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The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. -Edward Bernays, Propaganda 1928
Google Is Funding a “Ministry of Truth” With Corporate Media Outlets Known for Deadly Deception
Justin Gardner November 21, 2016
While establishment Democrats trumpet all sorts of excuses for Hillary’s loss, few are willing to admit that she represented the alliance of bureaucratic corruption and corporate greed people are sick of.
There is no solace in the prospect of Donald Trump using big government to carry out his “law and order” pledge – ramping up domestic surveillance, increasing the militarization of police, undoing modest efforts at reducing prison populations, and possibly even cracking down on legal cannabis.
Back to Clinton, the most insidious excuse being pushed by the establishment Left (consisting of party leaders and much of the mainstream media) is the so-called “fake news” trope.
No one denies that publishing articles about made-up events, and presenting that as real news, is a terrible thing, which unfortunately gets “shared” without people taking the responsibility of verifying information.
But the censorship crusade being carried out by MSM is about more than actual fake news.
It is a vehicle for silencing alternative media and dissenting voices that represent a threat to the narrative. The target is not just the “alt-right” but alternative news and views from a range of political categories.
MSM outlets such as NYMag, LA Times and the Independent immediately picked up on a list of “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources” produced by a university professor. Without providing reasoning or examples to back up the claim that this list should be taken seriously, it was held up as a blacklist to be avoided.
That may have been only the first salvo, as far greater plans are in the works, represented by something called the First Draft Coalition.
Funded by Google News Lab, this coalition of “over thirty major news and technology organisations” aims to “tackle issues of trust and truth in reporting information that emerges online.” Notable members include the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and BBC.
They have anointed themselves as a sort of Ministry of Truth, as Robert Parry describes in his examination of the “fake news” subject
However, these self-appointed deciders have their own dubious history with accuracy in journalism.
“So, who are the “responsible” journalists who should be anointed to regulate what the world’s public gets to see and hear? For that Orwellian task, a kind of Ministry of Truth has been set up by Google, called the First Draft Coalition, which touts itself as a collection of 30 major news and technology companies, including the Times and Post, tackling “fake news” and creating a platform to decide which stories are questionable and which ones aren’t.”
We recently reported on five campaigns of deception that mainstream media have happily marched along with, resulting in the suffering of millions and the whitewashing of American foreign policy. The New York Times and Washington Post were particularly irresponsible with their reporting of falsities on nuclear weapons and WMD in Iraq.
They have long pushed the narrative for the foreign policy establishment, from ignoring the Iran-Contra scandal to providing cover for U.S. machinations in Syria. CNN silenced their own reporter who found evidence of human rights abuses being carried out in Bahrain, a Middle East dictatorship that also happens to host the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet.
But the irony of the First Draft Coalition goes even further. One of the founders of First Draft Coalition – a “citizen journalism” site called Bellingcat – has published high-profile stories with false information, and, according to Parry, has a close association with NATO through the Atlantic Council.
“Despite Bellingcat’s checkered record and its conflicts of interest through the Atlantic Council, major Western news outlets, including the Times and Post, have embraced Bellingcat, apparently because its articles always seem to mesh neatly with U.S. and European propaganda on Syria and Ukraine.
Two of Bellingcat’s (or its founder Eliot Higgins’s) biggest errors were misplacing the firing location of the suspected Syrian rocket carrying sarin gas on Aug. 21, 2013, and directing an Australian news crew to the wrong site for the so-called getaway Buk video after the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
But like many news outlets that support establishment “group thinks,” Bellingcat wins widespread praise and official endorsements, such as from the international MH-17 investigation that was largely controlled by Ukraine’s unsavory intelligence agency, the SBU and that accepted Bellingcat’s dubious MH-17 evidence blaming the Russians.”
Parry believes that if this “Ministry of Truth” called the First Draft Coalition existed during Iran-Contra and the Iraq invasion, the voices of dissent that ultimately exposed government and MSM lies would have been quashed.
U.S. intervention in Syria and the nurturing of the Salafist sect that went on to become ISIS — as well as the McCarthyist aggression against Russia — all could not have happened without the support of Washington think-tanks and MSM cheerleaders toeing the government line.
So it comes back around to the problem of who gets to decide what constitutes “fake news”? How can establishment outlets – who have purveyed a fake narrative of U.S. foreign policy that hides a truly subversive, hegemonic and war-making nature – be trusted to tell us what is real?There are undoubtedly great journalists among the members of the First Draft Coalition, who brave dangerous parts of the world and the gauntlet of political retribution to bring us valuable information. It’s the overarching agenda of establishment media, acting as Praetorian Guard for Washington’s political elite, that has become so obvious and so troubling.
“While it’s undeniable that some false or dubious stories get pushed during the heat of a political campaign and in wartime – and journalists have a role in fact-checking as best they can – there is potentially a greater danger when media insiders arrogate to themselves the power to dismiss contrary evidence as unacceptable, especially given their own history of publishing stories that turned out to be dubious if not entirely false.
It’s even more dangerous when these self-appointed arbiters of truth combine forces with powerful Internet search engines and social media companies to essentially silence dissenting opinions and contrary facts by making them very difficult for the public to locate.”
Alternative media represent a choice for people who are fed up with the system, and it is the people’s responsibility to research the news in order to achieve an accurate perspective on events. It is not up to a self-proclaimed “Ministry of Truth” – laden with the same corrupt baggage that acted as proverbial bouy for Hillary Clinton during the campaign – to dictate what is right and wrong.
Rand Corp. Blasts ‘Truth Decay’ – Wants Facts Determined by Appropriate LeadersBy Daily Bell Staff - November 21, 2016
Michael Rich, head of Rand Corporation has come up with a new phrase to describe “fake news,“ calling it “truth decay.” The Rand Corporation is a leading military-industrial think tank with thousands of employees including scientists from around the world and domestic and international offices.
These reports are part of a larger criticism Rich is making, one having to do with a news trend in America that involves citizens not only selecting their opinions, but also the “facts” that support them.
As we can see, Rich is apparently worried that Americans inability to discern truth from fiction is making the US virtually ungovernable. He calls “polarization” the gravest threat facing America and his descriptive phrase, “truth decay” attempts to clarify the process.
It’s been on his mind since long before the election results brought the topic into sharp relief, he told the audience Friday night as part of a Politics Aside discussion called Erosion of Truth.
“This is to me really a dangerous and unusual time in history. Because Americans not only feel entitled to their opinions—and rightly so—but many of them, a growing number of them, frankly, across the political spectrum also feel entitled to cherry pick facts to support their opinion, or even commission up new ‘facts’ if necessary,” Rich said.
“…When everyone has their own facts, then nobody really has any facts at all.” Truth decay is a threat to a research organization like RAND, whose very existence is based on facts and objectivity, he said, but more importantly it’s a threat to society. It pushes political polarization to even greater extremes and prevents policymakers from reaching consensus on solutions to the nation’s biggest challenges.
If citizens cannot agree on facts than society’s political and business leaders cannot create common sense compromises that will buttress America as a unique success among nations.
Rich gave one example regarding the phase out chlorofluorocarbons — “organic compounds used as aerosol propellants, refrigerants, and solvents—that researchers said were depleting the ozone layer.”
While many did not believe that aerosol propellants were a danger to survival, RAND was able to use “best available evidence” to reframe the debate based on probabilities rather than certainty.
As a result, the Senate passed the treaty that banned CFCs. But today, thanks to the Internet, it is perfectly possible that RAND could not have presented “facts as probabilities” with such confidence because opponents would have used the Internet to gather opposing facts.
In fact, a quick search of the Internet turns up the following from the website “American Thinker,” as follows, here:
The global ban on CFCs was enacted based on a theory that continues to be challenged to this day. Chemists remain uncertain of the rate and extent of ozone depletion due to chlorine. In fact, the exact role of atmospheric CFCs remains uncertain. It appears that the primary catalyst of ozone depletion is atmospheric chlorine, and the most atmospheric chlorine by far is out-gassed from the oceans or emitted by volcanoes. Mankind’s contribution is miniscule (does this sound familiar?). Further, natural processes have by far the greatest influence on the ozone layer (e.g., solar influence).
Additionally, this article points out that DuPont’s patent on CFCs was lapsing when the campaign against CFCs was initiated. The inference is that DuPont wanted CFCs banned so that it could create profit-making alternatives.
This inference parallels (controversial) accusations that DuPont helped ban marijuana because a better procedure for hemp processing had just been developed at the time, one that would make hemp cloth competitive with DuPont products. The “decorticator” allowed for efficient extraction of hemp fiber from stalks.
The CFC debate and resolution, can be seen as an antecedent to the global warming movement itself. If Rand has not had the capability at the time to assert “probabilities,” the global warming crusade might have foundered before it began.
Spirited public debate is part of the political process, Rich concluded, but policy-making itself must be rooted in rigorous research and analysis of the facts.
The trouble is that ample evidence has accrued during this Internet era that even the most perceptive politicians may occasionally fail to select the correct fact pattern. Regardless, Rich seems to believe this is a risk worth taking. He is quoted as saying that the lack of an ”agreed-upon common set of facts [is] a recipe for [governmental] gridlock.”
Rich believes that the only solution is to return somehow to an environment where appropriate leaders are able to select accurate facts without fear of alternatives. Indeed, this may make for more efficient government. However, it is still unclear, despite Rich’s eloquence, whether promoting the primacy of governmental and industrial technocracy insures the validity of a given fact pattern. In fact, history seems to show, at least on occasion, that it does not.
Conclusion: Suppression of alternative fact-patterns may lead to government efficiency, but not necessarily government accuracy. And basing large government programs on inaccurate facts can lead to difficulties that too-often can turn into disasters. A factual monopoly is not always the same as a credible one.