By Giordano Bruno
The progression of human society relies upon the steady distribution of information. The quality of that information, its accuracy and its honesty, determines the overall health of the cultures we create. When a source of information becomes compromised by unhealthy political ambition, social dogma, or the strangling hands of elitism, it’s like a poison well, spreading plague and pestilence throughout the nation, or even the world. Widely disseminated lies inspire delirium and madness in the masses faster than typhoid fever.
In America today, the person searching for a pure source of truth in the media inevitably stumbles across many poison wells.
Even if they are not yet actively pursuing alternative outlets of information, many people are aware, at least intuitively, when someone is trying to swindle them. You can present us with the assurance of delectable sirloin steaks on ornate silver platters, but if our faces are struck with the sickly stench of decay, we aren’t going to bite. Through its dishonesty and its distinct lack of substance, the mainstream media has turned up more noses than any putrid slab of unkempt beef ever could. The raw data is merciless in regards to the implosion of the MSM…
Top providers of print media (newspapers), including such “luminaries” as the Washington Post and the New York Times, have plunged in readership over the past several years. Last year, overall daily circulation for newspapers fell 10.6%, followed by another 8.7% drop so far this year:
Newspapers have shed about a quarter of their employees since 2001, and their revenues are expected to plunge through 2012:
Talk of bankruptcy has been haunting many print media providers since 2008. The common argument made here is that technology has rendered print obsolete, not their quality of news, and that when newspapers finally make the transition to the web, they will be successful again. However, those papers that have thrown their weight and money behind web based news have so far failed miserably. Rupert Murdoch’s news empire which includes the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, The New York Post, and Hulu, has been unable to draw enough readers and enough ad revenue to its websites to maintain profits. Murdoch’s response has been to blame google and others for “stealing his content, threatening to pull his sites from search engines altogether and erect “paywalls” (charging just to view the sites):
Numerous other media sites that have instituted paywalls are meeting with similar results.
Television news sources are no better off. ABC and CBS evening news programs lose more and more viewers every quarter:
CNN has over the past year lost around 50% of its viewers overall. Larry King and Anderson Cooper especially have become dead weight dragging the network into the suffocating depths:
MSNBC, the slimy crust at the very bottom of the mainstream media cesspool, now ranks 25th in television news. Its small audience is dwarfed by many online alternative news sources.
Fox appears to be at the head of the pack as far as ratings are concerned, and this is likely due to the network’s willingness to allow at least a small amount of fact to leak through its barrier of disinformation, but, ALL mainstream networks are in serious trouble. Blowhards like Bill O’Reilly rake in around a million viewers or more per show on average, and this seems like a substantial audience, however, when one examines the demographics of TV news viewers, one finds himself rather unimpressed.
According to Neilson, the average Fox News viewer is age 65 or older! Not that people over the age of 60 don’t count, they most certainly do, but at what point do we acknowledge that a massive portion of the American demographic (ages 25-54), a couple generations at least, have little to no interest in what Fox has to say? Now, so called “progressives” try to play the false left/right paradigm game with numbers like this, claiming that the conservative Fox (which is establishment run and not truly conservative at all) is an outmoded news source for dinosaurs. Actually, left leaning media has similar problems attracting anyone younger than 50.
Keith Olbermann, for instance, has lost around 50% of his viewers in the 25-54 demographic over the past year:
MSNBC has declined broadly among viewers 25-54. Chris Matthews ‘Hardball’ has lost around 46% over the past year:
The average age of CNN viewers is 63. MSNBC is 59. ABC is 51, and NBC is 49.
This is not a matter of one fake political party outdoing another fake political party. Both sides of the false paradigm media are being shunned by anyone young enough to be exposed to alternative web news, and many older readers are beginning to turn to the internet as well. Essentially, alternative web media is now replacing the MSM. Not only this, but as the recession takes its toll, it is becoming more obvious that cost cutting consumers are much more willing to shut off their cable than they are to turn of their internet service. Cable subscribers are now beginning to decline as internet users continue to increase:
This is not to say that mainstream news is dead. Obviously, it still operates today and is still entrenched as an aging mainstay of our society, even though the model it follows will eventually lead it to disintegration. We in the alternative media still reference mainstream sources on occasion, because it represents the establishment (and often globalist) ideology. If that ideology contradicts itself within its own information venues, those in alternative media have to be ready to point it out.
Where did the MSM go wrong? Fifteen years ago, they seemed absolutely unstoppable. Their ability to dominate information flow was unparalleled! How could such a behemoth be crippled by a bunch of amateur journalists and (*gasp*) bloggers? Let’s examine the reasons why so many Americans have now placed their trust in once underground news sources above the ramblings of corporate pundits.
The Truth Is A Right, Not A Product
The news is first and foremost a function of social progress, it is NOT meant to be a prepackaged widget built generically on an assembly line and sold to the masses at an outrageous markup. The mechanically domineering corporatist philosophy does not mix with the natural and organic flow of information distribution. It simply goes against everything human communication engenders. Our ability to share knowledge cannot be impeded without causing cultural anxiety. That anxiety often translates to a desperate need for an alternative view, even if we do not recognize what inspired our need in the first place.
The corporate media has been highly successful in the past, yet just as corrupt, so why didn’t Americans turn away from them decades ago? It wasn’t because Americans didn’t want to. The MSM has global backers with billions of dollars in capital at their disposal. They have advertising budgets the size of some small countries, and armies of marketers. Channels promote and cross promote each other even though they pretend to stand for different ideologies, feeding each other in a frenzy of inbred sponsorship. But none of this means much in the end. The only advantage the MSM ever really enjoyed was that it had no competition! (Remember, whether you watch Fox, or CNN, you’re still only getting one point of view; the globalist point of view) And, as with any company that has no competition, the public is forced to consume its product without the benefit of a comparison. The internet offered a medium free from corporate dominance, and thus, an opportunity. Look at how quickly Americans dropped the MSM the moment there was finally another option on the table, one that alternative journalists and analysts were well equipped to offer.
The “Copyleft” methods of the alternative media have also bewildered the establishment. The MSM has always seen news as a revenue source, a commodity, something to be guarded and caged. Look at Rupert Murdoch’s hasty bid to paywall his websites. The alternative media, in contrast, has treated news as a right first, and a revenue source second. The goal of web news is not necessarily to make money, its goal is to get the truth out as quickly as possible, to as many people as possible, as accurately as possible, and that is why we dominate over the MSM. We allow the sharing and re-sharing of our articles, analysis, and films. We challenge our skeptics to check our information, to put our ideas under a microscope (and they always do, rarely finding any concrete fault in our reporting, often reverting to strawman arguments instead). We explore the facts and possibilities the MSM is designed to avoid.
Imagine you are stricken with cancer, and are confronted by two men. The first is a smarmy sales associate with clammy palms who offers you a couple of aspirin in flashy packaging and unverifiable guarantees charging you inflated fees and no refunds. The second man offers you a cure at no charge with no flash, asking only for your support (word-of-mouth or monetary) if and when the cure is proven effective. Which guy are you going to shake hands with?
The “sharing method” appears at odds with traditional free market capitalism, but in reality, it compliments capitalism perfectly. As I stated, information is not a product, but insight can be. The public today does not seek out “news”, they seek out intelligent and concise analysis on the news. They look for an honest presentation of the facts, along with the ability to show the relevant connections between those facts. They want the whole truth, not fabricated processed tidbits. Not establishment talking points read from a teleprompter. If the MSM knew how to do this, or even wanted to do this, they could easily make money in grand ole’ American fashion, but they avoid giving the people what they want at all costs despite the potential profits. Why is that?
Internet News Is The Open Range, MSM A Sterile Prison
One factor that does frighten some news readers when encountering the internet is its lack of ceilings and fences; its complete denial of the traditional boundaries and filters always present in the mainstream media. When it comes to information consumption, many Americans are agoraphobic; when exposed to wide open spaces, they panic. At the same time, many people find the unbridled flow of news on the internet liberating.
Some sources of web news, like most mainstream outlets, are not reliable, while others are fantastically precise. The internet forces you, the reader and researcher, to check the viability of the information you encounter. You are no longer a passive observer frying your synapses in front of a talking box, but a participant in the realm of news, seeking out and separating that which is factual, from that which is not. Web news users have to put individual effort into their learning, which is, frankly, the way it should be.
Television and print media do not offer you avenues of information to explore, they TELL you what to believe and feel, or they simply reinforce false assumptions you have already made about the world, instead of challenging you to think beyond your cushy comfort bubble. It is far easier to sit back and accept MSM fodder, but also utterly unfulfilling and intellectually destabilizing. People whose only information exposure is through cable news seem to quite literally devolve as human beings to the point of base machine instinct. Strangely, in this way, corporate media creates a collective feeling of personal isolation in the populace. We feel drawn to the MSM because it offers the illusion of community, of connection to those around us, but in reality, it actually degrades our ability to think clearly and honestly, making connection to each other impossible. The result is a stewed mass of humanity all with the same skewed world view, but ironically, no comradery and no common ground.
Web news offers participation, it offers community, and it presses us to not only question everything, but to actually go out and answer our own questions instead of waiting for someone with a possible agenda to do it for us. The MSM cannot possibly compete with this dynamic.
Bias, Lies, And The Status Quo
The mainstream media is not nor has it ever been a “supplier” of news. In fact, the MSM is instead a “washer” of news, a turbine of scrubbing sandpaper and soap suds designed to remove those “dirty” bits of information that contradict the status quo. News wires like the AP or Reuters remove about 90% of the truth from their reporting, or combine the truth with biased opinion in an attempt to minimize its effect. Cable news then takes that information and skims out even more valuable data. The average MSM watching pop-culture zombie-bot is probably only exposed to about 1% truth in a single day, if he even pays attention to that much. For those people who couldn’t care less about anything beyond their immediate existence, 1% is more than enough. However, quite a few of us are aware of our surroundings, and extremely unsatisfied with this arrangement.
The mistake many Americans make is that they assume the corporate news is a “service”, a service to the public. It is not. The MSM attends to the interests of its shareholders and its CEO’s, and nothing more. The mainstream media is not even required by law to be factual in its reporting of information unless it is involved in defamation, and even those checks and balances are falling by the wayside. The saga of journalists Jane Akre and Steve Wilson and their fight against Fox and Monsanto’s suppression of their story on rBGH growth hormone’s cancer causing effects proved that the higher rungs of our legal system are completely cooperative in the MSM’s attempts to censor pertinent information, or even to lie outright:
Those alternative analysts who somehow slip through the corporate news net only seem to find ridicule and contempt for the facts they offer. In the video below, Peter Schiff attempts to warn the public back in 2006 of the impending market crash and housing crisis, laying out exactly how the mortgage collapse would commence. Instead of examining his logic rationally, the Fox News pundits laugh and shout over him. I wonder if these clowns are laughing now:
The constant attacks by the MSM (from Fox to MSNBC) on any Constitutionalist movement or organization, from the Tea Party to Oathkeepers, or any anti-establishment ideology period, have revealed a complete disregard for the objectivity journalists are supposed to pride themselves on. Ridiculous and completely unsupported accusations against Liberty Movement candidates like Ron Paul and Rand Paul, ranging from racism to extremism and terrorism, are now the norm. And they wonder why everyone is turning their televisions off!? How long can you watch a bunch of overgrown children in suits sling schoolyard taunts from satellite to satellite against honorable men who are barely given the chance to defend themselves in an equal forum? Perhaps my attention span is short, or maybe some people are easily entertained, but most of us get bored with this kind of pathetic display rather quickly.
The bottom line is that the MSM is working towards the goal of suppression, not revelation, and Americans are beginning to understand this. Why bother watching a 10 minute interview between MSNBC and Ron Paul or Rand Paul with odd time delays, video edits, Alinsky tactics, and circular logic? We learn nothing because the interview was not designed by MSNBC to explore the truth; it was designed to undermine it. Laughably, it is the establishment media that has called for regulations and gatekeepers to be placed on the alternative media due to a lack of “accountability” in the case of web news:
What the hell does the MSM know about accountability? Or even fact based reporting? These people are a disgrace to journalism and they have the audacity to demand professionalism from the alternative media?! I can’t possibly count how many inaccurate or fabricated mainstream stories I have covered and dissected in my years writing for the Liberty Movement. Where is all the outrage and indignance over those fallacies? Which news source is truly guilty of duplicity?
Web media is not in need of “gatekeepers”. Our readers should be capable of checking our information and deciding for themselves whether it is reliable or disingenuous. In the case of the MSM, we ARE the gatekeepers! They obviously don’t hold their own reporting to any sincere criteria…
Citizen Journalists, Citizen Justice
The alternative media represents an incredible paradigm shift, not only in the way we take part in the spread of information, but also in the way we perceive our role in world events. No longer are you and I confined to the guidelines and rules of the elitist system, a system which is ultimately intended to harm us, not help us. Today, we have tools at our disposal which render the old constrictive methods of news distribution completely obsolete. Today, right at their fingertips, each and every American has the chance to actively contribute to the greater pool of knowledge that eventually leads to the death of deceptions and the promotion of social progress.
Nothing is perfect, including the web. There will always be disinformation to sort through, regardless of any new technology or regulation. This is part of living in a free society. We do not rely on government or corporate entities to set the standards of truth, we set those standards for ourselves, and if we fail, it will only be because we set our standards too low.
I find it interesting that establishment proponents always use the proclamation of the “greater good” as a pretext for suppressing anything which threatens their power structure. But let’s think about this for a second; what is the greater good in this instance? Is it in the interest of the greater good to control and censor the internet because an inaccurate news story MIGHT be spread there? To impose “protections” on people because they are supposedly too lazy or too stupid? Or do we find greater good in free information, and developing a public mature enough to research the facts for themselves? Is it really better to maintain a monopolistic system of news that has been proven time after time to be faulty, propaganda driven, and shamelessly oversimplified? Or, is it to our benefit to provide another outlet, a more level playing field, and see which one better fills the needs of the citizenry? When we actually stop and consider what the actual “greater good” would be, we find that it does not at all coincide with the desires of the establishment.
If we need anything at this point in history, it is the citizen journalist. We need not one corporately sponsored message, but millions of independent voices all searching for the truth in their own unique way. Only then can we retrieve our American identity, and achieve a legitimate sense of justice in this country. Great changes begin with a revolution of ideas, an individual will, and a multitude of open eyes. The internet is a catalyst for such an event, the kind that occurs perhaps once in a millennium. We cannot allow it to be vilified by swindlers or dominated by tyrants under any circumstance, otherwise, we will lose our initiative, and along with it, our voice.