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MSM is an acronym for "Main Stream Media". On Wikspooks the term is used interchangeably with "CCM" or "Commercially-Controlled Media." In common usage it refers to both print and broadcast sources of news, current affairs commentary and entertainment with the terms "Mainstream" or "Commercially controlled" applied to distinguish it from so-called "Alternative" media.

Definition and Demarcation

The CCM (Commercially/Corporate Controlled Media) styles itself as "mainstream", as a way of marginalizing alternative media. The congruence with "mainstream thought" is surely no mere coincidence - as if those who diverge from the corporate promoted worldview are somehow cranks or extremists. The phrase "mainstream media" has been criticised by commentators who have characterised the CCM as tools of the establishment, used to systematically promote an inaccurate world view, excluding certain lines of inquiry and introduce misleading neologisms.[1] For example to justify the so-called "War on terror", CCM regularly over-emphasise the dangerous of terrorist violence and portray its perpetrators as Muslims, when according to Europol, <1% of terrorist incidents in Europe are by Islamic terrorists.[2]

Content Policing and the MSM self-image

Most MSM and MSM professionals, undoubtedly regard themselves, at the very least, as Establishment sceptic and, on matters unconnected with 'Deep state' issues, they are mostly both honest and correct to do so. However the boundaries of allowable debate and discourse, though largely unstated, MUST be respected if career progression within the MSM structure is to remain open. The archive section of the Media Lens web site provides numerous trenchant illustrations of how this content policing operates. [3]

Taboo Subjects

There are many taboo subjects and knee-jerk buzz-words which the ambitious journalist/commentator/celebrity knows he/she must navigate with extreme caution. Among the latter are: "Holocaust", "Conspiracy", "Anti-Semitic", "Zionism", "Nazism", "Terrorism"; among the former, dissent about the merits of: Globalisation, Economic Growth (on a finite planet), "Free-Trade" and Western definitions of "Freedom" and "Democracy" - all of which are treated as articles of faith to be questioned only on pain of excommunication and severely stunted career prospects. Similarly risky/taboo behaviour is to question: The real motives of US/UK/NATO military entanglements; the alleged (assumed) benign intent of Western geo-policy, the essentially defensive nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the reality and extent of 'the terrorist threat' - and a good few more besides.


Media consolidation means that ownership of the commercially controlled media has never been more concentrated. Around the world, the same picture repeats itself - an ever smaller number of huge corporations controlling an ever large number of formerly independent media outlets, retaining the apparent diversity of opinion while in fact exercising hierarchical control over content, thus presenting a controlled spectrum of opinion.

Historically, the US has promoted and subsidised a diversity of ownership of media, as this was understood to be required for a well functioning democracy. Regulations existed to prevent cross-ownership (newspapers, radio, TV and other mass media) or concentration of ownership of media. These have either been relaxed and/or completely discarded under the weight of the transnational media conglomerates multi million(or billion?) dollar lobbying.

Whatever apparent choice is available, behind the innumerable different names and logos lie just a handful of trans-national corporate interests. These either own the media channels outright or - with the notable exception of the BBC (See below) - provide the dominant income stream through advertising.


George Orwell had a long association with the BBC and was thoroughly familiar with its editorial loyalties, oversight and methods
Full article: BBC

On the face of it the BBC, as a tax-payer funded organisation (or 'public-service broadcaster' as current Newspeak [4] has it), ought to be less susceptible to the commercial pressures that moderate content in the vast bulk of the CCM. Indeed, in the dog-fight of domestic party political trivia, the BBC is relatively unbiased, balanced and impartial. Unfortunately, this makes it all the more sensitive to charges that, at a more fundamental level on matters central to the modern Western 'progressive' creeds outlined above, all may not be as it seems and it is therefore inclined simply to dismiss charges of institutional bias (intentional or otherwise), out of hand. There are many cases of such lofty dismissal, amply documented, on the Media Lens web site mentioned above [3]. Where issues impinge upon 'Deep-State', Permanent Government interests, the BBC has always been the voice of the British Establishment. Its charter is the work of men wedded to the Mackinder-Rhodes-Milner vision of the British Empire as a missionary force for 'progress' and the spread of civilisation in the world; and it is financed on the whim of the British government whose hidden, permanent and secret elements dominate. How could it be anything else?

New York Times

Despite the generally high quality (and excellent reputation) of this source, it shares a common blindspot on deep political issues. The New York Times "owns" a property in the prestigious Qatamon neighborhood of Western Jerusaleam. It was once the home of Hasan Karmi, a distinguished BBC Arabic Service broadcaster and scholar. Karmi was forced to flee with his family in 1948 as Zionist militias ethnically cleansed Arab neighborhoods. An estimated 10,000 Palestinian homes in West Jerusalem were stolen that year. Hasan Karmi’s daughter, Ghada, a physician and well-known author in the United Kingdom, discovered that The New York Times was in - or rather on top of - her childhood home in 2005, when she was working temporarily in Ramallah.

The NYT correspondent, Ethan Bronner, actually lives in this stolen house. (How he can be neutral in his reporting of the subject is extremely difficult to understand, since his son serves in the Israeli forces). However, he is fully aware of the situation and is quoted as being uncomfortable about it:

"One of the things that is most worrying not just the Left but a lot of people in Israel about this decision is if the courts in Israel are going to start recognizing property ownership from before the State [of Israel was founded]," Bronner said according to a transcript made by independent reporter Philip Weiss who maintains the blog

Bronner added, "I think the Palestinians are going to have a fairly big case. I for example live in West Jerusalem. My entire neighborhood was Palestinian before 1948."[5]


Full article: WikiSpooks:Problems with Wikipedia

Wikipedia experienced a professionalisation around 2007 which moved it firmly in the direction of the commercially controlled media. This is most clearly understood through the "Reliable Sources" policy in particular which means, more or less, that if a subject hasn't been reported on by commercially controlled media or by those in established positions of social power and influence, then Wikipedia doesn't want to know about it. These policies do in fact lead to a credible and useful encyclopaedia on whole swathe of topics (i.e. technical, non-political topics) no doubt gives many readers the misleading impression that Wikipedia articles are reliable even for politically sensitive topics.

Related Documents

Title Type Publication date Author(s) Description
Filtering Sources On The Syrian War WikiSpooks Page 4 February 2014 David Edwards A cogent demonstration of the gross bias of the mainstream media in its coverage of the ongoing 2011 Syrian insurgency. It shows that they are immune to any lessons of their similarly mendacious reporting both before and during the 2003 Iraq war
More Guardian ‘brainwashing’ on Putin Commentary 24 March 2014 Jonathan Cook A master-class in how the celebrated 'Free-Press' of the Western commercially controlled media is harnessed to the narrative requirements of the Establishments of which they are a part, turning them into little more than propaganda organs where major foreign policy issues are concerned.
The Dominant Grand Narrative Of Our Time WikiSpooks Page 27 January 2014 David Cromwell Mainstream media spokesmen, journalists and reporters are corralled into supporting and promoting the Establishment 'Dominant Grand-Narrative of our Time' while most appear blissfully unaware of the gross deceptions their careers are harnessed too - 'a man cannot see what his livelihood requires him NOT to see' - as the saying goes
The Propaganda Model WikiSpooks Page 5 October 2011 David Cromwell An overview of the 'Propaganda Model' that accurately defines the nature of the western mainstream media. It also illustrates why "Commercially Controlled Media" is probably a better and more accurate term
US media, politicians mobilize against Sochi Olympics WikiSpooks Page 10 February 2014 Andrea Peters A useful analysis of the orchestrated campaign of vilification against Russia and its president coincident with the run-up to the Sochi winter Olympics.


  1. a b Media Lens archive
  2. Wikipedia page on George Orwell's "Newspeak"
  3. "My entire neighborhood was Palestinian before 1948" Ethan Bronner, Jerusalem correspondent of the New York Times quoted by Philip Weiss, cited by Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada, 2 March 2010.
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