Mass Media News StoriesExcerpts of Key Mass Media News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of the mass media news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has sued the Justice Department over the hacking of her computers, officially accusing the Obama administration of illegal surveillance while she was reporting on administration scandals. In a series of legal filings that seek $35 million in damages, Attkisson alleges that three separate computer forensic exams showed that hackers used sophisticated methods to surreptitiously monitor her work between 2011 and 2013. The intruders installed and periodically refreshed software to steal data and obtain passwords on her home and work computers. She also charges that the hackers monitored her audio using a Skype account. The award-winning reporter says she and her attorneys have "pretty good evidence" that these efforts were "connected" to the Justice Department. She said she was caught in a "Catch-22," forcing her to use the lawsuit and an administrative complaint to discover more about the surveillance through the discovery process and to learn the identities of the "John Does" named in the complaints. Attkisson learned through a Freedom of Information request that the FBI opened an investigation of the hacking case in May 2013, but says the bureau never interviewed her or even notified her of the probe. Attkisson resigned from CBS last March after complaining that she was increasingly unable to get her investigative stories on the air. She has published a best-selling book, "Stonewalled," about her battles against the network and the administration.
Note: Fox News was the only major media to cover this important case. Read a judge's supportive comments about this important case on Ms. Attkisson's website. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
Gary Webb knew his story would cause a stir. The newspaper report he'd written suggested that a US-backed rebel army in Latin America was supplying the drugs responsible for blighting some of Los Angeles's poorest neighbourhoods – and, crucially, that the CIA must have known about it. [Webb's report, titled] "Dark Alliance" has been called one of the most explosive and controversial exposés in American journalism. Nineteen years on, the story of Webb’s investigation and its aftermath has been given the full Hollywood treatment. Kill the Messenger, based on his account of what happened and a book of the same name about the saga by journalist Nick Schou was recently released in cinemas. What Webb did that nobody else had was to follow the supply chain – right to the poverty stricken streets of Los Angeles. Webb summed up the heart of his ... series thus: “It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history. The union of a U.S. backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the uzi-toting “gangstas” of Compton and South-Central Los Angeles.” Perhaps most damningly, Webb wrote that crack was virtually unobtainable in the city’s black neighbourhoods before “members of the CIA’s army” began supplying it. [In 1999], Webb said that after spending three years of his life looking into it, he was more convinced than ever that the U.S. Government's responsibility for the drug problems in South Central L.A. was “greater than I ever wrote in the newspaper.”
Note: Read an excellent, concise summary written by Gary Webb himself of what happened on this highly revealing Dark Alliance series. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 1996, the award-winning journalist Gary Webb uncovered CIA links to Los Angeles drug dealers. The link between drug-running and the Reagan regime's support for the right-wing terrorist group throughout the 1980s had been public knowledge for over a decade. What was new about Webb's reports, published under the title "Dark Alliance" in the Californian paper the San Jose Mercury News, was that for the first time it brought the story back home. His series of articles ... incited fury among the African-American community, many of whom took his investigation as proof that the White House saw crack as a way of bringing genocide to the ghetto. Webb's reports prompted three official investigations, including one by the CIA itself which ... confirmed the substance of his findings. Webb undeniably made mistakes. But his central thesis - that the CIA, having participated in narcotics trafficking in central America, had, at best, turned a blind eye to the activities of drug dealers in LA - has never been in question. [A 1998] CIA Inspector General's report, commissioned in response to the allegations in "Dark Alliance" ... found that CIA officials ignored information about possible Contra drug dealing; that they continued to work with Contra supporters despite allegations that they were trafficking drugs, and further asserted that officials from the CIA instructed Drug Enforcement Agency officers to refrain from investigating alleged dealers connected with the Contras.
Note: For those interested in the Gary Webb story, this article is possibly the best single summary out there. Read an excellent, concise summary written by Gary Webb himself of what happened on this highly revealing Dark Alliance series. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
When Angus Crawford, a journalist at the British Broadcasting Corporation, started reporting on sexualized images of children on Facebook, he knew he had to proceed with caution. Mr. Crawford ... began investigating the presence of obscene images of children on Facebook last year, [and] found that pedophiles were using secret pages to share images of children. A subsequent police investigation led to one man being imprisoned. This year, [Mr. Crawford] followed up and found that there were still images on the website that appeared to break Facebook guidelines, which state that the social media company will remove any content that promotes sexual violence or exploitation. Mr. Crawford reported the images using Facebook’s internal system, but the company took down only 18 of the 100 that he flagged. He then contacted the social network directly ... and was asked to provide examples of images that he had reported. When he provided examples ... the company reported Mr. Crawford and the BBC to the police. The company filed its report with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center. Facebook has said it is improving its system for reporting offensive content, but the incident has raised questions about exactly how it polices its site. Mr. Crawford ... noted an apparent contradiction between the view of Facebook’s moderation system, which determined that the photos were not in breach of the social network’s guidelines, and the company’s decision to report the BBC to the police.
WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange’s revelation last week of the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools had a misplaced tone of surprise. Some scary initial stories argued that the CIA could crack Signal and WhatsApp phone encryption, not to mention your toaster and television. But ... the hardest question here is whether the CIA and other government agencies have a responsibility to disclose to software vendors the holes they discover in computer code, so they can be fixed quickly. This may sound like a no-brainer. The problem is that there’s a global market for “zero-day” exploits (ones that are unknown on the day they’re used). U.S. intelligence agencies buy some of these exploits; so do other countries’ spy services, criminal gangs and the software vendors themselves. A recent report by the Rand Corp. [calculated that] there are about two dozen companies selling or renting exploits to the United States and its allies, with many of these contractors making between $1 million and $2.5 million annually. More than 200 zero-day exploits studied by Rand went undetected for an average of 6.9 years. Given this evidence, Rand argued, “some may conclude that stockpiling zero-days may be a reasonable option” to combat potential adversaries. But let’s be honest: The real shocker in the WikiLeaks scoop is the demonstration ... that the U.S. government can’t keep secrets. It makes little sense for the CIA to argue against disclosing its cyber-tricks to computer companies if this valuable information is going to get leaked ... anyway.
Facebook unveiled its highly anticipated “disputed news” tag Friday, allowing some users to flag stories that appear to contain false information, alerting readers and potentially making them less likely to click through to the content. In December, the company announced it would unveil a fact-checking feature that allows users to dispute material they believe is false. The system relies on users who qualify as fact-checkers after signing onto a list of principles codified by the journalism nonprofit Poytner. These users can flag single stories, rather than entire sources, as fraudulent. Links to vetted debunkers, such as Politifact and Snopes, that analyze claims and arrive at conclusions regarding their validity then appear beneath the post. So users can still see and access flagged stories shared by their friends, but they will get a warning before clicking through. According to Gizmodo, two stories flagged as “disputed” by the social media site Friday seemed to follow a pattern: Both made critical statements about the Trump administration and came from sources that had previously admitted to publishing fake stories. It’s unclear how many fake stories the system will be able to identify, or how many others will trust it. The divisive political climate ... likely won’t be fixed simply by placing an asterisk on some coverage. “The problem is that we are too credulous of news that reinforces our predispositions and too critical of sites that contradict them,” Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., told the Monitor.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable sources.
I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Google’s first suggested link ... leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic? In the “About us” tab, I learn CNSnews is owned by the Media Research Center. It receives a large bulk of its funding – more than $10m in the past decade – from a single source, the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. Robert Mercer is the money behind an awful lot of things. He was Trump’s single biggest donor. Since 2010, Mercer has donated $45m to different political campaigns – all Republican – and another $50m to non-profits – all rightwing, ultra-conservative. This is a billionaire who is ... trying to reshape the world according to his personal beliefs. He is reported to have a $10m stake in the [Cambridge Analytica], which was spun out of a bigger British company called SCL Group. It specialises in “election management strategies” and “messaging and information operations”, refined over 25 years. In military circles this is known as “psyops” – psychological operations. Cambridge Analytica makes the astonishing boast that it has psychological profiles based on 5,000 separate pieces of data on 220 million American voters. With this, a computer ... can predict and potentially control human behaviour. It’s incredibly dangerous.
Pizzagate was the false claim that the Comet Ping Pong pizza place in Washington D.C. was at the center of a pedophilia ring linked to the Hillary Clinton campaign. But on Tuesday night, Meredith-owned CBS46 ran a report full of recycled Internet rumors about the restaurant. Reporter Ben Swann cited the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta heavily throughout his segment. “In all, WikiLeaks dumped around 50,000 email messages, and it was from those emails that the claims that John Podesta may be part of a child sex-trafficking ring come from,” Swann said. However, moments later he added: “To be clear, not one single email in the Podesta emails discusses child sex trafficking or pedophilia.” Swann claimed “strangely worded emails” could be “code language used by pedophiles,” and repeated much of the conspiracy theories featured by conservative radio host Alex Jones and various online forums. “For all that is here, there has not been one single public investigation of any of this,” Swann said. “Not from local police, not from the FBI, no one. And that has to be the big question.” Swann’s boss defended his latest report. “I know he was meticulous with his search for facts,” CBS46 news director Frank Volpicella told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Note: Ben Swann was removed from the show shortly after this report, and his social media accounts went strangely silent. Watch his controversial Pizzagate report on this webpage. The media has slammed Pizzagate as fake news, yet if you look without bias, there is tremendous solid evidence suggesting something very fishy is going on. See this webpage for lots more.
[Cameron] Harris started by crafting the headline: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” In a raucous election year defined by made-up stories, Mr. Harris ... and his ersatz-news website, ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, make for an illuminating tale. Contacted by a reporter who had discovered an electronic clue that revealed his secret authorship of ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, he was wary at first. “This topic is rather sensitive,” Mr. Harris said, noting that he was trying to build a political consulting business. But eventually he agreed to tell the story of his foray into fake news, a very part-time gig that ... paid him about $1,000 an hour in web advertising revenue. He seemed to regard his experience with a combination of guilt about having spread falsehoods and pride at doing it so skillfully. He pushed the button and the story was launched on Sept. 30, blazing across the web like some kind of counterfeit comet. “Even before I posted it, I knew it would take off,” Mr. Harris recalled. He was correct. The ballot box story, promoted by a half-dozen Facebook pages Mr. Harris had created for the purpose, flew around the web, fueled by indignant comments from people who were certain that Mrs. Clinton was going to cheat Mr. Trump of victory and who welcomed the proof. It was eventually shared with six million people. The money, not the politics, was the point, he insisted. Mr. Harris said he would have been willing to promote Mrs. Clinton and smear Mr. Trump had those tactics been lucrative.
British journalist Julia Breen's scoop about racism at her local police force didn't just get her on the front page, it got her put under surveillance. Investigators logged her calls, those of her colleague Graeme Hetherington and even their modest-sized newspaper's busy switchboard in an effort to unmask their sources. The [Northern Echo newspaper] has often provided painful reading for Cleveland Police, a department responsible for a Chicago-sized patch of England's industrial northeast. The small force has weathered a series of scandals. A minority officer, Sultan Alam, was awarded 800,000 pounds ... after allegedly being framed by colleagues in retaliation for a discrimination lawsuit. The judgment made national headlines. Cleveland Police issued a statement insisting the force wasn't racist. The next day, an anonymous caller told Breen an internal police report suggested otherwise. The following morning her byline was across the front page beneath the words: "Institutional racism uncovered within Cleveland Police." Breen ... eventually forgot the episode. Cleveland Police didn't. The force secretly began logging calls to and from Breen, Hetherington and a third journalist from another newspaper. It was later calculated that the surveillance covered over 1 million minutes of calling time. The Echo isn't unique. Britain's wiretapping watchdog ... revealed in 2015 that 82 journalists' communications records had been seized as part of leak investigations across the country over a three-year period.
Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted. A documentary producer, a photojournalist, a live-streamer and a freelance reporter were each charged with the most serious level of offense under Washington DC’s law against rioting, after being caught up in the police action against demonstrators. The Guardian learned of their arrests after reporting on Monday that the journalists Evan Engel of Vocativ and Alex Rubinstein of RT America had also been arrested and charged with felonies while covering the same unrest. All six were arraigned in superior court on Saturday and released to await further hearings. “These charges are clearly inappropriate, and we are concerned that they could send a chilling message to journalists covering future protests,” said Carlos Lauría, the [Committee to Protect Journalists'] senior Americas program coordinator. The National Lawyers’ Guild accused Washington DC’s metropolitan police department of having “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone” and said they unlawfully used teargas and other weapons. None of the arrest reports for the six journalists makes any specific allegations about what any of them are supposed to have done wrong.
Note: These outrageous charges come on the heels of similar tactics being used to silence reporters covering last October's Dakota Access Pipeline protests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Important Note: WantToKnow.info manager Fred Burks watched the CBS news video at the link above one day after it was posted. Two days later, Fred clicked on the same link only to find the video there had been replaced with one titled "Why Reports on Trump Are Fake News." The original video was gone. This is unprecedented and suggests someone did not want you to see this video. Fred managed to download the video before it disappeared. You can watch it now on this webpage.
What exactly is Pizzagate? [It began with] the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. [Some emails suggest] Podesta may be part of a child sex trafficking ring. Podesta talks about his close relationship with Dennis Hastert, the former Speaker of the House who was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison for abusing boys. To be clear, not one single email … discusses child sex trafficking. But there are dozens of ... strangely worded emails dealing with pizza. Those words [may be] code language used by pedophiles. Comet Ping Pong Pizza [is referenced] at least a dozen or so times. The owner of that place, James Alefantis, is a friend of John Podesta. He was actually named ... by GQ magazine as one of the top 50 most powerful people in Washington. Comet Ping Pong ... is a place where a number of performance artists perform [including] a group called Heavy Breathing and another called Sex Stains. Heavy Breathing has songs that do joke about pedophilia. [Alefantis] has made his Instagram profile private, but an archive search of Instagram reveals a number of strange photographs and words with ... disturbing images. According to the Washington Post, visitors to [John's brother] Tony Podesta's home in Falls Church "got an eye full when they walked into a bedroom ... hung with multiple color pictures by Katy Grannan, a photographer known for documentary style pictures of naked teenagers in their parents’ suburban homes." That just begins to scratch the surface of how strange some of the stuff is.
Note: Explore the retrieved Instagram account of James Alefantis and you will understand why this is so important. Read what may be the most level-headed exploration of Pizzagate. For undeniable evidence of powerful child prostitution rings leading to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence." An excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" also covers a pedophile ring in the UK which leads to the highest levels of government. See also news articles on sex abuse scandals.
For months, the CIA, with unprecedented clarity, overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. In August, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” The CIA and NSA director under George W. Bush, Gen. Michael Hayden, also endorsed Clinton and went to the Washington Post to warn, in the week before the election, that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin.” It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war. Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow. In general, Clinton defended and intended to extend the decadeslong international military order on which the CIA and Pentagon’s preeminence depends, while Trump - through a still-uncertain mix of instability and extremist conviction - posed a threat to it. The claims about Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and ties to Trump should be fully investigated. But until then, assertions that are unaccompanied by evidence and disseminated anonymously should be treated with the utmost skepticism. Venerating the intelligence community ... and equating its dark and dirty assertions [with] Truth ... cannot possibly achieve any good and is already doing much harm.
Note: For an important viewpoint on the real complexities going on with recent reporting on Trump links to Russia, CIA involvement in Syria, and media manipulations, don't miss the above provocative article by Glenn Greenwald and this interview he gave to Fox News.
In an astonishing media tour following her resignation from CBS News last spring, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson sat before interviewers ranging from radio host Chris Stigall to CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter and launched attacks on her newly former employer. “With various stories, you do get the idea at some point that they want you to stop, especially if you start to dig down right into something very, very important. And it’s not just with political stories - it’s with stories that go after other interests, corporations, different things,” Attkisson told Stigall. Perhaps the most spectacular allegation against Attkisson’s former employer relates to influence by corporate interests on the news product. Despite the hassles, Attkisson and her colleagues plow ahead with such stories. Until she catches wind that the bureau chief has requested to see her notes on a story about “an American Red Cross disaster response.” After Attkisson complains that it’s inappropriate to ask to see the notes, the bureau chief says, “I know. I don’t know what else to do.” Discouragement of Attkisson’s reporting, confesses the bureau chief, comes from powerful forces within CBS News. “We must do nothing to upset our corporate partners,” says the bureau chief, per [Attkisson's book] “Stonewalled.”
Note: There is much more to this story. Please read the analysis of top independent reporter Jon Rappoport on this webpage showing how sharp investigative reporters who threaten the powers that be are forced out, as Attkisson was. And watch Attkisson give a Tedx Talk on how the public is deceived in dangerous ways be powerful corporations and interests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.
The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as “left-wing fake news.” Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities ... have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda. In defining “fake news” so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, they are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information. Journalists who work to separate fact from fiction see a dangerous conflation of stories that turn out to be wrong because of a legitimate misunderstanding with those whose clear intention is to deceive. A report, shared more than a million times on social media, that the pope had endorsed Mr. Trump was undeniably false. But was it “fake news” to report on data models that showed Hillary Clinton with overwhelming odds of winning the presidency? Are opinion articles fake if they cherry-pick facts to draw disputable conclusions? “Fake news was a term specifically about people who purposely fabricated stories for clicks and revenue,” said David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, the myth-busting website. “Now it includes bad reporting, slanted journalism and outright propaganda. And I think we’re doing a disservice to lump all those things together.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable sources.
So far as I know, I have never taken money from the C.I.A.. The same can’t be said for any number of prominent writers and artists, from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Jackson Pollock. During the early years of the cold war, they were supported, sometimes lavishly, always secretly, by the C.I.A. as part of its propaganda war against the Soviet Union. Yet once the facts came out in 1967 the episode became a source of scandal and controversy. How close should presumably independent intellectuals get to their government? Many books and articles were written about all this until 1999, when one book, Frances Stonor Saunders’ “Cultural Cold War,” swept the field. Saunders was highly critical of the “octopus-like C.I.A.” and those intellectuals who allowed themselves to be used as pawns in the government’s cold war game. But though her book was diligently researched and vigorously argued, it can hardly be considered the last word. Now the historian Hugh Wilford has come out with “The Mighty Wurlitzer,” and it can be seen as a direct rejoinder to Saunders. The story, Wilford says, is complicated. Far from being pawns, the intellectuals on the C.I.A. payroll were willing participants in what they understood as the legitimate cause of opposing Soviet tyranny. They took money for what they would have done anyway; the C.I.A. simply allowed them to be more effective at doing it.
Note: For lots more evidence on how the U.S. government has used propaganda against the American people, read this excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in last month’s presidential election. Officials ... were told that intelligence agencies had found that individuals linked to the Russian government had provided WikiLeaks with thousands of confidential emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and others. The emails were steadily leaked via WikiLeaks ... revealing that DNC figures had colluded to harm the chances of [Clinton’s] nomination rival Bernie Sanders, and later giving examples of collusion between her campaign and figures in the media to blindside Trump in debates. The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A ... senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was “directing” the hackers. Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, [said of] the CIA claims: “They are absolutely making it up ... I know who leaked them. “They are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things. “If ... the CIA’s statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone. America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it’s not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever.”
Note: The Guardian newspaper's website removed all front page links to the above article just three hours after it was published. In its place, the Guardian ran a new article that was entirely supportive of what Wikileaks affiliate Craig Murray calls "the CIA’s blatant lie" about the leaked DNC emails. A short essay by WantToKnow.info team member Mark Bailey explores this apparent media manipulation.
The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there are reportedly some 600 civilian dead over a month. Despite these similarities, the reporting by the international media of these two sieges is radically different. In Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad’s forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians. One factor making the sieges of east Aleppo and east Mosul so similar, and different, from past sieges in the Middle East ... is that there are no independent foreign journalists present. They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty. Unsurprisingly, foreign journalists covering developments in east Aleppo and rebel-held areas of Syria overwhelmingly do so from Lebanon or Turkey. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers.
Note: Read more on the media bias in news coverage of these wars in this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war and the manipulation of public perception.
A web of truthiness, post-truths and half-truths is replacing a once-shared goal of knowing the actual truth. Ever since Eddie Bernays changed his occupation from “advertising man” to “public relations expert” a century ago, the distortion and manipulation of the truth through covert campaigns has been a mainstay of public life. We make light of it by calling it “spin” instead of covert information warfare, but covert warfare it is, and the prize is the capture of friends and enemies alike in webs of disinformation. Words - stories, narratives - have been weaponized and collateral damage is extensive. The Russians excelled in the use of stolen material ... to affect the recent campaign. They have done the same with neighbor countries to undermine clarity about their intentions and actions. There is a NATO group, for example, that does nothing but peruse Russian propaganda to understand it, but it was discovered that ... they unconsciously absorbed false material as if it was true, because that’s what the mind does, it treats data as data, even when it knows the data is a fiction. So the NATO group has to be debriefed in order to recalibrate their maps of the real to ... well, to the real. But who debriefs the debriefers? Who debriefs us? The inability to discriminate between plausible and crazy plus the impossibility of knowing what’s real in this perpetual fog of information warfare causes anxiety and fear, which people counter with narratives to comfort the afflicted soul. Then it’s called “truth.”
The Washington Post on Thursday night promoted the claims of a new, shadowy organization that smears dozens of U.S. news sites that are critical of U.S. foreign policy as being “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.” The article ... cites a report by an anonymous website calling itself PropOrNot, which claims that millions of Americans have been deceived this year in a massive Russian “misinformation campaign.” The group’s list of Russian disinformation outlets includes WikiLeaks and the Drudge Report, as well as Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute. This Post report was [hailed] as an earth-shattering exposé. The individuals behind [PropOrNot] are publicly branding journalists and news outlets as tools of Russian propaganda - even calling on the FBI to investigate them for espionage - while cowardly hiding their own identities. The group promoted by the Post thus embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy, but without the courage to attach individual names to the blacklist. Echoing the Wisconsin senator, the group refers to its lengthy collection of sites spouting Russian propaganda as “The List.” The group eschews alternative media outlets ... and instead recommends that readers rely solely on establishment-friendly publications. That is because a big part of the group’s definition for “Russian propaganda outlet” is criticizing U.S. foreign policy.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.