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The Soft Propaganda of the MSM

Who cared about real news before WikiLeaks?

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News? That's what comes on the telly at ten o'clock. Some may take the opportunity to visit the head, or get a new brewski. That's in the old days. What did anyone want with the news? It was all pyramidal anyway. No one had a way of checking sources, of verifying authenticity. Piccadilly Circus marquees with news of the latest victories of Oceania.

Then come the Age of WikiLeaks. Second sources? Who needs them? Second sources are only guesswork. Validating source documents trumps it easily. Except the schools of journalism still don't teach that. It's still hard to come by courses in secure submission systems or protecting source anonymity or the hairline distinction between truth and adjective-ridden soft propaganda.

Ben Franklin and the founders of the behemoth over the pond had little regard for news organisations. One of Ben's best, albeit somewhat off-topic, is the following.

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.

But perhaps the most apt of them all is the following credited to Thomas Jefferson.

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

So what's the MSM? People surely don't seek it out for truth. People before the Age of WikiLeaks have had little chance of finding the truth. Those who didn't take a bathroom break at the onset of the ten o'clock news were probably a bit lost, awash in a sea of troubling contradictions. So much is certain. And many of them were keen to know the truth. Certain again. But few if any found it.

That was before the Age of WikiLeaks. That was before people could themselves inspect source documents. Information wasn't shared laterally as today but pyramidally, distributed downward from invisible powers above.

The other part of the Age of WikiLeaks: social media. They give us the ability to share - laterally. Something like freedom of assembly, but electronic. What a shame then that we've seen these platforms, independent of WikiLeaks, succumb to pressure from government, money, and the cerebrally disenfranchised.

Instagram began as a Cult of the Dumb™ - and it still is; Twitter harassed a user for publishing a movie review offsite that did not humour Amy Pascal; and Facebook admitted to throttling the lateral sharing of information about corruption in the US Democratic Party.

Google's Eric Schmidt's unholy ideological fornication with Hillary Clinton is today more common knowledge than Monica Lewinsky.

In the world of traditional media, the story is the same.

The pressure Rupert Murdoch exerts on his tittie tabloids is infamous.

The bloodthirstiness of NYT's former boss Bill Keller is well known, especially to Judith Miller.

These organisations, whether they be conduits for lateral information sharing or more traditional pyramidal information sharing, have let people down. But there remains one category of media outlet we're all assumed to trust. And this piece is about just such an outlet.


You'd think the Committee to Protect Journalists had to be a good organisation, but you might be wrong. The CPJ is based in New York City in the belly of the whale with a board of directors that's included Amanpour., Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather; and with media donors such as the AP, CNBC, CNN, and Rupert's FOX.

Ann Cooper ran the show until 2006, when deputy director Joel Simon took over.

The following piece of soft propaganda is written by Joel Simon.

It's deconstructed bit by bit.

Bit by Bit

Snippets from Joel Simon's paranoiac US-centric screed against Russia, WikiLeaks, the world.

Julian Assange told Chuck Todd that when it comes to protecting the identity of sources, he makes no distinction between whistleblowers seeking to expose government abuse and government spy agencies seeking, for example, to manipulate elections.

Idiotic. Truth has no political colour. Period. But anyone afraid of the truth is harbouring an agenda. Full stop.

With new reports each day that Russian hackers may have penetrated the US government and Democratic Party...

How can you have new reports that something may have occurred? Either they've occurred or they haven't. Anything else isn't irresponsible journalism - it isn't journalism at all. It's soft propaganda.

... more damaging leaks are entirely possible in the weeks and months ahead...

Same shit. Possible? So is intergalactic space flight.

The question is how should journalists cover them without allowing themselves to be manipulated?

Who says that's the question? How can one be manipulated by the truth? What's the alternative, Joel? To HIDE the truth? Are you still talking about manipulation?

The starting point is a recognition that Russia is engaged in a systematic campaign of information warfare.

There you go. After 2013 and Edward Snowden and the NSA and the GCHQ and Angela's phone, you're worried about the fragile state of the poor US?

As in all forms of conflict, Russia has offensive and defensive capabilities.

Filler. Tells us nothing at all. But it sounds military - and scary!

Vladimir Putin believes that Western governments have used information operations to topple regimes around the world...

He's not the only one. And it's not just belief. It's a fucking fact.

... and that they are targeting his government, encouraging civic unrest...

You mean like in the Reagan years? Or Vicki Nuland's cookie campaign on the Maidan? Which cost over $5 billion?

... like doping by Russian Olympic athletes...

Low blow. What's that got to do with anything? Exactly.

... high-level corruption at the Kremlin...

Where's evidence of this? Putin is hallmarked by cleaning out corruption! And coming in the wake of DNCLeak, this is quite the mouthful.

Russia must protect itself by censoring the domestic media and asserting increasing control over online speech.

Where exactly is this happening? Exactly.

... Gerasimov Doctrine...

Wikipedia doesn't have it, meaning it's not notable. But they have Sinatra Doctrine.


It's a Gorby policy of self-determination. Sounds good! Wikipedia goes on:

'We now have the Frank Sinatra doctrine. He has a song, I Did It My Way. So every country decides on its own which road to take.'

And that was said by the aforementioned Gerasimov. But that's not what Joel makes of it.

... which posits that deception and disinformation, not tanks and planes, the new tools of power...

Wow! Somebody better tell the CIA! And Facebook! And Twitter!

Beware the bogeymen!

Joel cites the NY Times:

In DNC Hack, Echoes of Russia's New Approach to Power

The NY Times, in case you forgot, were the bloodiest propaganda bullhorns for the bloody 2003 invasion of Iraq, insisting over and over again that Saddam had WMDs.

Russia has used false news to stir up unrest in the Balkans, and more recently in Ukraine, where it planted stories of attacks on ethnic Russian paved the way for the annexation of Crimea in March 2014.

This is the most insidious of the lot. There are tens of thousands who have been slaughtered in the neo-Nazi shelling of ambulances, hospitals, daycares, et al in the Donbass; the UN recognised that *UP TO ONE MILLION PEOPLE* had to flee to Russia for safety; but these are planted stories?

Now there is evidence - compelling evidence - that Russia has brought information warfare to the US by hacking and then releasing the internal emails of the Democratic National Committee, or DNC.

Where is this 'compelling' evidence, asshole?

Much is unknown...


US intelligence and other informed sources are increasingly suggesting Russian involvement...

Hillary owns DC.

Russia officially denies it.

No, they just deny it straight out.

RT - previously Russia Today - operates a flagship English language news station that broadcasts a mix of serious coverage and propaganda intended to advance Russia's foreign policy agenda.

Oh please. Where's the propaganda? Is it George Galloway? Is it Chris Hedges? Is it LARRY FUCKING KING?

RT has serious limitations...

They do?

Audience statistics are scarce, to put it mildly...

Meaning what, dickhead?

Because RT is widely perceived as an instrument of the Kremlin, it has a major credibility problem. Its reports are almost never picked up by the mainstream media.

YEAH. And that's YOUR doing, DICKHEAD.

In the case of the DNC leaks, it's possible, according to media reports, that Russian intelligence successfully planted the story with a number of political Web sites, including The Hill, Gawker, and The Smoking Gun.

According to media reports? Where? {{cn}}!!!!! That's so stupid that it needs no comment. Hey why not talk about CIA-curated news feeds sent to all the US local television stations? No?

But the story did not really gain traction until the emails were released by WikiLeaks. This makes sense.

Of course it does. They have an impeccable reputation for sticking to the TRUTH.

WikiLeaks is the ideal vehicle through which an intelligence service might launder information.

The centre of gravity isn't shifting. Joel's paranoia doesn't have to be contagious. Relax, good people!

WikiLeaks' style is to publish leaked material uncritically...

Oh bullshit, you steaming turd. That's defamation. Study up a bit.

... devoid of context...

Devoid of spin, you mean. RAW DATA. Thank you very much.

... without reference to the motivations of the leaker...

Truth doesn't need context or motivation!

WikiLeaks has global visibility, a track record...

You're sure right about that!

... and enough partnerships with leading media outlets...

There are so many traps in that - be careful!

In the case of the DNC emails, it is impossible know whether the timing of the release responded to the needs of Russian intelligence or merely represented a convergence of interests.

If it's impossible to know, why speculate? Assange himself said it's about being topical to achieve impact - there's a fierce anti-US conspiracy there too? And what are you guys worried about anyway?

Assange has acknowledged in an interview that he intended to damage Clinton politically...

That's the Peston interview. Clumsy and clumsily cited.

... while Donald Trump is merely unpredictable, a Clinton presidency would pose a direct threat to freedom of the press...


... my own purely unscientific analysis suggests Trump would be worse...

You said it.

The initial coverage of the DNC leak in the mainstream media focused on what the emails revealed...

Only until you wimps got your footing.

Sanders supporters were justifiably outraged...

No one else was outraged?

... force the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz...

More lies. Her promotion back into the HRC campaign had been planned for years.

This was all undoubtedly newsworthy, but by failing to focus on the context of the leaks, there is a good chance that US media unwittingly served to advance the interests of Russian intelligence.

Joe McCarthy vomits in his grave. Right now.

Now that the alarm has been sounded, this should not happen again.

Thanks, Herr Führer!

Russia is hardly the only country to use information and misinformation to manipulate elections and wreak revenge. Such efforts have been part of US covert operations from the 1954 US-orchestrated coup in Guatemala to the 2003 Iraq invasion (think weapons of mass destruction).

Wow. Your copyeditor snuck that in there?

As for WikiLeaks, by publishing a data dump without verifying the source...

Proof positive and the final coffin nail that proves that JOEL JUST DOESN'T GET IT.


Of course there's no self-awareness there, no sign of suspicion with Joel that he himself might be a tool (and a fool). That the beady-eyed paranoid world he lives in, seemingly under threat on all sides, both from without and from within, is just a meticulously diabolical curation of frat-boy bullshit.

Again: what's to fear when your military dwarfs all others on the planet? When you have over 800 bases in over 3/4 of the countries recognised by the UN? When your mighty naval fleets patrol and control every major body of water? Or do you think this is how the planet is supposed to be used? By grey metal ships?

What do you have to fear when your government - your Department of State, your CIA - have plotted and continue to plot 'regime change' everywhere, from Guatemala to Persia to Panama to Honduras to Chile to Ukraine to... What's your problem exactly? You have already fucked up this planet for the rest of us, nigh on 'beyond all recognition' (FUBAR). What more do you want? Silence every last voice of protest? Are you the manifestation of the American Jihad?

Postscript: A Case for Trigglypuff

The ink's almost dried on this when word comes via Twitter that Clint Eastwood and his son Scott made the cover of Esquire magazine with an interview in which Mr C calls the millennials the 'pussy generation' and says they should just 'get over it'. Search on Twitter for 'Eastwood+racist' to see what's happened.

A generation (millennial) with a double-digit follower count equal to their collective IQ. They've never seen Dirty Harry or Magnum Force? These Don Siegel movies were the essence of 'quick and dirty' no-nonsense filmmaking, something Clint adapted in his film Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep; but they were, more importantly, 'stacked deck' movies, made to make audiences so hate the bad guys that they'd willingly forego the pointless exercise of 'judge and jury'.

Calling Clint a 'reactionary' wouldn't have been out of line, even though it was the 'sting-word' of our parents' generation. But today the epithet that always sticks is 'racist' - no matter that Clint has made some remarkable movies, with luminaries like Meryl and Morgan Freeman, to name but two.

But Morgan helped with the promos for the Dems convention, so that makes him a liberal, no? And as he collaborated with Clint, that makes Clint a liberal too, no?

No. Of course not. Morgan and Clint are actors. And Clint can't be much of a racist if he deliberately casts Morgan in his movie.

The point is that Clint can espouse what he wants - as can Morgan - without either of them going Trigglypuff. As Clint said in one of his movies, a line that can be directed at the pussy generation:

'A man's got to know his limitations.'

See Also
Assange Defence Fund
WikiLeaks: Support WikiLeaks
The Police Protocol (Translated)
Rixstep: JA/WL (Assange/WikiLeaks)
Rixstep: Assange/WikiLeaks RSS Feed
Radsoft: Assange/WikiLeaks RSS Feed

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