All of a sudden across the nation citizens are being warned by the media to avoid a dangerous threat to democracy and our way of life. It is not weapons of mass destruction or ISIS or Vladimir Putin that we must be frightened of this time, although Russia plays a role. The latest threat to our peace and safety is something called ‘fake news’.
The New York Times has published a piece linking fake news to the gunman who marched into Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, D. C. last week with a gun, let everyone walk out and then oddly waited for arrest. The piece even hints at the spread of fascist ideas across America, with ‘liberals across the country asking how a nation of millions could be marching to such a suspect drumbeat’. Terrifying stuff.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ newspaper The Washington Post published an article on November 24 which claims that the fake news phenomenon is part of a Russian propaganda effort. There is no proof given for this assertion. This astonishing claim is apparently ‘according to experts’, who are of course anonymous and above suspicion. In the piece, WaPo guides its bewildered readers through how to spot fake news. As part of this training, readers were referred to an anti-Russian site which listed more than 200 fake news sites. Incidentally, many of these sites have bigger audiences and greater reach than WaPo. When one of these sites threatened to sue WaPo for defamation, the newspaper was forced to publish a retraction. So much for fake news.
The Pope has now weighed into the campaign against fake news, comparing the reading of fake news to eating feces. We haven’t seen such censoriousness from the Vatican since the Counter-Reformation.
Wikipedia now even has a page devoted to fake news websites, which inexplicably has been included in the same series as computer viruses, malware and cyberwarfare. The writers of the page place blame for the fake news epidemic on Russia throughout, again without any solid evidence. Although this page is now quite extensive, it is only relatively new. The page was created on November 15 this year; incidentally six days after Clinton was defeated in the presidential election.
It would seem there is quite a bit of fakery when it comes to the fake news media campaign. This all begs the question: Why is the establishment media suddenly so terrified of fake news?
There have been wild and outrageous rumors and allegations flying around as news since before the founding of the Republic. Some historians credit the spread of revolutionary ideas prior to the War of Independence to hundreds of thousands of pamphlets floating around the colonies filled with such conspiracy theories as there being a plot to make the Church of England faith the only acceptable form of Christianity in America. The most famous of these pamphlets, Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’, became a seminal text for the ideals which underpin the American Republic.
Is this historical precedent of anti-establishment information leading to the overthrow of a corrupt elite what has the mainstream media so panicked? Given the information being released to the public about the corruption surrounding the Clintons this seems like a plausible explanation. What else does the public not yet know that has the pro-Clinton corporate media so worried?
Fake news does not seem to be a problem for the mainstream media when information which is later revealed as false comes from establishment sources. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died due to the fake news put forth endlessly by a warmongering mainstream media about weapons of mass destruction. Not one journalist was called to account. No-one went to jail. The price was paid in the blood of the Iraqis. Millions of Vietnamese died as a result of the fake news of the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, about which even President Johnson later acknowledged the Navy might have been ‘shooting at whales’.
What is making the media so irate is not the threat of fake news, but rather the danger of Americans starting to research and think for themselves in the internet era. It is the source, rather than the credibility, of the news which is making the establishment panic. This is what is unacceptable to those who have engineered the reality bubble that increasing numbers of Americans are now choosing to leave. The manufacturing of popular consent through the media is the basis for the establishment’s power, and has been the main enabler of the dangerous centralization of power and wealth we have seen in America these last few decades. The media has been the oligarchy’s most powerful weapon against the people.
The Soviet Union’s establishment mouthpiece, Pravda, was pushing out pro-Soviet and anti-Western stories right up until the moment the USSR fell. As the reality bubble of the elite shrank and the people increasingly tuned out, government media organs became more and more shrill.
The frantic fake news campaign by the liberal media is a similar desperate attempt to claw back control. Americans have lost faith in the self-absorbed guardians of acceptable opinion. As the Berlin Wall of manufactured reality comes down, the mainstream media and those whose power, privilege and reputations they guard are being exposed to public scrutiny by an American people sick of being lied to. The shift has already taken place. If the corporate media continues to talk down to the American people and refuses to acknowledge reality then they will find that, for the first time in a long time, they will be the ones on the wrong side of history.