There is an infowar going on about who has the “Real News” and who has the “Fake News” in the media. The fact that a narrative of what is “Fake News” and “Real News” being pressed is concerning. It may be an indirect attempt to censor those who are not a part of the “Top 6”:
The trend of media conglomeration has been steady. In 1983, 50 corporations controlled most of the American media, including magazines, books, music, news feeds, newspapers, movies, radio and television. By 1992 that number had dropped by half. By 2000, six corporations had ownership of most media, and today five dominate the industry: Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany and Viacom. With markets branching rapidly into international territories, these few companies are increasingly responsible for deciding what information is shared around the world.
Maybe the whole “Fake News” and “Real News” debacle is a distraction. Each side of the political spectrum is arguing that their side is correct one. Propaganda is now rising from the arguments. Some journalists have come out and said that this or that is “Fake News,” and only they have certain privileges to read information that may have been leaked; cue, the 1984 Ministry Of Truth. On one CNN segment, Chris Cuomo claimed that it is illegal for the general public to view Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails curated by WikiLeaks:
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Chris Cuomo referenced Bartnicki v. Vopper. It is true the media has some protections.
There was an interesting segment on CNN last week where CNN anchor Chris Cuomo reminds viewers for it is illegal for them to “possess” Wikileaks material and that, as a result, they will have to rely on the media to tell them what is in these documents. The legal assertion is dubious, but the political implications are even more concerning.
Cuomo is right about status of reporters being clear and protected. In Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001), the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the media is allowed to publish material that may have been obtained illegally and declared a law unconstitutional to the extent that it would make such media use unlawful. The Court reaffirmed the need to protect the first amendment interests and took particular note of the fact that the material was a matter of public interest:
“The Court holds that all of these statutes violate the First Amendment insofar as the illegally intercepted conversation touches upon a matter of “public concern,” an amorphous concept that the Court does not even attempt to define. But the Court’s decision diminishes, rather than enhances, the purposes of the First Amendment, thereby chilling the speech of the millions of Americans who rely upon electronic technology to communicate each day.”
Laws/Bills In Action And/Or On The Move
For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.
On November 30, one week after the Washington Post launched its witch hunt against “Russian propaganda fake news“, with 390 votes for, the House quietly passed “H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017“, sponsored by California Republican Devin Nunes (whose third largest donor in 2016 is Google parent Alphabet, Inc), a bill which deals with a number of intelligence-related issues, including Russian propaganda, or what the government calls propaganda, and hints at a potential crackdown on “offenders.”
Curiously, the bill which was passed on November 30, was introduced on November 22, two days before the Washington Post published its Nov. 24 article citing “experts” who claim Russian propaganda helped Donald Trump get elected.
The Washington Post story that ZeroHedge mentioned: Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say
The Washington Post has since come out with an editor’s note due to lack of evidence:
Yet the article is rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations, and fundamentally shaped by shoddy, slothful journalistic tactics. It was not surprising to learn that, as BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel noted, “a lot of reporters passed on this story.” Its huge flaws are self-evident. But the Post gleefully ran with it and then promoted it aggressively, led by its Executive Editor Marty Baron
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 9, 2016
“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed,” he said, as reported in The Hill. “In our society, now it’s just first — who cares, get it out there. We don’t care who it hurts. We don’t care who we destroy. We don’t care if it’s true. Just say it, sell it. Anything you practice you’ll get good at — including BS.”
$20 MILLION for paid op-eds! Portman-Murphy would make propaganda the law of the land! pic.twitter.com/uWPHZwvIJl
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) December 10, 2016
Points To Consider: Stop worrying about fake news. What comes next will be much worse – The Guardian:
In the not too distant future, technology giants will decide what news sources we are allowed to consult, and alternative voices will be silenced.
What’s scary about fake news is how it is becoming a catch-all phrase for anything people happen to disagree with. In this regard, fake news is sort of the stepbrother of “post-fact” and “post-truth” – though not directly related, they’re all part of the same dysfunctional family.
While Facebook isn’t alone as the go-to social site for news, it is by far the biggest. Seventy-two percent of adult internet users in the United States (62 percent of Americans overall) use Facebook. For breaking news, Facebook’s competition for a while was probably just Twitter (though Snapchat is changing that). Only 23 percent of all adult Internet users in the U.S. use Twitter.
According to Pew Research, in 2013, 47 percent of Facebook’s users said they considered it a source for news. By 2015, that number had jumped to 63 percent—a 16 percent increase. And in 2015, about half of users aged in the key demographic of 18 to 34 told Pew that Facebook (along with Twitter) was the “most important” or “an important” way to get their news.
Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook will do more to tackle the viral spread of false news on its network, and this week the company has started experimenting with a system to fix the problem: it’s asking its own users for help.
But if the company is going to start removing accounts belonging to anyone who says anything remotely offensive, it is going to be spending all of its time doing that, and by doing so it is probably going to alienate as many users as to which it appeals. Do we really want Twitter to be the one that decides what constitutes appropriate speech, and who is allowed to exercise it?
So who determines what is “Real News” and “Fake News” ???
You. Research. Analyze. Consult with others. The media is an information outlet, don’t let it make your opinion for you. Use the resources available to digest what is said. People will always agree or disagree on subjects. Challenge opinions, don’t censor them.