Corporate media/Deep state control
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|Interest of||Project Censored|
|On important topics, control of the corporate media by the deep state is the rule, not the exception.|
“In reality, in times of crisis, mainstream media organizations will always report the news in a way that is beneficial to the ruling elite.”
John Simkin — 
As an extension of the establishment, the corporate media is infiltrated with spooks who can, within their normal job remit, push certain narratives while quietly removing or modifying others. The hierarchical system of editorial control might have been designed to facilitate this, but overt censorship is rarely needed, since the language, culture and the broader traditions all work together to form a more subtle and flexible matrix of control.
“I’d enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn’t been, as I’d assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn’t written anything important enough to suppress.”
Gary Webb — 
Webb's compellingly documented story was first ignored by Washington, then minimised and finally disavowed by his own newspaper who caved under pressure from the establishment. The tragic fate of Gary Webb illustrates what can happen to those who are more loyal to the truth than the establishment. Many journalists are steeped in official narratives about "Terrorism", "Globalisation", "Economic growth, "Free trade" etc. Some never touch on such sensitive topics, and so remain blissfully unaware of the strictly enforced limits to their writing. Some have learned to subconsciously self-censor, perhaps after a few words or facial expressions from an editor, perhaps after a colleague is sacked for speaking or writing out of turn.
A relatively large proportion of content is devoted to "safe" topics such as sports, celebrities, gossip etc. on which minimal control is exercised. Issues of social significance receive a more cautious treatment that reflects the regulating group mind of journalists, pundits and spokesmen (very commonly with institutional affiliations) - parties who can be counted on to limit their opinions to respect the unspoken censorship that is the hallmark of corporate media output. The first strategy for handling figures who tackle unwanted topics or who express undesirable opinions is simply to ignore them (for example, the corporate news blackout of Rev. Kevin Annett). For those who nevertheless manage to achieve such prominence that ignoring them altogether would itself attract attention, there is the catch all designation of "conspiracy theorist", routinely applied to describe anyone whose ideas challenge to the official narrative. The archive section of Media Lens gives numerous trenchant examples of this content policing process in action.
Naturally, the corporate structure of media corporations resonates with certain value sets more than with others. For example, those organisations (such as corporations or spooks) with large budgets, can expect to influence the output of corporate media. Topic selection reflects this, so that those who work within the corporate media system may find it natural to report on topics of interest to those atop large commercial hierarchies.
In the 21st Century, the "War on Terror" is the foremost example of the supine nature of the corporate media; almost all TV and newspapers have uncritically parroted authorities' official narratives about "terrorism" which blame "Muslim extremists", ignoring the evidence that most such acts are in all likelihood initiated by Western spooks waging a strategy of tension on the populace. Big media's assistance in the campaign to terrorise of the populace is most evidence in USA, where a 2016 investigation found that "nearly half of all Americans (48%) said they were “worried a great deal” about terrorist attacks in the US."
'3rd rail' (forbidden) topics
While official narrative-friendly topics such as party politics are encouraged, deep politics is forbidden. Where deep events are reported, connections to other events are obscured and misleading connections and inferences often drawn. Inherently threatening topics such as false flag attacks are more or less forbidden, and are the subject of 'hit pieces' which introduce deliberately flawed 'strawman arguments' so they can be easily knocked down.
Key mattes of real significance are often obscured behind related but ultimately irrelevant facades. Mark Crispin Miller has observed, for example, that corporate media is allowed to discuss the voter suppression (disenfranchising large groups of voters whether by law or otherwise), but that electoral theft by software is a third rail topic, which challenges the idea that readers must take the establishment on trust. Jonathan Simon clarified that discussion of vote theft “would through a lurid light of distrust and disbelief onto our entire electoral system, political system and basically our democracy”.
If revelations render an official narrative untenable, a range of official opposition narratives are generally ready as a fallback. Debate does happen about whether, say, US/UK/NATO made a "mistake" in attacking Iraq, the good intentions of authorities are rarely called into question.
The corporate media community reveals its loyalties by the language it uses. Muammar Gaddafi was almost always referred to as "Colonel Gaddafi" by the Western media, and his government was referred to as a "regime". The Pentagon doesn't use drones to murder or assassinate people, it carries out "targeted killings". The CIA doesn't kidnap and torture people, it "renders" them subject to "enhanced interrogation".
Project Censored reported in 2014 that although forced sexual intercourse is legally recognized as “rape”, corporate media journalists often "downplay the humiliation and cruelty entailed in these acts" by using milder sounding alternatives. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting cited an an example from the Los Angeles Times: In January 2013, "the Times published an important story addressing how two Los Angeles police officers were accused of using the threat of imprisonment to force several women they previously arrested to have sex with them. This is recognized under law as “rape.” “But the Times avoided using that term,” FAIR noted, “inexplicably employing every other word and phrase imaginable — including ‘sex crimes,’ ‘sexual favors’ and ‘forced sex’ — to describe what the officers were accused of.”"
Wikipedia cites reporting of an event by corporate media as an indication that it is important. Similarly, corporate media outlets cite other corporate media outlets, reporting on their reporting, even for ideas which have little or no evidential backing. This simple strategy is used to promote fictitious memes, for example, to the narrative of the so-called "War on terror" and the dangers of Islamic extremism. Corporate media massively over-emphasise the dangerous of "terrorism" as opposed to other dangers and portray its perpetrators as overwhelmingly Muslim, when the reality according to Europol is that <1% of terrorist incidents in Europe are by Islamic terrorists. Rebecca Gordon details how since 9/11 the "war on terror" has been used to keep the US population in a state of fear, and how public acceptance of their government's policy of torture has risen as a result.
Several promoted topics are transparently useful to the deep state - such as the idea of "Lone nuts" who provide cover for otherwise difficult to explain assassinations, or the claim the mass surveillance of the internet makes people safer.
- Full article: “Fake News”
- Full article: “Fake News”
In November 2016, the corporate media proclaimed a phenomenon of "Fake News". This was used as a perjorative exonym - never applied to the corporate media themselves, and no effort was made to address the fact that the corporate media in US can legally lie. Instead, it was targeted at websites, including Wikispooks, which was next to Wikileaks on a spooky list of 200 outlets of "Russian propaganda". This appears to be an effort to try to stem the general public's increasing shift away from corporate media to the more ideologically diverse (and thus harder to control) source of the internet. It remains to be seen whether it will be associated with increasing internet censorship.
Lack of accountability
Corporate media executives have almost no accountability. In 2005 the case of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre established that there is no law against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States. The mendacious testimony of 'Nurse Nayirah' was a highly influential piece of war propaganda because it was uncritically echoed by corporate media. Although the deception has now been unmasked, as of 2016, no one has been held accountable.
|Hacks and Spooks||article||3 March 2006||Richard Keeble|
|The CIA Makes the News||article||August 1976||Steve Weissman|
|Operation Gladio/B||“A journalist with the Sunday Times‘ investigative unit told this author he had interviewed former Special Agent in Charge, Dennis Saccher, who had moved to the FBI’s Colorado office. Saccher reportedly confirmed the veracity of Edmonds’ allegations of espionage, telling him that Edmonds’ story “should have been front page news” because it was “a scandal bigger than Watergate.””||Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed|
|Operation Gladio/B||“[The] investigation based on Edmonds’ information was supposed to have four parts, but was inexplicably dropped. “The story was pulled half-way, suddenly, without any warning”, the journalist said. “I wasn’t party to the editorial decision to drop the story, but there was a belief in the office amongst several journalists who were part of the Insight investigative unit that the decision was made under pressure from the U.S. State Department, because the story might cause a diplomatic incident... The way the story was dropped was unusual, but the belief amongst my colleagues this happened under political pressure is plausible.” He cryptically described an “editorial mechanism, linked to the paper but not formally part of it, which could however exert control on stories when necessary, linked to certain interests.” When asked which interests, the journalist said, “I can’t say. I can’t talk about that.”||An unnamed "lead reporter" on Edmonds' series at the Sunday Times.|
|Operation Gladio/B||“I am confident that there is conversation inside the Government as to ‘How do we deal with Sibel [Edmonds]? The first line of defense is to ensure that she doesn’t get into the [corporate] media. I think any outlet that thought of using her materials would go to to the government and they would be told "don’t touch this..."”||Daniel Ellsberg|
|Washington Conference on International Terrorism||“Given terrorism's unique dependence on publicity and amplification, the media have a crucial role in either facilitating or obstructing the spread of terrorism against the West... manipulation of public opinion is in fact, central to the terrorist strategy. For this purpose, access to the media, indeed their domination, is indispensable.”|
- Spartacus Educational
- Document:Hacks and Spooks
- Media Lens archive
- Document:Terrorism, Transit and Public Safety - Evaluating the Risks
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