I have found recently that what they have to say is quite slanted. Again, they like to “omit” things.

        When I was listening to that David Irving video, he mentioned Ernst Zundel who had the walls of the gas chambers in Auschwitz tested for cyanide (I believe it was) residue by some U.S. firm. They could find no cyanide in the samples that were taken. They did find cyanide in the delousing chamber, but not in what were supposed to be the gas chambers (or something like that).

        I went to Wiki to investigate this. Unless I missed something, I found no mention of this on Ernst Zundel’s Wiki page. Nothing. Why is that?

        “On February 15, 2007, Zündel was sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum sentence possible for violating the Volksverhetzung law in the German penal code which bans incitement of hatred against a minority of the population, which is how his Holocaust denial was interpreted by the Federal German court.”

        So the guy asks questions, and for that he spends five years in prison?

  19. August 31, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    The point of the article is simply that news media has degenerated into trivia, a circus. I didn’t get the impression J.P. Sottile intended an in-depth analysis of anything other than the degeneration of good news reporting. He mostly focused on TV, which is ideal for visual detachment and instant trivialization of events. And that’s all many serfs on the plantation can digest.

    The programming has worked exactly as planned to engender superficial thinking in a large segment of the populace. “Blatherati” is the perfect word for the whole bunch of dilettantes in the media business of our superficial age. Good investigators are hardly heard from.

    • ScottB
      September 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Two classic book on the state of belief and propaganda which shed much light on the events happening today:
      The Passionate State of Mind by Eric Hoffer
      Propaganda by Edward Barneys

      “Good investigators are hardly heard from”.

      So true. This is deliberate: a few pieces of “eye candy” spinning tales on the boob-tube is vastly more profitable for the corrupt corporate media and it keeps the vast corruption of the establishment out of the light. For example, recall Watergate. Nixon’s justice department knew of the act and the cover-up, the FBI did a sham investigation. It was only when true reporting in the early days of Bob Woodward and Jake Bernstein that brought it all to light. And their editor had the chutzpah to run with the story.

      A substantially similar cover-up exists relating to Clinton/Comey/Lynch. The modern version even has an additional twisted plot-line. The ex-President happens to run int Obama’s AG on an empty plane! One cannot make up material this good!

      So where is the gritty investigative reporting? No where in the corporate MSM which is owned and controlled by the Zionists, Trilateral Commission, CFR and Bilderberg Group.

      “Indifference to evil is the gravest danger we face”.

  20. backwardsevolution
    August 31, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    mark – excellent points. “This lets the loathsome MSM off far too lightly, as just facile but basically harmless rubbish in pursuit of ratings.” Totally agree. They are acting in a purposeful and pointed manner.

    Sure, they’re after ratings, but they could have gotten much higher ratings by being truthful. I can’t imagine the truth costing any more money than being untruthful.

    No, I think they are acting in concert with the Deep State in order to bring down the President.

  21. Joe Tedesky
    August 31, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Read this link. Then do a mirror to mirror search to see if there is anything comparable in the MSM to Tony Cartalucci’s reporting on this big pharma rip off of over inflating drug disease cures. It’s reporting such as this which questions the reliability and integrity of all news reporting which ignores objectivity, and honesty.

    https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/08/big-pharma-novartis-to-charge-475000.html

    • backwardsevolution
      September 1, 2017 at 2:03 am

      Joe Tedesky – “Novartis clearly did not develop this breakthrough. It merely bought the license to commercialize and market it to the public.

      While Novartis claims the staggering price tag of $475,000 per patient represents the only way for it to recuperate its so-far undisclosed investment in commercialization, many suspect Novartis along with other pharmaceutical corporations of hijacking public and charity funded gene therapies to set a new precedent – one in which a single infusion that provides a lifetime of health is paid for by the patient, insurers, and taxpayers for a lifetime – regardless of the actual cost of producing it.”

      I like that: “undisclosed investment in commercialization”. I wonder if $475,000 per patient would be enough to cover that commercialization. It might be tight trying to make a profit out of that measly amount of money. Thank goodness they didn’t have to pay for the cost of developing the therapies! That would have really stung.

      These guys are robber barons.

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 1, 2017 at 9:50 am

        Your excitement to Tony Cartalucci article proves to how good in depth reporting can be. I posted the link, because what Cartalucci delivers in news, is no where to be found inside our MSM. While our MSM clings to Trump tabloid style reporting, the Alternative Media cleans the MSM clock without even hardly trying by reporting the news objectively and as honestly as it can, and that is what unnerves the MSM to no end.

        • backwardsevolution
          September 1, 2017 at 11:58 am

          Yes, Joe. I don’t think the Deep State is too happy about what you said above, so we shouldn’t be surprised when they start tightening the Internet up.

          • Joe Tedesky
            September 1, 2017 at 12:15 pm

            And so goes the news this Friday September 1st 2017.

    • Skip Scott
      September 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      If there was ever a better argument for “socialized” medicine I’ve yet to hear it.

  22. Joe Lauria
    September 1, 2017 at 12:16 am

    I’m not sure it has to be either or. It can both. Both the profit motive and a political agenda. Having worked nearly three decades in corporate media I have firsthand experience of political agendas in news organizations. I’ve only worked in newspapers, not TV, but I can’t imagine it is different. Even protecting the status quo is a political agenda, and almost all corporate media does that. News media should have no agendas, except to pursue the truth of the stories they cover and that would necessarily lead to a challenge of the status quo and the entrenched interests holding back social progress.

    • mike k
      September 1, 2017 at 6:55 am

      The MSM has an important propaganda function for it’s corporate sponsors, and the political establishment which doles out and selects and spins it’s “news”. If these news outlets were unprofitable, the corporations would pay for them churning out their garbage, and remaining silent on corporate critical news.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 1, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Mr Lauria, just to take some of the responsibility off of the writer, I would like to point out that the reader has a responsibility to themselves to recognize these agenda driven articles, and respond accordingly. The burden in fact is on the reader, and not the author. This ‘fake news’ nonsense is allowing the reader a free pass to except anything and everything as mere fact, and this in and of itself, is wrong. Authors should be able to write to their hearts contend of anything as the way the writer sees it, and the reader should be able to determine what is true, and what isn’t. Joe

  23. Joe Lauria
    September 1, 2017 at 12:22 am

    “And one wonders how Americans would respond if they saw reports from Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Mali or anywhere the U.S. military is active and people are dying. Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference, but at least Americans could decide for themselves. As it stands now, there is almost no input, no information nor anything that shows America’s wide array of targets as human beings with lives and families and burnt-out homes.”

    That’s part of the political agenda. To leave such stuff out. To ignore such vital stories.

    • backwardsevolution
      September 1, 2017 at 12:47 am

      Joe Lauria – thank you for pointing out that there is a political agenda. To me, it was evident, but good to have someone from the industry confirm it. As you say, the profit motive has to be there as well. Thank you, Joe.

  24. Herman
    September 1, 2017 at 9:11 am

    “Their primary motive is the most All-American motive of all … it’s the profit motive.”

    Mostly true but restoring the public trust has little to do with what is reported, but providing cover for government policies and actions does. What is reported about the Middle East, Russia and China serves the interest of our government and those powerful people and institutions who have the agenda expressed in the “news”.

    To say that Americans don’t trust the news is not to say what they believe to be true is not effected by it. Ordinary people and our soldiers believed when we were attacking Iraq we were doing it to defeat Al Qaeda or agents of Al Qaeda like Saddam Hussein. That nothing could be farther from the truth was something the Washington Post and the New York Times and other major media kept hidden.

    So criticism of the media for the reasons cited by the author can be expected to have little effect and public trust will continue to have little to say about media performance. Unless….

  25. David G
    September 1, 2017 at 9:51 am

    In cable news, and the wider media, my first intimation of the new world came even before O.J.: the Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding business.

    I remember thinking that while this was legitimately news up to a point, the endless hours of “coverage” (in actuality, almost entirely blather) was bizarre. Little did I realize that that was to become the norm.

  26. MT
    September 1, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    This article fails to cover the actual subject it purports to define. What is almost exclusively talked about in this article is irrelevant news and obfuscation, otherwise known as “Infotainment.” Journalists started screaming about this way back in the 1970s: the movie “Network” largely deals with the paradigm shift which reemerged during this period. “Remerged” because it was something that has been there since the beginning of modern newspapers, which by the way, were always largely in the hands of one wealthy capitalist or another. This article deals in case after case of media manipulation, not fake news. Fake means it isn’t real; OJ was real. He did drive the Bronco, he did go on trial. And it actually was a very important story in many ways. It’s just that the television media doesn’t do analysis well, and the suggestion that there were Cable News glory days before OJ, under Ted Turner of all people, almost made me choke up me tea.

    There is however, an overlooked fake news story that matters in the context of this article, and was reported repeatedly through the late 90s. It killed the discourse and enabled what is happening today and goes back to the dawn of the WWW. Already in the mid 90s I remember an onslaught of stories emerging about “the end of print media” and that digital media would be putting newspapers “out of business.” This was at a time when newspapers had profit margins that most Wall Street companies would and did kill for – a state of affairs that existed well into the 2000s, at a time when Apple was kept afloat by Microsoft and even more mysteriously Jeff Bezos managed to keep Amazon afloat while making losses for over a decade. This fake news story – that print media was not viable or profitable – enabled newspaper proprietors and conglomerates to justify killing newsdesks and laying off shellshocked journalists all over the country, conveniently timed as mentioned when Clinton gave the green light to media consolidation and enabled the emergence of the Infotainment Cartel that reigns today. Paper after paper was merged or closed, not because they weren’t making good money, but because the Narrative said they would not be making money in 10 years and so were not a good investment. It’s the same speculative “mechanism” (i.e. spreading a massive lie) that allowed private equity firms and hedge funders like Soros to get weathy at the expense of entire nations by creating panic and confusion and profiting from the resulting carnage. It paved the way for stressed understaffed newsrooms in the post 9/11 climate to run government VNRs and corporate press releases as their “product.” It still allows them to run advertisement “features” that are disguised as articles. Editorial integrity be damned.

    Yet the Internet still overwhelmingly relies on these “unprofitable” “dinosaur” outlets for “news.” Quelle surprise. Today however, that “news” is defined by this Infotainment Cartel in their direct interests. It’s not “fake” news – it’s just obfuscation, distraction and garbage. Pointing to the nefarious or incompetent journalism of the Infotainment Cartel and calling it “fake” is being just as misrepresentative as those who are being accused. It is imperative at these times to define ourselves and our arguments well or not at all, otherwise we just degenerate into childish name calling. Additionally, suggesting that the downsizing that led to this was all about the “bottom line” is falling for another massive falsehood – the 7% rule has long since been debunked. This was about multinational corporations controlling the Narrative, pure and simple. What’s the first this you do in a revolution? Take control of the media. Globalization was the revolutionary agenda, and they took it and ran with it. With a little help from their friends in “government”…

    Putting aside the historical yellow journalism of the tabloid press, Fake News is now almost exclusively being created online, for the benefit of disgruntled plebs that are tired of the garbage and want to know why they’re unemployed or working two jobs, why their entire community is living with upside down mortgages or forclosures, their mom is addicted to Fentanyl and they can’t afford their kid’s schooling. Fake news has become the online alternative, created by Intelligence agencies and corporations; foreign and domestic, to deal with the inevitable fall out of Globalization. It rarely comes from the Infotainment Cartel. It’s about Illuminati, Lizard People and Lucifarians. It’s about Aliens and Al Qaeda, Anonymous and Antifa. It’s telling people they need to be terrified of Ebola, Ecoterrorists and Vitamin Supplements. It conveniently allows the Infotainment Cartel to report on “Fake News” but not be tarnished by it – that’s the point. David Icke and Alex Jones do a wonderful and lucrative job (one can only speculate on who their actual paymasters are) of providing a nice, fun little narrative for the Cartel, who can reassure their loyal and still bewildered public that it’s “those Conspiracy guys” who are not to be trusted.

    There is, however, one more all too familiar fake story (probably why it’s not mentioned in the article) that the Infotainment Cartel did actually propagate, which now, even they are realising was a desperate, terrified, line-crossing reaction to the defeat of Billary. That story of course was that Russia hacked the election. Of course Russia meddled (duh) – name me a country of stature that doesn’t meddle in the US politics (God Save the Queen.) But they didn’t directly interfere in the voting process – that was an outright lie they dutifully reported time and time again, because they just desperately wanted to believe it when Big Daddy Clapper told them so. Most of the US public aren’t falling for it, or don’t give a damn because they still hate Hillary so much – that’s why Trump was able to joke about the Russians on the campaign trail. This ain’t going anywhere. Critical skills are critical skills – we’ve always needed them, because we’ve always had bad journalism, but few have ever had them.

    Indulging in the failing Fake News trope, whatever side you’re on, only helps a phoney Narrative; it’s being part of, not countering, the irrelevancy. Just keep reporting what matters. We’ve had enough of overstatement and the obvious – give me news.

  27. hatedbyu
    September 3, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    i would like to leave everyone with a simple quote(that i will paraqhrase) that i heard somewhere along the way of my travels…..

    the job of the media in this country is the same as any other industry. they manufacture a product. nothing more.
    in the case of our press, THEY MANUFACTURE CONSENT…..

    i have read so many quotes over the years by press people that attest to this.

    as an adjunct to this quote i would like to add that they also manufacture outrage(which in itself is a precursor to consent)

  28. September 4, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    JP

    I think the “fake news crisis” is much worse than you imagine. Regarding many important the fake news media turn the truth upside down. Take Syria for example: the “fake news” pretend Al Qaeda and associated head cutters are the good guys. And after cheering the US-led destruction of Libya – a state that had given away WMD in exchange for US peace promises – the “fake news” pretend they do not understand why people in the DPRK prefer to have WMDs instead of giving them away in exchange for US peace promises. The fake media are almost ridiculous, constantly peddling such bold hypocrisy

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