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Don’t You Hate Spammy, Sensationalist Click-Bait Like this?

We’re inundated with spammy sensationalist click-bait. You know what I mean–the little boxes containing eye-candy photos and headlines such as “you won’t believe how badly these stars have aged,” “7 tricks to losing weight during Thanksgiving,” “These children of celebs are so good looking your jaw will drop,” “9 surprising signs of dementia” and outre classics such as “Hitler’s shocking final words.”

The “news” is “shocking,” “secrets are revealed,” and “surprising facts” are promised. Authorities are always cited as unimpeachable sources, and the headlines are quasi-plausible. (Why wouldn’t good-looking celebs have good-looking offspring?)

But the “authorities,” “facts” and “secrets” are all dubious. The spammy click-bait is self-serving to those promoting the sensationalist content, and to the media sites that promote the spammy content.

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The Corporate Media’s Gulag of the Mind

One of the most remarkable ironies of The Washington Post’s recent evidence-free fabrication of purported “Russian propaganda” websites (including this site) is how closely it mimics the worst excesses of the USSR’s Stalinist era.

Those unfamiliar with the Stalinist era’s excesses will benefit from reading Solzhenitsyn’s three-volume masterpiece The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, The Gulag Archipelago 2 and Gulag Archipelago 3.

One episode is especially relevant to the totalitarian tactics of The Washington Post’s evidence-free accusation. Solzhenitsyn tells the story of one poor fellow who made the mistake of recounting a dream he’d had the previous night to his co-workers.

In his dream, Stalin had come to some harm. In Solzhenitsyn’s account, the fellow was remorseful about the dream.

Alas, mere remorse couldn’t possibly save him. He was promptly arrested for “anti-Soviet thoughts” and given a tenner in the Gulag–a tenner being a ten-year sentence in a Siberian labor camp.

The Washington Post’s accusation is based on a “behavioral analysis”–in other words, publicly sharing “anti-Soviet thoughts”–in our era, the equivalent is sharing anti-Establishment thoughts.

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Why the Corporate Media Hates Sanders (and Has a Love/Hate Thing with Trump)

Everyone who isn’t willfully blind knows that the Corporate (mainstream) Media doesn’t give the same coverage to Bernie Sanders as it does to his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Bernie’s rallies go unmentioned, his victories are given short shrift and his personal narrative–practically ideal for media glorification–is mentioned in passing, if at all.

A media professional clued me into why the Corporate Media hates Bernie and will move Heaven and Earth to defeat him: Sanders is the only candidate who is seriously promoting campaign finance reform.

When a Super-PAC raises $100 million for Hillary, Jeb, et al., where does 90% of that money go? To the Corporate Media. Corporate Media gorges on political media buys every two years, and increasingly depends on this feasting on Super-PAC money for its outsized profits.

As more and more advertising dollars flow to digital media (online search, Facebook, etc.), traditional media dominated by a handful of corporate giants needs the massive influx of campaign dollars to offset its stagnating revenue model.

My source notes that there are rarely any discounts for campaign media buys–the super-PACs and candidate’s campaigns pay full pop, and typically pay in cash: no 90 days receivables for campaigns.

Political campaign buys are almost pure profit, as there is minimal sales effort required and the campaign/super-PAC is paying full freight.

Real campaign finance reform would gut Corporate Media’s profits. No wonder the Corporate Media downplays Sanders’ campaign, his personal integrity and his chances to become president.

As for the firewall that supposedly divides editorial from advertising: it’s there for show, of course, and everyone in the business solemnly declares it’s a Great Wall that is never breached, but the reality is the editorial staff know very well who butters their bread–and it sure isn’t the folks getting free media coverage when their competitors are buying tens of millions of dollars in advertising.

Nobody has to openly state that big advertisers are not going to get negative coverage; editorial staff know better than to even propose such a self-destructive notion. Stories are either buried (“this one needs more research”) or they are never proposed due to self-censorship by editorial staff worried that their head will roll in the next downsizing.

The Corporate Media has a love/hate thing going with Trump: the editorial side (i.e. the newsroom) loves Trump, because readers /viewers /listeners will tune in just to see what new outrageous, offensive verbiage Trump has blurted in the last 12 hours, but the advert-revenue side hates him with a passion because thanks to his non-stop media coverage, he doesn’t need to advertise much in the Corporate Media.

According to this estimate, Trump spent $10 million on advertising and received $1.89 billion in free coverage. Deep State Darling Hillary Clinton spent $28 million (is that all?) on adverts and skimmed $746 million in free coverage; Bernie Sanders also spent $28 million and received less than half of Hillary’s free coverage ($321 million)–no bias here, folks, everything is fair and unbiased–and drop-out Jeb Bush spent $82 million and scored $214 million in free coverage.

Measuring Donald Trump’s Mammoth Advantage in Free Media

So the editorial side concerned with attracting eyeballs loves loose-cannon Trump, but the real ruler of the media, the revenue side, hates him most passionately: this skinflint spends almost nothing and gets more free coverage than the rest of the candidates put together.

As you consume the coverage and the advertising this election cycle, always remember that 1) the mainstream media in the U.S. is all corporate-owned, 2) corporations exist to maximize profits, 3) profits flow from advertising, not free coverage, and 4) real campaign finance reform will negatively impact Corporate Media profits.

Always remember who’s selling whom, and who’s in charge: who is the Deep State selling? Who is the Corporate Media selling? Recall that the the Deep State gives the Corporate Media its marching orders: Hillary regains the momentum (New York Times, et al.)

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