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'Here we go, here we go again.'
So it's a lazy afternoon and you go to Google News to see what's happening in the shopping mall. There are a lot of headlines about that IMF dude Dominique Strauss-Kahn - or DSK for short as he's known on the continent.
DSK: prospective leader of France's socialist party and the country's great hope to depose
Carla Bruni Nicholas Sarkozy. But Sarkozy's lovely Bruni is preggers with their first together and she told him in no uncertain terms she wasn't going to raise their toddler outside the Palais de l'Élysée and if he still wants les bons temps now and again, he'd better win the election.
At least that's what a lot of people in France and Germany think.
DSK now has a nice 780 m2 palace in Tribeca that supposedly costs $50 K pcm in rent. His wife Anne Sinclair who inherited a Picasso fortune - but is absolutely not a billionaire - came to the Big Apple to bail him out and paid one million cold ones plus guaranteed another five million. His personal security is supposedly going to cost her another $200 K pcm.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has a history of womanising affairs. Rumour has it (actually it might be stronger than rumour) that one of the relatives of a colleague is going to try to reopen a case against him. Porn stars coming out of the woodwork to say he's a sweet and gentle lover. A Tiger Woods circus all over again. Change the names and they're the same story. Change the names is all the tabloid media do - they have templates for these things all ready to go.
And poor Arnie! You have a baby with your housekeeper only five days apart from your baby with your Shriver? What are you - some kind of idiot? Ever hear of contraceptives, Mr Terminator?
The tabloids are going nuts. They love it. This is when they make their holiday excursion budgets. They even have a story going that Arnie used to have caravans of cars escorted by the California Highway Patrol deliver harems of girls to him at a suite at the Hyatt Regency in town. And it's 100% true even if those in charge of CHiPs say it's preposterous.
Presumed innocent: don't those unwashed so-called 'journalists' know or care anything about rule of law and the other corner concept 'presumption of innocence'? Or is all they care about that they get together enough money for their Barbados weekends with their mistresses?
That's the Old Media. Nobody cares about the Old Media anymore. The past year has taught us all they're worthless, and they're charlatans, and they suck up to the powers that be instead of keeping a critical eye on them as they're supposed to.
The case of Julian Assange in Sweden made it very clear just how arrogant and lazy journalists can be. 9 out of 10 facts cited were embarrassingly incorrect and could have been corrected by 15 minutes diligent research. But the botoxed gargoyles sitting atop their empires found that too wearisome, convinced not only that the pen's mightier than the sword but also that the pen's so fucking powerful it can buy anything they want and exonerate them from any and all responsibilities they don't want.
That's not journalism. There are four letter words for it. But none of them are particularly complimentary.
And if it only ended there. But it doesn't. Try inputting 'JA DSK' or 'Assange Strauss-Kahn' into Google News or Ice Rocket. Add 'Schwarzenegger'. See what you find.
Remember when Julian Assange told the audience at Berkeley how the blogosphere really works? That none of those bloggers destined to become the new generation of journalists were actually ready to do real journalistic work?
'It's bullshit, it's all bullshit!' he told an appreciative audience laughingly.
Bloggers latch onto ideas that are already out there. They want to trumpet their own ideals. They don't want to analyse facts or dig up the truth. Bah! They want only to regurgitate what others have already written. But don't ever call them pretentious!
And yet look what's happening today. It's déjà vu all over again. It's like taking a ride in a time machine back eight years in time when the White House Ministry of Propaganda kept people chanting and muttering the same thing over and over again.
'9/11 - Saddam - 9/11 - Saddam - 9/11 - Saddam - 9/11 - Saddam...'
People inevitably accept it as fact sooner or later. Sooner or later, people will inevitably believe Saddam was behind 9/11 (or 9/11 was behind Saddam).
Josef Göbbels never had it so good.
Carla Bruni might truly be out to get DSK - but she's presumed innocent. Arnie might have hundreds of harem girls all over California - but he's presumed innocent, at least until he comes forward and tells everyone he's guilty.
But DSK himself is presumed guilty in many countries, as is Julian Assange, and especially by toxic feminist journalists who don't hesitate to remove the word 'alleged' in everything they write, just like Claes Borgström does when he talks about Julian Assange on Swedish television ten times a week. Borgström even goes so far as to day it doesn't matter what the facts are: he's a jurist and only he can know.
'DSK - Assange - DSK - Assange - DSK - Assange - DSK - Assange...'
That's the one that's started up now. Bruni has enemies, so does DSK. So does Arnie. But nobody has enemies like Assange. He's infuriated a criminal power elite and he's not close to finished yet. And dammit they aim to get him. And guess what? They have friends in high places and useful idiots in lowly places.
Short memory might have already faded the following: Rupert Murdoch tried to smear WikiLeaks after the Afghan War Diaries by citing an informer who'd been murdered as a result of the releases. The headlines raced around the world. It was only later - and on 'page 101' - that it was admitted the poor sod had been murdered two years prior to the WikiLeaks release.
There are several important lessons here.
- People are not necessarily stupid but they sure behave that way.
- Most people don't read entire news articles. Some don't read them at all. But they're all experts. Articles are crafted so the most interesting paragraphs are at the top and the most boring ones at the bottom. For the truly unwashed masses, it's the headlines that count and little more. They see the headlines in hyperlinks, register them, store them away, then move on somewhere else.
- The powers that be in the media understand these mechanisms all too well. They study them. They read reports from institutes that study them. They know how to get at and manipulate public opinion. They're masters at it.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Julian Assange are innocent until proven guilty. Arnie Schwarzenegger isn't guilty of anything he doesn't himself admit doing. Saddam Hussein had jack shit to do with 9/11. Elvis is not on Mars.
And for the record: the tabloid media might have templates for these stories, but they're not the same, not even close to it. DSK has been formally charged with a crime; Assange has not. DSK is married to the rich and charming Anne Sinclair; Assange is not married. DSK's alleged victim may have mentioned the word 'no' but Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén never once used it.
DSK was found on a plane headed for France even though he basically lives in the US; Assange stayed an extra month in Sweden not because he was asked to but because he wanted to get the mess cleared up.
And so forth and so on. Oh how the mighty have fallen. But Julian Assange is not head of the International Monetary Fund or the Governor of California, he is not cheating on a wife he doesn't have, and has not even been charged with a crime. But you wouldn't know that to hear the screaming of the jackals in the Old Media or the screeches of the magpies in the blogosphere.
A feeding frenzy is a situation where over-saturation of a supply of food leads to rapid feeding by predatory animals. For example, a large school of fish can cause nearby sharks to enter a feeding frenzy. This can cause the sharks to go wild, biting anything that moves, including each other or anything else within biting range.
Truth and fiction must collide someday.
- Midnight Oil