12.06.2016 A Deeper Look


Amid thousands–likely actually tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands or more–of more or less virulent rejections of the Thanksgiving poison-pill article that the Washington Post disingenuously–not to mention libelously–posted on Thanksgiving night, a selection of a few that will likely remain indispensable reference points for scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens who have about as much desire to be dupes for profiteering pundits as they would hope to serve as flacks for genocidal promotions of ‘security,’ in the title position an item by Global Research that establishes the indisputable point that nothing else in the world today comes close to the ‘fakery’ that is both the raison d’ etre and the standard operational procedure of intelligence networks that are akin to ‘stringer pools’ for monopoly media—a point that Consortium News expands with a report about the inherent bullshittiness of established nostrums’ accusations of faux reporting, a lengthy disquisition that includes a link to the manure that passes for ‘documentation’ on the part of Wa Po‘s primary source, the PropOrNot website; an argument, moreover, that World Socialist Website places in political context with an essay that amplifies the original idea of CIA-backing to include the entire militarized finance-capitalism phalanx; a contention about the mediation of the world that, in addition, Waking Times examines historically with an incisive and important contextualization of the way that Edward Bernays led a public-relations uprising against honesty and honor in order to induce ‘acceptable’ buying habits and political opinions among the ‘unwashed masses,’ all of which readers might readily supplement with such material as a New Yorker briefing  that shows the inherent diceyness of focusing on ‘Russian Propaganda,’ such material as a Duran overview that explicates the actual parameters of ‘propaganda’ as such, such material as a typically potent Intercept piece of reportage that compares Wa Po’s efforts to a “McCarthyite Blacklist,” such material as an OpEd News analysis that starts to catalog the pushback against Jeff Bezos’ flagship’s defamatory, so-called ‘journalism,’ such material as a Wall Street on Parade daily profferal that illustrates a slightly different expression of the ‘blacklisting’ phenomenon, against academics who dare to appear in RT broadcasts and features, the complete aggregate of all of which at the least offers a good starting point for one’s own investigation of these at once fascinating, troubling, and hilarious sallies of hypocrisy by more and more desperate denizens of corporate control: “(V)ery likely…PropOrNot.com is a creation of The Washington Post’s cloud computing business partner, the CIA.  PropOrNot.com calls itself a group of «concerned American citizens with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including professional experience in computer science, statistics, public policy, and national security affairs».  There are more than enough CIA employees who possess such «professional experience».

CC BY-NC by Limbic
CC BY-NC by Limbic

PropOrNot.com published a list that would make disgraced Senator Joseph McCarthy, the purveyor of «red lists» of Communists in the 1950s, very proud.  PropOrNot.com lists 200 sites, which it claims are «routine peddlers of Russian propaganda».  On the list are Strategic Culture.org, globalresearch.ca, drudgereport.com, counterpunch.com, wikileaks.com, wikileaks.org, wikispooks.com. zerohedge.com, and truthdig.com.  RT.com and Sputniknews.com also appear on the list.  Not on the list are media outlets that have notoriously engaged in fake news reporting.  These include The New York Times, USA Today, NBC News, CBS News, The New Republic, CNN, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.media papers hor
Outrageously, the blacklist includes USSLIBERTYVETERANS.org, a website maintained by survivors of the willful and unprovoked 1967 Israeli air and naval attack on the US intelligence ship «USS Liberty» in the eastern Mediterranean.  The attack killed 34 American Navy sailors and intelligence personnel and the website, in part, is dedicated to their memory.  The inclusion of the Liberty veterans’ website strongly suggests the involvement of pro-Israeli shills, all neoconservatives, who nest within a number non-profit think tanks in Washington, DC and may be associated with PropOrNot.com.

The blacklist highlighted by The Washington Post appears to be more of a censorship target list developed for the not-to-be Hillary Clinton administration.  For the Post to engage in blacklisting other press outlets merely because it does not care for their news content is shameful beyond belief.  If any outlet should be ordered to cease its operations for not acting in the public interest, it is The Washington Post for grossly distorting the news and misleading the public from the end of World War II to the present day.

Campaign cartoon #23 - Tom Ferguson
Campaign cartoon #23 – Tom Ferguson

If one wants «fake news» the intelligence-corporate complex is the place to go.  From corporate media reports about bogus Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Pentagon’s hiring of British public relations firm Bell Pottinger to create fake news stories about terrorist attacks in Iraq to the use of a group called the «White Helmets» that pumps out fake stories regarding the Syrian government, the corporate media is full of «fake news» fed to it by an omnipresent US intelligence-run psychological warfare infrastructure.”—Global Research

        “(An editor at one of the vilified sites develops a key argument).  ‘What’s particularly interesting about this list, isn’t the fact that a bunch of anonymous whiners decided to demonize successful critics of insane, inhumane and ethically indefensible U.S. government policy, but rather the fact that the Washington Post decided to craft an entire article around such a laughably ridiculous list.  This just further proves a point that is rapidly becoming common knowledge amongst U.S. citizens with more than a couple of brain cells to rub together.  The mainstream media is the real ‘fake news.’

The issue of confirmation bias in western media is chronic, but it’s also an institutional problem when you consider that many of these mainstream writers are submerged under their own layer of Western-generated American or British propaganda.  As a result, they might be completely oblivious of the fact that John Kerry has been caught lying to the world at the UN about what Russia supposedly did in the Ukraine, Crimea, and Syria, or they might have missed UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s antics at the UN – an embarrassment to the US in front of a world audience, or Admiral John Kirby’s epic meltdown last week after he couldn’t defend his own lies to an RT reporter at the US State Department press briefing.  On Syria in particular, US politicians have lied so much and so often, that most serious people around the world do not believe a word that comes out of this Administration’s mouth – and American and European bloggers most certainly have a right to point this out – not because it pleases Putin – but because they are disgusted with their own government’s poor (and highly illegal) conduct on the world stage, especially at this moment in Syria and Yemen.  Evidently, none of this factors into the reports by Timberg and PropOrNot.cropped-media-papers-newspaper.jpg
Maybe they didn’t get the memo either, about the fact that Assad did not ‘gas his own people’ in East Ghouta in August 2013, or any other time that can be proven by his accusers.  Many in the US media are simply living inside of their own self-generated, self-reverential propaganda bubble.  Even more incredibly, PropOrNot then implores its visitors to only visit and get information from US government-funded news sources like NPR, state-owned media like the BBC, Murdoch-owned and financed outlets like the Wall Street Journal and VICE News, and corporate establishment media sources.
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(Guessing the provenance of Wa Po’s ‘fake’ sources could be endlessly fascinating; similarly figuring out what landed particular publishers on ‘The List’).  Strangely, there is no mention at all by Timberg about a report by BuzzFeed News which identified the primary source of the actual ‘fake news’ flooding Facebook – more than 150 pro-Trump websites being run from a single town, by a cohort of savvy teenagers in Veles, Macedonia – which is not Russia.  Granted, Buzzfeed and The Guardian are both establishment media that sometimes produce their own propaganda.  However, unless Timberg can refute either the Buzzfeed or The Guardianreports on this subject, or somehow tie his suspected battery of ‘Kremlin controlled’ hackers to Veles, then this entire unified conspiracy theory i(s) D.O.A.  According to these investigations, the Veles crew are not ideologically motivated, but rather, driven by that old classic – money.  They are raking it in with standard Google Ad Sense and other online traffic CPM advertising unit revenue, with incomes ranging from $5,000 to as high as $30,000 per month.  They’re not doing it for Mother Russia, but rather for Benjamin Franklin.

(Not so politically motivated horseshit at home, such as one popular Slate reporter has repeatedly purveyed, citing such experts as appeared in Wa Po‘s material).  Again, ‘expert’ claims.  Just to remind readers, the first expert is an anonymous Russiaphobic website PropOrNot, while the other ‘expert’ writes for an anti-Russian blog and works for a neoconservative think tank (see Neocon below).  Les(t) we forget, The Slate invented a fake story that went viral in October, one which was retweeted by Hillary Clinton herself.  Apparently, Clinton’s campaign staff fed her planted online news story created by another on The Slate’s ‘journalists’ named Franklin Foer, complete with the comical clickbait headline, ‘Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?—Consortium News
        “According to the Post, the exposure of Russian involvement in the spread of fake election news is based on the work of a team of ‘independent researchers’ and another anonymous group calling itself PropOrNot, which has expertise in ‘computer science, national security and public policy.’  Although no one from the PropOrNot organization is mentioned by name, the Post quotes the executive director of this group anonymously.  The organization has gone so far as to publish a list of 200 web sites—including WikiLeaks, the ultra-right Drudge Report and the left-liberal Truthout—that are deemed ‘routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.’
It should be obvious that the Post report is itself an example of the state-sponsored pseudo-news that is increasingly dispensed by the corporate-controlled media to promote the geopolitical and military aims of American imperialism.  The New York Times has published similar articles, including one authored by David E. Sanger and posted on the Times web site on November 25 under the headline ‘US Officials Defend Integrity of Vote, Despite Hacking Fears.’twitter- new nyt new york times media mediation
Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent of the Times, is a regular sounding board for the military/intelligence establishment, to which he is closely ‘plugged in.’  He writes that ‘intelligence officials are still investigating the impact of a broader Russian ‘information warfare’ campaign, in which fake news about Mrs. Clinton, and about United States-Russia relations, appeared intended to influence voters.’  He adds, ‘Many of those false reports originated from RT News and Sputnik, two state-funded Russian sites.’rect3336 space
The readers of this and virtually all other articles on the topic of Russia’s role in ‘fake news’ will search in vain for a single piece of evidence to substantiate the claims made.  Instead, the views and opinions of ‘experts,’ usually unnamed, are cited and treated as indisputable fact—much in the manner of Joe McCarthy and similar witch-hunters.  The editors and writers who produce these articles seem not even to notice that their publications have been caught in one colossal lie after another—from the claims of Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ used to justify the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 to the more recent flood of government propaganda in support of neo-colonial wars in Libya and Syria and drone killings in a growing number of countries—all justified in the name of ‘human rights’ and the ‘war on terror.’

(Whatever the seamy details of what accounts for current increase in faked folderol), the campaign in the corporate media against ‘fake news’ on the Internet, including calls for social media outlets such as Google and Facebook to vet the material that appears on their sites, is a reactionary attack on freedom of the press.  It has already elicited positive responses from major Internet sites.  Both Google and Facebook have published statements acknowledging that they are working on systems that will use third-party ‘fact-checking’ of news content published on their services.  In the case of Facebook, this initiative—reminiscent of Orwell’s Thought Police—will be reinforced by barring accounts identified as ‘fake news’ sources from using online advertising tools.rect3336 space
Pressure to shut down or muzzle ‘fake news’ sites and social media accounts are emanating from the offices of corporate media organizations concerned about the loss of their influence over the public.  Any moves to censor Internet content must be opposed as an attack on democratic rights.  The measures being prepared today against ‘fake news’ web sites and social media publishers will be perfected and used tomorrow against the working class and the socialist media—the World Socialist Web Sitethat articulates and fights for its independent interests.”–World Socialist Website

“(The origins of establishment falsehoods are pretty obvious, revolving around the development of public relations and advertising as tools of social control and political-economic manipulation).  The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic (AKA ‘capitalist’) society.  Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.  We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.’-–Edward L. Bernays,  Sigmund Freud’s nephew, from his seminal book Propaganda(1928).  Bernays was the founder of the public relations industry in the US.
Bernays had written earlier about the use of public relations techniques as a way for corporations to ‘so mold the mind of the masses that they will throw their newly gained strength in the desired direction.’ – Bernays, in his first influential book on propaganda: Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923).  Admen like Bernays are ‘professional poisoners of the public mind, exploiters of foolishness, fanaticism, and self-interest.’ — Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter when he warned President Franklin Roosevelt against allowing Bernays to play a leadership role in World War II.  Always tell the truth.  Tell a lot of the truth.  Tell a lot more of the truth than anybody expects you to tell.  But never tell the whole truth.’  — quote from one of the participants of the 1924 annual convention of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World (from Stuart Ewen’s 1976 book, Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture). …
(All this aspect of modern life depends on deficiencies in thinking skills).  Thinking critically means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well thought out.  It is a way of thinking in which one doesn’t simply accept all arguments and conclusions to which one is exposed without questioning the arguments and conclusions.  It requires curiosity, skepticism and humility.  People who use critical thinking are the ones who say things such as, ‘How do you know that?’  ‘Is this conclusion based on evidence or gut feelings?’ and ‘Are there alternative possibilities when given new pieces of information?’  And whenever there is a political campaign happening (which in the US is essentially 24/7), prospective voters are accosted by partially true, squishy promises and sometimes vile verbal assaults from candidates who may be sociopaths, protofascists, serial liars or somehow never able to tell the whole truth about themselves, their real agendas or who their corporate paymasters are (whose hidden demands will necessarily be promoted if the bribed candidate is elected). …
(My personal encounter with such machinations was at least somewhat limited).  Baby boomer childrenin my era were rarely inoculated with vaccines, and although the ones we were given did indeed contain the neurotoxic metals mercury and/or aluminum , we never had multiple inoculations at one sitting.  Instead, our mothers rushed to get us exposed to the many benign childhood infections such as chicken pox, measles and mumps whenever one of them appeared in town, and we then had lifelong immunity – no booster shots needed.  Psychiatric drugs had yet to appear on the market when my immature blood-brain barrier was maturing – and there was no such thing as ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, bipolar disorder, premature dementia or even PTSD.  And, although lobotomies, insulin shock and electroshock ‘therapies’ were booming in America in the 1940s (wherever there were shock docs and insane asylums) we were protected by our geography.  No such institutions were anywhere near my town. …
However, it was only much later in my adult life that I realized that I had been the victim of a subtle propagandizing in my childhood.  Simply by reading the bland history books that had been approved by some school book committee down in uber-patriotic, pro-war Texas that I began to realize that I had been deceived by half-truths.  I finally understood that my beloved nation was no triumphant, exceptional ‘shining city on a hill’ like I had been led to believe.  The religion I was accidentally born into, which endorsed every genocidal war its leaders started, was not superior to all the others.  I realized that my teachers, my journalists and even my pastors had never gotten around to teaching me about the whole truth about America’s unethical, murderous, racist and genocidal military campaigns that started with Columbus and the conquistadors and continued with the mass killings of Native Americans and the theft of their homeland.  And I was never taught the whole truth about the satanic nature of American slavery, the lynchings of innocent blacks or the cruelty of white supremacy and segregation after Lincoln had supposedly ’emancipated’ the African-Americans.
Thanks to the political propaganda that drowned out every truth-teller, I never learned the whole truth of American imperialism, American racism, American militarism or American fascism.  It took me decades before I finally realized that capitalism wasn’t the same as democracy!  After all those decades of brain-washing, I am still working through the realization that I had been told thousands of patriotic lies about such things as the First Thanksgiving, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the War Between the States and the Reconstruction Years that followed that war.  It took me a long time to learn about the atrocities American soldiers committed in the Spanish-American War and in every war since World War II.  And it took me a lot of study to realize that America and its CIA have been actively supportive of hideous right-wing military dictators throughout our recent history and, at the behest of sociopathic multinational corporations searching for cheap labor and unregulated markets for their goods, actually orchestrated the overthrow of a multitude of democratically elected national leaders.”–Waking Times