Alternative Insight

The Media is the Mischief

In 1988, Noam Chomsky, in collaboration with Edward S. Herman, wrote Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. The authors noted that the mass communication media of the U.S. "are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion." The media serves up propaganda, masqueraded as communication

Unfortunately, Chomsky's book has gathered dust on library shelves and its thrust has been a dull blade against an ironclad media. Those who read it, could not influence. Those who influence did not regard the book. A major portion of the public has shown inability to evaluate information and, as a result, remains bewildered by the slanted expressions and manipulative grasp of the conventional media.

During the last month of 2018 a drama in the new media unknowingly contained a deprecating attitude of itself. Netflix, in a hastily assembled and predictable drama, Bird Box, which gathered a huge audience, outlines, in a covert manner, the effects of the media agenda. Hidden in the plot of mass suicides by the world's population, who cannot hide their eyes from a mysterious force that decimates them, is, what can be taken as an allegorical subplot -- see the reality of the deception and life becomes worthless.

Bird Box describes an emerging apocalyptic scenario where sight (enlightenment) of damaging creatures (the deceptive media) compels one to commit suicide. As explained in one review, "The one thing Bird Box's climax makes clear, though, is that these creatures are able to read minds and assume the voice of whatever person their would-be victim will be most susceptible to. This implies both an intelligence and a certain malevolence on the part of the creatures. They're crafty enough to manipulate their victims. At the same time, they don't seem capable of directly harming their victims. They can only do their best to trick humans into looking. That could imply they don't actually have a physical body." Netflix was undoubtedly unaware that its own Bird Box describes the agitprop and forces that shape our minds and how revelation of the truth may make life unbearable to those who see the truth.

Media can provoke with subtly disguised bias. Take the case of The Hill, a D.C. based newspaper, which covers politics, and its misleading portrayal of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) response to a question, which appears at

Freshman New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) in an interview late Monday said she gives "zero" f---s about criticism she’s received from members of her own party.

As written, it appears as if Ms. Cortez said, "Zero f---s about criticism she's received from members of her own party." Note that quotes only cover the word 'zero,' and not the entire phrase. The NY Representative actually answered a question from Stephen Colbert on CBS's The Late Show. “On a scale from zero to some, how many f---s do you give?” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez gave a one word reply -- "Zero.”

Previous articles from this website exposed the exaggeration of Russian influence in United States' social and political institutions. Now we have media distortions of indictments of a Russian woman who did not comprehend U.S.statutes that regulate people operating as agents of foreign powers. Why write much about media distortions of Russian actions? Simple. The absurd disinformation that is constantly being circulated about Putin's Russia distracts from the valid criticisms that Putin's corrupt and autocratic state deserves and confuses responses to the nefarious behavior.
Two headlines that must have been written by trolls.

Maria Butina, Russian Accused of Spying, Enters Plea Deal at
In plea deal, Russian woman admits to being a secret agent at

Accusations that Maria Butina is a spy or a secret agent are inaccurate.
Although the U.S. government chose to accuse Ms. Butina of "acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General," there is no evidence that the Russian woman acted in that regard, nor is she accused of being a spy. It is obvious that Ms. Butina entered a plea bargain to violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 951(a) for "her role in a covert Russian influence operation" in the United States mainly out of fear of being prosecuted and serving time. Because all of her activities were open for anyone to observe and none were remotely related to espionage, it is obvious that she did not engage in any "covert operation," or act as a "secret agent."

The Daily Beast shows how conjecture and acceptance of unverified reports can lead to dubious conclusions. Kremlin Blessed Russia's NRA Operation, U.S. Intel Report Says at

The Kremlin has long denied that it had anything to do with the infiltration of the National Rifle Association and the broader American conservative movement. A U.S. intelligence report reviewed by The Daily Beast tells a different story.

Who exactly is "the Kremlin," and where are the past allegations that they have long denied? When did "the Kremlin" (Ed: Who dis?) have anything to do with any infiltration of the National Rifle Association and the broader American conservative movement? Sounds like the "When did you last beat your wife?" question.

Alexander Torshin, the Russian central bank official who spent years aggressively courting NRA leaders, briefed the Kremlin on his efforts and recommended they participate, according to the report.

This reporting indicates that Alexander Torshin was working with the blessing of the Kremlin, at a minimum," one European intelligence official told The Daily Beast. The official added that this reporting is consistent with his group's understanding of how the Kremlin operates.

The NRA is quite powerful, so when you look to influence U.S. politics, you should consider them as a convenient target," the official added.

When, where, and exactly with whom did Alexander Torshin brief the Kremlin on his efforts and what recommendations were made for participation? By Kremlin, is The Daily Beast referring to the building or to the receptionist? Did Torshin brief this Kremlin, or just happen to mention to some of his buddies that an associate of his was attending the NRA convention? Note there is no statement that this Kremlin edifice was even interested in Torshin's comments. Why would it? Only one political issue drives the NRA - stopping gun control. Why would NRA leaders involve their organization in halting Russian sanctions, changing U.S. foreign policy or in anything that did not involve loaded pistols. Why would this Kremlin waste its time and money pursuing nothing? Who is this unnamed "European intelligence official?" Who is dis?

In December of 2015, she (ED: Marina Butina) and Torshin helped arrange for a group of influential NRA members to travel to the Kremlin, where they had high-level meetings-including with the country's powerful minister of foreign affairs, Sergei Lavrov, and sanctioned Putin deputy Dmitry Rogozin, an ultra-right-wing politician who oversaw the country's defense industry. A schedule of the 2015 trip reviewed by The Daily Beast showed attendees also planned to drive to the Presidential Administration Office on Dec. 9, 2015, for a meeting with Evgeny Lukyanov, then the deputy secretary of the Security Council.

If we use the same thought processes and judgments that the U.S. media used to characterize Torshin and Butina actions, this meeting reads as if U.S. intelligence is cleverly using the NRA to infiltrate the Kremlin.

If there is anyone out there who has not digested previous articles and still believes the Russian government interfered in the U.S. presidential election, which is almost everyone, here are more contradictions to the "evidence."
New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation's scale and sweep, Craig Timberg and Tony Romm, The Washington Post, December 16, 2018

A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia's disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters' interests to help elect President Donald Trump - and worked even harder to support him while in office.

The mentioned report, which is extensive, well researched, and well prepared, portrays a diligent campaign. Compared to the volumes of daily circulated disinformation during the 2016 election, it was ripple of water in an ocean of Tsunamis. One, only one Russian agency, the Internet Research Agency (IRA and not Russian government) used U.S. social media for circulating contradictory messages during the 2016 campaign, and what they accomplished, if anything, is not well established. The report objectively summarizes the IRA campaign.

The divisive propaganda Russia used to influence American thought and steer conversations for over three years wasn’t always objectively false.The content designed to reinforce in-group dynamics would likely have offended outsiders who saw it, but the vast majority wasn’t hate speech. Much of it wasn’t even particularly objectionable. But it was absolutely intended to reinforce tribalism, to polarize and divide,and to normalize points of view strategically advantageous to the Russian government on everything from social issues to political candidates.

From USA Today at

We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians (ED: Not Russian government and only 3,517 of many millions by others during the election). Here's what we found. Only about 100 of the ads overtly mentioned support for Donald Trump or opposition to Hillary Clinton. A few dozen referenced questions about the U.S. election process and voting integrity, while a handful mentioned other candidates like Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush.

Only about 100 ads in overt support for Trump! Let's be real. Is that interference?
From USA Today at

Some of the more than 3,000 ads denounced Donald Trump, others his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
Many of the ads, placed by Russians posing as Americans, didn't endorse a specific candidate but spread inflammatory messages on sensitive subjects such as immigration and race to amplify fault lines in American life, targeting users from specific backgrounds and tight races in key states such as Pennsylvania,

Would ardent Trump supporters run ads that denounce their candidate? Do these "inflammatory messages," differ from the million other messages on the same subjects to the same people? Are not these "hot button" issues in America, and is it unnatural to address the "hot button" issues when composing tweets and ads? If the Russian agency that placed the ads knew the exact time and place for "targeting users from specific backgrounds and tight races in key states such as Pennsylvania," it would be hired by every political party in the world.

If consistency and not being hypocritical are guidelines in exposing nefarious actions by public relations firms, why has there been little mention of the shadowy Israeli firm, Black Cube? Former Israeli military officers founded the firm in 2011 and it has recruited many former Mossad agents. Undoubtedly, Black Cube has strong links to Netanyahu and Israeli intelligence community.

Richard Engel, Aggelos Petropoulos and Kennett Werner of NBC News, in an article, Black Cube: Inside the shadowy Israeli firm accused of trying to undermine the Iran deal, May 25, 2018, at, question Black Cube's role in political affairs and its attempts to coerce individuals. Some excerpts.

A source familiar with Black Cube's outreach to the Kahls (an assistant to President Barack Obama and national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden) told NBC News that it was part of an effort to discredit Obama administration officials who had worked on the Iran nuclear deal - and, by extension, the deal itself. Black Cube sought evidence of nefarious behavior, such as financial or sexual impropriety, by the deal's architects, including Colin Kahl. Operatives hoped to obtain such evidence by befriending their targets or their targets' associates.

In Romania, two Black Cube operatives were arrested on suspicion of spying on the country's anti-corruption prosecutor in 2016.

Black Cube made headlines last fall after revelations that it had been hired to intimidate and disparage accusers of Harvey Weinstein, as well as reporters investigating the Hollywood producer.

As part of its work on Iran, Black Cube also targeted journalists and advocates of the Iran deal working outside government, according to documents obtained by NBC News. One of those documents was a Black Cube list of reporters whose work often dealt with Iran, including Andrea Mitchell, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent.

The Times of Israel also reported on Black Cube activities at

According to sources and documents leaked to the Haaretz daily, Black Cube also sought to gain intelligence from Obama aides on Iranian assets that could be seized under US court rulings granting billions of dollars in compensation to victims of Iran. One official who was reportedly targeted by Black Cube was Caroline Tess, a former adviser to US ambassadors to the United Nations Susan Rice and Samantha Power who was later appointed to the National Security Council to work with Congress on legislation regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

The Trump administration attitude toward the freely elected leader of Venezuela describes the extent of the hypocrisy.

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he is recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Trump also urged other governments to recognize Guaido, adding that he "will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.

Compare 100 Facebook ads for a candidate by a non-state public relations firm to the world's mightiest nation using its muscle to displace a democratically elected candidate.

U.S. policies relate the failures of the media to report events accurately, and the failures of so-called experts to properly predict and advise.
In foreign affairs
, citizens of the United States have witnessed (1) a Korean War that has not ended in a peace treaty and resulted in North Korea obtaining nuclear weapons; (2) A Vietnam War, based on a spurious Tonkin Resolution, that caused 58,318 dead and 300,000 wounded Americans and ended with a U.S. defeat; (3) an interference in the Soviet/Afghanistan war that caused the emergence of al-Qaeda, the rise of the Taliban, and an eventual attack upon American soil on 9/11; (4) an unending war in Afghanistan that has not defeated the Taliban or subdued al-Qaeda; (5) an invasion of Iraq, based on a false claim of Iraq developing weapons of mass destruction, which enabled ISIS to coalesce forces and Iran to become influential in Iraq; (6) a promoter of the rebels in the Libyan civil war, based on the unproven claim that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was prepared to massacre Libyans in Benghazi, and, whose military interference caused turmoil in Libya and strengthened ISIS elements; (7) an incoherent policy in the Middle East that has not solved any of the crises, caused the destruction of the Palestinian people, and, if the policy continues, also the Houthis in Yemen.

In domestic affairs, the principal problems continue unresolved year after year, decade after decade -- turbulent race relations, gun violence, drug addiction, inner city crime, lack of immigration reform, economic recessions, health coverage, government polarization, infrastructure deterioration and climate warming.

Media distortions of events and inability of responsible leaders to properly interpret events are responsible for the continually counterproductive polices and unresolved situations. Knowing how this comes about and what to do about are two fundamental questions.
WIRED magazine, in an article by ROBBIE GONZALE, 11.09.18, DON'T WANT TO FALL FOR FAKE NEWS? DON'T BE LAZY, offers an answer and a solution.

The popular assumption-supported by research on apathy over climate change and the denial of its existence - is that people are blinded by partisanship, and will leverage their critical-thinking skills to ram the square pegs of misinformation into the round holes of their particular ideologies. According to this theory, fake news doesn't so much evade critical thinking as weaponize it, preying on partiality to produce a feedback loop in which people become worse and worse at detecting misinformation.

…most folks just tend not to use social media to engage critically with whatever news, video, or sound bite is flying past. As one recent study shows, most people browse Twitter and Facebook to unwind and defrag - hardly the mindset you want to adopt when engaging in cognitively demanding tasks.

Suggest confronting fake news espoused by other people not necessarily by lambasting it as fake, but by casually bringing up the notion of truthfulness in a non-political context. You know: just planting the seed

The last sentences are significant. Opposition to catastrophic polices have not been effective. Countervailing forces may be guided by agendas, an inability to retrieve the truth from the fabrications, and delinquency in channeling the truths to sources that reach the public.

Others provide answers,
Journalist William Arkin's departing note to NBC News
"In our day-to-day whirlwind and hostage status as prisoners of Donald Trump, I think — like everyone else does — that we miss so much.”

Eugen Weber's proclamation in his "The Western Tradition" lectures of 1989.
"... here we are at the end of the 20th century with a lot of people lonely in a Godless world - and now they are denied not only God but the solid substance of judgment and perception. The world has always been disgracefully managed but now you no longer know to whom to complain."

january 25, 2019