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.
The mainstream media continues peddling its “fake news” narrative like a desperate pusher whose junkies are dying from his toxic dope. It’s slowly dawning on the media-consuming public that the MSM is the primary purveyor of “fake news”– self-referential narratives that support a blatantly slanted agenda with unsupported accusations and suitably anonymous sources.
Many of these Fake News Narratives are laughably, painfully bogus: that President Trump is a Russian tool, to take a current example. (That President Obama was a tool of the neocon Deep State–no mention of that. According to the MSM, America doesn’t even have a Deep State–har-har…the joke’s on you if you are credulous enough to swallow this risible absurdity.)
But the real danger isn’t fake news–it’s junk news. Junk News (the title of a 2009 book by an Emmy Award–winning journalist– Junk News: The Failure of the Media in the 21st Century) —is related to Junk Science and Junk Food.
We’ve heard a lot about “fake news” from those whose master narratives are threatened by alternative sources and analyses. We’ve heard less about the master narratives being threatened: the fomenting of mass hysteria, which turns the populace into an easily manipulated and managed herd, and induced insanity, a longer-term marketing-based narrative that causes the populace to ignore the self-destructive consequences of accepting the fad/ ideology/ mindset being pushed as “good” and “normal.”
In terms of “fake news,” it’s hard to beat the mainstream media and its handlers’ attempts to whip up mass hysteria via unsubstantiated claims that Russian hackers working for Putin deprived Hillary of the presidency. The campaign to spark mass hysteria was launched with great precision, unleashing the overwhelming forces of endless repetition (the marketer’s favorite tool) and appeals to national security authorities: The C.I.A., F.B.I, and all the other security agencies purportedly concur that Russia “hacked” (whatever that means) the U.S. election.
The intent of the campaign was painfully obvious: by wheeling out the big guns of authority without any actual evidence, the campaign’s designers hoped the public would automatically assume the bizarre, outlandish claim must be “true,” even though no evidence was submitted to substantiate this fact-free claim, and respond as planned, i.e. willingly join a mass hysteria herd in favor of discrediting the U.S.election results.
In case you missed it, The Washington Post’s criminally careless publishing of “fake news” about purported “Russian propaganda” created a backlash–and the Post’s attorney-approved bleating to sidestep responsibility for publishing “fake news” failed to calm the waters.
Here’s The Washington Post’s “fake news” article in case you missed it: Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.
The “experts” claims of expertise were not validated or investigated by the Post, and the Post prominently linked to a list of 200 websites (oftwominds.com among them) that purportedly “wittingly or unwittingly” promoted “Russian propaganda”–but The Washington Post did zero journalistic work to investigate the list or the anonymous “experts” that published it.
Since the list is bogus, the entire story qualifies as “fake news”–exactly what the Post claims to be investigating. Talk about irony….
This criminally sloppy publishing of “fake news” isn’t journalism–it’s propaganda. No amount of slippery legalese can erase the fact that The Washington Post published a “fake news” story and featured it prominently on page one.
Let me explain the “methodology” behind the “Russian propaganda” list: guilt by association. Here’s how this works. Say you’re in a totalitarian state with a media controlled by a handful of state-corporate interests. (Sound familiar?)