MIT Professor and free speech icon Noam Chomsky has responded to the no platforming of Alex Jones by asserting that Big Tech was wrong to ban Infowars.
This week, Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and numerous other Silicon Valley giants censored Infowars, with Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg personally taking the decision to do so in the case of Apple and Facebook.
Chomsky, who is internationally renowned as an authority on free speech issues, was asked by inventor and encryption expert Louis Buff Parry what his position was on Infowars being shut down by Big Tech.
Responding from his official MIT email address, Chomsky wrote, “What I’ve seen of what he does is outrageous, but unlike many civil libertarians here and especially in other countries, I don’t think that the right way to deal with “hate speech” and crazed fabrications is to ban them; rather, to confront them, and to seek and confront the reasons why anyone pays a moment’s attention to them.”
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“The real story about marginalization of opinion and information is, as always, radically different, and undiscussed,” he concluded.
Chomsky also made clear that he was no fan of Jones, asserting that he thought the interview he did with the Infowars host in May 2001 was “ridiculous”.
Parry himself strongly defended Infowars in the email exchange, arguing, “Free speech is free speech and multinational cabals must be checked, particularly when their monopoly corporate decisions lead to the reduction of our free speech rights.”
Parry went on to explain how he was born into the free speech movement in Berkeley in the 60’s, before asserting, “Multinational corporations with no duty or loyalty to anyone have set out to collectively undermine the free speech rights of us all.”
“Who do these hidden rulers of the world think they are to form this kind of cabal?” asked Parry.
Noam Chomsky is one of a dying breed – a real liberal who still supports what used to be liberal principles.
He has consistently defended free speech, including when he asserted, “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like.”
Among the more interesting revelations to surface as legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh continues a book tour and gives interviews discussing his newly published autobiography, Reporter: A Memoir,is that he never set out to write it at all, but was actually deeply engaged in writing a massive exposé of Dick Cheney — a project he decided couldn’t ultimately be published in the current climate of aggressive persecution of whistleblowers which became especially intense during the Obama years.
Hersh has pointed out he worries his sources risk exposure while taking on the Cheney book, which ultimately resulted in the famed reporter opting to write an in-depth account of his storied career instead — itself full of previously hidden details connected with major historical events and state secrets.
In a recent wide-ranging interview with the UK Independent, Hersh is finally asked to discuss in-depth some of the controversial investigative stories he’s written on Syria, Russia-US intelligence sharing, and the Osama bin Laden death narrative, which have gotten the Pulitzer Prize winner and five-time Polk Award recipient essentially blacklisted from his regular publication, TheNewYorker magazine, for which he broke stories of monumental importance for decades.
Though few would disagree that Hersh “has single-handedly broken more stories of genuine world-historical significance than any reporter alive (or dead, perhaps)”— as The Nation put it— the man who exposed shocking cover-ups like the My Lai Massacre, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the truth behind the downing of Korean Air Flight 007, has lately been shunned and even attacked by the American mainstream media especially over his controversial coverage of Syria and the bin Laden raid in 2011.
The Post story begins by acknowledging,“But Sy Hersh now has a problem: He thinks 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue lied about the death of Osama bin Laden, and it seems nearly everyone is mad at him for saying so”— before proceeding to take a sledgehammer to Hersh’s findings while painting him as some kind of conspiracy theorist (Hersh published the bin Laden story for the London Review of Books after his usual New Yorker rejected it).
However, the mainstream pundits piling on against his reporting of late ignore the clearly establish historical pattern when it comes to Hersh: nearly all of the biggest stories of his career were initially met with incredulity and severe push back from both government officials and even his fellow journalists, and yet he’s managed to emerge proven right and ultimately vindicated time and again.
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Here are ten bombshell revelations and fascinating new details to lately come out of both Sy Hersh’s new book, Reporter, as well as interviews he’s given since publication…
1) On a leaked Bush-era intelligence memo outlining the neocon plan to remake the Middle East
(Note: though previously alluded to only anecdotally by General Wesley Clark in his memoir and in a 2007 speech, the below passage from Seymour Hersh is to our knowledge the first time this highly classified memo has been quoted. Hersh’s account appears to corroborate now retired Gen. Clark’s assertion that days after 9/11 a classified memo outlining plans to foster regime change in “7 countries in 5 years” was being circulated among intelligence officials.)
From Reporter: A Memoir pg. 306 — A few months after the invasion of Iraq, during an interview overseas with a general who was director of a foreign intelligence service, I was provided with a copy of a Republican neocon plan for American dominance in the Middle East. The general was an American ally, but one who was very rattled by the Bush/Cheney aggression. I was told that the document leaked to me initially had been obtained by someone in the local CIA station. There was reason to be rattled: The document declared that the war to reshape the Middle East had to begin “with the assault on Iraq. The fundamental reason for this… is that the war will start making the U.S. the hegemon of the Middle East. The correlative reason is to make the region feel in its bones, as it were, the seriousness of American intent and determination.” Victory in Iraq would lead to an ultimatum to Damascus, the “defanging” of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, and other anti-Israeli groups. America’s enemies must understand that “they are fighting for their life: Pax Americana is on its way, which implies their annihilation.” I and the foreign general agreed that America’s neocons were a menace to civilization.
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2) On early regime change plans in Syria
From Reporter: A Memoir pages 306-307 — Donald Rumsfeld was also infected with neocon fantasy. Turkey had refused to permit America’s Fourth Division to join the attack of Iraq from its territory, and the division, with its twenty-five thousand men and women, did not arrive in force inside Iraq until mid-April, when the initial fighting was essentially over. I learned then that Rumsfeld had asked the American military command in Stuttgart, Germany, which had responsibility for monitoring Europe, including Syria and Lebanon, to begin drawing up an operational plan for an invasion of Syria.A young general assigned to the task refused to do so, thereby winning applause from my friends on the inside and risking his career. The plan was seen by those I knew as especially bizarre because Bashar Assad, the ruler of secular Syria, had responded to 9/11 by sharing with the CIA hundreds of his country’s most sensitive intelligence files on the Muslim Brotherhood in Hamburg, where much of the planning for 9/11 was carried out… Rumsfeld eventually came to his senses and back down, I was told…
3) On the Neocon deep state which seized power after 9/11
From Reporter: A Memoir pages 305-306 — I began to comprehend that eight or nine neoconservatives who were political outsiders in the Clinton years had essentially overthrown the government of the United States — with ease. It was stunning to realize how fragile our Constitution was. The intellectual leaders of that group — Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle — had not hidden their ideology and their belief in the power of the executive but depicted themselves in public with a great calmness and a self-assurance that masked their radicalism. I had spent many hours after 9/11 in conversations with Perle that, luckily for me, helped me understand what was coming. (Perle and I had been chatting about policy since the early 1980s, but he broke off relations in 1993 over an article I did for The New Yorker linking him, a fervent supporter of Israel, to a series of meetings with Saudi businessmen in an attempt to land a multibillion-dollar contract from Saudi Arabia. Perle responded by publicly threatening to sue me and characterizing me as a newspaper terrorist. He did not sue.
Meanwhile, Cheney had emerged as a leader of the neocon pack. From 9/11 on he did all he could to undermine congressional oversight. I learned a great deal from the inside about his primacy in the White House, but once again I was limited in what I would write for fear of betraying my sources…
I came to understand that Cheney’s goal was to run his most important military and intelligence operations with as little congressional knowledge, and interference, as possible. I was fascinating and important to learn what I did about Cheney’s constant accumulation of power and authority as vice president, but it was impossible to even begin to verify the information without running the risk that Cheney would learn of my questioning and have a good idea from whom I was getting the information.
4) On Russian meddling in the US election
From the recent Independent interview based on his autobiography — Hersh has vociferously strong opinions on the subject and smells a rat. He states that there is “a great deal of animosity towards Russia. All of that stuff about Russia hacking the election appears to be preposterous.” He has been researching the subject but is not ready to go public… yet.
Hersh quips that the last time he heard the US defense establishment have high confidence, it was regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He points out that the NSA only has moderate confidence in Russian hacking. It is a point that has been made before; there has been no national intelligence estimate in which all 17 US intelligence agencies would have to sign off. “When the intel community wants to say something they say it… High confidence effectively means that they don’t know.”
5) On the Novichok poisoning
From the recent Independent interview — Hersh is also on the record as stating that the official version of the Skripal poisoning does not stand up to scrutiny. He tells me: “The story of novichok poisoning has not held up very well. He [Skripal] was most likely talking to British intelligence services about Russian organised crime.” The unfortunate turn of events with the contamination of other victims is suggestive, according to Hersh, of organised crime elements rather than state-sponsored actions –though this files in the face of the UK government’s position.
Hersh modestly points out that these are just his opinions. Opinions or not, he is scathing on Obama – “a trimmer … articulate [but] … far from a radical … a middleman”. During his Goldsmiths talk, he remarks that liberal critics underestimate Trump at their peril.
He ends the Goldsmiths talk with an anecdote about having lunch with his sources in the wake of 9/11. He vents his anger at the agencies for not sharing information. One of his CIA sources fires back: “Sy you still don’t get it after all these years – the FBI catches bank robbers, the CIA robs banks.” It is a delicious, if cryptic aphorism.
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6) On the Bush-era ‘Redirection’ policy of arming Sunni radicals to counter Shia Iran, which in a 2007 New Yorker article Hersh accurately predicted would set off war in Syria
From the Independent interview: [Hersh] tells me it is “amazing how many times that story has been reprinted”. I ask about his argument that US policy was designed to neutralize the Shia sphere extending from Iran to Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon and hence redraw the Sykes-Picot boundaries for the 21st century.
He goes on to say that Bush and Cheney “had it in for Iran”, although he denies the idea that Iran was heavily involved in Iraq: “They were providing intel, collecting intel … The US did many cross-border hunts to kill ops [with] much more aggression than Iran”…
He believes that the Trump administration has no memory of this approach. I’m sure though that the military-industrial complex has a longer memory…
I press him on the RAND and Stratfor reports including one authored by Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz in which they envisage deliberate ethno-sectarian partitioning of Iraq. Hersh ruefully states that: “The day after 9/11 we should have gone to Russia. We did the one thing that George Kennan warned us never to do – to expand NATO too far.”
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7) On the official 9/11 narrative
From the Independent interview: We end up ruminating about 9/11, perhaps because it is another narrative ripe for deconstruction by sceptics. Polling shows that a significant proportion of the American public believes there is more to the truth. These doubts have been reinforced by the declassification of the suppressed 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report last year undermining the version that a group of terrorists acting independently managed to pull off the attacks. The implication is that they may well have been state-sponsored with the Saudis potentially involved.
Hersh tells me: “I don’t necessarily buy the story that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. We really don’t have an ending to the story. I’ve known people in the [intelligence] community. We don’t know anything empirical about who did what”. He continues: “The guy was living in a cave. He really didn’t know much English. He was pretty bright and he had a lot of hatred for the US. We respond by attacking the Taliban. Eighteen years later… How’s it going guys?”
8) On the media and the morality of the powerful
From a recent The Intercept interview and book review—If Hersh were a superhero, this would be his origin story. Two hundred and seventy-four pages after the Chicago anecdote, he describes his coverage of a massive slaughter of Iraqi troops and civilians by the U.S. in 1991 after a ceasefire had ended the Persian Gulf War. America’s indifference to this massacre was, Hersh writes, “a reminder of the Vietnam War’s MGR, for Mere Gook Rule: If it’s a murdered or raped gook, there is no crime.” It was also, he adds, a reminder of something else: “I had learned a domestic version of that rule decades earlier” in Chicago.
“Reporter” demonstrates that Hersh has derived three simple lessons from that rule:
The powerful prey mercilessly upon the powerless, up to and including mass murder.
The powerful lie constantly about their predations.
The natural instinct of the media is to let the powerful get away with it.
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9)On the time President Lyndon B. Johnson expressed his displeasure to a reporter over a Vietnam piece by defecating on the ground in front of him
From Reporter: A Memoir pages 201-202 — Tom [Wicker] got into the car and the two of them sped off down a dusty dirt road. No words were spoken. After a moment or two, Johnson once again slammed on the brakes, wheeling to a halt near a stand of trees. Leaving the motor running, he climbed out, walked a few dozen feet toward the trees, stopped, pulled down his pants, and defecated, in full view. The President wiped himself with leaves and grass, pulled up his pants, climbed into the car, turned in around, and sped back to the press gathering. Once there, again the brakes were slammed on, and Tom was motioned out. All of this was done without a word being spoken.
…”I knew then,” Tom told me, “that the son of a bitch was never going to end the war.”
10) On Sy’s “most troublesome article” for which his own family received death threats
From Reporter: A Memoir pages 263-264 — The most troublesome article I did, as someone not on the staff of the newspaper, came in June 1986 and dealt with American signals intelligence showing that General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the dictator who ran Panama, had authorized the assassination of a popular political opponent. At the time, Noriega was actively involved in supplying the Reagan administration with what was said to be intelligence on the spread of communism in Central America. Noriega also permitted American military and intelligence units to operate with impunity, in secret, from bases in Panama, and the Americans, in return, looked the other way while the general dealt openly in drugs and arms. The story was published just as Noriega was giving a speech at Harvard University and created embarrassment for him, and for Harvard, along with a very disturbing telephone threat at home, directed not at me but at my family.
Economic expert and journalist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says the ideas of the elite are awful, and they want to suppress free speech to get their policies instituted. Dr. Roberts explains,
“The agendas of the elite are hidden. They are not something the American people would support. The elite are fearful that their cover stories are so thin that if truth can be shown on their agendas, they will be discredited. They will lose their abilities to impose their agendas. So, they are closing down truth tellers in order to maintain control over explanations. Alex Jones is a threat to the elites’ control over the explanations…
They are sending the message that says get onboard with the official explanations or we terminate you.”
Dr. Roberts goes on to ask, “Why is this possible?”
“It is possible because the antitrust laws of the United States have not been enforced. These are all monopolies. Monopoly is against the law. It’s against the Sherman Antitrust Act, but they don’t enforce it because they’re so powerful. They just prevent the law being enforced. Plus, they have the neo-liberal economists saying that today you have to be a monopoly to compete globally…
It’s a lie, but it’s a cover for having just a few people controlling information.”
Dr. Roberts says big tech companies are too big to function fairly. Dr. Roberts explains,
“They should be broken up, or they should be nationalized or actually they should be arrested… They are part of a plot.
They are engaged in high treason against the government of the United States. If I was the Attorney General, I would have all of them arrested and put in solitary confinement awaiting trial. That’s where they belong. That’s where Google belongs along with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Spotify, The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and NPR.
They are all involved in a plot to overthrow the President. So, they would all be arrested and put in jail…Why aren’t they? Well, Trump just doesn’t have the power. They are stronger than he is. . . . There is not an ounce of integrity in the media.”
Why is the mainstream media (MSM) and the Deep State fighting so hard against Trump? Dr. Roberts contends,
“All this started during the Presidential campaign when Trump started normalizing relations with Russia. It would be good for both of us, both countries. That’s when they cooked this up (Russian collusion with Trump campaign). They said, oh my gosh, we can’t have that. All the money we wallow in, the excuse for it, will be gone. That’s the main factor here, and it’s a huge sum of money. So, they are going to fight to the death over it.”
Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary and Wall Street Journal editor, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.
(This post talks about the attempt to remove Donald Trump from office, the corrupt MSM, and the huge money behind the treason.)
After the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute got suspended on Twitter, the former congressman from Texas told RT that social media crackdowns are part of a broader effort to silence dissent in the US.
While social media could be a “real delight” and very informative, the biggest role social networks are playing is “working with the government,” Ron Paul told RT on Tuesday. The government is indirectly regulating speech through companies like Twitter and Facebook, he added.
“You get accused of treasonous activity and treasonous speech because in an empire of lies the truth is treason,” Paul said. “Challenging the status quo is what they can’t stand and it unnerves them, so they have to silence people.”
Paul served in the House of Representatives for over 25 years before retiring in 2013 and setting up the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. The institute’s executive director, Daniel McAdams, found himself suspended from Twitter on Monday, apparently for retweeting a comment by radio show host Scott Horton.
Horton, who is also the editorial director of Antiwar.com, was suspended for criticizing journalist Jonathan M. Katz, after Katz complained to Twitter and got former former State Department employee and author Peter Van Buren banned from the platform.
“I’m just hoping that technology can stay ahead of it all and that we can have real alternatives to the dependency on Twitter and other companies that have been working hand in glove with the government,” Paul told RT.
“And if we, some of us, tell the truth about our government, they call us treasonous and say we’re speaking out of line and they’d like to punish us, and I think that’s part of what’s happening with social media,” he added.
The average movie watcher might be in for a shock at what films are actually included, garnering the military industrial complex’s propaganda touch, like Earnest Saves Christmas, Karate Kid 2, The Silence of the Lambs, Twister, the Iron Man movies, and more recently Pitch Perfect 3.
A year ago we featured a detailed report by authors Tom Secker and Matthew Alford exposing just how vast the Pentagon and CIA programs for partnering with Hollywood actually are, based on some 4,000 new pages of formerly classified archived documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
The report noted at the time that “These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles.”
Reviewing the ever expanding list, the average movie watcher might be in for a shock at what films are actually included — there are the more predictable ones like Black Hawk Down, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lone Survivor; but also entirely unexpected ones that apparently needed the military-industrial complex’s propaganda touch like Earnest Saves Christmas, Karate Kid 2, The Silence of the Lambs, Twister, the Iron Man movies, and more recently Pitch Perfect 3.
When a Hollywood writer or producer approaches the Pentagon and asks for access to military assets to help make their film, they have to submit their script to the entertainment liaison offices for vetting. Ultimately, the man with the final say is Phil Strub, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) chief Hollywood liaison, who has been at the helm of this formerly semi-secret department going all the way back to 1989.
If there are characters, action or dialogue that the DOD doesn’t approve of then the film-maker has to make changes to accommodate the military’s demands. If they refuse then the Pentagon packs up its toys and goes home. To obtain full cooperation the producers have to sign contracts, called Production Assistance Agreements, which lock them into using a military-approved version of the script.
The report rightly noted that while Americans generally pride themselves on living in a free speech anti-censorship society, while simultaneously mocking the propaganda examples in places like Russia or China, the US public is subject to more homegrown state-run propaganda than it thinks:
Military pageantry in Russia, massive rallies in North Korea, blunt messaging from China. We cluck at shameless self-aggrandizing when we see it overseas. But it doesn’t take much effort to see that American propaganda is everywhere, too. It’s not government-made, and it’s not quite as brazen as its counterpart from abroad. But it’s here, and to ignore that a piece of content is, at its core, propaganda — especially these days, while Trump openly pines for grand army parades — is a mistake. “There’s all kinds of ways to make an ideological point,” Harris added. “Sometimes I do think we’re not attuned enough. We do not look hard enough for propaganda.”’
And what’s more, unlike in authoritarian systems, in the West it is the consumers that are actually willing, if perhaps unwitting, participants in state propaganda. The Outline report continues:
Certainly, the content has alternative, sincere agendas, too, but it’s the giant, amorphous market of consumers that has called it forth. That’s the difference between our propaganda and everyone else’s. In autocratic regimes, a government-backed entity pushes it onto indifferent or unwilling consumers. In America, we, the consumers, happily demand it.
Want to see what Hollywood films — some recent and some going back decades — that you’ve seen but were unaware had the US Department of Defense’s official imprimatur?
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Below is a merely partial list of films in alphabetical order that had Pentagon involvement either during the script or production phase, according to declassified US government documents. Amazingly the list of 410 movies is but half of the total number (for example, Zero Dark Thirty and some other prominent ones are not on there) and was compiled by the FOIA investigative website Spy Culture.
Mainstream media is rapidly losing the trust of its general audience, partly spurred on by Donald Trump’s frontal attack on mainstream ‘Fake News’ sources, but also inevitably due to our general awakening to the fact that presenting news can easily be spun towards a particular narrative, and that the rich and powerful people who own mainstream media use it to promote a particular agenda, both in what they choose to present and, sometimes more importantly, what they choose to ignore.
Severe Polling Numbers
At the risk of putting too much weight on statistics generated by established national polling agencies, who sometimes themselves have been accused of slanting their studies in a particular direction, let’s see what several of the recent polls conducted on public trust in national media outlets tells us:
22.5%: Information from National News Organizations is trustworthy (Average of Dem 34%, Rep 11%).
Certainly these numbers suggest that we are nearing some kind of breaking point. It is one thing to have a society where small groups of renegades are working covertly, for fear of their lives, trying to reveal hidden information that most of the population is scarcely aware of.
Here, a majority of the population believes that the way in which mainstream media dispenses news is purposely misleading and based on agendas of control and this disempowerment of citizens.
This is anything but the objective reporting of the facts about events as they happen, which was our general perception of news broadcasting in earlier times.
Not Like The Old Days
It was 1972 when a survey was conducted that found CBS Broadcaster Walter Cronkite as ‘The Most Trusted Man in America,’ a moniker that would stick with him for pretty much his entire broadcasting career.
Walter Cronkite’s iconic sign-off – “and that’s the way it is” – was taken at face value by the nation. If Cronkite reported it – that’s really the way it was.
Walter’s influence, trust and journalistic accomplishments – he won virtually every award the industry offered – set the standard for journalism for the nation and the world. He wasn’t the most educated or the best-looking newsman, but he was perhaps the most diligent.
Cronkite was committed to delivering accurate news, refusing to report stories until they were validated and vetted. Cronkite, the main influence at CBS News, chose to err on the side of valid news rather than being first to break a story. — article
All this is not to say that deception and narrative-building were not going on in mainstream broadcasting at this time; it was just easier to control the information and evidence, such that only the highest echelon executives — or the government and corporate forces that had the executives’ ear about what to report on and what not to report on — really understood the way that a controlled and slanted narrative was being promoted.
No one was arguing, as an example, that the ‘Gulf of Tonkin Incident’ was a false-flag operation instead of a legitimate reason for the United States to enter the Vietnam War.
Certainly, mainstream media sources could legitimately claim to be ‘independent’ in some ways rather than the obvious mouthpiece for controlled narratives that they are today.
Crises Of Conscience For Mainstream Media Employees?
I think about the many reporters, journalists, researchers, and broadcasters who have long been part of the mainstream media machine and have their careers invested in continuing to follow the party line.
I’m sure there have been many good people in those positions who have been putting in an honest day’s work year after year. Now well-established in their chosen careers, are they beginning to be conflicted as to whether they should continue to be part of a propaganda machine?
Or are many burying their head in the sand and ignore the dictates of their growing awareness and understanding of how things really work in their industry?
With the rise of the Internet and smartphone video, with the possibility of on-the-scene witnesses constantly recording information that goes against the mainstream narrative, it is getting harder and harder to create false narratives and convince even the people who put together these mainstream tales that the story is objective and true.
During crisis events, there are more blackouts and blockades now than ever before.
And, if you have noticed, there is less journalistic eye-witness reporting; often this has been replaced with a long and confusing wait until the chosen narrative of the event takes shape from the back rooms.
What is it like to be in a position where more and more of those who are putting the pieces together are told to stand down, to not speak about what they saw, to not follow a line of investigation, to simply repeat what they are told to say?
It may not be long before this all implodes from the inside, let alone from the pressure from all of us on the outside demanding truth and transparency in ever-increasing numbers.
“Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours…. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”
— Neil Postman
Americans have a voracious appetite for TV entertainment, and the Trump reality show—guest starring outraged Democrats, power-hungry Republicans, and a hodgepodge of other special interest groups with dubious motives—feeds that appetite for titillating, soap opera drama.
After all, who needs the insults, narcissism and power plays that are hallmarks of reality shows when you can have all that and more delivered up by the likes of Donald Trump and his cohorts?
Yet as John Lennon reminds us, “nothing is real,” especially not in the world of politics.
In other words, it’s all fake, i.e. manufactured, i.e. manipulated to distort reality.
Indeed, the political scene in the United States has devolved over the years into a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population.
This is the magic of the reality TV programming that passes for politics today.
As long as we are distracted, entertained, occasionally outraged, always polarized but largely uninvolved and content to remain in the viewer’s seat, we’ll never manage to present a unified front against tyranny (or government corruption and ineptitude) in any form.
The more that is beamed at us, the more inclined we are to settle back in our comfy recliners and become passive viewers rather than active participants as unsettling, frightening events unfold.
Reality and fiction merge as everything around us becomes entertainment fodder.
We don’t even have to change the channel when the subject matter becomes too monotonous. That’s taken care of for us by the programmers (the corporate media).
“Living is easy with eyes closed,” says Lennon, and that’s exactly what reality TV that masquerades as American politics programs the citizenry to do: navigate the world with their eyes shut.
As long as we’re viewers, we’ll never be doers.
Studies suggest that the more reality TV people watch—and I would posit that it’s all reality TV, entertainment news included—the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between what is real and what is carefully crafted farce.
“We the people” are watching a lot of TV.
This doesn’t bode well for a citizenry able to sift through masterfully-produced propaganda in order to think critically about the issues of the day, whether it’s fake news peddled by government agencies or foreign entities.
Look behind the political spectacles, the reality TV theatrics, the sleight-of-hand distractions and diversions, and the stomach-churning, nail-biting drama, and you will find there is a method to the madness.
We have become guinea pigs in a ruthlessly calculated, carefully orchestrated, chillingly cold-blooded experiment in how to control a population and advance a political agenda without much opposition from the citizenry.
This is mind-control in its most sinister form.
Truth is often lost when we fail to distinguish between opinion and fact, and that is the danger we now face as a society.
Given the preponderance of news-as-entertainment programming, it’s no wonder that viewers have largely lost the ability to think critically and analytically and differentiate between truth and propaganda, especially when delivered by way of fake news criers and politicians.
While television news cannot—and should not—be completely avoided, the following suggestions will help you better understand the nature of TV news.
1. TV news is not what happened. Rather, it is what someone thinks is worth reporting. While viewers are often inclined to take what is reported by television “news” hosts at face value, it is your responsibility to judge and analyze what is reported.
2. TV news is entertainment. There is a reason why the programs you watch are called news “shows.” It’s a signal that the so-called news is being delivered as a form of entertainment. Although the news items spoon-fed to you may have some value, they are primarily a commodity to gather an audience, which will in turn be sold to advertisers.
3. Never underestimate the power of commercials, especially to news audiences. In an average household, the television set is on over seven hours a day. Most people, believing themselves to be in control of their media consumption, are not really bothered by this. But TV is a two-way attack: it not only delivers programming to your home, it also delivers you (the consumer) to a sponsor.
4. It is vitally important to learn about the economic and political interests of those who own the “corporate” media. Even those “fake” news outlets denounced by Trump are enjoying significant sales and ratings boosts as a result of Trump’s so-called war on the media. In other words, to a dying news industry, the Trump presidency has been great for business.
5. Pay special attention to the language of newscasts. TV by its very nature manipulates viewers. One must never forget that every television minute has been edited.
6. Reduce by at least one-half the amount of TV news you watch. Do not form your concept of reality based on television.
7. Watching TV news gives the illusion of participation in American life. Americans should beware of letting others—whether they be television news hosts, political commentators or media corporations—do their thinking for them.
As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, a populace that cannot think for themselves is a populace with its backs to the walls: mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all.
It’s time to change the channel, tune out the reality TV show, and push back against the real menace of the police state. If not, if we continue to sit back and lose ourselves in political programming, we will remain a captive audience to a farce that grows more absurd by the minute.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone