by Joe Martino, The Sleuth Journal:
Recently Google and Facebook came under fire about helping to stop ‘fake news.’ Many believe this was brought on by angry people who were upset about Hillary losing the election and were looking for someone to blame.
Immediately came the reports that ‘false news’ and ‘fake news’ about Hillary was to blame for why she lost. What really happened was independent media outlets did their due diligence in digging into information, found out what Hillary has been up to and reported on it. This included leaks from WikiLeaks and other whistleblowers.
Of course, the media came forward and began calling WikiLeaks a non-credible source. They stated that Russian hacks were at the helm of much of it so as to distract people from looking at the truth, but it didn’t work, because independent media was too powerful.
So now there is a mass effort to discredit, call out and shun independent media for supposedly reporting on fake news. Who defines it as fake news? That’s the question of the hour right now.
Let’s truly understand what’s going on with fake news first.
BuzzFeed did a great story on this showing how legitimately false stories gained a ton of attention. This is a problem for all of us because it’s legitimately false info that is spreading. However, the focus now gets turned on all independent outlets who are going against the mainstream narrative but who are reporting on factual news.
Let’s not get confused, fake news is fake news. And most of the websites doing their due diligence to call out fake news are doing so by only focusing on fake stories. The list that surfaced calling out ‘fake news’ contains a number fo websites that do not post any fake news at all.
This is the problem.
Why Independent News Is Necessary
Let’s put things into perspective for a moment. We are here at Standing Rock in North Dakota reporting on what’s happening down here with the Dakota Access Pipeline. There is absolutely no mainstream media down here. No one covering what’s going on at all. Why? Money, business, politics, it’s what drives mainstream media and its corruption.
It’s not hard to understand why independent news exists given these facts. With the majority of the mainstream media being owned by just five corporations, diverse viewpoints and interpretations of world events have become scarce. And when you understand that most outlets are serving some sort of corporate or political agenda, you start to notice how those biases play out in the representation of certain stories, and even in how frequently they’re covered. Showing certain stories over others, and showing them repeatedly, goes a long way towards shaping public opinion.
A great quote here that directly related to modern day mainstream media.
“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.” – Edward Bernays (“the father of public relations”), Propaganda, 1928 (note that Bernays’ book, Propaganda, begins with the above quote).
Many are unaware of how often important stories are blacked out completely by all of mainstream media. The major pipeline spill that occurred during the Standing Rock protests or the revelation that the Pentagon paid a PR firm to create fake terrorist videos are just two recent examples. Are these not things the people should know about? Why aren’t they being reported on?
This leads us to wonder if there is in fact an agenda to hide this information. And how might that work? Sharyl Atkisson, a former CBS investigative journalist, explained that “astroturf,” or fake grassroots movements, funded by political, corporate, or other special interests, are very effectively manipulating and distorting mainstream media messages.
Further, here is a document declassified by the CIA that outlines their involvement in manipulating media, journalists, authors, films, and more to have “reporters postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests or jeopardized sources and methods.” The ‘national security’ play has always been a way for these agencies to justify shady actions.
Given the shady dealings, agency manipulation, and ownership structure of most of mainstream media, the need for alternative voices is clear. But how should we view those alternative voices? Do we take their work at face value?
The Problems With Independent News & Mainstream News
I have seen a lot in the past seven years and I have seen the independent movement lose a lot of credibility — for GOOD reason. It’s easy to dismiss alternative news websites because so many of them so carelessly carry out their work. There are good ones out there, but they are vastly outnumbered by the bad. This is the actual problem with fake and false news.
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