Mass Media News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Mass Media News Articles in Media
Michael Specter's recent articles bashing Vandana Shiva and the labeling of genetically engineered foods (Seeds of Doubt and The Problem with G.M.O. Labels) in the New Yorker are the latest high-profile pro-GMO articles that fail to engage with the fundamental critique of genetically engineered food crops in US soil today: rather than reduce pesticide inputs GMOs are causing them to skyrocket in amount and toxicity. Setting the record straight, Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency, has recently published a well-researched article documenting the devastating facts, "Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops," in Environmental Working Group's online AgMag. Dr. Seidler's article cites and links recent scientific literature and media reports, and should be required reading for all journalists covering GMOs, as well as for citizens generally to understand why their right to know if food is genetically engineered is so important. Over 99% of GMO acreage is engineered by chemical companies to tolerate heavy herbicide (glyphosate) use and/or produce insecticide (Bt) in every cell of every plant over the entire growing season. The result is massive selection pressure that has rapidly created pest resistance - the opposite of integrated pest management. Predictably ... we now have huge swaths of the country infested with "superweeds" and "superbugs" resistant to glyphosate and Bt, meaning more volume of more toxic pesticides are being applied.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
The video of James Foley’s execution may have been staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera. Forensic analysis of the footage of the journalist’s death has suggested that the British jihadist in the film may have been the frontman rather than the killer. The clip, which apparently depicts Mr Foley’s brutal beheading, has been widely seen as a propaganda coup for Islamic State militant group. But a study ... carried out by an international forensic science company which has worked for police forces across Britain, suggested camera trickery and slick post-production techniques appear to have been used. A forensic analyst told The Times that no blood can be seen, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times. “After enhancements, the knife can be seen to be drawn across the upper neck at least six times, with no blood evidence to the point the picture fades to black,” the analysis said. Sounds allegedly made by Foley do not appear consistent with what may be expected. During Foley’s speech, there appears to be a blip which could indicate the journalist had to repeat a line. One expert commissioned to examine the footage was reported as saying: “I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.”
Note: It is widely suspected by those in the know that many of the beheadings by alleged terrorists are staged by groups working with those who want to promote fear in our world to drive up war profiteering. For more on this, read this media article. Explore also powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support.
It was revealed this week that many government information officers block specific journalists they don't like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing "serious limitations on access to records" that they say have "impeded" their oversight work. The data about public information officers was compiled over the past few years by Kennesaw State University professor Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that 4 in 10 public information officers say "there are specific reporters they will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their stories in the past." Carlson has conducted surveys of journalists and public information officers since 2012. In her most recent survey of 445 working journalists, four out of five reported that "their interviews must be approved" by government information officers, and "more than half of the reporters said they had actually been prohibited from interviewing [government] employees at least some of the time by public information officers." The Associated Press reported earlier this year that in 2013 "the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times — a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama's first year." This week's letter from more than half of the federal government's inspectors general [said] that government agencies' move to hide information from them represents a "potentially serious challenge to the authority of every Inspector General and our ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.
[Phil Donahue:] I [have] produced ... an anti-Iraq War documentary. It’s titled “Body of War,” and it is available on Netflix. I’d very much like you to see the behavior of the [US] congressmen [in my film]. They were summoned to the White House by WHIG, White House Iraq Group. This is a Karl Rove committee that included the advertising warriors who named our invasion “Shock and Awe,” and “Rolling Thunder,” like video games. And they gave them their talking points: “A smoking gun will become a mushroom cloud”; “The longer we wait, the more dangerous he becomes”; “Saddam has more weapons of mass destruction than Hitler ever had”; “I see Hitler in Saddam Hussein.” And they read this, they’re looking down at the piece of paper, in what was at most a shell debate, that led to the deaths of over 4,500 service people, men and women both, not to mention how many injuries, we’re not even sure, we’re not even sure how many Iraqis are dead, and the refugees are in the millions. This is unbelievable. You’ve got to see this debate. It’s truly a very instructive piece on what you can do if you scare the people. George Bush took this nation, the mainstream media included, and led it right into this war. It was an amazingly executed, brilliantly executed, plan. The politics of fear. We haven’t won a war, and we’re spending $2 billion a day on things that go “boom.” We have become a warrior nation. We have no respect for diplomacy. We have to be tough, and we don’t talk to people we don’t like.
Note: Learn lots more about the politics of fear by watching online the BBC documentary Power of Nightmares. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Washington press corps ... is too caught up in its own self-importance and petty competition to understand it has become the cabin boy of the political class. Washington reporters are co-conspirators in an ongoing fraud. The epidemic of blind quotes is a standard way of giving a platform to officials speaking in an official capacity, yet with zero accountability. The practice is also supremely manipulative, giving the most banal information the allure of forbidden fruit. At its worst, the game can allow the vice president of the United States to leak phony intelligence to the New York Times and later refer back to the leak as independent journalistic confirmation, leading to invasion and hundreds of thousands of deaths and a trillion dollars in squandered treasure. The Iraq disgrace aside, obscuring official sources might be understandable if this journalistic worst practice were in the service of earth-shaking news. It almost never is. The blind quotes, though, are not even the worst of it. The New York Times recently revealed that reporters are not merely working on background, they negotiate after interviews what comments may be used and send them to sources for prepublication approval. The sources routinely edit those quotes before turning them back over to news organisations. As media ethicist Edward Wasserman so aptly put it, "At this point you're no longer talking about an interview; you're talking about a press release … And what happens is Washington becomes no different from Beijing, in terms of reporting what authorities want reported".
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on mass media corruption, click here.
Media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch online. Everything. In the old days, we only had a few threats to fear when it came to media manipulation: the government propagandist and the hustling publicist. They exploited the fact that the media was trusted and reliable. Today, with our blog and web driven media cycle, nothing can escape exaggeration, distortion, fabrication and simplification. Media manipulation is the status quo. It becomes, as Daniel Boorstin, author [of] The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, once put it, a "thicket ... which stands between us and the facts of life." Today the media -— driven by blogs -— is assailed on all sides, by the crushing economics of their business, dishonest sources, inhuman deadlines, pageview quotas, inaccurate information, greedy publishers, poor training, the demands of the audience, and so much more. These incentives are real, whether you’re the Huffington Post or CNN or some tiny blog. They warp everything you read online. Everyone is in on the game, from bloggers to non-profits to marketers to the New York Times itself. And when everyone is running the same racket, the line between the real and the fake becomes indistinguishable. Media manipulation exploits the difference between perception and reality. This all happens because of the poor incentives. When readers don’t PAY for news, the creators of the news don’t have any loyalty to the readers. To combat these manipulations, we must change the incentives. If we want loyalty to the truth, we must be loyal to the people who provide us with it. This probably means paying for information in one form or another.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on mass media cover-ups and distortions, click here. Thanks to the generous support of our readers and our lack of advertising, WantToKnow.info is one of the few news sources not subject to pressure from financial incentives which drive news manipulation for others. To support our work so that we can continue to be free of these market pressures, click here.
You probably have never heard of Robin Beaton, and that's what's wrong with the debate over health care reform. Beaton, a retired nurse from Waxahachie, Texas, had health insurance -- or so she thought. She paid her premiums faithfully every month, but when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, her health insurance company, Blue Cross, dumped her. The insurance company said the fact that she had seen a dermatologist for acne, who mistakenly entered a notation on her chart that suggested her simple acne was a precancerous condition, allowed Blue Cross to leave her in the lurch. Beaton testified before a House subcommittee this week. So did other Americans who thought they had insurance but got the shaft. The subcommittee's chairman, Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan, called the hearing to highlight the obnoxious and unethical practice called rescission. His researchers produced performance reviews of insurance company bureaucrats who were praised and rewarded for kicking people off their coverage. Then Stupak asked three health insurance executives the big question: Will your company pledge to end the practice of rescission except in cases of intentional fraud? All three health insurance executives said no. It was as dramatic as congressional testimony gets. Yet it got no airtime on the networks, nor, as far as I can tell, on cable news, although CNN.com did run a story. The story did not make The New York Times. Nor The Washington Post, which found space on the front page the morning after the hearing for a story on the cancellation of Fourth of July fireworks in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, but not a story on the cancellation of health insurance for deathly ill Americans who've paid their premiums.
Note: For lots more on corruption in the health industry, click here.
After a few days of breathless H1N1 flu coverage - some of it on his own network - CNN commentator Jack Cafferty noted that 13,000 people have died from the "regular ol' flu" this year in the United States, compared with just one confirmed H1N1 flu death. Cafferty then asked his audience to respond to his online poll asking "if swine flu coverage was overblown." He waited a moment, then said, "Hint: Yes." For a week, the flu story has whet cable TV's bloodlust with what the 24-hour cable news vacuum craves: mystery, death and great visuals that inspire fear. "Frankly, I've been a little horrified by how sensationalist and scare-mongering it is," said Vivian Schiller, chief executive officer of National Public Radio. No detail about the flu - often delivered without context - has been too tiny to go unreported, which means that cable TV viewers are getting coverage that is moment-to-moment but often not terribly useful. Conservative talk radio hosts have used fear about the flu to segue to anti-immigrant remarks and calls to close the U.S.-Mexico border.Just when the coverage appeared to be calming a bit Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden helped rekindle fears by saying on the "Today'" show that he "would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now." Health stories always attract huge audiences, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But viewers shouldn't expect as much breathless coverage when Congress begins debating an overhaul of the U.S. health care system over the next few months.
Note: For an excellent article showing how media fear-mongering of this and past flu emergencies have brought unprecedented profits to the pharmaceutical companies, click here.
World Trade Center Building 7 has become the subject of heated speculation and a host of conspiracy theories suggesting it was brought down by a controlled demolition. And some people suggest it was not just the government and foreign intelligence, but ... even the media that were involved. It is certainly true that on 9/11 the BBC broadcast that WTC7 had collapsed when it was still standing. Then the satellite transmission seemed to cut out mysteriously when the correspondent was still talking. Then [head of BBC News] Richard Porter admitted in his blog last year that the BBC had lost those key tapes of BBC World News output from the day. The internet movie Loose Change has been viewed by more than 100 million people according to its makers and it asks this question in the latest film release: "Where did CNN and the BBC get their information especially considering the building was still standing directly behind their reporters?" It turns out that the respected news agency Reuters picked up an incorrect report and passed it on. They have issued this statement: "On 11 September 2001 Reuters incorrectly reported that one of the buildings at the New York World Trade Center, 7WTC, had collapsed before it actually did. The report was picked up from a local news story and was withdrawn as soon as it emerged that the building had not fallen." And the reason the interview with the BBC correspondent, Jane Standley, ended so abruptly? The satellite feed had an electronic timer, which cut out at 1715 exactly.
Note: How many "coincidences" does it take for people to start to ask questions? How could people know that the building was going to collapse when a skyscraper had never collapsed before from fire? For a useful BBC FAQ on 9/11 alternative theories, click here.
In an e-mail uncovered and released by the House Judiciary Committee last month, Tim Griffin, once Karl Rove's right-hand man, gloated that "no [U.S.] national press picked up" a BBC Television story reporting that the Rove team had developed an elaborate scheme to challenge the votes of thousands of African Americans in the 2004 election. Griffin wasn't exactly right. The Los Angeles Times did run a follow-up article. But ... most of the major U.S. newspapers and the vast majority of television news programs ignored the story even though it came at a critical moment just weeks before the election. In fact, not one U.S. newsperson even bothered to ask me or the BBC for the data and research we had painstakingly done. The truth is, I knew that a story like this one would never be reported in my own country [the U.S.], because investigative reporting ... is dying. Again and again, I see this pattern repeated. Back in December 2000, I received two computer disks from the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Analysis of the data ... indicated that Harris' office had purged thousands of African Americans from Florida's voter rolls as "felons." Florida now admits that many of these voters were not in fact felons. Nevertheless, the blacklisting helped cost Al Gore the White House. I reported on the phony felon purge in Britain's Guardian and Observer and on the BBC while Gore was still in the race, while the count was still on. Yet the story of the Florida purge never appeared in the U.S. daily papers or on television ... until months later, that is, after the Supreme Court had decided the election.
Note: The American-born author of this article, BBC reporter Greg Palast, has repeatedly exposed major corruption in the British media, yet the U.S. press often ignores his well-researched stories. For possibly the most amazing story he wrote which got virtually no U.S. media coverage, click here.
In a nation that preaches the virtues of democracy, the United States government has consistently eroded the media's ability to report. U.S. press freedom has been slipping away since Sept. 11, 2001. Many other countries are now ranked freer than the United States. In the most recent survey by Freedom House [the U.S.] tied for 17th place. International free-press advocates Reporters Without Borders ranked us 53rd, tied with Botswana, Croatia and Tonga. Now that we are in a seemingly permanent "war" on terrorism, the government claims wartime powers that result in restricting press freedom. The Bush administration has multiplied exponentially the number of documents it classifies as secret. The office of Vice President Dick Cheney claims to be exempt from reporting even the numbers of records it brands with the "classified" stamp. Within weeks after 9/11, President Bush issued Executive Order 13233, allowing him to veto public release not only of his own presidential papers but those of former [presidents]. One of former Attorney General John Ashcroft's first post-Sept. 11 acts was to issue a directive to federal agencies restricting access to government records under the Freedom of Information Act. Cheney [refused] to disclose even the identity of the corporate executives he met with to determine the administration's energy policy. The U.S. Supreme Court held ... that there is no such thing as a First Amendment right of access to government information or facilities. The Bush administration did not advance press freedom by producing ... favorable "news" stories with fake reporters. It is hard to stomach the hypocrisy of claiming to spread democracy abroad while restricting at home the very freedoms that make democracy possible.
Public kept in dark as business leads talks about North American integration. Away from the spotlight, from Sept. 12 to 14, in Banff Springs, Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor met with U.S. and Mexican government officials and business leaders to discuss North American integration at the second North American Forum. The guest list included such prominent figures as U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Mexican Secretary of Public Security Eduardo Medina Mora and Canadian Forces chief General Rick Hillier. The event was chaired by former U.S. secretary of state George Schultz, former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed and former Mexican finance minister Pedro Aspe. Organizers did not alert the media about the event. Our government ... refuses to release any information about the content of the discussions or the actors involved. The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The media have paid little attention to this far-reaching agreement, so Canadians are unaware that a dozen working groups are currently "harmonizing" Canadian and U.S. regulations on everything from food to drugs to the environment and even more contentious issues like foreign policy. This process ... is about priming North America for better business by weakening the impacts of such perceived obstacles as environmental standards and labour rights. This is why the public has been kept in the dark while the business elite has played a leading role in designing the blueprint for this more integrated North America.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. Why has the U.S. media not covered this key topic? For a second article discussing this secret meeting on a top Canadian TV website, click here. To learn about other secret meetings of the power elite, click here
There was a close-up of a soldier who was holding someone's severed leg. There were photos of G.I.'s happily posing with the bodies of dead Iraqis. This is what happens in war. It's the sickening reality that is seldom seen in the censored, sanitized version of the conflict that Americans typically get from the government and the media. Mr. Delgado, 23, is a former Army reservist who was repelled by the violence and dehumanization of the war. He completed his tour in Iraq. But he sought and received conscientious objector status and was honorably discharged last January. Some of the most disturbing photos in his possession were taken after G.I.'s at Abu Ghraib opened fire on detainees who had been throwing rocks at guards during a large protest. Four detainees were killed. The photos show American soldiers posing and goofing around with the bodies of the detainees. In one shot ... a G.I. is leaning over the top of the body bag with a spoon in his right hand, as if he is about to scoop up a portion of the dead man's wounded flesh. "These pictures were circulated like trophies," Mr. Delgado said. Some were posted in command headquarters. But while at work in a headquarters office, he said, he learned that most of the detainees at Abu Ghraib had committed only very minor nonviolent offenses, or no offenses at all. (Several investigations would subsequently reveal that vast numbers of completely innocent Iraqis were seized and detained by coalition forces.) His goal, he said, is to convince his listeners that the abuse of innocent Iraqis by the American military is not limited to "a few bad apples," as the military would like the public to believe.
The grainy 30-second commercials ... suggest a government cover-up of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The advertisements, which ran repeatedly ... on several cable networks, including CNN, Fox News and ESPN, offer a Web site, an address and a phone number. The ads are the latest salvo from James W. Walter ... who over the years has financed programs promoting voter registration in low-income neighborhoods and prison reform. The television commercials, as well as ads in magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Daily News, are part of a $3 million national campaign paid for by Mr. Walter in an effort to press for the reopening of the investigation by the independent Sept. 11 commission. "We've never gotten solid answers on why Tower 7 collapsed when it was two full blocks away from where the planes hit," he said. "We've also never received an answer for how such a large plane left such a small hole in the side of the Pentagon." A Zogby poll of New Yorkers' opinions about the 9/11 investigation, released last month, indicated that 49 percent of New York City residents and 41 percent of New York state residents believed that some federal officials "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act." The poll also found that 66 percent of New York City residents and 56 percent of state residents wanted a fuller investigation of the "still unanswered questions."
Note: For lots more reliable information suggesting a major cover-up of 9/11, click here.
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." Vice President Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002 [White House website] "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." President Bush, Jan. 28, 2003 [St. Petersburg Times website] "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." President Bush, March 17, 2003 [White House website] "There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them." Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22, 2003 [Washington Post] "They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer." Donald Rumsfeld, May 27, 2003 [Washington Post website]"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction [as justification for invading Iraq] because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003 [CNN website]
Note: This article was published on the front page of the editorial section in the June 8, 2003 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Yet within weeks of its publication it disappeared from their website. Why have the media so avoided these most important facts? For an enlightening answer to this question, a powerful article by a highly decorated U.S. general is available here.
A handful of military personnel from the 4th Psychological Operations Group, based at Fort Bragg, NC, have until recently been working in CNN's headquarters in Atlanta. [A] Dutch journalist named Abe de Vries came up with this important story ... and remains properly astounded that no mainstream news medium in the US has evinced any interest in it. De Vries ... originally [came] upon the story [following] a military symposium in Arlington, VA that discussed the use of the press in military operations. De Vries saw a good story, picked up the phone, and finally reached Maj. Thomas Collins of the US Army Information Service, who duly confirmed the presence of these Army psy-ops experts at CNN. "Psy-ops personnel, soldiers, and officers," De Vries quoted Collins as telling him, "have been working in CNN's headquarters ... through our program, training with industry. They helped in the production of news." Eason Jordan, who identified himself as CNN's president of news-gathering and international networks, [confirmed] that CNN had hosted a total of five interns from US Army psy-ops. Jordan said the program began ... just before the end of the war against Serbia and only recently terminated. Executives at CNN now describe the Army psy-ops intern tours at CNN as having been insignificant. The commanding officer of the psy-ops group certainly thought them of sufficient significance to mention at that high-level Pentagon powwow in Arlington about propaganda and psychological warfare.
Note: This article strangely has been removed from the Los Angeles Times archives. The link above shows a scanned image of the actual newspaper. The article was first published in the San Jose Mercury News on March 23, 2000, though the article is also strangely not available in their archives. U.S. Congressional testimony in the 1970s revealed that the CIA paid employees of major media networks to influence public opinion. The CIA's Operation Mockingbird revealed blatant efforts by the CIA to manipulate public opinion in the U.S., thus violating its charter.
The Central Intelligence Agency is getting a very bad press in dispatches from Vietnam to American newspapers and in articles originating in Washington. The agency is precluded from [giving] information to the press, under a seal of confidence, that challenges or refutes the critics ... because to do so would require some disclosure of its activities. Every President since the C.I.A. was created has protected this secrecy. This Presidential policy has not, however, always restrained other executive units from going confidentially to the press with attacks on C.I.A. operations. The peak of the practice has recently been reached in Vietnam and in Washington. This is revealed almost every day now in dispatches from reporters ... with excellent reputations for reliability. One reporter in this category is Richard Starnes, [who] related that, "according to a high United States source here, twice the C.I.A. flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge ... [and] in one instance frustrated a plan of action Mr. Lodge brought from Washington because the agency disagreed with it." Among the views attributed to United States officials on the scene, including one described as a "very high American official ... are the following: The C.I.A.'s growth was "likened to a malignancy" which the "very high official was not sure even the White House could control ... any longer." "If the United States ever experiences [an attempt at a coup to overthrow the Government] it will come from the C.I.A. and not the Pentagon." The agency "represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone.
Note: The NY Times requires payment to view the above article in full. You can find it available free of charge on this webpage. Note the date of this article, just weeks before JFK was assassinated. Watch an excellent documentary titled "The Killing of a President," which presents huge amounts of evidence, including eye-witness testimony, which shows that JFK could not have been killed by Oswald. You can find an abundance of reliable resources on the JFK assassination in our information center on this topic.
A demand for an investigation of charges printed in the Congressional Record by Representative Oscar Callaway of Texas, a pacifist Democrat, that “the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel shipbuilding, and powder interests” had purchased control of twenty-five great newspapers to further the preparedness campaign, was made in the House today by Representative J. Hampton Moore, a Pennsylvania Republican. Mr. Callaway’s speech, as inserted in The Record charged: “In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding and powder interests, and their subsidiary organizations got together twelve men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select from the most influential papers in the United States in sufficient numbers of them to control generally the policy of the daily press of the United States. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of twenty-five of the greatest newspapers. [An] editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers. The policy also included the suppression of everything in opposition to the wishes of the interests served."
Note: For more showing how the media is controlled by carefully selected people placed by big money and the power elite, click here and here. For a short video of Congressional testimony from the 1970s proving CIA media manipulation, click here. The full text of this revealing article is available free at this link.
Leslie Moonves, the longtime chief executive of the CBS Corporation, stepped down on Sunday night from the company he led for 15 years. His fall from Hollywood’s highest echelon was all but sealed after the publication earlier in the day of new sexual harassment allegations against him. Mr. Moonves ... could still walk away with more than $120 million. However, [he] will not receive any severance payment until the completion of an independent investigation into the allegations. He has been under intense pressure since July, when The New Yorker published an article by the investigative journalist Ronan Farrow in which six women accused Mr. Moonves of sexual harassment. On Sunday, the magazine published another article by Mr. Farrow in which six more women detailed claims against Mr. Moonves. Mr. Moonves is the latest high-powered entertainment figure to be ousted from his perch in the #MeToo era. The movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused by scores of women of sexual assault and now faces felony charges. Matt Lauer stepped down as the anchor of NBC’s most valuable news program, “Today,” after several women alleged incidents of sexual harassment. Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS left the airwaves after he, too, was implicated by multiple women. And Fox News saw the departures of the founding executive Roger Ailes and its top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly. The allegations go back years — in some cases even decades.
Astroturfing is when corporations or organization[s] try to make it seem as though whatever they are selling is part of a grassroots movement. For example when a seeming small group calling themselves Americans Against Food Taxes run a national ad campaign against a potential beverage tax. It’s not paid for by a small grassroots movement of concerned citizens, but a large beverage conglomerate lobbying against a soda tax. According to [John] Oliver, in the wake of U.S. Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, astroturfing is becoming increasing common. Like a national wetlands organization funded by real estate developers and oil companies and a seeming restaurant worker group campaigning against minimum wage increase. “It’s pure straight up opposite world,” said Oliver. Some astroturfing experts work with many special interest groups, creating nonprofit shell companies of sorts to ensure that their ties to the fake grassroots campaigns can be kept secret. One of “the most infuriating tools” of astroturfing is the use of paid protestors. These paid protestors show up at places like town hall meetings masquerading as concerned citizens and reciting lines fed to them by special interest groups. The existence of these paid protestors is now a common theme on conspiracy message boards. “That is hugely dangerous,” said Oliver.
Note: The New York Times recently reported on the Koch Brothers' use of tactics like this to kill public transit projects. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
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