The recent claim that “fake news” is an existential threat to American democracy is particularly troubling for those of us that aim to shed light on the dark and dirty underbelly of the military-industrial-corporate-banking-political complex. Unsurprisingly, even President Obama is pushing this false narrative:
Many Americans still don’t know that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed by President Obama in 2013 repealed the Smith-Mundt Act, which prevented the U.S. government from focusing its propaganda activities on the U.S. populace. This change enables the State Department and other governmental agencies to issue propaganda in the form of official statements and pre-packaged news for verbatim regurgitation by the mainstream media.
Propaganda is defined as “the systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.”
For example, if the U.S. aims to overthrow the government of a country that has done nothing to the U.S. and poses no threat to the American people for, say, access to oil or to prevent the rise of a nation that could challenge the status of the U.S. as the world’s sole superpower, propaganda might be employed to convince the U.S. population that America is engaging in a “peacekeeping” mission, or alternatively, the propaganda may attempt to convince the American people that their way of life or “American interests” are threatened. Does any of this sound familiar?
When the U.S. government makes these false claims to obfuscate their true intentions, the mainstream corporate media reports them as Official Truth, pointing to the U.S. government itself as the source validating the veracity of such claims. It is an echo chamber within an echo chamber.
Furthermore, most Americans cannot tell the difference between a pre-packaged “news story” masquerading as government propaganda, or a public relations piece or an “advertorial” (also called “native advertising”) disguised as an article or editorial. This is because there are no regulations on broadcasters that require them to put a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen informing viewers who produced the content. Print materials are a different story, as seen in this example:
At first glance, this looks like an article in a newspaper, but it is in fact an advertisement disguised as news. Note the word “advertorial” in the blue box at top left. Keep an eye out for this next time you read a magazine or newspaper. Other words to look for, especially in online content, are “sponsored” or “presented by XYZ Corporation.” These are all paid publicity or advertisements.
Edward Bernays (nephew to Sigmund Freud), the man who coined the phrase “public relations,” chose that term because it did not have the negative connotations of the original term: propaganda. That’s right, people who work in PR agencies are engaged in propaganda.
Why does this matter? Here are a few times the corporate media published fake news (a.k.a. propaganda) resulting in the death and suffering of millions of people:
– George W. Bush’s weapons of mass destruction lies, leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq
– Gulf of Tonkin incident lies, leading to the Vietnam War
– Suppression of brutality perpetrated in Bahrain during the 2011 Arab Spring
(Full article here)
For these reasons, it is more crucial than ever that people acquire information from a variety of sources, do their own fact-checking and research, and form their own opinions rather than relying on one or two mainstream corporate media outlets to provide then with all their news and information.
Americans like to think their press is free, but the mainstream corporate media is a pack of corrupt liars who are in complete lock-step with the U.S. government and the big corporate and banking interests that control it.
It is also important to point out that the legacy media is all but dead. They are totally irrelevant, and after Election 2016, more Americans than ever before are waking up to that fact. But believe me, they are not going down without a fight. They are doubling down on the bullshit and declaring an all-out war on “fake news” in a desperate bid to keep Americans believing that mainstream corporate media is the only trustworthy source of news and information.
This war on fake news narrative also provides cover for the real reasons Hillary Clinton did not win the election. The truth is that the mainstream corporate media actually played a significant role in Hillary’s loss. As I have written about here, I suspect this may have been by design. If I am right, the media coverage of this election cycle was a psy-op of epic proportions.
I take these developments very seriously because they directly affect my work. I encourage everyone who visits this website to read the about page. I have very clearly stated the reasons why I created this website and what my intentions are. Furthermore, I do not monetize this website, nor do I ask for donations or financial support. I do not promote this site on social media, as I refuse to lower myself and “slum it” in the ghettos of Facebook and Twitter. These platforms are already revealing themselves for what they truly are: a means of information control and censorship aimed at propagandizing and dumbing down users.
If it were possible to quit my day job and eke out a meager living from this website, perhaps I might consider monetizing it someday. But for now, I am simply trying to build a regular readership by providing critical insight and analysis I hope readers find useful.
I do not consider this to be a news website, as most of my content is focused on commentary and analysis. Even so, there is a real possibility that search engines like Google and SNS platforms like Facebook and Twitter might block search results or links to posts that would otherwise drive traffic to my website. This is why I am alarmed at the absurd “war on fake news,” as it is tantamount to a war on the truth and those of us making a sincere effort to uncover it.
Everyone should be concerned with how this war unfolds in the coming days and weeks. Thinking for ourselves is one of the only freedoms we have left. We cannot allow the mainstream corporate media to destroy that freedom.