Word On the Wire
In the weeks following the World Trade Center demolition, it became apparent to me that if you really want to know what is happening in the USA – read foreign news sources online. U.S. news outlets seemed focused on prolonging the terror, while world news reporting from London, Sydney, and other major hubs beyond information control jurisdiction said more. They had a lot more information than what today’s terror alert color, heartrending stories of families who lost loved ones, and repetitious reminders that you need to fear for your very safety.
Yes, it was a horrific event, but there’s a lot more to the story than any of us really knows. Realities that may never come to light, though there are plenty of suspicions, studies, and theories.
That was the non-transparent Bush administration. Now a decade and a half later, under the “total transparency” regime, mainstream news content hasn’t improved. If anything, it seems to have further deteriorated, grown more slanted, and fluffy. And so… you turn to the internet.
But here you’re faced with the same dilemma. Some of the most popular news blogs are actually paid to beat a partisan drum, to further the preferences of special interest groups, election candidates, and officials on The Hill. It doesn’t matter whether you’re conservative, liberal, right wing, left wing, or middle-of-the-road… social media works for them too.
The Inside Scoop
In the course of my work I run across all manner of interesting things. A few weeks ago it was a TEDx Talk that led me to buy a book. The speaker, Sharyl Attkisson, veteran investigative journalist who after 20 years of Emmy-winning news reporting left CBS to regain her freedom in truthfully reporting a story.
Surprisingly, the book proved more interesting than expected. Stonewalled is well-written and packed with eye-opening revelations anyone would find important. But this isn’t a book review. It’s an article about who, or what, drives the information published on popular online news magazines and blogs. Some of the most highly regarded news sites are actually supported by special interests of different industrial-political complex powers. They serve as spin or propaganda broadcasters. Yes, the bloggers get paid to portray things in favor of the interest that employs them. If you wanted proof that there is money in blogging, here it is.
Media Matters, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, PolitiFact, Mediabistro, BuzzFeed, Politico, Daily Beast, and even Wikipedia are all involved in skewing the truth to someone’s preferred reality. And today’s news broadcasts are largely repeating what they see published on the above (excluding Wikipedia), in addition to what they find on the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, and other U.S. newspaper websites. And then there’s perpetually positive slanted press releases that come out of the White House PR machine.
Astroturf and Fairy Tales
Journalists note that in today’s Washington corruption surpasses levels not seen in 40 years. Transparency? There is none. The Freedom of Information Act is largely ignored, as those in power seek to maintain total control over public perception. Sculpting what people think is paramount for business and officials. They create fake grass roots groups to support their interests. Any opposing information or views are controversialized, discredited, or attacked by smear tactics. But the spin cycle has a recipe that even you can identify as a propaganda campaign, and start separating truth from calculated fiction.
While most know that ‘astroturf’ is fake grass, in this context Attkisson is referring to an entire industry that exists in Washington D.C. People who earn an excellent living helping big business cover the money trail between them and the government. This becoming well-known has sparked a surge of fake grass roots, activities special interests use to disguise themselves as the spinners publish blog articles and letters to the editor, start nonprofits, create ad campaigns, and establish a personality on Facebook and Twitter. They also spread their spin commenting on other people’s posts and articles online… all intentionally fooling the public into believing an average person or grassroots movement is adding their voice to the topic.
“The whole point of astroturf is to give the impression there’s widespread support for an agenda when there’s not. Businesses may fund fake astroturf ‘consumer campaigns’ against competitors. Government may call upon its corporate partners to use astroturf methods to discredit reporters who threaten their mutual interests.”
Damage control and influencing is rampant, and when you know what to look for you’ll realize it’s everywhere – online and on the news. It features inflammatory labeling including: crank, quack, nutty, paranoid, pseudo, truther, conspiracy theorist, shoddy, and witch hunt. Don’t overlook ‘junk science’ – as in Monsanto’s response to WHO’s press release announcing the IARC reclassifying glyphosate as possibly causing cancer. By controversializing the truth, astroturf seeks to discredit and belittle political-industrial complex enemies.
The astroturfers claim to debunk myths that are actually truths. They publish all manner of confusing and misleading information just to make it virtually impossible to figure out what is going on. The goal is to guide everyone into giving up and ignoring the entire issue.
A special interest’s role is easily camouflaged in the guise of benevolent-sounding nonprofit or other third-party. The co-opted or supported astroturfers peddle a spun story that serves their business overlords. It’s then reported as news by unsuspecting journalists, or pushed into mainstream broadcast by management. If they don’t concoct a story, the special interest nonprofit can also secretly defend the propaganda without any disclosure of their financial ties to their benefactors.
Don’t Trust Wikipedia
In the past couple of years it has come to light that not only can an outsider not edit references on this largely revered free encyclopedia, Wikipedia has monetized itself by selling PR space to corporate and political interests that is free of conflicts of interest. Powerful
pharmaceutical interests use this massive website for propaganda distribution, and exercise control over science and journalism by controlling biographical pages.
If it’s happening in these known topics, you can be pretty certain that it’s afflicted Wikipedia entirely. So much for the annual plea for donations! Take your research elsewhere, because facts are no longer available here.
There’s More To Know
The information in this article is just an introduction to Sharon Attkisson’s Stonewalled disclosures. It’s an inside look at the hard-core investigations into a variety of events and situations, and how unimportant facts and witnesses are to mainstream media news – as much as it is a revelation of what happens to those who dare to get to the truth.
Whose special interests are these news sites serving? What is the whole story on Benghazi, gun walking on the U.S.- Mexico border, Dreamliner battery explosions, and other scandals, cover-ups, and corruption cases in the past few years? How does government and military roll these days?
Read the book. You may find that what you thought was the worst case scenario pales in comparison to the real story. Both new, and discounted used copies are available on Amazon.
UPDATE January 2017
My discovery journey started here with this video:
There’s a new Attkisson book releasing in May 2017, The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote. It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon.
Learn more about Sharyl Atkisson. No longer on the payroll of any MSM broadcasting company, Sharyl continues getting to the bottom of the story independently. Full Measure News offers you no fluff, no agenda, no spin… it’s just the facts reporting.