Sultan Knish: The Media’s Political Suicide

Daniel Greenfield of the Sultan Knish blog writes about the end of news media and its replacement with political hit pieces in The Media’s Political Suicide.

…The media still insists that it’s objective, trustworthy and seeking the truth. But those slogans are the leftovers of an older generation that at least believed in hypocritically mouthing such pieties. The new generation, the one leading the purge at the New York Times, doesn’t even believe in the pieties.

The campaigns, like those that hijacked the Times, are coordinated by political allies from different media outlets across social media. The participants in this new collegiality view journalism as a form of advocacy for their political agenda. They have no commitment to the organization they work for, only to the larger movement of which they are operatives, coordinating to undermine their own organizations.

In the leftist non-profit realm, organizations are just shells for an agenda and they can be jettisoned, renamed, or swapped out at the right time. As the media falls into that category, publications become mere brands to be tied to a fake news narrative, and tossed aside when they’re no longer getting clicks.

The weight of the name on the masthead matters much less than the ability of the activists it employs to appear influential by picking fights on social media. Media publications no longer serve a community, but a narrative, and constantly swapping out publication names helps make the narrative seem fresh.

The end result is State News, a product that closely resembles the government news networks in China or Russia, but which is still distributed across a variety of organizations and which is controlled by social media narratives coordinated across social networks rather than by a central government agency.

At least for now.

“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor,” Bari Weiss wrote in her resignation letter to the New York Times.

Twitter is the media’s editor. Its platform provides the content that fills the media, but it also makes the infrastructure of the media surplus to requirements. The medium is the message and the medium of Twitter is 280 characters. As Weiss notes, “the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space.”

But the real performance space is on Twitter where content is consumed and debated much more rapidly in short form than in the long form pages of the New York Times. As the media transforms into a pure instrument of political advocacy whose antics play out on social media, there’s less and less use for the expensive billion-dollar operations, the newspapers, channels, and even the sites of the media.

Media bosses keep saying that their future is digital. But that digital future is a Twitter debate.

The only reason to read long form articles is to find out the details of a story or experience new ideas, but when writing exists to reinforce what readers already believe, then it doesn’t need to be read.

Hardly anyone bothered reading Soviet papers because everyone already knew what was in them.

A media that exists to tweet articles about Trump’s terribleness and a story about an oppressed person whose plight proves the need to have open borders, no police, and free everything is unreadable. Not just to conservatives, but to everyone who isn’t looking for a righteousness or rage fix in the morning.

The media envisions its own transformation into public service non-profits subsidized by dot com tycoons and then eventually the benevolent socialist state that will pay its members to put out propaganda that nobody reads. This act of literary suicide for power and profit is its real legacy.

The media has been killing cities and the country to buy a little more time for its existence. But it is becoming a zombie that is killing the basis for its own existence and then the very thing that it does.

The members of the media began by killing their ethics and morals. They tossed away the truth as a value and a goal. They turned on their colleagues, incited mobs, celebrated violence and terror. And then they set out to destroy the organizations they worked for and the country that they live in.

Their final act of political suicide will be to kill their own writing.

Click here to read the entire article at Sultan Knish.

Wikipedia Co-Founder Larry Sanger Says Site Is Badly Biased Against Conservatives

This will come as no surprise to most readers here, but Larry Sanger, co-founder of encyclopedic site Wikipedia.com, says that the site has lost its original neutral point of view and is now badly biased against conservative viewpoints. Many people consider the site as the go to place to find information about various topics and things, as a launching point for further research or as the end of their research, so it is sad that it has devolved into such unreliable disarray.

Wikipedia’s “NPOV” is dead.1 The original policy long since forgotten, Wikipedia no longer has an effective neutrality policy. There is a rewritten policy, but it endorses the utterly bankrupt canard that journalists should avoid what they call “false balance.”2 The notion that we should avoid “false balance” is directly contradictory to the original neutrality policy. As a result, even as journalists turn to opinion and activism, Wikipedia now touts controversial points of view on politics, religion, and science. Here are some examples from each of these subjects, which were easy to find, no hunting around. Many, many more could be given.

Wikipedia’s favorite president?

Examples have become embarrassingly easy to find. The Barack Obama article completely fails to mention many well-known scandals: Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the AP phone records scandal, and Fast and Furious, to say nothing of Solyndra or the Hillary Clinton email server scandal—or, of course, the developing “Obamagate” story in which Obama was personally involved in surveilling Donald Trump. A fair article about a major political figure certainly must include the bad with the good. The only scandals that I could find that were mentioned were a few that the left finds at least a little scandalous, such as Snowden’s revelations about NSA activities under Obama. In short, the article is almost a total whitewash. You might find this to be objectively correct; but you cannot claim that this is a neutral treatment, considering that the other major U.S. party would treat it differently. On such a topic, neutrality in any sense worth the name essentially requires that readers not be able to detect the editors’ political alignment.

Not Wikipedia’s favorite president

Meanwhile, as you can imagine, the idea that the Donald Trump article is neutral is a joke. Just for example, there are 5,224 none-too-flattering words in the “Presidency” section. By contrast, the following “Public Profile” (which the Obama article entirely lacks), “Investigations,” and “Impeachment” sections are unrelentingly negative, and together add up to some 4,545 words—in other words, the controversy sections are almost as long as the sections about his presidency. Common words in the article are “false” and “falsely” (46 instances): Wikipedia frequently asserts, in its own voice, that many of Trump’s statements are “false.” Well, perhaps they are. But even if they are, it is not exactly neutral for an encyclopedia article to say so, especially without attribution. You might approve of Wikipedia describing Trump’s incorrect statements as “false,” very well; but then you must admit that you no longer support a policy of neutrality on Wikipedia.

I leave the glowing Hillary Clinton article as an exercise for the reader.

“Prior to prohibition, cannabis was available freely in a variety of forms,” says Wikipedia, helpfully.

Wikipedia can be counted on to cover not just political figures, but political issues as well from a liberal-left point of view. No conservative would write, in an abortion article, “When properly done, abortion is one of the safest procedures in medicine,” a claim that is questionable on its face, considering what an invasive, psychologically distressing, and sometimes lengthy procedure it can be even when done according to modern medical practices. More to the point, abortion opponents consider the fetus to be a human being with rights; their view, that it is not safe for the baby, is utterly ignored. To pick another, random issue, drug legalization, dubbed drug liberalization by Wikipedia, has only a little information about any potential hazards of drug legalization policies; it mostly serves as a brief for legalization, followed by a catalog of drug policies worldwide. Or to take an up-to-the-minute issue, the LGBT adoption article includes several talking points in favor of LGBT adoption rights, but omits any arguments against. On all such issues, the point is that true neutrality, to be carefully distinguished from objectivity, requires that the article be written in a way that makes it impossible to determine the editors’ position on the important controversies the article touches on.

Gospel reliability is “uncertain,” Wikipedia says, neutrally.

What about articles on religious topics? The first article I thought to look at had some pretty egregious instances of bias: the Jesus article. It simply asserts, again in its own voice, that “the quest for the historical Jesus has yielded major uncertainty on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how closely the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus.” In another place, the article simply asserts, “the gospels are not independent nor consistent records of Jesus’ life.” A great many Christians would take issue with such statements, which means it is not neutral for that reason—in other words, the very fact that most Christians believe in the historical reliability of the Gospels, and that they are wholly consistent, means that the article is biased if it simply asserts, without attribution or qualification, that this is a matter of “major uncertainty.” In other respects, the article can be fairly described as a “liberal” academic discussion of Jesus, focusing especially on assorted difficulties and controversies, while failing to explain traditional or orthodox views of those issues. So it might be “academic,” but what it is not is neutral in the original sense we defined for Wikipedia.

Of course, similarly tendentious claims can be found in other articles on religious topics, as when the Christ (title) article claims,

Although the original followers of Jesus believed Jesus to be the Jewish messiah, e.g. in the Confession of Peter, Jesus was usually referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth” or “Jesus, son of Joseph”.[11] Jesus came to be called “Jesus Christ” (meaning “Jesus the Khristós”, i.e. “Jesus the Messiah” or “Jesus the Anointed”) by later Christians, who believe that his crucifixion and resurrection fulfill the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.

This article weirdly claims, or implies, a thing that no serious Biblical scholar of any sort would claim, viz., that Jesus was not given the title “Christ” by the original apostles in the New Testament. These supposed “later Christians” who used “Christ” would have to include the apostles Peter (Jesus’ first apostle), Paul (converted a few years after Jesus’ crucifixion), and Jude (Jesus’ brother), who were the authors of the bulk of the epistles of the New Testament. “Christ” can, of course, be found frequently in the epistles.3 Of course, those are not exactly “later Christians.” If the claim is simply that the word “Christ” does not appear much in the Gospels, that is true enough (though it can be found four times in the book of John), but it is also a reflection of the fact that the authors of the Gospels instead used “Messiah,” and quite frequently; the word means much the same as “Christ.” For example, he is called “Jesus the Messiah” in the very first verse of the New Testament (Matthew 1:1). Clearly, these claims are tendentious and represent a point of view that many if not most Christians would dispute.

It may seem more problematic to speak of the bias of scientific articles, because many people do not want to see “unscientific” views covered in encyclopedia articles. If such articles are “biased in favor of science,” some people naturally find that to be a feature, not a bug. The problem, though, is that scientists sometimes do not agree on which theories are and are not scientific. On such issues, the “scientific point of view” and the “objective point of view” according to the Establishment might be very much opposed to neutrality. So when the Establishment seems unified on a certain view of a scientific controversy, then that is the view that is taken for granted, and often aggressively asserted, by Wikipedia.

Neutral information, representing a scientific consensus with no dissent, I’m sure.

The global warming and MMR vaccine articles are examples; I hardly need to dive into these pages, since it is quite enough to say that they endorse definite positions that scientific minorities reject. Another example is how Wikipedia treats various topics in alternative medicine—often dismissively, and frequently labeled as “pseudoscience” in Wikipedia’s own voice. Indeed, Wikipedia defines the very term as follows: “Alternative medicine describes any practice that aims to achieve the healing effects of medicine, but which lacks biological plausibility and is untested, untestable or proven ineffective.” In all these cases, genuine neutrality requires a different sort of treatment.

Again, other examples could be found, in no doubt thousands of other, perfectly unexciting topics. These are just the first topics that came to mind, associated as they are with the culture wars, and their articles on those topics put Wikipedia very decidedly on one side of that war. You should not be able to say that about an encyclopedia that claims to be neutral.

It is time for Wikipedia to come clean and admit that it has abandoned NPOV (i.e., neutrality as a policy). At the very least they should admit that that they have redefined the term in a way that makes it utterly incompatible with its original notion of neutrality, which is the ordinary and common one.4 It might be better to embrace a “credibility” policy and admit that their notion of what is credible does, in fact, bias them against conservatism, traditional religiosity, and minority perspectives on science and medicine—to say nothing of many other topics on which Wikipedia has biases.

Of course, Wikipedians are unlikely to make any such change; they live in a fantasy world of their own making.5

The world would be better served by an independent and decentralized encyclopedia network, such as I proposed with the Encyclosphere. We will certainly develop such a network, but if it is to remain fully independent of all governmental and big corporate interests, funds are naturally scarce and it will take time.


  1. The misbegotten phrase “neutral point of view” is a Jimmy Wales coinage I never supported. If a text is neutral with regard to an issue, it lacks any “point of view” with regard to the issue; it does not take a “neutral point of view.” My preferred phrase was always “the neutrality policy” or “the nonbias policy.”[]
  2. On this, see my “Why Neutrality?“, published 2015 by Ballotpedia.[]
  3. Both in the form “Jesus Christ” (e.g., 1 Peter 1:1, Jude 1:1) and in the form “Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2).[]
  4. That it was Wikipedia’s original notion, see the Nupedia “Lack of Bias” policy, which was the source of Wikipedia’s policy, and see also my final (2001) version of the Wikipedia neutrality policy. Read my “Why Neutrality?” for a lengthy discussion of this notion.[]
  5. UPDATE: In an earlier version of this blog post, I included some screenshots of Wikipedia Alexa rankings, showing a drop from 5 to 12 or 13. While this is perfectly accurate, the traffic to the site has been more or less flat for years, until the last few months, in which traffic spiked probably because of the Covid-19 virus. But since the drop in Alexa rankings do not seem to reflect a drop in traffic, I decided to remove the screenshots and a couple accompanying sentences.[]

Redoubt News: ID Rep. Scott Flips the Narrative on the Media

Here is Redoubt News on attempts by the media and democrats to smear Idaho Rep. Heather Scott and her responses.

There have been multiple media attacks on Washington Rep. Matt Shea over the biased, unofficial report the Democrat leaders in Olympia forced on the taxpayers. Over $100,000 later, they still have not come up with any proof of their outrageous allegations against this man.

As they continue their attempts to smear his good name throughout the Main Stream Media (MSM), they have extended their net to include anyone that was (inadvertently or not) mentioned in the Rampart Group’s Wikipedia-sourced report, specifically Republican elected officials.

Since the goal of the Marxists Media is to make conservatives look as damaging to the public as possible, is it any wonder that no one wants to talk to them? How about when the narrative gets flipped back on them as they get caught in their own sleazy web?

The latest is an attempt by leftist media to scandalize and disgrace the good name of an Idaho legislator, Representative Heather Scott. She saw through the narrative and brought her findings to the public, shining light where the Democrats fear to tread.

A left-wing radical columnist was named as contacting multiple people in his attempts to get someone to talk dirt on Rep. Scott. This author can attest to it as well, as he contacted me during this time asking me to speak about Representative Scott as pertaining to my interview with her here: Exclusive: Idaho Rep. Scott on Liberal Media Attacks

Scott tells you in the video of the Federal Government’s definitions of extremists. She references the DHS Domestic Extremism Lexicon...

Click here to read the entire article at Redoubt News.

Washington Examiner: Virginia Rally Proves the Media Hate Gun Owners

Peaceful protesters at the Virginia rally.

22,000 peaceful protesters attended the January 20th second amendment rights rally in Virginia. Much of the media seemed surprised and disappointed that there was no violence as evidenced by various headlines and commentary.

From Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner:

Reporters and editors at the largest news outlets overwhelmingly dislike and distrust the people demonstrating against Virginia’s proposed gun restrictions. This is clear as day, and every journalist, center-left media critic, and media defender would do well to admit as much.

The media elite hate guns, favor gun control, and bear disdain or at least distrust for those who are passionate about gun rights.

Reporters’ coverage of and reaction to Monday’s Second Amendment demonstration makes that abundantly clear.

For starters, NBC News reporter Ben Collins, again, he’s a reporter, not an opinion writer, flatly and falsely called the demonstration a “white nationalist rally” in a tweet calling on everyone covering it to “verify information” before tweeting it out. Collins has deleted the smear-tweet, but you have to consider the nature of the error.

While deeply thinking about accuracy in tweets, a news reporter falsely called a gun rights rally a “white nationalist rally.”

The simplest explanation here is that Ben Collins considers gun rights activists to be vile and hateful creatures. NBC News, Collins’s outlet, gave the march the Joker treatment, darkly warning everyone it would be a horrible, violent day, truly reflecting their expectations.

It’s not hard to read between the lines of the Washington Post‘s coverage: “Chants of ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ broke out every few minutes, but by 10:15 a.m. there were no signs of violence or conflict with law enforcement officers.”

If you’re a normal person, you probably noticed that “but.” The clear implication is that the sort of folks who get together and chant “U-S-A” are prone to violence.

Bloomberg News has a decent story that gratuitously mentions that the protesters “were mostly white and male.” Those words don’t appear in Bloomberg coverage about Bernie Sanders’s rallies or the Democratic debate stage. Those words are intended to signal disapproval of the pro-gun demonstrators.

We know that the media smear marches they hate. It was one year ago that the Washington Post and other outlets recklessly and falsely cast a crew of Catholic schoolboys in MAGA hats as nasty racists.

Guns, like abortion and all-boys Catholic schools, are a culture war issue. We know what side 90% of the media industry is on. Everyone should admit it.

US Civil War 2.0 Update

Young boy sleeps between his parents

There have been several articles in the past week or so on the topic of the possibility that there will be or there already is a second civil war occurring in the United States. Several of them reference each other.

The Washington Post started with In America, Talk Turns to Something Not Spoken of for 150 Years: Civil War in which it blames Trump and conservatives for the current state of affairs.

From Richard Fernandez’s article at PJ Media, What Would a Hybrid Civil War Look Like? wonders if we are already in a civil hybrid war where victory is achieved by silencing opponents, punitive prosecution and deplatforming.

Howard Schultz tweeted that “the failed political class of Washington, D.C., has broken America’s political system. And out of that are rising political extremes on both sides.” Yet to some, extremes are not a bug but a feature. Bernie Sanders declared without a hint of irony that “Donald Trump wants to divide us up based on the color of our skin, based on where we were born, based on our gender, our religion and our sexual orientation,” even though that is the perfect definition of intersectional identity politics.

While one explanation for the fractiousness is a reversion to our primitive natural tendency to mistrust outsiders, the other possibility is that it is now the way modern warfare is waged. The Russians have ascribed events unfolding in Venezuela to an American Trojan Horse strategy. It “would rely on ‘protest potential of the fifth column’ to destabilize the situation in the countries with unwanted governments … using the technologies of color revolutions.”

The Russians, whose Soviet empire was overthrown by the color revolutions, have been experimenting with similar strategies known as hybrid warfare. As the NYT reported

General Gerasimov laid out in an article published in 2013 … which many now see as a foreshadowing of the country’s embrace of “hybrid war”… analysts see a progression from the blend of subversion and propaganda used in Ukraine to the tactics later directed against Western nations, including the United States, where Russia’s military intelligence agency hacked into Democratic Party computers during the 2016 election.

With conventional war rendered suicidal by the advent of nuclear weapons, a cocktail of lawfare, info war, deliberate population movement, and targeted physical intimidation is now the toolset of choice and the Russians, Chinese, jihadis, EU, and USA each have their versions.

“The idea that the Russians have discovered some new art of war is wrong,” Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert at the Royal United Services Institute and the author of “Russian Political War,” said of the general’s latest speech. “This is basically the Russians trying to grapple with the modern world.” Hybrid war has long been a Western military term of art, analysts say, especially in the context of counterterrorism.

But since the resulting battlefields are waged inside the country, there is little reason why domestic political conflict should not resemble the international ones. Because victory is now attained by jailing opponents, silencing or financially sanctioning them, punitive prosecution, deplatforming, and universal surveillance are used alike in both cases and it is increasingly hard to tell them apart. The thesis that America is already in a “civil war” or on the brink occurred to Greg Jaffe, national security reporter, and Jenna Johnson, national political correspondent for The Washington Post...

Robert Bridge writes at RT American Civil War 2: US media will have only itself to blame if all hell breaks loose that the media’s self-righteous bias stokes the divisions.

…Michael Cohen, for example, Trump’s turncoat personal lawyer who committed perjury by lying to Congress, was quoted high in the article as saying, “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

Now that is certainly rich. Ever since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election, Washington has been consumed by the Mueller investigation, and amid mindless chatter that Trump is an illegitimate president slated for impeachment. In other words, the last thing that can be said about the Democrats is that they facilitated a “peaceful transition of power.” In fact, they have hobbled Trump and his administration ever since he entered the Oval Office.

Another pro-Liberal voice dragged into the Civil War story was Robert Reich, who served on Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board. The Post linked to an article Reich wrote last year where he posited the fictional scenario where an impeachment resolution against the president is enacted, thus kicking off mass civil strife on the direct command of dear leader…

Now that is some world-class chutzpah. In fact, it is the same self-righteous, ingratiating tone that weaves itself throughout the Post article. In keeping with the mainstream media’s non-stop narrative, Trump and the Republicans are blamed for everything that has gone wrong in the country, while the Democrats come off as little angels trying to piece the fractured country back together.

As already mentioned, Donald Trump is certainly not above criticism. Far from it. But for the mainstream media to place all of the blame for the current political malaise at the Republican’s door is about as responsible as lighting up a cigarette inside of a Chinese fireworks factory…

Finally Malcolm Pollack’s On Civil War discusses how it is the Left that has pulled crazily away from the rest of the country and the resulting desperation of normal people to return to civilized order that is causing the chasm.

…That’s it exactly: we are desperate. We know how close we are to the edge, to the dissolution of civilized order into chaos and tyranny. We can feel in our bones the implacable hatred of our would-be commissars for everything we believe is good and right and true — along with a growing understanding that their hatred doesn’t stop at our traditions and beliefs. As long as we live and breathe, we are a threat. If the blood-soaked history of the twentieth century can teach us anything at all, it should teach us that it will not be enough to see us displaced and destroyed. They will want us dead and gone.

One of the milestones along the road to civil war is the normalization of violence as a rational response to a dehumanized enemy, followed soon after by an eagerness for general conflict. This eagerness arises first in the breasts of those seeking radical change, who see violence as justified by the righteousness of their cause, and who are usually young and excitable people who have a much better sense of how to destroy what exists than to build and preserve a system that, however flawed, actually works. (This also reflects that the Right, almost by definition, moves toward order, while the Left is always entropic.) But the Right is eminently capable of reactive, or even proactive, violence when confronted by an existential threat to order, and is every bit as liable to the “othering” and dehumanization of its enemies in preparation for war.

There is, then, a spiral of mutual threat and provocation in the run-up to war, along the course of which a people can go from general comity and commonality, to political or cultural division, to rancorous debate, to increasingly bitter struggle for political power, to “othering” and dehumanization, to normalized violence, to bloodthirsty eagerness for war, to general armed conflict. We are already well into the latter stages, and even on the Right I see martial enthusiasm increasing: the hatred of the enemy, the idea that we are now so far beyond reconciliation that there is going to be a fight, and that we might as well get on with it (especially as we are the ones who will most likely win)…

RT: America Stumbling Towards Civil War One Terrible Tweet at a Time

Technology and Avoiding Censorship

The world of news reporting has been metamorphosing since the Internet became easily available. Print journalism is dying. The newspaper and magazine news sources that have survived have moved onto the internet to some extent, though they may still have a print presence. But the Internet is a funny place, and it, and dwindling financials, have changed those venerable news dinosaurs. Making profits became dependent upon Internet advertising which was measured by ad views or ad clicks. It became more important to these institutions to have stories that received more views rather than stories of deep substance, not that the two are mutually exclusive. Inevitably, the businesses started catering to specific audiences or demographics, posting stories and headlines that would invite those users to click into the article to view the ads. Once proud institutions like the New York Times have become more of a television sitcom, where the stories are played to a captive audience with implied “applause” and “laughter” cue cards. CNN is more like People magazine than a news network.

Speaking of television, much the same has happened to news sources there. As viewers switched from advertising-supported television channels (or paid cable channels) to watching shows and reading news on the Internet, the financial support of the captive television audience dwindled. As that revenue dwindled, television companies had less money with which to subsidize their news. When once news was a point of pride of the stations that they gladly subsidized, the broadcasters now had to compete for advertising revenue for their news shows. These causes likewise led to a similar chasing after of sensational headlines as was occurring in the Internet space.

In short, the mainstream media news sources have turned into a wasteland as far as actual news goes. Instead they relay stories that will play well with their respective cash-cow herds. Or they run stories that are profitable for them to air, either because they are paid to do so or to ingratiate themselves with government agencies or corporations in order to have access or the personal prestige of being seen with later (for those persons high up enough in the pseudo-news organization). It is well documented, for instance, that the CIA has for decades worked with news organizations of all kinds in order to either relay or suppress the stories or propaganda that they want to shape public opinion. This is no less true for many large corporations and political parties who actively work with these organizations for their own propagandistic ends.

It should be no surprise to anyone, then, that people have turned to alternative news sources. This is a great danger to the power of all those organizations currently involved in mainstream news organizations – i.e. government agencies, political parties, corporations, foreign entities, etc. Controlling the media is a way to control the people. People cannot get angry over something that they never hear about, or better yet, they can’t believe anything that the media is portraying as laughable. Because people are, indeed, looking for real news, these interests are doing their best to prevent alternative news sources or at least people’s access to these sources.

In the past several months, we’ve seen many alternative news voices as well as individual users banned from various Internet social media platforms which they used to communicate with the people who followed them – a process called de-platforming. Because these social media platforms are owned by private corporations there is no first amendment violation, even when some of the corporations are counseled by advisory entities with close government ties. Little justification is given for these deplatformings other than vague mumblings from the corporations about hate speech, extremism, insults, Russian spies, and so forth. The corporations are under no obligation, currently, to provide any truth. They say something the content creator did violated their terms of use and that is the end.  So far these deplatforming actions have been overwhelming against conservative voices, though not entirely so.

Continue reading “Technology and Avoiding Censorship”

Liberty Blitzkrieg: US Media and Paid Foreign Agents

From Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg, U.S. Media Refuses to Inform the Public When Its Commentators and Pundits are Paid Foreign Agents:

Unbelievably – Rothkopf has the audacity to criticize Trump for having “repeatedly shown great fondness for foreign leaders—even despots and known murderers, human rights abusers and criminals”, while Rothkopf himself is literally a paid agent working to disseminating propaganda for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, one that does much of the Saudis’ dirty work for it in Washington. And the fact that the Daily Beast makes no disclosure of any of this is what makes this practice – having paid lobbyists and consultants for foreign regimes and corporations masquerade as objective and neutral analysts of the news – such a massive journalistic scandal and fraud.

– From today’s Intercept article: MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice

Much of the American public despises mainstream corporate media, but rather than engage in some self-reflection and admit failure they just complain about Trump. It’s critical we recognize that mass media in the U.S. is very much part of the very same discredited establishment it’s supposed to report on, thus its response to justified criticism is likewise establishment-esque. Blame the readers, blame Trump, blame anyone but themselves.

This is why mass media’s gotten even worse since Trump was elected — not an easy feat. It’s been obsessed with a Russia-Trump collusion tale that appears to be going nowhere, while simultaneously cheering on Trump’s worst instincts such as when he bombs Syria. Moreover, one thing the U.S. media definitely seems to have no interest in doing is disclosing when its commentators and pundits are paid shills for foreign governments, defense contractors and other unmentionable interests.

Just last week, Glenn Greenwald highlighted how The Washington Post allowed Saudi lobbyists to regularly write opinion pieces, which subsequently led the paper to force these writers to break off financial relationships with the Saudis. Today, he’s back with an equally important piece about how mass media regularly invites foreign agents to discuss foreign affairs without disclosing that these individuals are in fact foreign agents.

It’s hard to put into words how despicable, unethical and pervasive this mass media practice is, but Glenn puts forth a valiant effort. He names several names, but the post focuses on a paid foreign agent for the UAE named David Rothkopf and the media outlets that enable him. The piece begins as follows:

On Thursday, the Daily Beast published an article about the Saudi/US relationship by David Rothkopf, a long-time member in good standing of the U.S. Foreign Policy elite. Until last year, he was the editor-in-chief of the establishment journal Foreign Policy, named to that position in 2012 when it was owned by the Washington Post. He’s also a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a visiting professor of international and public affairs at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He was previously deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policy in the Clinton administration and managing director of Kissinger Associates, the advisory firm founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

But, unbeknownst to Daily Beast readers consuming his commentary about Saudi Arabia, Rothkopf is something else: a paid lobbyist for the Saudi’s close ally, the equally despotic regime of the United Arab Emirates. Last month, Rothkopf formally registered as a foreign agent for the Emiratis.

Of course, it’s not just the Daily Beast. The article notes how MSNBC, PBS and CNN have all recently given Rothkopf a platform without disclosing his lobbying. Moreover, it’s not like he’s getting chump change for his extracurricular activities on behalf of the UAE, the contract he signed pays $50,000 per month. I don’t care who you are, this sort of money’s going to influence anyone’s public opinion. For media outlets to hide such a relevant fact from consumers is nothing short of journalistic malpractice...

Click here to read the entire story at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Media Control Warnings

Caitlin Johnstone at Media.com has an article up titled, Assange Keeps Warning Of AI Censorship, And It’s Time We Started Listening. The article discusses the need for the government and other elites to control information flow, how the internet loosened that control, and the efforts to regain control of discussion on the internet.

Throughout the near entirety of human history, a population’s understanding of what’s going on in the world has been controlled by those in power. The men in charge controlled what the people were told about rival populations, the history of their tribe and its leadership, etc. When the written word was invented, men in charge dictated what books were permitted to be written and circulated, what ideas were allowed, what narratives the public would be granted access to.

This continued straight on into modern times. Where power is not overtly totalitarian, wealthy elites have bought up all media, first in print, then radio, then television, and used it to advance narratives that are favorable to their interests. Not until humanity gained widespread access to the internet has our species had the ability to freely and easily share ideas and information on a large scale without regulation by the iron-fisted grip of power. This newfound ability arguably had a direct impact on the election for the most powerful elected office in the most powerful government in the world in 2016, as a leak publishing outlet combined with alternative and social media enabled ordinary Americans to tell one another their own stories about what they thought was going on in their country.

This newly democratized narrative-generating power of the masses gave those in power an immense fright, and they’ve been working to restore the old order of power controlling information ever since. And the editor-in-chief of the aforementioned leak publishing outlet, WikiLeaks, has been repeatedly trying to warn us about this coming development.

In a statement that was recently read during the “Organising Resistance to Internet Censorship” webinar, sponsored by the World Socialist Web Site, Assange warned of how “digital super states” like Facebook and Google have been working to “re-establish discourse control”, giving authority over how ideas and information are shared back to those in power…

Continue reading at medium.com