by William Skink
The war in Vietnam was slowly undermined over the years by the diligent work of actual reporters, like Sy Hersh. I’m reading Hersh’s memoir right now and it has me wondering if anyone like him exists anymore.
The corporate consolidation of media platforms in the subsequent decades has systematically sealed off Americans from the reality of what their tax dollars fund. The world wide web came along and threatened information monopolies for a brief time, but that window of opportunity is quickly closing.
Alex Jones was a brilliant test case of media suppression. Not many in the general public appeared aware of the dangerous precedent that was set by multiple internet platforms coordinating the suppression of Jones.
Now it’s happening again, and alternative media sites like Anti-media and the Free Thought Project are the victims. To get some decent reporting on this I have to reference RT:
Facebook is again being called out for purging political accounts too far left and right of center, after it removed more than 800 pages just in time for the 2018 midterm elections. Some had millions of followers.
Many of the affected pages were supposedly sharing links between groups using fake accounts, which then clicked “Like” on the posts, artificially upping their engagement numbers. This “inauthentic behavior” violates Facebook’s anti-spam policies and goes against “what people expect” from Facebook, the company said.
While some of the deleted pages have been known to run content of questionable credibility at times, Facebook did not expressly accuse them of spreading “fake news” – or actually provide a list of names or examples of postings at all. However, under the platform’s new policies, simply spreading “news” is frowned upon: it has recently tweaked its algorithm to prevent users’ feeds from being dominated by news stories.
There is no significant outrage or alarms being raised by corporate media over this. Instead corporate media is fuming over the disappearance of Saudi “journalist”, Jamal Khashoggi. Why put journalist in square quotes? Because Khashoggi is an establishment figure with deep ties to the Saudi power structure. Here is some essential background from wikipedia:
Khashoggi comes from a very rich, powerful and well-known family in Saudi Arabia. He was born in Medina in 1958. His grandfather, Muhammad Khashoggi, who was of Turkish origin, married a Saudi woman and served as personal physician to King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Jamal Khashoggi is the nephew of late, high-profile Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, known for his part in the Iran-Contra scandal, estimated to have had a net worth of $4 bn in the 1980s. Jamal Khashoggi’s cousin, Dodi Fayed, was dating Britain’s Princess Diana when the two were killed in a car crash in Paris.
The outrage now being directed at Saudi Arabia and its young, power-grabbing prince, MbS, is amazing if you think about all the things Saudi Arabia has done that did NOT illicit this degree outrage, like beheading dissidents, funding 9/11 terrorists and creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
One needs go no further than the excretion known as Thomas Friedman for this obscene juxtaposition in his Prayer for Jamal:
If Jamal has been abducted or murdered by agents of the Saudi government, it will be a disaster for M.B.S. and a tragedy for Saudi Arabia and all the Arab Gulf countries. It would be an unfathomable violation of norms of human decency, worse not in numbers but in principle than even the Yemen war. (emphasis added)
What makes Friedman and his ilk so fucking despicable is the power they have. The grinding work of real reporters like Sy Hersh during the Vietnam era is proof of what can happen when that power is dedicated to bringing uncomfortable truths to the American public.
Further proof of that power can be found in pictures, like the dead toddler that sparked real things happening in the world, as evidenced by local efforts to relocate refugees to Missoula.
Imagine what would happen if the true scope of suffering in Yemen was blasting from screens and pages across America? Imagine what could happen if Americans fully understood that, without American logistical support, Saudi Arabia could not blow up school busses full of children and genocidally starve millions of innocent people.
And imagine if we were confronted, repeatedly, with what Saudi Arabia does to spread extremist ideology across the globe, an ideology that justifies the terrorist attack of 9/11 on extremist religious interpretation.
With all the bad that is happening on the information front of a global war already happening around us, there is some good news to report.
At a soiree on Thursday, former staff of the corporate-killed Indy announced what feels like an “inevitable” effort to create a new weekly publication. From MPR:
“It’s not easy, but it feels doable to start a new paper. And that’s what we wanna do,” said Erika Fredrickson, former Indy arts editor, to cheers at the event organizers dubbed a “soiree.” The gathering was meant to take community input on what a new publication could look like and Fredrickson says it’s the first step of many to making a new, independent voice in Montana print journalism.
“I think at some point to me it felt at first like ‘we should do this,’ and now it feels like it’s inevitable,” Fredrickson said.
Derek Brouwer, a former reporter for the Indy said, “we’re seeing media consolidation around the country, and Missoula is no different as I think the purchase of the Independent by Lee Enterprises illustrated.”
Brouwer says former staff members have received hundreds of responses and demonstrations of support from community members in the last month. And he says a new publication won’t be a carbon copy of the Independent, it will experiment with what did and didn’t work in the old model.
This is very good news, one this blogger will happily promote to the dozens of RD readers here 😉