The US MSM, that inexorable march to irrelevance

Prof Edward S Herman passed away in early November. Among his memorable achievements was his joint authorship with Noam Chomsky of that unsparing work of 2005, Manufacturing Consent. In it we would learn the extent to which the corporate media have been in active collusion with state power to sell a reality, no matter how preposterous, concocted to promote its agenda, an agenda inimical to the interests of the general populace, and not just domestic.

Since 2005, the date of publication, good fortune would intervene as information technology would allow for greater access to the internet by alternative media, and independent news and analysis blogs. Rupture of the tight control of news and information would become and is now inevitable – increasingly the honesty and the veracity of ‘the narrative’ would be challenged, and discredited. That failure on the part of the MSM to read ‘the writing on the wall’ would provide no lessons, no learning experience, and with comical results. Some examples.

Why not start with Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept? His stern, sarcasm-laced rebuke is noteworthy, The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened

He starts off, ‘Friday was one [08Dec17] of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.’

Greenwald uses their very words to invite the inevitable ridicule for folk for whom facts or the fundamentals of investigative journalism have become irrelevant when promoting ‘the narrative’ is paramount,

‘It’s impossible to convey with words what a spectacularly devastating scoop CNN believed it had, so it’s necessary to watch it for yourself to see the tone of excitement, breathlessness and gravity the network conveyed as they clearly believed they were delivering a near-fatal blow on the Trump/Russia collusion story:…’

And that would come on the heels of yet another failed attempt to ‘stay on message’. The YouTube vlogger, Jimmy Dore would set aside his customary expletives to weigh in on, ABC News’ Russia/Flynn Story: BIG OOPS In his presentation he shows how quickly the fake news, the falsehood can be propagated, become ‘viral’, and with little or no attempt to provide any serious retraction or correct the damage.

This rapid pace in such media’s march to irrelevance seemed to have quickened with the election in the US of a candidate the US media had promoted to ensure a devastating victory for their Anointed Candidate, a ploy that has backfired catastrophically. In the establishment print media, WaPo has stood out in its egregiousness.

There was that little matter of an electric utility in the US state of Vermont. As WaPo would headline on 30Dec16, Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say To drum up some solid patriotic outrage and hysteria would come,

‘A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials.’

And to remove all doubts as to the ‘existential’ – Venezuela is the ‘extraordinary’ – enemy of the US,

‘“Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety,” [Democrat Gov of Vermont] Shumlin said in a statement. “This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put an end to this sort of Russian meddling.”’ [There would, of course, be a tepid ‘correction’.]

Would that such a howler had been a ‘one-off’. The modus operandi seems to have now become one of panicked reaction to the rapid loss of control of its once unchallenged promotion of ‘establishment truth’, and with little respect for the intelligence of its readers. Another nugget, and we let one alternative media, commondreams blog, tell it, Site Smeared as ‘Russian Propaganda’ Demands Washington Post Retraction What makes this so risible is that anyone even remotely familiar with the nakedcapitalism blog would know immediately the nonsense such an accusation to be. We learn,

‘The progressive finance and economics website Naked Capitalism has demanded a retraction and apology from the Washington Post for its “astonishingly lazy report” smearing independent news outlets as “Russian propaganda.”‘

The commondreams reporter continues,

‘The Post story, as Common Dreams reported, cited anonymous organization PropOrNot in accusing multiple left-wing outlets of peddling “fake news” during the 2016 election as tools of a Russian “misinformation campaign.” Naked Capitalism was among those named in the report, along with sites including Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Consortium News, and Truthdig.’  Curiously, to have made such an accusation served only to expose the accuser’s own egregious journalistic shortcomings.

And RT would later join the list, and much more – declared to be a ‘foreign agent’ by overzealous US legislators seeking to stop the already incoming tide of alternative media and their undaunted refusal to adhere to ‘the narrative’. The ‘threat’ posed by RT would be evident in the quality of its journalism, and its refusal to be intimidated – as evidenced in this interview of US Prof Robin Andersen by RT’s Ed Schultz. The other ‘threat’ is the network’s biting sense of humour, Crime of the century’: Facebook finds 0.004% of election posts are Russia-based ahead of hearing. Of course, on l’affaire RT the farcical, theatrical performance – no George Galloway appearing – of US legislators would not be lost on viewers especially beyond US borders, confirming long-held suspicions, Disappointment: Google, Facebook & Twitter executives testify ‘meddling’ in Senate.

As for outstanding examples of RT and its journalism, a couple suffice – both interviews of journalist John Pilger. The first, Ep. 553: John Pilger Special – NATO Wars, Nelson Mandela and Mainstream Journalism.  The second, and more specific to the US presidential elections of 08Nov16,  John Pilger: ‘The truth is… there was no one to vote for’ (Going Underground US election special). Quality of journalism.

Yet there is that motto and invitation of RT to, ‘Question More’. Nothing like healthy scepticism to ensure a well-informed citizenry.

Addendum:

As if it could not get any more dire for feckless corporate media, an intrepid ‘reporter’ from WaPo takes a photo of an empty auditorium much before the appearance of the US president, as,yes, RT informs us in, Washington Post reporter apologizes to Trump over crowd tweet as president demands firing, ‘Weigel shared a photo of Trump’s rally taken before it had started, tweeting, “packed to the rafters,” in an apparent taunt aimed at the president Saturday. He posted the tweet in response to one of Trump’s own tweets, in which the president said the “arena was packed to the rafters, the crowd was loud, loving and really smart.”’ Issues that scream for attention, and yet another foray into infantile churlishness? Journalism? When trust is gone, irremediably squandered…

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