MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘mass media’

The News Churn Memory Hole: How The MSM Lies Even When Telling The Truth – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on December 19, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/12/18/the-news-churn-memory-hole-how-the-msm-lies-even-when-telling-the-truth/

“This goofy ass Trump letter is gonna get more outraged coverage than the bombshell report on the entire Afghanistan war being a lie and frankly I don’t know if I can handle that right now,” popular Youtube commentator Kyle Kulinski tweeted today.

The post was just one of the many observations that Kulinski tosses into the Twitterverse every day, presented in his typical casual, offhand way without any self-significance. But if you actually pause and think about what he’s saying here, how true it is and what it says about the mass media institutions which people rely upon to form their worldviews, it’s actually a damning indictment of our entire society.

It is a fact that far more news media energy is going into one trivial aspect of an impeachment agenda that will with absolute certainty fail to remove Trump from office than there is for the known fact that the US government fought to suppress indisputable proof that American officials have been consistently lying about an 18-year military occupation which continues to this day. This fact should, by itself, be sufficient to completely discredit the mainstream press. This one tiny piece of information, that there’s vastly more buzz about an irrelevant impeachment sideshow than there is over the Afghanistan Papers, should in and of itself cause everyone to regard the entire establishment media complex with the same amount of respect as it gives the Flat Earth Society.

But it doesn’t. People are so hypnotized by the endless drama of the mass media news churn that all context and sense of proportionality is lost to them. They stand transfixed by the latest kayfabe combat between the two puppets in America’s two-headed one-party system like an infant distracted from the cause of its outrage by a set of shiny, dangling keys.

The public’s total immersion in whatever sparkly clickbait drama gets served before them by the waiters and waitresses of corporate news media enables the narrative managers responsible for manipulating public thought to simply pace mainstream attention away from inconvenient news stories, even after reporting on those very news stories themselves the day before.

This ability to memory-hole attention away from inconvenient truths using the drama of the relentless news churn is the final line of defense for the establishment propaganda machine, and, much like a video game, they save the hardest boss fight for last. Even if a little truth manages to squeak past the wall of billionaire-controlled media employees who are conditioned to understand that they’ll only be able to advance their careers by promoting narratives which favor the establishment upon which those billionaires have built their respective kingdoms, even if that truth then squeaks past the steadily thickening walls of government secrecy, past the increasingly overt infiltration of media organizations by powerful government agencies, and past the empire’s increasingly aggressive war on oppositional journalism, it still has to face the final boss fight of news churn memory-holing. And boy, it’s almost unbeatable.

A lot of dissident-minded optimists got hopeful that maybe once the lies of the Iraq war were exposed, people would lose trust in the political/media class which deceived them about such a massively significant atrocity. These hopes were of course dashed as public attention was simply paced on to the next new, shiny thing, and then on to another and then on to another, and on now to the point where everyone’s babbling about impeachment over some political shenanigans with Ukraine and Joe Biden without hardly anybody bellowing in unmitigated rage that this same party refused to impeach Bush over mountains of literal war crimes. There is no actual correlation between a story’s newsworthiness and the amount of news coverage it ends up getting, so the still earth-shakingly consequential repercussions of Bush administration’s malfeasance have been eclipsed by today’s set of sparkly keys.

This infuriating tactic has been employed time and time again against inconvenient truths which miraculously managed to surmount the many other roadblocks which obstruct people’s understanding that they do not live in a free or just society but a murderous, oppressive and exploitative one. They are able to employ this immensely crucial strategic advantage because the social engineers whose employers benefit from the status quo don’t just work to manipulate information, but narratives as well.

It doesn’t matter how much information gets leaked to the public by whistleblowers, how much information the public gains access to via successful Freedom of Information Act requests, how much information is brought to public attention by investigative journalists combing through documents to connect the dots on the behavior of the powerful, as long as the establishment can manipulate or suppress any narratives that might get told about that information. No matter how much truth gets exposed about the depravity of the powerful, it won’t make one drop of difference in terms of public accountability if nobody’s talking about it. We see this in the way narratives still depict Trump as a Russian stooge despite the information about his many reckless escalations against Russia being publicly available, we see it in the way mainstream media is suppressing all discussion about the OPCW scandal, and we are now seeing it in the way the Afghanistan Papers are being memory-holed despite their temporarily featuring as front-page mainstream news.

This is all proof that simply getting information published isn’t enough. As important as whistleblowers, investigative journalists and leak publishing outlets like WikiLeaks are, by themselves they’re completely impotent, because all they do is reveal information while leaving the control of the dominant narrative in the hands of the establishment spinmeisters. There is no truth that could possibly be exposed that is so damning and so salacious that it couldn’t be manipulated away by establishment narrative control.

This doesn’t mean there’s no hope of ever awakening a critical mass to the fact that they live in a society which is ruled by oligarchs who benefit from keeping everyone else poor and powerless and profit from deceiving us into sending our children overseas to murder other people’s children. All it means is that we need to approach the problem with a very specific focus. It isn’t enough to simply expose the truth; we need to expose the truth while forcefully driving home the message that the media organizations which people rely on to form their entire understanding of the world have been deceiving them.

Yes, expose the truth, but do it while also saying “Look! See? This proves that the mainstream media have been lying to you this entire time! They lie to you about everything!” Drive this point home constantly, as often as possible. The propaganda machine is only able to manipulate people away from inconvenient truths when people trust it; if you can weaken their trust in the plutocratic media and the political class which regurgitates their narratives, you will cripple the machine’s ability to manipulate them in that way.

It’s not enough to simply expose the truth. You must also fully, repeatedly and consistently expose the ones who are telling lies.

This is simply a matter of an adjustment of focus. Far too many truth-tellers think it’s enough to keep their energy close to their chests and mildly speak truths as correctly as they can into the information ecosystem. This is like being in a cage fight and thinking it’s enough to simply have a good fighting stance. We are being attacked by an enemy who seeks to destroy our ability to understand and respond sensibly to our world, so we need to fight back. We need to be moving our feet and ducking and weaving and throwing strikes in combinations, not just standing there with a textbook-perfect fighting posture.

It’s not enough to be right, we’ve also got to win. We win by pouring our energy into sowing distrust in the establishment propaganda machine, mocking it, ridiculing it, showing everyone how absurdly phony it is, until everyone’s laughing at it and treating it with the same amount of deference that they give to flat-earthers. When we’ve accomplished that, that’s how we’ll know that we’ve won. And from there it will be possible to build a healthy world based on truth.

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Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Manufacturing Normality – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on August 16, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/08/15/manufacturing-normality/

If people could see the world with fresh eyes, as though they were viewing it for the very first time, they would suddenly find themselves smashed between two equally strong yet wildly different experiences.

On the one hand, they would experience breathless awe at the thunderous beauty of everything that exists. We tend to develop a mental habit of taking things for granted just because we have a thought story about knowing what they are and having seen them before. The labeling, dividing mind says “Oh yeah, I know what that is, that’s a tree. I’ve seen a million of those, no big deal,” and we make a habit of overlooking it. This habit combines with our fixation on looping mental chatter to pull the interest and attention out of our experience of the world which would otherwise be experienced as a nonstop eruption of staggering beauty.

On the other hand, someone seeing the world with fresh eyes would at the same time experience howling rage at all the immense evils that the mass media manipulators have convinced us to accept as normal. All the oppression, exploitation, violence, domination, ecocide and corruption which we were born into would no longer be seen as unfortunate but necessary mundane realities, and neither would all the horrible propagandists who deceived us into thinking they were.

Even the most informed and skeptical-minded people who are well aware that there is a nonstop psywar being waged by the powerful against human decency and common sense tend to think of establishment propaganda in terms that fail to encapsulate its most pernicious aspects. Most hip, conspiracy-aware individuals, when asked to point to examples of mass media propaganda, will talk about things like discrepancies in coverage which benefit western power structures, or the deliberate undermining of all political candidates even a tiny bit outside the mainstream consensus, or the lies that have been used to manufacture consent for wars.

All of those are of course real things that have real consequences, but they are not the most significant and consequential aspect of establishment propaganda. The most significant and consequential aspect of establishment propaganda is the simple, everyday practice of manufacturing normality.

By “manufacturing normality” I mean the way the plutocrat-owned political/media class pour massive amounts of energy day in and day out into making the ridiculous, horrific status quo seem normal. They do this in many ways, both by action and by inaction. The way a celebrity saying something obnoxious on Twitter is treated as immensely newsworthy while daily US drone strikes overseas go completely unreported. The way people starving and dying of exposure both in the third world and in the first while resources are vacuumed up by an elite few is something we’re all kept just dimly aware of while Johnny Popsong wearing a meat tuxedo to the Snobbies occupies headlines for days. The way mainstream TV shows, movies and music are all just really long commercials for capitalism and egocentrism.

Every time something horrible happens without news reporters treating it like something horrible, normality is being manufactured. Every time something unimportant happens that is treated as newsworthy, normality is being manufactured. Every time our bizarre, bat shit insane status quo is commented on without Jake Tapper taking his eyes off the teleprompter and screaming “HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK HAVE WE BECOME???”, normality is being manufactured. This happens every single day, many times a day.

This is hard to talk about, precisely because it has been so normalized. It’s easy to point out the glitches in the matrix that stand out against the background of normality like when CNN interviews a seven year-old girl to tell us all how important it is to invade Syria or whatever; it’s much more difficult to talk about the background of normality itself.

Lately I’ve been using the establishment freakout over Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential candidacy to address this difficulty, since on paper most of the things she’s saying appear fairly normal and common sense to anyone who hasn’t been trained to regard them as abnormal and freakish. We were gifted with a really useful insight into the way establishment narrative managers manufacture normality when The New York Times‘ Bari Weiss dismissed Gabbard as “monstrous” on The Joe Rogan Experience and then found herself completely unable to articulate why she’d said that. Her floundering attempts to defend her position when questioned were essentially that of a propagandist saying what could be summed up as, “I can’t remember why, but everyone who matters has already agreed that she’s horrible and abnormal so that’s my take, too.”

And this is why the propaganda machine’s ability to manufacture normality is so powerful: by controlling what we all see as normal, they are able to spin any attempt to deviate from that false image of normality as abnormal. Humans are conditioned to see safety in normality; if patterns are constant and sustained we feel like we can relax, if patterns are disrupted we feel under threat. For this reason even something so clearly evil and deranged as the US forever war can be spun as normal and therefore safe, and any attempt to end it can be spun as abnormal and therefore unsafe.

It would never naturally occur to anyone that meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad at the beginning of 2017 was some kind of horrible, career-defining evil; they had to be trained to think that. US politicians meet with shady world leaders all the time, and even someone who believes everything the TV says about Assad would normally see Gabbard’s meeting with him in the same light. The abnormality needed to be manufactured, and this was done by repeating over and over and over again to mass media consumers that Gabbard’s meeting was a shocking, offensive thing that must be defended in every single media appearance. Repeat this often enough and you get the illusory truth effect, a cognitive bias which causes people to assume that something they’ve heard a bunch of times is true. This is the cognitive bias which caused Bari Weiss to reflexively spit out the word “monstrous” when Gabbard’s name came up, despite not actually knowing anything about the basis for that accusation.

We’re dealing with this exact kind of dynamic all day, every day. The narrative managers say all day every day in myriad ways that the status quo of endless war, exploitation, oppression, ecocide and propagandistic mass mind control are all perfectly normal, and that the normal human impulse to pull away from that status quo is weird and dangerous. As I said, this dynamic is very difficult to talk about due to its very nature, but talking about it is a skill I intend to get better at. I encourage you to join me in that endeavor.

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The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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