Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Forty-Three.

That Western media trounces on people who do not think like them is an understatement. That lockstep mentality is everywhere, and it is only since the rise of social media where people are attempting with varying degrees of success to challenge it, but even now, the we see babble mouths on CNN flung dung on Kanye West because his politics isn’t perfectly aligned to what it is “supposed” to be.

Serbs have always been an enigma to the West for the no filter mouths and bluntness with regards to pointing out reality. This does not sit well, particularly with people on the Left who are addicted to praise and fawning over their so-called “progressive” views.

This isn’t just a North American problem. Western Europe is equally merciless when it comes to people who are rebellious and independent by nature. If you are not on your knees, praising them as the genius next messiah, then you have to be broken and reconditioned to see that they have your best interests all along.

If you believe I am exaggerating, look no further than NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s recent speech to Belgrade University students, telling them point blank that NATO bombed Serbs to “save them.”:

“I stressed that we did this to protect civilians and to stop the Milosevic regime.”

No, you did it because you are violent control freaks who wanted to break people who fought for their very survival.

This psychopathic speech did not go over well, but Mr. Stoltenberg’s arrogance was ignored in the Western media.

NATO very well knew that (a) foreign mercenaries came into the country and committed heinous atrocities, (b) that prisons were unguarded and murderers and rapists were free to do whatever they please, (c) that several prominent PR firms were spreading misinformation — fake news — which the Western press bought regardless of how fake the accusations were, (d) that the leaders of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina had fascist and bigoted ideology and were open with it, penning works that would be considered hate speech anywhere else in the Western world, and (e) it was outrageous for the West to allow provinces to break away, but then not allow Serbs who owned land in these regions to join Serbia as they did not wish to separate (and if anyone makes any excuse should see Western politicians and media’s about-face when it is their own backsides in questionincluding former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. So let us not play make pretend).

So no, the bombing was criminal and unjustified. NATO would have seen the same video footage I did from the region even before the war, where Serbs went to find remains of their dead from the Second World War in Croatia, only to exposed to graffiti that warned them they ought to come back to join their ancestors in those unmarked graves. They knew the traumas Serbs went through in that same war, where there were even concentration camps to keep Serbian children. In the Second World War, the Croatian Ustashi gleefully too photographs of their torture and murder of Serbs — and it happened again in the Civil War of the 1990s.

NATO knew all of it, and they chose a side, and bombed civilians because they could get away with it, and they did not like the rebellious Serbs who would not play by the chauvinist rigged rules of the West.

And that chauvinism continues to this day.

Beogradski Sindikat is a Serbian hip hop group, and they uploaded a video on YouTube depicting the burning of Serbian churches — and although the video is staged, this is in reference to real acts of hate crimes.

YouTube allows all sorts of violent images, except they do not like when Serbs make songs that describe the hate crimes that are committed against them.

And it is this confirmation bias that perpetually dooms Serbs to be stuck in a vortex where they can be harmed, but it is either ignored, dismissed, censored, explained away, or they are villainized.

I know because my maternal grandmother’s family were slaughtered in concentration camps in the Second World War, and I have had people shout over me at the first mention, with more than one person telling me, “So what?”.

When I wrote letters to media outlets regarding their skewed coverage during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, that “so what”? was uttered to me by phone when I pointed out that Serbs had been the victims of atrocities during that conflict.

So what.

As Serbs were labelled the Bad Guys, then was perfectly normal to say “so what”? when their children were slaughtered.

And I was witness to it. The level of abuse I took from Western journalists, producers, and editors when I pointed out the lies and inconsistencies in their stories is not something many people can actually appreciate.

When confronted with evidence that what they reported was a lie, they denied it.

It is the reason I became a journalist. I realized as a teenager that the Western media was no better than any other one.

I wanted to see precisely how this kind of mind games worked, so it could be countered within the industry, but then social media rolled along, and then journalism collapsed.

But just because we don’t use 8-tracks or cassettes or even CDs or vinyl much anymore, doesn’t mean the world gave up on music.

We still do. We just have a different way of doing it. We stream, but we also go to see them live in concert.

So journalism is the 8-track. It is not the end of the world that they failed.

F.R.E.E.D. is something different. It doesn’t spin yarns. It weaves mosaics.

And it doesn’t say “so what”? when people who suffered have a message to tell…

It is virtual, not real. Fake followers is nothing new. It predates the Internet.

Fake it until you make it. That is an old saying, and it is hard for people to understand that on the whole, people just aren't that into you.

As in, at all.

I was always skeptical of carny. I do not believe the hype of the Kardashians, for instance. People cannot remember the names and ages of their own children; so they are not remembering much of other people's children, either.

How much people pretend to earn -- and I am talking celebrities here -- is vastly misaligned with what they actually do earn, for instance. When I was writing about the business of journalism, one thing I knew about was paywall (back when it had a different meaning than it does now: back then, a paywall was the maximum salary anyone in a set position could earn), and I knew what people were actually making, and what they told me they were making was something two or three times what the paywall was -- not that they clued in that I may know more about their wages than they thought I did.

There is a pay scale, and puffing is a common ruse among people in entertainment and communications. What they are trying to do is make themselves seem like the cool kids who everyone knows, envies, and bothers reading or watching.

Bloat a following and maybe advertisers will be fooled into giving you truckloads of cash to hawk their wares.

Once upon a time, a good hint about a celebrity's true worth came from People magazine when they had a little section about celebrities selling their homes. It was never the ones whose careers were strong; just the ones who had a bad film or two in a row.

The first expense that had to go was the luxury mansion.

Newspapers played those games long before the Internet by including papers they dumped in colleges and greasy spoons as part of their paid circulation. That was their version of fake followers, and nothing that caused the New York Times to get huffy about.

They are whining about fake YouTube views this time. People try to make themselves stand out, and they will pay to inflate the figures. Spin back an odometer or inflate page views, it is always the same game.

That is the reason I always used to verify numbers in different ways than what I was presented by a vested interest. People would build up the hype, but the truth is that much of hype comes from people either recruiting friends and family to anonymously endorse them -- or paying a third party to boost the numbers to gain that grit of traction.

Advertising doesn't always work, and neither does the most clever campaign. You can have a first-rate product, but the push doesn't always bring you what you need, let alone what you want.

Fashion publications can't hype of their September issues anymore -- but it is cheaper for fashion houses to appeal directly to potential customers via social media than in the glossies. I have a soft spot for Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef and Arpels, Shu Uemura, Takeshy Kurosawa, Ralph Lauren, and Moschino, for instance, and I do not need Vogue to show me the goods.

But I haven't cracked open an issue for well over a decade for personal reading because I have ways of looking at what I like directly. I don't need the middle man to tell me how to think or how to dress myself because my style is my own, and always has been. Being a good little middle class sheep and minion was never my thing in the first place.

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But the New York Post seems surprised, but their piece on it had one interesting observation:

“The September issue means nothing anymore,” said Sam Shahid, founder of branding, advertising and design agency Shahid & Company. “You used to hold that magazine in your hand. It takes you to a place — that’s what a magazine used to do. Now they are all doing the same thing. There’s no imagination there. It’s just pure product, it’s pleasing the advertiser.”

Shahid says a lack of funds at publishers, due to a decline in print circulation and ad revenue in the digital age, has led to a crazy scramble to attract any kind of buzz or revenue.

“There’s a desperation right now with print,” he added. “The power magazines used to have is no longer there. Celebrities are controlling fashion.”

Celebrities have the machine to hype their things and buy their followers, but even they have co-opted the puffing, and took out the gate-keepers.

We like the myth of other people worshipping us, but we aren't paying attention to other people much anymore.

For an alternative model to journalism to thrive, it has to take that into its equations.

And not try to bluff its way with a big bang.

But a little pop. A little at a time to cultivate an alternative way of disseminating information in a world where virtual is still mistaken for actual...

The Warlords

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Once upon a time, the Warlords called newspaper owners ruled the roost with impunity.

And then came a new set of Warlords. First radio.

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Then television that was the giant of the three whose narratives controlled the rules of engagement for decades. journalism-tv-studio

It defined what to think and how to think it.

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Your childhood fantasies were controlled by them. How you saw justice, coolness, wisdom, beauty, and morality.

The career choices and the what you saw in a spouse were defined by the flickering screen that you had in your living room.

For decades, there were always battles, but battles within the medium.

 

 

 

And then the battleground began to stretch.

 

 

 

And then everything began to change when the Internet came roaring to life.

And the new Warlords destroyed the old guard.

 

 

 

Some were seen as friendly, but not all of them were.

 

 

 

The ones who owned the platform did far better than the ones who produced the content.

The new Warlords liberated the world, by smashing the gates the old ones built to control the message.

And the old warlords were seething, licking their wounds, hoping one of the new guard made a misstep to attack.

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And it did, and the old broken warlords tried to grab their old power back.

Even some of the new warlords tried to take advantage of the smell of blood.

But there is a war going on.

One where the currency is propaganda that pedals in paranoia and fear.

And the spoils of war is not data, but control of the flow of information.

Data is cheap.

But controlling the gates is priceless...