On Alternative Media
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief” – Frantz Fanon
The preceding paragraph illuminates a social phenomena played by corporate owned mainstream media, taking advantage of people everyday. ‘Alternative media’ is meant to circumvent this but in fact often is a wolf dressed in the proverbial sheep’s clothing. Here is why:
All of the ‘alternative’ news outlets (all of those with any degree of independence and significant readership in any case) will be targets of the several competing intelligence agencies wishing to shape discourse. The ability of the agencies to do this will depend on the environment, awareness, personality, sympathies and approach of the producers. Zerohedge is (my perhaps imperfect assessment) far less manipulative than, example given, TomDispatch (a blatant case) but no matter the outlet there is always some degree of risk the consumer will absorb deliberate disinformation. Additionally, ideological alignment will play in the alternative outlets, no matter how clean. Information is shaped both by conscious effort and unconscious influences.
I would place zerohedge in that category where anti-corporate, libertarian ideology (yes, there is such a thing, as opposed to corporate controlled or manipulated ‘libertarian’ tea party, e.g. Koch brothers) shapes its discourse on the right, over on the left there are also examples, for instance Global Research, Voltaire Net and more recently The Intercept are all to some extent shaped by ideology or personal prejudices. Of course intelligence agencies will look at every opportunity to exploit these outlets. The Intercept appears to have been co-opted rather quickly by western intelligence via its bank-roller Pierre Omidyar; particularly on the Ukraine discourse (Glenn Greenwald’s disclaimers notwithstanding.)
In cases of more insidious perversion of information, a common modus operandi is to associate events that cannot be concealed with the wrong party (false flag is pervasive method of disinformation) and embed facts together with inventions in the discourse. Consortium News is a past master at this, for instance Robert Parry consistently shaping the discourse to point to incompetent or maverick Ukrainian military downing MH 17 with a Buk surface to air missile, as opposed to the Ukrainian SU 25 combat jet which he steadfastly refuses to so much as mention much less consider. The point of method like this can be to create a face saving or less damaging escape for the western aligned parties in the event the initial propaganda efforts blaming Russia fall apart. Better some drunk or incompetent Ukrainian military performed the shoot down in the public eye (in the western intelligence view) than a Ukrainian air force jet on orders from Kiev. A secondary possible effect (the CIA would hope) is when, more likely than if, considering the incompetence involved, the west’s MH 17 story falls apart, the Russians will allow for the alternative line put forward by someone like Parry in return for concessions in the ‘spirit’ of so-called ‘Realpolitik’ where cynical geopolitical deals will necessarily determine truth must be the first casualty.
Another method is to play on peoples’ sense of helplessness while steering them away from the essential reality and attending motivations by keeping them preoccupied with outrage. That’s Tom Engelhardt’s method. A short research pulls up CIA associated funding underlying TomDispatch, originating with Ford Foundation grants, laundered via The Nation Institute (The Nation is another long time intelligence penetrated organization, host of disinformation puppet Bob Dreyfuss.)
Just a few short but critical examples. The best one can do with all of this is to keep track of the metadata threads (facts within events than cannot be denied) while being careful not to be sucked into the attending spin. Assembling a focus this way, you seldom will get a perfect picture but done competently, one should certainly get a far clearer understanding of what’s actually going on.
A footnote would be, the Russians recognize the western press is so corrupt, they don’t need to much engage in overt deceits but more or less stick to the facts surrounding events (as much as possible) to gain credibility, and when this is not an option, their preferred fallback technique is ‘lies by omission.’ The western consumer taking in RT gets a much better deal than the eastern consumer lapping up the Helsinki based, western mainstream media clone misnamed ‘The Moscow Times.’