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Saturday, October 03, 2015

Let's "slut shame" the media whores

Readers, I need your help with this one. I beg you to read this one through, and to offer suggestions.

Between 2000 and 2004, an excellent liberal website called Media Whores Online exposed the lies told on a daily basis by conservative reporters and opinion-shapers. I was reminded of "the Horse" (as the site was nicknamed) while reading a recent speech by John Pilger.
These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.
The aim of this invisible government is the conquest of us: of our political consciousness, our sense of the world, our ability to think independently, to separate truth from lies.

This is a form of fascism, a word we are rightly cautious about using, preferring to leave it in the flickering past. But an insidious modern fascism is now an accelerating danger. As in the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the regularity of a metronome. Muslims are bad. Saudi bigots are good. ISIS bigots are bad. Russia is always bad. China is getting bad. Bombing Syria is good. Corrupt banks are good. Corrupt debt is good. Poverty is good. War is normal.
Let's be even more specific: Neoconservativism controls our national discussion of foreign policy. The controlling force is not a government or a political party, but an ideology. Yet the control is no less fascistic. (Yes, that is the right word.)

Even John Oliver bows to the dictates of the neocons: Just listen to the cringe-inducing nonsense he spews about Vladimir Putin. If Oliver did not so spew, he'd lose his show. That's how the system works and everyone knows it.

Currently, the big project of the neocons is to place ISIS in power in Syria. Paradoxically, they intend to accomplish this goal by exploiting the public's well-justified hatred of ISIS. This cheeky gambit can work only if the citizenry is kept in a miasma of misinformation.

As Pilger notes:
There is currently an American and European attempt to destroy the government of Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron is especially keen. This is the same David Cameron I remember as an unctuous PR man employed by an asset stripper of Britain’s independent commercial television.

Cameron, Obama and the ever obsequious Francois Hollande want to destroy the last remaining multi-cultural authority in Syria, an action that will surely make way for the fanatics of ISIS.

This is insane, of course, and the big lie justifying this insanity is that it is in support of Syrians who rose against Bashar al-Assad in the Arab Spring. As The WikiLeaks Files reveals, the destruction of Syria has long been a cynical imperial project that pre-dates the Arab Spring uprising against Assad.
For the latest example of this Big Lie technique, take a look at this BuzzFeed article, written by "Ilan Ben-Meir, BuzzFeed News Reporter." He uncritically repeats Lindsey Graham's latest malarky about Syria, Iran and Russia.
“Number one: Our biggest problem is that our commander in chief is incompetent, and our secretary of state is delusional, regarding the politics of the Mid-East, Putin, Iran, and just the entire situation over there,” said the South Carolina senator during an interview on the Fox News Radio show Kilmeade and Friends.

“Our president, quite frankly, is weak, he is indecisive, and what does it mean for America?” Graham went on. “With Assad being propped up by Russia and Iran, it means the war [in Syria] never ends.”
See how it works? People who don't watch Fox are likely to read Buzzfeed. Thus, BuzzFeed becomes the conduit by which Fox-flavored nonsense is spoon-fed to an audience of young liberals and moderates.

What Ben-Meir has done is not objective journalism. If it were, Graham's silly lies would be given context.

No, I'm not talking about Graham's attacks on Obama: That's just partisan politics. I'm talking about these words: "With Assad being propped up by Russia and Iran, it means the war never ends."

In the first place, the Syrian civil war was instigated by this country. I've proved the point in many previous posts. So have many other writers, including John Pilger.

Moreover: If Russia and Iran were to withdraw, the war would certainly end with the victory of ISIS. If Assad goes down, ISIS rules.

That's the all-important truth which neocons like Graham always lie about.

You won't hear that truth from any Republican candidate. You won't hear the truth from Obama, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. You won't hear it from Fox News or ABC or CBS or the Washington Post. And you won't hear it from Buzzfeed, or Slate, or the New York Times, or even the Guardian.

In the preceding sentence, I listed four "liberal" media outlets often used by the neocons-in-disguise. On a daily basis, these publication feed neocon lies to decent people -- the kind of people who cannot stomach more than 40 consecutive seconds of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Most of the time, the folks in this target audience would rather talk about gay marriage or some other topic that makes them feel virtuous. They don't want to talk about foreign policy: It makes them feel dizzy.

That's an understandable reaction. Trying to figure out what's going on in the big, wide outside world makes everyone feel dizzy, including me. (I'm sure that people in Syria get dizzy when they try to dope out what's happening in the United States.)

Our insecurity results, in part, from the fact that foreign affairs are so...foreign. Language differences. Cultural differences. Things get very complicated very rapidly.

But there's a larger problem: Over the past fifteen years, a vast, well-funded media infrastructure has been insinuating neocon lies into every psyche. Take, for example, this statement:

"If Assad falls, ISIS takes power."

Right now, that's a simple truism. No well-informed person can honestly dispute that proposition. This fact is inescapable and easy to grasp.

Now consider the staggering amount of media manipulation required to convince the public that the situation is something other than what it plainly is.

If the New York Times, Fox News, CBS, the Washington Post, the White House and every Republican candidate were to tell you on a daily basis that the sky is orange -- not blue, never say blue: It's ORANGE, dammit! -- eventually, it would start to look orange-ish to you. You'd squint. Shrug. Rationalize. You'd tell yourself that your senses must be lying to you, because the alternative theory is unthinkable. All of those important people -- liberals and conservatives, the NYT and Fox: Surely, they can't all be engaged in a conspiracy to deceive you?

In fact, it doesn't take that many people to convince you that blue is orange. Maybe the only requirement is a hundred people in key media positions. In fact, I suspect that the job can be done by a far smaller number.

The Iraq war was empowered by Judy Miller and perhaps a dozen others like her, planted in key positions in various publications. If those media whores had been exposed early on, the bellicose Bush administration could never have made its deceptions stick, and the Dems who let him have his war would have been pressured by the public to vote otherwise.

History is made by a small number of liars. Neocons need newsfakers.

Recently, newsfakers produced bogus videos designed to convince you that Assad is bombing hospitals. At the same time, the newsfakers offer nothing but justifications and excuses when the United States and Israel bomb hospitals. Most of the time, the newsfakers simply refuse to mention "our" hospital bombings.

The newsfakers won't tell you that Russia did more damage to ISIS in a couple of days than we managed to do in more than a year. The newsfakers have tried to convince you that Russia targeted our "moderate" rebels (a total lie). The newsfakers have tried to convince you that these "moderates" are anything other than a useful fiction. Whisper the name of Vladimir Putin, and the newsfakers at the New York Times go into fits of hysteria and dementia.

What to do? What to do?

I have an idea.

My proposal: We need a new version of Media Whores Online. We need a new website -- a database -- devoted to keeping track of neocon liars posing as journalists. We need to "slut shame" the media whores.

It's not enough for independent writers to counter these lies on a daily basis.

We need to develop a kind of institutional memory. We need to name the neocon newsfakers, and we need to list their lies next to their names.

We need to keep track of who these people are. We need to rob them of credibility.

I'm not talking about a site devoted to arguments over opinion. If an NYT editorialist were to say "I think Vladimir Putin is a thug" -- fine. No problem. But it's a very different matter if a journalist or editorialist were to state (as many have stated) that "Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea." That, my friends, is a demonstrable falsehood.

When hoaxed history becomes a commonly-held belief, the result can be war and want, misery and mayhem.

A possible name for this site: Neocon Media Whores. I think a shout out to the earlier site would help gain exposure. (That said, I'm open to alternative suggestions.)

I would like the help of my readers in coming up with a structure for this thing.

Ideally, I would like the site to feature a Wiki-style group effort, in which average readers could send in examples of neocon media manipulation. Unfortunately, the site would have to be moderated. Without strict moderation, the whole enterprise would quickly become a cesspool like 4chan or a YouTube comments section. And it would become the play-toy of paid trolls.

These ten commandments should be in place:

1. The site should concentrate on foreign policy.

2. The site should be devoted to exposing journalists with a neocon agenda.

3. The site should be non-partisan. I am a Democrat -- a grudging Democrat, often an infuriated Democrat. But I also recognize that neoconservatism is a virus which crosses party lines. This virus has infected some people whom I otherwise admire.

4. The site should keep a database of journalists who have signed their names to demonstrable lies, including lies of omission. Ilan Ben-Meir (referenced above) would therefore have a place on the list.

5. The site should be anti-racist.

6. The site should not become a repository of truly silly conspiracy theories.

7. The site should not waste much energy on matters of opinion, even when someone expresses a view which many would consider repugnant. The purpose of the site is to compile a database of provable lies told by neoconservatives in major media outlets.

8. The site must never be sidetracked by otiose arguments over identity politics and politically-correct speech. That trick has been pulled once too often. By now, most of us have gotten wise to it.

9. Those who would defend neoconservatism deserve no voice on this site. They have the rest of the internet in which to scamper about and do their mischief.

10. The site must not be hijacked by libertarians, by socialist ideologues, by anti-government trolls, or by those who seek to discourage involvement in electoral politics.

What do you think, readers? Would such a site serve a valuable purpose? If so, how can we make a go of it? How would you structure the thing?
Comments:
Oh for the good old days of Bartcop, Media Whores Online, and when dailyhowler was in its prime.
For such a site to work the comment section would have to be heavily moderated, members only, or none at all.
Media Matters turns into quite the cesspool when the trolls are active.
 
Mike, you speak the truth. In general, I'd say that 2000-2006 were the glory years of online political activity, because the manipulators had not yet figured out how to game the comments section. For a long time, I did not moderate comments at all. Neither did a lot of other sites.

Another point: Nowadays, a site like this would have to do the social media...thing. Ugh. Not my bag. I hate Facebook and Twitter. Still, social media would seem to be a necessity.

Can anyone out there handle that aspect of the project?


 
There are four lights!

You know, the ancient Greeks called the sky bronze. So, it is my position that the sky is, in fact, bronze in colour and we live in a state of false consciousness. The simpler people of the past, with their closeness to nature, must have known the truth of the situation. Some may say that oranges are also bronze, for a sufficiently broad definition of bronze. Hence that is a uniquely inaptly chosen example.

John Oliver, I don't think he's being threatened with the loss of his career if he doesn't take a neo-con line. I don't think he's very bright, he's just toeing the party line. Unfortunately the current liberal consensus is infected with neoliberalism.

I believe items 5 and 8 on your list are contradictory. You can't have an explicitly anti-racist group without self-proclaimed anti-racists starting a witch-hunt.

 
Quote Albert Camus......."We have a right to think, that truth with a capital letter is relative. But facts are facts. And whoever says that the sky is blue when it is great is prostituting words and preparing the way for tyranny."

Check out some time Camus' journalism work with "Combat." the French resistance during and after WWII. One of the greats.

Hal Lewis
 
I think more clear and to the point would be WAR MEDIA WHORES.

I was just mentioning the other day to a friend that I miss the "underground" newspapers of the 70's. We definitely need to get back to something like that because I agree the NYTimes and Wash Post are just as much pushers for war as Fox or any right of center media.
 
Valuable
 
It would never work. 1. These people have no shame and just plain don't care about the truth or providing it. 2. The American public also has no shame and doesn't care about the truth either. At some point people became more invested in their viewpoint rather than facts. Everybody keeps repeating the inane refrain that there are two sides to a story even when that is a complete fiction. There was a time when someone who lied about something would be chastised, ridiculed and never be taken seriously again. Just think not only did George Bush, Dick Chaney and Colin Powell lie our country into a war of choice none have ever faced any consequences of their actions and all are still held in high esteem by many in this country. We live in an age where the truth has little value.
 
Starting from the practically aproved working of the wor[l]d as well as the term "logic",
I consider there must be some reason for it exist to exist.
Also the word "ideology" exists.
Ideo-logy ?
Is there a beyond-logic-world?
There is a rule of thumb for scientists, which says "never start a new science, when there is no NEED for it".
There is - so far- not yet "A-theorie of-everything", but elements of it.
Those elements, based on simple, practical logic, provides us with an idea of the history as well as the working of the universe,
as much as the practical means of comunicating it, including all aspects.
So this idea, or better set of ideas, all nicely fitting together are they forming a locical system, are they ideo-logical?
What discriminates "logic" from "ideo-logic" ?
Is there a universe based on ideo-logic ?
How does it work, relative to the universe as seen by means of logic ?
Which , by simply using logigal methods, the method of logik, METHODICALLY,
allow us to know, what we don't know, and, find it !
Now, You go and waste Your and Your readers time, by re-inventing the wheel,
when in fact, this "wheel" was not only dis-covered, but actually set to motion about 260 years ago.
Where it says "all the NARRATORS" of history [Ideo-logs]have 1 thing in common,
they [ideo-logically] have interpreted history [in an infinitesimal growing number of ideo-logical means]
when [in fact] it (history) must be MADE [and continously is in the making, under the brute violation of logic, both in idea as in reality]
You, in Your "gut" somehow FEEL the inconsistency of the projcted images with Your proper reality, but
empirically trying an infinitesimal number of subterfugios,
carefully avoid the left thing.
Sticking to the all-chemists Newton-mechanics, the ideology of ether, all in order of preserving
an equivalent to anti-Einsteinan world-view, when it comes to socialisim [CAPITALS].
Scientific socialism, You not only deny, You denigrate it.
Instead, using the the TERM as a WORD for everything BUT socialism (capitals).
How do You dear to criticise, least defy, any adversary, accepting the adversaries terrain for granted, in the first place ?
(Hey, this type of rant is the best I can do to people I consider friends, only.
Keep trucking, brother. I wish You well.
->)
The Einstein Theory of Relativity 1923
https://vimeo.com/9832926
 
->shame on me.
"about 260 years ago" must be corrected and read about 160 years ago.
sorry
 
You could simplify your case by consolidating the terms neocon and neoliberal into their parent category, which is political Zionism. Divide and conquer is the name of the game, and playing two sides of the population against each other is the way it's played.
 
-> : ???

Anon: You're being kind of silly. Zionism is certainly a major part (but not the ONLY part) of what drives neoconservatism. Neoliberalism? Different story.

As for that "divide and comment" remark -- watch it. You're showing signs of turning into one of those brainless Bircher types. I'm talking about a certain kind of conspiracy buff who, in an effort to prove that ONE BIG CONSPIRACY controls both sides of any given political equation, starts muttering vague and unprovable nonsense about "Hegelian dialectics."

Am I right? Is that were you were heading?

Whenever I run into a conspiratard who blathers nonsense about Hegel, my response is to ask: "Have you ever actually READ Hegel?" The Philosophy of Right, The Phenomenology of Mind? Any of that ring a bell?

Usually, the conspiratard who thinks he knows something about Hegel hasn't read any of the guy's books. (I've tried. They're hard. And boring.) Conspiratards know about Hegel only from Birchite writers who were desperate to devise a rationale for their self-contradictory theories, such as the theory that ONE BIG CONSPIRACY controlled the USSR and Wall Street (an idea that used to be popular on the fringe right during the Cold War). Nowadays, we have the theory that ONE BIG CONSPIRACY controls liberalism and conservatism.

Many conspiratards think that they can sell this silliness by muttering the magic name "Hegel" and the magic word "dialectics." The truth is, there is not one iota of evidence that the world is ruled by ONE BIG CONSPIRACY of Hegelians. If you look at the Birch literature where this Hegel meme started, you'll see that there is no citation of evidence -- it's all proof-by-presumption.

I don't think that there is ONE BIG CONSPIRACY. And even if there is, I'm sure that the people running the show care even less about Hegel than I do.

Am I ranting, anon? Yeah. Little bit. Sorry. I know that you did not actually mention Hegel in your comment. But you were heading in that direction, so I felt obligated to warn you that I've heard it all before. No Sale.

Anyways, folks, I'm a little despondent.

No-one has had any practical advice to offer. I guess no-one cares about my proposal. Instead of outlining a practical course of action against neoconservatism in journalism, my readers have demonstrated that they would rather blather nonsense about whether or not the sky really IS blue. Either that, or they hit me with the usual blasts of vague, amorphous, and utterly otiose conspiracy theory.

That shit never helps nuthin'.
 
What exactly do you want, in terms of advice? Something to do with web hosting? Advice on how to trawl websites looking for lies, or on recruiting people to do so?

"Offer help with this idea" is too vague.
 
Do people still go to web sites? I think they mostly get stuff from their Facebook newsfeed, or their friends newsfeed. I prefer going to web sites, but I'm not so young anymore and I get the sense that younger people want everything of interest to them in one place.

I wish I could offer something more constructive, as I'd love to see the kind of site you are talking about. I just don't know much about setting up web sites, unfortunately.
 
???
Short version ->
Ideologic = inconsistent with logic.
Private ownership of logic, jepp !

 
joseph, it's true the birchers were nuts to think one giant conspiracy controlled the soviets and capitalism. but there's also a hidden history of capitalists bankrolling the soviets. in fact, the first five year plan under stalin was largely designed in detroit, by albert kahn, chief architect for ford. and the list of major american corporations that provided massive technical assistance to lenin, stalin and beyon is truly staggering. you would profit by looking up the construction of magnitogorsk - based on gary, indiana - just for starters. then, of course, there's fred koch making his fortune from stalin. talk about the birchers - he was a founding member.
 
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