Self-deception in an Age of Propaganda.

The shrill and irrational temper tantrums coming from the US right now is fascinating to watch. In fact, if the US were a person, it would now be juicy fodder for an E! True Hollywood Story episode.

Looking at my Facebook feeds, the amount of unfriending right now is breath-taking, and the level of hurtful and vitriolic comments coming from those who believe Brett Kavanaugh and those who don’t is shameful, with both sides morally masturbating and virtue-signalling to extremist levels.

And the kicker is not a single one of these people know Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford personally or professionally, and wouldn’t know either if they were in the same room with them.

And a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

But people do not actually want to know facts. They want to be right and superior, and win some non-existent war.

The seeds of this delusional and ill-informed hatred came from foreign influences, and it wasn’t Russia. In my book OutFoxed, I had noticed that the Fox News Network was drawing lines in the sand and pitting the Left against the Right in a very particular way, and back then I wondered if there was a darker reason for it; that is, to weaken and divide the US, and a nation divided is a nation destroyed.

Western thought is extremely shallow. People make big theories based on tiny snippets of gossip and hearsay with no factual and rational basis for it. You hedge your bets, pick a side you believe will get you the most, and then find reasons to support it as you demonize and degrade people whose life requirements are not the same as yours.

Left, Right, in the Western world, it doesn’t matter. It is a competitive patriarchal structure, and it is binary, meaning it is a bigoted thinking process by default. You may believe the content of your thoughts embraces diversity, but if you are creating political or ideological pecking orders, your structure of thought is one based on prejudice. The End.

Because Western thinking on both the Left and the Right is competitive and not cooperative in nature, there is no concept of First Among Equals, meaning First is a ranking and a prize, and not a duty or responsibility. It is based on pride, greed, fear, envy, and ego, not on quality or competence.

And should the dark side of those traits be exposed, the whole house of cards collapses because to expose that weakness reveals the brutal reality and the ugly truth.

That’s when an era becomes an Age of Propaganda.

And it is happening because you have two sides who are equally flawed, but have to pretend they are without flaw, superior, and divinely perfect in their ideology.

Trump’s presidential victory exposed the flaws and weakness of the Left. They could not shame people into voting Democrat, and now with the Kavanaugh Debacle, the Left now believe they can use various forms of propaganda to force people into voting for Democrats.

For example, this laughable piece from Newsweek is such a case:

Republicans Just Lost Women For Good

Don’t count on it.

Some of the most pro-Kavanaugh comments I have been seeing have not been coming from men — but women.

And not just American women. The National Post in Canada is quite indignant that there is “no due process” in these hearings, and the article was written by a woman.

There are plenty of women who believe Kavanaugh and do not believe Ford. There are women who come from religious and highly partisan quarters and will not be persuaded.

On the other hand, some of the most extremist pro-Ford comments I have been seeing have been from white men.

There is much sophistry, but little understanding because facts have been drowned in narrative.  People want to be proven right, and they do not actually care for the truth.

But that’s what happens when elections are modelled after war campaigns. It is binary, win or lose, and the losers are shut out and paraded as inferior, while the spoils go to those who hedged their bets on the winning side. It is a collective form of sibling rivalry, and it is always a recipe for hatred.

It is one step up to monarchy and dictatorship, but as both require an antagonistic and competitive structure, it is very easy to fall on the hamster wheel and keep running in circles.

The ideas of governance by referendum and democratic conscription are never considered because that would mean cooperation and not always angling to “win.” Democratic conscription is having a group decide what matters can be settled via referendum, and what requires entrusting a leader to guide them until that goal is met. No one is left behind or shamed because anyone can be conscripted to be the First Among Equals. There is no elitist cliques disseminating propaganda to rig results because their say has the same weight as everyone else’s, and no one’s needs are ignored.

As for your wants, that is up to you to achieve on your own. Wants is up to the individual, but needs are up to the collective.

Yes, you as an individual have rights, but as one in a collective, you also have responsibilities. There are no freeloaders, rich or poor, in the bargain.

But that is a Matriarchal structure, not Patriarchal.

There is One, but there is also the Infinite.

And that is the heart of the problem in the West right now.

It is selfish at its core because it is a competitive structure based on being The Chosen One.

Not the First Among Equals.

And when you are all about Numero Uno, you do know anyone, not your parents, children, friends, lovers, no one.

An what we have right now is a nation completely disconnected from each other.

United they stood.

Divided they are falling.

That is greatest shame of journalism: they stuck to the Patriarchal and its competitive decrees, slowly planting the seeds of discord in its people — and in its own profession.

The root of all fear begins when we are led to believe that a pecking order is a real measure of our worth.

One day, the world may grasp this truth as a collective and as individuals.

But in an Age of Propaganda, that benevolent thinking is discouraged at all costs as people are led to believe that hatred and anger is the only way to strut around your moral superiority…

Lies journalists told you: Exhibit A: Bill Cosby.

He may have been convicted, but he would have never gotten as far as he did unless the news media built a house of lies for him.

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Women who willingly entered his lion’s den trusted him completely.

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Who could blame them when journalists dubbed him “America’s Dad” and “America’s Favourite Father?

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It wasn’t just the entertainment magazines or soft news magazines. It was the hard news outlets that shilled that deceptive propaganda for decades.

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Not one ounce of skepticism in all those decades.

They gave him a free pass, but when you are covering people up close, you see and hear things.

But journalists didn’t do a thing about it.

It took a comedian’s act on YouTube to break that spell.

Remember that.

Not the New York Times or the Washington Post or even 60 Minutes.

But Hannibal Buress.

A comedian, but it was no laughing matter that it took a funny man and not the serious reporters to send the real warning signals instead of the hype…

The question of who is paying Michael Avenatti hasn't actually been answered.

The Hill had asked the question here.

And it is a very good question.

Stormy Daniels's lawyer gets a lot of free advertising on news shows who forget to question him, and take his every accusation as gospel, which was never the job of journalists.

He supposedly "answered" this question, according to dysfunctional and questionable media property Newsweek:

“Once again (for at least the 20th time)–ALL fees and expenses of this case have either been funded by our client, Ms. Stephanie Clifford, or by donations from our crowdjustice.com page,” Avenatti wrote in a statement he linked to a tweet through Dropbox.

“Further, no political party or PAC is funding this effort. No left wing conspiracy group is behind this. And no big fat cat political donors are leading the charge,” Avenatti added. “Get over it.”

Let's try this answer again.

It is the "donations" part that is cause for concern in light of the nature of the allegations.

Donations can be a very good way to circumvent the rules, particularly the Foreign Agents' Registration Act, or FARA, something I have mentioned on this site repeatedly.

There is a lot of renewed interest in FARA, and it is something that is very relevant to US lawyers. If a foreign agent wished to make trouble and foot the bill for someone who could, in theory, take down a nation's leader, they would -- if they paid the bills directly -- have to register with FARA.

But if you channel the money indirectly, through donations, or even crowdsourcing, it is a way to keep your role out of it, all while the client in question can pretend everything is above board and no foreign interests are involved.

So Newsweek didn't answer The Hill's original question, and given the stakes, I seriously doubt there isn't vested and foreign interests getting involved.

FARA hasn't been much enforced, but it is an important law that is supposed to bring transparency, and considering Avenatti's free pass in the media, he is far more than just an attorney -- he is acting in the capacity of a PR flunkie.

If we had actual journalists, they would be grilling every shark they net. They don't. They pick sides, and spew gullible propaganda because it is the lazy way of doing their jobs.

And this is a question that needs to be answered because it hasn't been answered yet.

Why Newsweek lost its mind, journalistic dysfunction, and why reporters are ignoring Bob Woodward. We are living in the Dark Ages, without a doubt.

If anyone wonders why Newsweek imploded so horrifically, one only needs to look at their interview with Bob Woodward, and it's introduction:

Want to bring down Donald Trump?

Don’t count on Robert Mueller. Forget Congress. Learn to do investigative journalism. And you might as well study with one of the only living people who really did help oust a president: Bob Woodward.

So far gone is this deluded dead profession that it believes it has the right to bring down a democratically-elected leader. Any publication that openly calls for sedition, and thinks its desires override that of millions of people is absolute tyranny.

They didn't get their way. Their demands on the populace was roundly ignored, and yet they still are openly plotting and scheming to dethrone someone just because he exposed just how impotent and worthless they have become.

And it grossly overestimates its own abilities. "Investigative journalism" no longer exists because it is an undisciplined and illiterate method with no audience who actually cares what journalists have to say anymore.

Newsweek's demise would be welcome relief. It has become an embarrassment to its own previous legacy.

After all, investigative journalism is used to find out if there is a problem. It is not to be misused to rig an outcome you want.

The rest of the interview is skewed with the usual journalistic cheerleading -- and not questioning the death of journalism, how its sloppy ways destroyed public goodwill, and simply is about what reporters can do to place someone they want in the White House. There is warm fuzzies over Watergate -- a truly powerful and positive, albeit ancient episode in the history of the profession -- but no mention how perhaps a movie of it may have planted very destructive seeds, bringing in narcissists who fantasized about having movies done about them, too.

It tries to dictate a certain narrative, but the end result is cringeworthy and explains why Newsweek became junk.

There is no self-reflection, and no irony in a toxic magazine interviewing a scion of the once noble profession.

Did reporters have an emotional meltdown when Trump won? Of course, it signalled their demise. They weren't the masters of manipulation as they once honestly believed. Their collective brain power could not stand up to a single man.

It is sorry times we live in -- and you know it's sorry when there are countless DIY propaganda posters trying to boost morale and give excuses why people do not have to see reality or make true change -- and that we lack information that forces us to see the world as it is will cause more trouble than it's worth.

Bob Woodward represents an era of journalism that can no longer exist. What is needed is new methods and approaches, and the sooner they take root and grow, the better.

Newsweek goes into belated crisis management mode.

The "announcement" is pretty much boilerplate crisis management strategy. This in light of another bit of bad publicity, making it sound as if it were some rogue element within the company.

When a national news publication with some clout makes the case that it had no idea it has rogue elements in it, it is worse than any other explanation.

I am certain it will congratulate itself and then argue how wonderful it is that it was forced to clean up its mess once the fuzz came barging into its headquarters...

Newsweek's troubles are mounting.

The Daily Beast has let the world know that Newsweek faces eviction and a whole other slew of very bad problems. Newsweek was always seen as "serious journalism." What it was is arrogant journalism. If Newsweek dies, another rancid misapplication of the profession is gone, but someone could always buy the name at a fire sale price, but it won't bring in the readers.

It's name has been tarnished beyond repair. It could not keep up pretences. I doubt it will survive. It was too clueless for too long, and at the end, no one knew what they were supposed to be doing.

Journalism's paranoia: Their defeat, and why they cannot let go.

Newsweek, already in meltdown mode, had to retract a story last week that said, in part:

While everyone has been focused on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to support Donald Trump, the Franken takedown originated in—and was propelled by—a strategic online campaign with digital tentacles reaching to, of all places, Japan. Analysts have now mapped out how Hooters pinup girl and lad-mag model Leeann Tweeden's initial accusation against Franken became effective propaganda after right-wing black ops master Roger Stone first hinted at the allegation.

In an age of #MeToo, the victim is painted as a "Hooters pinup girl and lad-mag model" so matter-of-factly before making Al Franken scandal out to be no more than a "bot" campaign perpetrated by foreigners, like the Russians, of course.

Of course.

The article sounded as if Newsweek did something the resembled research, but their retraction says it all:

The initial report was based on research conducted by Unhack The Vote, a group examining outside influence in U.S. elections and politics. It alleged that a "decidedly alt-right" botnet "weaponized" anti-Franken stories and amplified pressure on Franken to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct. Newsweek was unable to independently verify their claims after a further review of their work.

Newsweek regrets the error.

The tag "Keep Up With This Story And More By Subscribing Now" is a cute touch.

Of course, Right-leaning publications are having a field day with it. Even the Russians were laughing themselves silly.

Why are US journalists obsessed with Russians and bots?

Because they still cannot believe they could convince all of America to vote for Hillary Clinton.

They drooled all over her. They drew big dots for people to connect. They made fun of Trump repeatedly.

And then he got elected.

This spelled the end of an era. It marked the death of journalism in many ways. They lost their influence. That is the obvious one, but there was another.

They completely forgot what was their mandate as a profession.

It was to inform, not persuade, and certainly not to dictate.

This went beyond forgoing telling for selling. They went to dictating. 

You will do what we tell you to do!

And that didn't work. The press has been having an escalating war with the public who began to walk away. They no longer saw audiences as anything else but people to recapture and place back under their spell.

They forgot they are just supposed to give facts and information. That's it.

They could not blame themselves. They had to find an "other" to villainize.

It had to be the Russians! It had to be the Nazis! It had to be the bots! It had to be social media!

The paranoia has gotten out of control to the point that their propaganda campaigns have gone from discrediting them to make them global laughingstocks.

No one wants to listen to the rantings of arrogant and misinformed loons who are control freaks. It's not happening.

But we still have a void. We need information, and we need it delivered by those who tell, and don't dictate.

Because gaffes like this serve no purpose, as it explains precisely why the profession collapsed in the first place.

Newsweek in turmoil? You don't say, WSJ: The entire industry is beyond turmoil. But as usual, the chroniclers of reality refuse to see the obvious.

A "storied media brand in crisis." That is what the Wall Street Journal has to say about the Newsweek implosion. How long ago has this problem been going on for this alleged storied media brand? According the WSJ:

Two years ago, a loan application from the parent company of Newsweek raised the suspicions of an employee at a small Minnesota bank.
The bank staffer’s misgivings helped trigger what has become a wide-ranging fraud probe by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, people familiar with the matter say.

Possible fraud at Newsweek? Oh, you don't say, WSJ!

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The problems in journalism go back much more than just two years ago. The entire industry has been trying to wallpaper over their various dysfunctions. It all about hype and trying to persuade people to buy a newspaper or tune in to a newscast.

The truth is that memes have replaced newspapers. People are not getting informed -- but they have been not getting informed for a very long time.

You are not going to pay for a magazine when you can find out from other outlets for free.

But then, people didn't even bother going to the free ones.

Scavengers bought media properties, and are squeezing the assets out of them -- and this is not a recent practice. Hollinger did that over twenty years ago.

Who else is going to buy worthless media properties? The only people who still think Newsweek had any cache to it are other journalists. It is a highly incestuous industry that is too closed off to citizens to be of use, value, or interest to them.

The industry collapsed. It collapsed a long time ago. Journalists are denying the obvious, and then when a big name such as Newsweek is exposed, they try to spin things, calling it "storied" without looking deeper into the rot.

There are other properties like Newsweek: companies that bought name publications as fronts to keep prying eyes from seeing their own sleight of hand. This scandal is only the tip of the iceberg.

And when the second or third scandal hits, the industry will become completely toxic -- and the notion that any wealthy benefactor wants to be associated with a tainted industry will fly right out the window.

A day late, and a dollar short: Newsweek's conflict of interest reporting, and how the press always needed investigative beats that watched over them.

Newsweek is in serious trouble. Their own reporters covering their spiral into the abyss will not be objective: not because they will cover up what their owners have done, but they will deflect attention on their own slumber and complicity. Their coverage now is a day late, and a dollar short.

But journalism always needed other reporters writing investigative pieces about the profession. I wrote numerous articles over the years, but the hardest-hitting ones were always nixed. I had, early in my career, proposed a media column for the now defunct Guelph Mercury, and the editor/publisher at the time had been interested. I had written sample columns, and it was to be a-go...and he died before the first column was ever published. His replacement did not like the idea, and so, instead of writing it for Canadian newspapers, I decided an upgrade to US magazines would be the better choice, and then I made the switch.

But while there were media beats, they were more about the ethics than the actual flawed mechanisms. Howard Kurtz was the closest to it.

The trouble always was that journalists covering journalism were more cheerleading and making unfounded assumptions, always looking at outsiders as the bad guys who were having various "chilling effects" on journalism. Media critics tended to be professors who may have studied journalism, but as they didn't work as journalists, their theories were always widely off the mark.

As someone who worked as a reporter to study how it functions -- or didn't -- the signs of trouble were always glaring, but very rarely were my media criticism books helpful as guides. There was always some sort of disconnect: the ones who had the experience didn't have the science, but those with the science didn't have the experience. You can't just watch journalists do their jobs or even interview them to get the full story.

You have to be put under the gun and go through the motions. You have to have articles shelved because there is a fear of a lawsuit or the publication has ceased to exist. You have to have those fights with editors, and hunt down elusive sources and deceptive handlers.

I always felt like an army of one-woman with a thousand enemies at my throat as a reporter: the siege is real, and it is everywhere.

And all that, and the story gets published, and people write a complaint letter with a Red John happy face on the envelope thanking the postman for delivering hate mail to you...and then when you see the letter, you realize the person not only didn't actually read your piece, but they are trying to sell you Avon.

Omfg

And then you go into battle and do it again and again.

Had the press actually been vigilant, they would have exposed Newsweek's woes long before the raid. The profession needed a form of meta-journalism that turned over every rock with the shadow of conflict of interest hovering overhead.

Journalism was supposed to be a serious business, and it refused to take a hard look at itself. It would have helped.

Instead, the lack of vigilance killed it, and that was its greatest tragedy: the death was absolutely needless. What happened at Newsweek would have never gotten that far if the press learned to be as skeptical of themselves as they purported to be to outsiders.

Newsweek cannibalizes itself: Writing an exposé on yourself when the gig is up isn't impressive. It isn't journalism. It is plea bargaining in the court of public opinion.

You work for a corrupted company and either (a) not know, and/or (b) not care for years. Suddenly, the police come swooping and people start to blab in public about all the naughty things going on right under your nose as your job is to inform the public about naughty things, and yet you are drawing a pay check from those kinds of skullduggery. When you report on things once the gig is up, it's not an exposé. The chances that you will still be employed there for much longer are very slim.

So threatening to resign is not impressive. It is face-saving.

And calling any self-preservating attempt an "exposé" as the Washington Post did is proof that journalists do not actually know what an "exposé" is.

It is a misdirection to deflect attention away from the fact that you (a) were asleep at the job to the point of dereliction of duty, and (b) you work for people who get raided by a government agency.

What this is an attempt at a plea bargain in the court of public opinion. This should have been a very long time ago before the cops came in to crash the party. It is not impressive, and it is not journalism.

It is spin.

And when spin is mistaken for an exposé, you know why the profession destroyed itself in the first place.