No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Propaganda

Really quite atrocious

with 20 comments

The world gets sillier with each passing day.

The ridiculous creature you’ve just watched is now the head of a new part of the US Department of Homeland Security, the Disinformation Governance Board.

What a coincidence that this announcement comes just days after Elon Musk buying Twitter and the Liberal world setting its hair on fire as a result.

The Department of Homeland Security is setting up a new board designed to counter misinformation related to homeland security, with a focus specifically on Russia and irregular migration. The board will be called the “Disinformation Governance Board,” and will be headed by executive director Nina Jankowicz.

And there it is right out of the gate, “irregular migration”. So we won’t be able to say “open borders” any longer? Or “illegal aliens”, (even though that’s the legal term) without the ban hammer coming down, or worse.

I’m going to call it the Ministry of Truth from here on because that’s entirely appropriate.

Ms Jankowicz herself writes:

Now that I’ve got it: a HUGE focus of our work, and indeed, one of the key reasons the Board was established, is to maintain the Dept’s commitment to protecting free speech, privacy, civil rights, & civil liberties.

That sounds like exactly the opposite of what this board is designed for. It’s purpose will be to stamp out information that the Biden administration doesn’t like, censor any thoughts that run counter to the MSM narrative of the day, and “fact-check” points of view deemed “inappropriate.”

The thing is that she herself is a peddler of disinformation as, for example, the 2020 claim that Hunter Biden’s business records were a Russian plant. In fact she was still pushing this as of March 2021.

Amazing how all those “natsec experts” were completely wrong, although that’s being generous as I think they just flat-out lied: they’ll probably gets jobs working for her at the Ministry of Truth. Hmmm… DGB… that acronym rings a bell.

It was the claim that it was Russian Disinformation that was the actual disinformation — partisan Democrat Deep State disinformation. As the new Disinformation Czarina, she should, of course, be eager to apologise for her previous disinformation. What are the odds?

I see some back-peddling going on with the Biden Administration now claiming that work on this started on Trump’s watch in 2020. Oh really? When during 2020 did this “work” begin? What exactly was that “work,” of which the current bureau is a merely a “continuation”? Did Trump ever hear about it? Did the Trump administration ever appoint an Executive Director of a Ministry of Truth?

Actually it’s fun to imagine the Liberal world’s reaction if Trump had done this. It would have made the Musk meltdown look like nothing.

But then something like this was always on the cards with the DHS. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks twenty years ago I figured that President GW Bush would tear down the CIA, FBI and other “intelligence” agencies that had so clearly failed and then re-build them into something fit for purpose. But instead, as a typical Moderate, Centrist Right Winger – the sort who loves Big Government almost as much as the Left does – he simply created yet another giant bureaucracy called the Department of Homeland Security and draped it over the top of the existing failures, supposedly to tie them together better.

Claims from the Right and Left that making the National Security state even bigger posed future dangers to the freedom of Americans was ignored in the heat of 9/11 emotions. The Right – admittedly mainly Libertarians – saw it as just another example of how bigger government creates bigger problems in the future, mainly because it further empowers those who love state power for its own sake in controlling individuals. The Left had traditionally felt uneasy about the NatSec state – until recently it seems, now that there’s a chance it can be weaponised against Right Wing enemies.

As silly as Ms Jankowicz appears, this is deadly serious. That joking meme of GW is no joke when you read official shit from the DHS like their March 2021 report, ‘Internal Review of Domestic Violent Extremism.’:

A March 2021 unclassified threat assessment prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Department of Justice, and DHS, noted that domestic violent extremists “who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021.”

The assessment pointed to newer “sociopolitical developments such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence” that “will almost certainly spur some [domestic violent extremists] [sic] to try to engage in violence this year.”

This is what DHS is now all about, exactly as its critics predicted two decades ago, and this new Board is simply another drawing back of the covers to reveal the machinery underneath. What’s next?

It’s probably easier going after “domestic violent extremists” than after the people that were originally supposed to be the focus of DHS: people like Nidal Hassan, Omar Mateen, Fahreed Skyhook and his concubine and at least a dozen or so other attackers as well as plots that were only foiled by sheer dumb luck rather than by the DHS/FBI.

It’s appropriate to leave you with this interesting article: Would censorship have stopped the rise of the Nazis? The short answer is no!

Weimar Germany had laws banning hateful speech (particularly hateful speech directed at Jews), and top Nazis including Joseph Goebbels, Theodor Fritsch and Julius Streicher actually were sentenced to prison time for violating them. The efforts of the Weimar Republic to suppress the speech of the Nazis are so well known in academic circles that one professor has described the idea that speech restrictions would have stopped the Nazis as “the Weimar Fallacy.” 

Meh – I couldn’t leave it on such a grim note, so here’s the original silliness, featuring what is generally agreed to be one of the worst fake accents on film, courtesy of American actor Dick Van Dyke as a Cockney chimney sweep.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 2, 2022 at 8:41 am

The MSM through the ages

with 13 comments

Well the 20th and 21st centuries anyway.

As usual our former National Defense Minister has proven to be a goldmine for … interesting comments… in this case about the MSM coverage of the current nastiness in Ukraine:

However, BBC (I know, part of the dreaded and corrupt MSM) has been able to find satellite photos that show the bodies have been lying in the streets for at least 10 days. BBC, NYT, CNN have huge numbers of staff able to undertake this sort of research, they have teams of journalists, not just one or two, on the ground. And unlike some on this site, I don’t think the journalists employed by these outlets are corrupt and venal dupe

And later…

I know some commenters here view TV1 as simply the propaganda arm of Labour, but I am not one of them.
.

Okay. While I’ve long thought that Putin was an un-reformed KBG thug (and have argued with the likes of Andrei on this point across multiple platforms over the last decade), and while I think his invasion of Ukraine is total bullshit… (throat clearing done)…. Andrei is not entirely wrong about what goes into the MSM coverage of the conflict.

Which is to say that while they’re more than happy to diss Russian propaganda, they’re a lot less likely to do this with Ukrainian propaganda.

Here’s Ye Olde Leftie Chris Trotter – a self-confessed “Tankie” , who pretty much sides with Russia and China whenever they’re against the West and especially the Great Satan, but to his credit has said that Putin has committed a crime in launching the invasion – unloading on the MSM coverage of the war here and here. But it was that last from which I’ll pull a quote:

What you are watching is a carefully constructed narrative which, in its essentials, does not change from broadcast to broadcast. We are supplied with a cast of heroes and villains to cheer on and condemn. An occasional nod in the direction of fairness and balance may be inserted, but any serious challenge to the dominant narrative will be contradicted more or less immediately. Nothing is permitted to blunt the emotional impact of the coverage. The journalism to which we are nightly subjected is not intended to supply information, it is intended to be affective – that is to say it is aimed almost exclusively at arousing our feelings.

I’ve already responded to this, pointing out the parallels that could be made to the NZ MSM’s coverage of the whole Chinese Lung Rot story for two years now – with his full approval of all the things he condemns in that paragraph. But since Chris has a habit of dumping my comments with no explanation I’ll put this here.

This is nothing new. The Narrative is what’s been taught to journalism students for decades now: the idea that even before starting to write an article, a story must be created, a narrative the reader will receive, after which anything that goes against The Narrative – facts, witness testimony, anything – gets dumped, while the same things that support The Narrative are included.

But it’s even older than that. Here’s Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff in 1979, writing about the US MSM coverage of NASA’s Mercury astronauts:

It was as if the press in America, for all its vaunted independence, were a great colonial animal, an animal made up of countless clustered organisms responding to a single nervous system. In the late 1950’s (as in the late 1970’s) the animal seemed determined that in all matters of national importance the proper emotion, the seemly sentiment, the fitting moral tone should be established and should prevail; and all information that muddied the tone and weakened the feeling should simply be thrown down the memory hole.

In a later period this impulse of the animal would take the form of blazing indignation about corruption, abuses of power, and even minor ethical lapses, among public officials; here, in April of 1959, it took the form of a blazing patriotic passion for the seven test pilots who had volunteered to go into space.

In either case, the animal’s fundamental concern remained the same: the public, the populace, the citizenry, must be provided with the correct feelings! One might regard this animal as the consummate hypocritical Victorian gent. Sentiments that one scarcely gives a second thought to in one’s private utterances are nevertheless insisted upon in all public utterances. (And this grave gent lives on in excellent health).

They/Them certainly does, and in fact the training of The Narrative in journalism schools plus Post-Modernism, PC, Identity Politics, and Woke has pushed the singularity collapse further and faster. “White male power structures”, “objectivity is bullshit”, “advocacy journalism” and so forth. Insert those viruses into the Gent and we certainly have something from the Victorian era – Mr Hyde.

Later in the same chapter Wolfe gave a specific example of how this narrative control worked in a situation when facts confronted the proper emotion, in this case when one of the greatest American test pilots (and a rocket pilot), Chuck Yeager, casually screwed the MSM’s message:

As a matter of fact, today, in Phoenix, what was it the local reporters wanted to ask Chuck Yeager about? Correct: the astronauts. One of them got the bright idea of asking Yeager if he had any regrets about not being selected as an astronaut.

Yeager smiled and said: ‘No, they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, to fly the X-1 and the X-1A, and that’s more than a man could ask for right there. They gave this new opportunity to some new fellows coming along, and that’s what they ought to do.’ ‘Besides,’ he added, ‘I’ve been a pilot all my life, and there won’t be any flying to do in Project Mercury.’

No flying?

That was all it took. The reporters looked stunned. In some way that they couldn’t comprehend immediately, Yeager was casting doubt on two indisputable facts: one, that the seven Mercury astronauts were chosen because they were the seven finest pilots in America, and two, that they would be pilots on the most daring flights in American history.

The thing was, he said, the Mercury system was completely automated. Once they put you in the capsule, that was the last you got to say about the subject.

Whuh! –

‘Well,’ said Yeager, ‘a monkey’s gonna make the first flight.’

A monkey?-

The reporters were shocked. It happened to be true that the plans called for sending up chimpanzees in both suborbital and orbital flights, identical to the flights the astronauts would make, before risking the men. But to just say it like that!…….Was this national heresy? What the hell was it?

Fortunately for Yeager, the story didn’t blow up into anything. The press, the eternal Victorian Gent, just couldn’t deal with what he had said. The wire services wouldn’t touch the remark. It ran in one of the local newspapers, and that was that.

And so it ever has been.


Written by Tom Hunter

April 8, 2022 at 6:30 am

More fun with “Fact Checkers”

with 4 comments

I’ve written about this propaganda before (Layers and layers of fact checkers), highlighting how someone like Andrew Sullivan could compile a list of major lies and/or mis-reporting of facts by the MSM…

But when the sources of news keep getting things wrong, and all the errors lie in the exact same direction, and they are reluctant to acknowledge error, we have a problem. If you look back at the last few years, the record of errors, small and large, about major stories, is hard to deny. It’s as if the more Donald Trump accused the MSM of being “fake news” the more assiduously they tried to prove him right.

… while continuing to believe the MSM on other issues.

But here’s a link to a more recent article in The Tablet, that goes into greater depth about who some of these “fact checkers” are as it explores the case of Instagram placing a warning label on an American human rights lawyer’s post that blamed rising inflation in the United States on “corporate greed.” Now that’s an argument that I think is bullshit, but it should be engaged and debated, not vanished:

The first of the modern fact-checking sites, Snopes, was started in 1994 as an early online community organized around urban myths. FactCheck.org followed in 2003, and PolitiFact—now operated by the Poynter Institute—was established in 2007.

The IFCN was launched in 2015 as a division of the Poynter Institute, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based media nonprofit that calls itself a “global leader in journalism” and has become a central hub in the sprawling counter-disinformation complex. Poynter’s funding comes from the triumvirate that undergirds the U.S. nonprofit sector: Silicon Valley tech companies, philanthropic organizations with political agendas, and the U.S. government. The nonprofit sector, as it’s euphemistically called, is an immense, labyrinthine engine of ideological and financial activism that was valued at almost $4 trillion in 2019, the overwhelming majority of which is dedicated to “progressive” causes. The IFCN’s initial funding came from the U.S. State Department-backed National Endowment for Democracy, the Omidyar Network, Google, Facebook, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

At first, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook/Instagram, resisted the idea that a lack of social media policing had been one of the main factors in Trump’s 2016 election win, saying that it was “a pretty crazy idea” and that it was “extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome.”

But under pressure from leading Democrats including Hillary Clinton, a coordinated push from the party’s halo of nonprofits, and a coup from his own employees, who include some of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors, Zuckerberg buckled.

On Nov. 17, 2016, a new organization called the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) published an open letter to the beleaguered Facebook CEO. “We would be glad to engage with you about how your editors could spot and debunk fake claims,” the IFCN generously offered on behalf of the letter’s signatories, a group of 20 nominally independent fact-checking organizations grouped under its network. The following month, Facebook announced that the IFCN would be its main partner in a new fact-checking initiative

Zuckerberg might be one of the richest men on the planet but even such wealth can bend to the will of the state, despite all the claims by the Far Left:

It became a necessary feature of the new journalistic industrial complex in order to inoculate large tech platforms from government regulatory pressure and the threat of “private” lawsuits from the NGO sector. In other words, it was a concession by tech companies to the not-so-subtle threat that if they didn’t start censoring themselves, they might get their windows—or their monopolies—broken by the state.

Fact-checking was actually an ordinary, expected but fundamental part of the old MSM (at least the decent ones) – an internal auditing process of reporting – from the mid-20th century as they supposedly tried for “objective, fair and balanced” reporting compared to their partisan forebears of the 18th and 19th centuries. There was always a certain amount of bullshit attached to this image, as the histories of the likes of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather would later attest, but the Internet trashed the MSM in multiple ways, most of all in revenue:

Between 1990 and 2017, daily and weekly newspapers lost more than a quarter of a million jobs, over half of their workforce. The decline accelerated during the pandemic with at least 6,154 media workers laid off from the beginning of March 2020 through August 2021 and 128 news organizations shut down during the same period. 

Which also meant that the costly process of internal “fact-checking” increasingly got binned. Into this breach stepped the same reporters who had once been “trusted”:

As journalism collapses, it opens up a space for successor practices grouped under the banner of countering disinformation. In 2014, there were 44 fact-checking organizations in the United States, according to the Duke University Reporters’ Lab census. As of the June 2021 census, there were 341 “active fact-checking projects,” 51 more than in the previous year.

The sickest joke about this is that it relies on trust built up in the past for a completely different world, even if that trust was misplaced:

Fact-checking trades on readers’ respect for older journalistic values like objectivity without acknowledging the role of the prestige media in deliberately undermining those values by implicating them in the continuance of racism, sexism, and other toxic bigotries. 

Hence you get old people in NZ still switching on “the telly” at 6pm to watch OneNews, or perhaps that exciting newcomer, ThreeNews, or perhaps Radio NZ, imagining that somehow the reporters and anchors are still in the mould of Philip Sherry or Dougal Stevenson. They’re not; they’re Left-Wing operatives with bylines, sometimes outright Labour or Green operatives with bylines.

The article goes into some detail on how these fabulous “new” fact checkers have operated in the Age of Trump, or on Chinese Lung Rot (the lab-leak “conspiracy theory” to the fore) or the Hunter Biden laptop saga. Needless to say they all bent the same way (“and all the errors lie in the exact same direction“), just like their MSM partners.

The result is a familiar yet peculiar double game: If an article points out that a network of bureaucratic and educational activists are inculcating the notion that math is racist, that claim is right-wing hysteria. But when a journalist determines that crack pipes are innocuous, that is fact-checking.

You can read the gruesome details behind those stories at the link: the one about the British Medical Journal getting pasted by Lead Stories, one of Facebook’s IFCN fact checking network, is particularly nasty. Their appeals were dismissed and although the article doesn’t mention it BMJ finally launched a specific article as a counter-attack that tore apart the non-medical morons at Lead Stories, forcing them to finally backtrack. As an example of the sleazy way these people work:

In its “fact-check,” Lead Stories draws attention to the fact that Jackson’s Twitter account “agreed with anti-vaccine activist and COVID misinformation-spreader Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s criticism of Sesame Street‘s storyline in which Big Bird encourages kids to get a COVID-19 vaccine.” That’s just the kind of ad hominem, hard to follow, logic-chopping argument that would get laughed out of the room at a high school debate camp but has become the final word on real matters of public health.

Actually I don’t think it would get laughed out of a high school debate camp nowadays: that type of argument is standard now from Social Media to the MSM to politics.

But I appreciated one story in particular from the Tablet article because even though it was a minor piece of nastiness the outcome is telling. Talia Lavin, a fact-checker at the famous New Yorker magazine, was so stupid and ignorant that she mistook a disabled Marine veteran’s tattoo used by his Afghan unit to be a Nazi tattoo and blasted this across her well-followed Twitter account. This caused him a few problems (to say the least) as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent until ICE (and a few others) corrected her. She got canned for it but…

Lavin resigned from The New Yorker. “I just feel like I made a small mistake and it’s destroyed my life,” she said at the time.

Hardly. Lavin’s mistake became a public audition that launched her career as a new-style “fact-checker” and “expert” on extremism. Weeks after leaving The New Yorker, she was hired by Media Matters as a “researcher on far-right extremism.” In less than a year she had signed a book deal.

I believe this is called failing up. It’s a feature of The Establishment, both new and old.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 26, 2022 at 12:28 pm

Failed solutions, Moral Cruelty and Advertising

with 11 comments

“the perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. Without a vaccine, psychology is your main weapon.You have to restrict ways in which people mix and the virus can spread… You need to frighten people.”

Those words were part of the response from the SPI-B (Scientific Pandemic Insights) group that was advising the British government on dealing with the C-19 pandemic, and that response was a specific answer to the government’s question, “What are the options for increasing adherence to the social distancing measures?” 

As the Great Chinese Xi Snot pandemic finally grinds to an end after two years there are a lot of people digging back into the measures that were taken to combat it, and one of those people is  Laura Dodsworth, who has written a book about SPI-B and the larger science group they advised, SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies). The book is A State of Fear, and her essay is The Moral Cruelty of the Pandemic Response, which examines the tensions between the individual and the collective that bubbled up during the pandemic. She has many examples of this played out in light of the government’s decision to follow the advice of SPI-B and terrify people, but none better than this:

As she points out about that Labour Party tweet:

The intention was to shame the Conservative party for ‘Partygate’, but instead it revealed how morally adrift and lacking in compassion people became. Jenny followed the rules, but maybe she shouldn’t have.

But that was merely the fear created in the individual vs. collective struggle over just one tactic, lockdowns, whereas the same thing happened for masks and ultimately the vaccines.

This and other solidarity-based messaging stemmed from the advice of behavioural scientists that appeals made to the collective conscience are more effective than appeals based on the threat to ourselves.

Science in general took the lead, and still does as countless people (many of whom dumped science at the age of 14 in high school because it was too tough) continue to scream “But The ScienceTM, when in fact decisions were made everyday that were not connected to the science. Here in NZ, the sudden reduction in weeks between the first and second shot was a classic example, done not because of a change in science but because the government found itself well behind on vaccinations when C-19 Delta hit in 2021.

Dodsworth points to Carl Jung’s famous book, The Undiscovered Self, and his take on science in our society:

“…one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass-mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics.”

The whole essay is as much about philosophy as anything else (hence Jung) but, like him, she points to the weak spots of our modern society that will enable this to happen again:

Religion did not save us. Churches closed their doors at Easter, when Jesus Christ’s resurrection is remembered. Some of the faithful died without last rites…. Going further, the Archbishop of Canterbury told Christians it was immoral not to be vaccinated. “Vaccine Saves” was emblazoned on Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. People sat spaced 2 metres apart in cathedrals awaiting vaccination, both medical miracle and ritual act of biomedical transubstantiation. Masks were more than totems in the latest culture war, they became the vestiture of the faithful, signalling belief and obedience. They emblemised a moral code based upon extending life, not securing your place in the afterlife.

I found the attitude of priests and pastors on that last point particularly evil given the overwhelming reason for the existence of their Christian faith, of which the last rites are supposed to be more than just a symbol. What must those dying people have thought awaited them, given their beliefs about the need for last rites? You can laugh at them as being insane to believe in such a thing, but would you be happy to torture an insane dying person precisely on the point of their belief?

Our societies not only did but got religious leaders to do it for them, enabling the rest of society to create the required social pariahs, when the Christian church was built upon the rock of appealing to social outcasts. This was perhaps the most obvious marker of how the secular world has triumphed over the religious in the West; the Church’s reason for existence was to save souls, not bodies.

I am not confident that her final call will be met either:

Lockdowns and restrictions squashed exactly what we need to flourish as human beings in order to counteract a psychic epidemic. As that crisis recedes, other dangers endure. Bad actors and paternalistic libertarians alike lack humility when they brazenly exploit our nature. We are buffeted by nudge, propaganda, and our passions. For the good of the collective, we must recapture meaning and values as individuals. 

Aside from re-thinking the morality involved it seems that some scientists who were in the middle of dealing with it have also begin to question their scientific analysis and conclusions, starting with Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of SPI-M, the modelling group on SAGE, who has also written a book, The Year the World Went Mad. As he describes things in The Telegraph:

“We knew from February [2020], never mind March, that the lockdown would not solve the problem. It would simply delay it,” Woolhouse says, a note of enduring disbelief in his voice. And yet in government, “there was no attention paid to that rather obvious drawback of the strategy”.

Instead, lockdowns – which “only made sense in the context of eradication” – became the tool of choice to control Covid. The die was cast in China, which instituted ultra-strict measures and, unforgivably in Woolhouse’s book, was praised by the World Health Organisation for its “bold approach”. “The WHO,” he suggests, “got the biggest calls completely wrong in 2020. The early global response to the pandemic was woefully inadequate.”

Watching on, the rest of the world found itself following the same template, even though no work had been done to assess the costs of lockdowns. After swine flu, modellers had studied the knock-on consequences of many elements of infection control, but they had never envisaged “an instruction for most of the population to stay at home”.

But a big part of why they got it wrong was that they felt that organic fear of the disease was not enough. Back to Dodsworth:

The doom-mongering modelling which catalysed lockdowns does, by its nature, treat humans as social units. But by depriving us of individuality the modelling also deprives itself of accuracy. Professor Graham Medley who chairs the modelling group SPI-M reported to MPs that it is impossible to predict human behaviour and therefore the most pessimistic outcomes were offered to government….

According to Professor Woolhouse the doom analysis was only on one side of the lockdowns:

What he does know is that while extremely detailed modelling was being done “on what the epidemic itself might look like and the harms that novel coronavirus would cause… on the other side of the scales, we had pretty much nothing at all. There was never at any stage, even by the following year, any form of analysis of the harms caused by lockdowns. Were they even considered? I haven’t seen any evidence that they were and that is very, very troubling.”

But the article points out that the SAGE itself got a report in April 2020 that assessed how many years of quality life would be lost to lockdowns. The best guess was that suppressing the virus would cost three times more years than the disease itself. At the same time similar calculations were done here in NZ by Economics Professor John Gibson from Waikato. In addition the Swedish epidemiologists had already made clear that lockdowns were not an option for the same reasons. Even by late April there was analysis of the specific lockdowns used in France, Italy and Spain that showed they didn’t work.

Feeding into the doom models was, as Woolhouse says, a “fact” about the virus that was already known to be wrong:

Woolhouse, from his position on the inside as government policy was formed, saw something very different: the disease being described as a universal killer, when it was clear from the beginning some were very much more at risk than others.

“The first good data on this started to emerge in late February 2020,” he says. And as Britain endured the first Covid wave, this data was borne out in the facts. Those over 70 had at least 10,000 times the risk of dying as those under 15 years old. “This is a highly discriminatory virus,” Woolhouse says, still exasperated today. “It’s ageist, it’s sexist, it’s racist. And we certainly knew [that] before we went into lockdown.”

Yes. Known. So why did the government’s go for lockdown and the other harsh measures? Dodsworth’s analysis echos again:

Yet the Government decided that telling half the population that they were at extremely low risk would dilute adherence to the harsh rules it was imposing, and instead ramped up the threat warnings. “We are all at risk,” noted Michael Gove in March 2020. “The virus does not discriminate.” But it did then, and it does now.

Exactly. Science got trashed, even as we were being screamed at every day that politicians were following the science. I almost feel sorry for Woolhouse and I will read his book, but frankly I’m in no mood yet to forgive sinners, even deeply repentant ones.

Finally there’s this article looking at another aspect: the massive advertising campaign launched by the US government to promote the vaccines:

So, the federal government decided to market vaccine acceptance, but not by distributing information through the official pathway of public health departments.  Instead, the U.S. government hired the media to become their marketing agencies to sell vaccine acceptance to the US population.

According to Blaze Media’s Chris Pandolfo’s report on March 3rd, “The federal government paid hundreds of media companies to advertise the COVID-19 vaccines while those same outlets provided positive coverage of the vaccines.”

That advertising was spread across a huge range of media companies: ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as cable TV news stations Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, legacy media publications including the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, digital media companies like BuzzFeed News and Newsmax, and hundreds of local newspapers and TV stations.

As the article bluntly states:

The entire media apparatus of the United States became the Voice of America to sell a positive, COVID-19 vaccine image to Americans. Congress appropriated $1 billion to buy the ads and obtain the placements of “influencer” personalities to appear in the media to sell the program.

Under this arrangement, the questioning of whether vaccines were effective or safe disappeared from the official narrative seen by Americans. Only the outlets that were not part of the marketing effort continued to cover the reservations of the academics; and these were then almost universally labeled as “fake news” by social media censors.

Most of these outfits never informed their viewers of this bought-and-paid-for work. For the average consumer of the MSM – for the average consumer of Fox News – it all would have seemed like normal news coverage or at worst “Public Service Announcements”.

Rhetoric, logical fallacies and fear

with 6 comments

Last year I wrote a post titled “The Fear”, where I looked at the hysteria of those Labour supporters angry about the collapse of the Level 4 lockdown in the face of the rapidly spreading Delta variant. They really did think it could be “crushed” to zero cases by the lockdown as the Alpha variant had been in 2020.

At least it forced the government onto a different and slightly – only very slightly – more sensible path, including admitting that if cases took off the track-and-trace system would fail:

Health officials have revealed they’re no longer spending time trying to find out how mystery cases became infected, and the focus is instead turning to isolating contacts of mystery cases.

That was with a hundred plus Delta cases a day, not the thousands of Omicron cases per day that we have now. Yet I’m still running into people complying by scanning in, surprised by rising cases among the vaccinated (which they should not be after the same thing happening with Delta) as well as exhibiting other signs of fear:

The medical director of the  Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Dr Bryan Betty has called on the Government to stop scaremongering over the Omicron variant of COVID-19. In a statement Dr Betty said Omicron is mainly cold-like illness  and probably less severe than flu. 

“Omicron is highly infectious, and so a lot of people will come down with it, but the majority of people will have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, and so it is very different from the Delta situation,” Dr Betty said.

“On Monday the Ministry of Health issued a statement advising that of the 20.000 swabs taken in Auckland, about 80 to 90 percent of those that turned up, didn’t need to. This is symptomatic of our Government creating a high degree of unnecessary anxiety fear.

“The scaremongering and the fear factor is causing a huge amount of resource being unnecessarily being taken up in our health system, and in some circumstances, people are suffering dire consequences due to their inability to access urgent healthcare.

“Not only are people now fearful of domestic travel, going to restaurants and the movies, some of our most vulnerable are fearful of going to their letter box.

“Our Government must come to its senses before it’s too late. Enough is enough.”

Bawhahahahahahahaha. Too late chum.

That’s the problem with giving up trying to persuade people with facts and arguments and going with emotions like fear. Emotions, especially fear, are much harder to switch off.

All of this can be traced back to papers put in front of the Prime Minister in 2020, as recently uncovered by The TCW in Britain of all places. In particular the chart below is a doozy, more a how-to-do-propaganda framework than any health care analysis, which is perhaps not a surprise since it comes from the Te Punaha Matatini “complexity analysis” group of Shaun “80,000 dead” Hendy and Siouxsie Wiles infamy.

That second line is a beauty. By the time that paper was written there were massive amounts of data pouring in from overseas, from every medical authority in the world, that showed it was overwhelmingly the elderly and infirm that were being killed by C-19, and that merely confirmed what had been known from early 2020 out of Italy and a couple of cruise ships. It was a fact, not a “logical fallacy”, although I suppose they could weasel through it via the use of that strawman word “only”.

You also have to love the “ableism” bullshit, which is modern “healthcare” code for not telling fat bastards to lose weight for example and similarly used here the way other “isms” are used, as a warning not to look the facts in the eye. Similarly there’s this from the rest of the paper:

Fuck these people. They’re about as “complex” as Pravda was. Do they also get funding from China as well as our government?

At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised to find Te Punaha Matatini linking up with the US Department of Homeland Security who are now using the exact same “MDM” framework to identify potential domestic terrorists:

  • Misinformation “false information that people didn’t create with the intention to hurt others”
  • Disinformation “false information created with the intention of harming a person, group, or organization, or even a country”
  • Mal-information “true information used with ill intent”

This crap, multiplied a million-fold via the PM and her huge comms staff, and most other politicians, bureaucrats and the media, plus all too many medical people, is why the government now has such a huge number of frightened people on its hands and also why they’re having such a tough time talking them down off the ledge.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 19, 2022 at 11:41 am

A second answer to Why?

with 4 comments

Why? was the title of a post by Nick K, my co-blogger here at NM, as he grappled with the “reasoning” behind the vaccine and mask mandates here in NZ and similar approaches taken in most corners of the globe.

I came across one possible answer to that question covered in the post, One answer to Why?, which looked at the control of popular thinking via language control in the modern context of Tech companies in the Webosphere.

Here’s some background to those companies and their leaders in this article from City-Journal in 2017, The Disrupters, which is all about the new Lords of Silicon Valley:

In just ten years, Facebook built a global empire that surpassed General Electric in market value—and did it with just 4 percent of the Old Economy giant’s workforce: 12,000, compared with 300,000. Whatsapp, a recent Facebook acquisition, managed an even more impressive wealth-to-labor ratio, with a $19 billion value and just 55 employees. Combined, both companies reach roughly one-sixth of humanity. Facebook’s entertainment colleague just to the south, Netflix, crushed Blockbuster’s mammoth national network of 9,000 stores and 60,000 employees with its more nimble workforce of just 3,700 employees.

Capitalism in action. Many firms have been so destroyed in the past by new competitors. The article goes on to explore what might happen next with AI, robotics and so forth, providing examples along the way involving brilliant young people, like Michael Sayman. In doing so the writer interviewed a number of the leading lights of this IT revolution and even got an opinion poll done of them to assess where they thought it was all going.

That’s where it gets sad – and scary. For a start these founders (147 were polled) don’t like talking about inequality, probably because of this:

As far as the future of innovation and its impact on ordinary people, the most common answer I received in Silicon Valley was this: over the (very) long run, an increasingly greater share of economic wealth will be generated by a smaller slice of very talented or original people. Everyone else will increasingly subsist on some combination of part-time entrepreneurial “gig work” and government aid.

Now I’ve done pretty well out of capitalism, but to me that future sounds like it sucks ass, even with a theoretical Universal Beneficiary Income (UBI). Fully Automated Luxury Communism it is not. It’s actually Marx’s “disguised form of alms”. It’s quite clear that these “thought leaders” are very leary of what may happen when they’ve built robots that can do most things better than a human.

And what of the political and philosophical attitudes that go with all this? Well it’s not actually as obvious as you might think. First with the political:

Contrary to popular opinion, most of Silicon Valley is not a libertarian ATM. The tech industry is overwhelmingly Democratic. In 2008, 83 percent of donations from the top Internet firms went to Obama, not John McCain. Many of the Valley’s household names, including Google’s then-chairman Eric Schmidt, personally helped Obama in both presidential campaigns. Republicans rarely get much money or talent from the Valley.

Yet they’re against unions and regulations (of their industry) and big on free trade of course, which is why Bernie Sanders gets no love from these people, nor would any Democrat of the pre-1990’s. Nor Donald Trump. Bill Clinton sniffed the winds well.

Then there’s the philosophical ideas that drive their politics:

What I discovered through my survey was that Silicon Valley represents an entirely new political category: not quite liberal and not quite libertarian. They make a fascinating mix of collectivists and avid capitalists…But Silicon Valley philosophically diverges with libertarians and conservatives in a key way: they aren’t individualists. 

He gives a great example of the latter:

When the libertarian icon Rand Paul began his early run for president in 2015, in San Francisco, he expected to be greeted like a hero. During the rally that I attended, Paul got rousing applause for railing against mass government spying. But when Paul asked, “Who is a part of the leave-me-alone coalition?” expecting to hear cheers, the room went silent. “Not that many, huh?” he nervously asked.

He’s not the only one who is nervous on hearing that, and it leads straight into this:

In my survey, founders displayed a strong orientation toward collectivism. Fifty-nine percent believed in a health-care mandate, compared with just 21 percent of self-identified libertarians. They also believed that the government should coerce people into making wise personal decisions, such as whether to eat healthier foods. Sixty-two percent said that individual decisions had an impact on many other people, justifying government intervention.

That is, tech founders reject the core premise of individualism – that citizens can do whatever they want, so long as they don’t harm others.

And consider that several of these fantastically wealthy men control companies that very much can aid (or oppose) a government via their extraordinary reach into influencing the lives of hundreds of millions, probably billions, of people. This is the world of “Nudge Theory”, and it’s very applicable to the last two years of the C-19 pandemic – a period that has seen their fortunes skyrocket beyond what was even thought possible in 2017, in several cases almost doubling to $150 billion or $200 billion plus.

Hold that thought.

What has all this done to the US state that is home to almost all of this wealth and genius, California?Well, as this National Review article describes, it’s not good, The Crumbling California Model. Again it’s lengthy with a lot of links to prove its points, but basically it comes down to this:

Yet it’s time now to see what California’s “success” is all about. It reflects a new kind of economy — dominated by a few large companies, with an elite workforce, a large service class, and a population increasingly dependent on wealth redistribution. This emerging oligarchic regime, however progressive it likes to label itself, is more feudal than egalitarian, more hierarchical than competitive, financed largely by the same tech giants who help fund Newsom’s successful defeat of the recall.

Exactly what was described by that 2017 poll of those Californian tech leaders. That state was once a remarkably diverse, job-rich economy, with vibrant aerospace, oil, trade, manufacturing, business services, and agriculture sectors, as well as software and media. But aside from the IT industry those sectors have fallen away, taking with them the well-paid jobs for people who can’t program a computer. If living on wealth redistribution sounds great to you, consider this:

For most, the reality on the ground is increasingly challenging. The state is now the second-most unaffordable state for home-buyers, a particular challenge for Millennials, and it suffers the highest rate of “doubling up” — only our friend Hawaii does worse. California has the largest gap between middle and upper wage quartiles in the nation, and it has a level of inequality greater than that of Mexico and closer to that of Central American countries such as Guatemala and Honduras than to such “progressive” developed counties as Canada and Norway.

The paradox is that California Democrats, the voters as well as the politicians, adore those welfare states and wish to be more like them without recognising that there is more to “welfare” than government money.

Back to that article I linked to the other day, looking at the control of language and ideas in our modern world. It finishes with this:

During the last three decades and possibly more, Western governments working hand in glove with large corporate interests have spent enormous energy and resources on perception management techniques designed to effectively undermine citizens’ ability to oppose the policies that these same elites, in their incandescent wisdom, have decided are best for the people. 

The attacks of September 11th gave these corporate and government leaders both the additional funds and the political latitude they needed to greatly accelerate work on these culture-planning processes. The Covid crisis has put the whole game on steroids. 

We have many ways of ignoring these frightening developments, most common and intellectually lazy of these being to dismiss them without examination under the rubric of “conspiracy theories.”

One answer to Why?

with 6 comments

When an individual enters the regressed mental space [of “learned helpness], the stature of all those presented to him as authority figures—no matter their actual level of competence or coherence—rises dramatically. 

Why? was the title of a post by Nick K, my co-blogger here at NM, as he grappled with the “reasoning” behind the vaccine and mask mandates here in NZ and similar approaches taken in most corners of the globe.

I have two possible answers to that question, they’re rather disturbing, they’re connected, and I’ll deal with the second in a follow-up post.

This article from The Brownstone Institute in the USA is a bit of an intellectual wank:

When we write as humanists, we select from the inventory of verbal metaphors we have acquired in the course of our lives to tell a story that we believe will enlighten and will capture the attention of our readers. In providing them with this carefully arranged series of “charged” anecdotes we trust that we are, in some way, facilitating ….

Blah, blah, blah. Yuck.

But it does contain two nuggets as it compares the culture, the use and control of language and thinking surrounding the 9/11 attacks and the C-19 pandemic:

Once this “mini-course” in fear-tinged mental disjunction was offered to the public and accepted by it with little visible pushback in the first weeks and months of the crisis, Fauci, Birx and Redfield, along with their chosen spokespeople at the CDC and in the media, were in effect, “off to the races.”

With the basic template we rely on to make reasoned risk assessments about our lives effectively shattered, millions lapsed into the mental state that has always been the programmatic end goal of those, like Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, who design torture programs for the US government: “Learned helplessness.” 

When an individual enters this regressed mental space, the stature of all those presented to him as authority figures—no matter their actual level of competence or coherence—rises dramatically. 

Indeed, considerable research suggests that a lack of coherence or predictability in such authority figures only enhances the now psychically helpless person or group of persons’ estimation of the “authority figure’s” irreplaceability and excellence. This suggests that there may have been more than a little “method” in the apparent “madness” of Fauci’s notorious flip-flops on key policy issues. 

For a certain part of the population, perhaps bereft of rituals and practices designed to help them transcend the crude, cruel and ambiguity-generating rhythms of our now largely transactional culture, the surrendering the self to authority can take on an almost religious allure. 

They give an example of a conversation that is…

“… quite representative of dozens I have had in real life during the last 22 months, maintained often with “well-educated” people who, in no small percentage, can rightfully place MAs and PhDs after their names on resumes”.

Person A: I am really scared about Covid. 
Person B: Do you know what the chances of dying for someone your age who happens to catch Covid? 
Person A: No.
Person B: Well, according to the latest CDC statistics your chances of survival if you get it are 99.987%. 
Person A: But I know of the cousin of a friend who was my age and healthy and who died. I also read a news report about a healthy young person dying in New York the other day. 
Person B: Yes, the reports you speak of may be true. But they point to very particular instances that might not be representative of general trends, and thus are not really helpful in helping you determine your actual risk. The only useful way to do that is by looking at broadly-constituted statistics. 
Person A: I knew it. I just knew it. You really are one of those conspiracy-loving Covid deniers who is happy to just let lots of people die. 

That’s also quite representative of conversations I’ve had over the last two years, including with commentators on this blog.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 15, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Die MSM, Die – Dying, they still beckon

with 7 comments

Joyous news about the news from the news…

One possible reason for the overall problem…

But even the mass orgy of the January 6 “anniversary” couldn’t save Pravda CNN and Izvestia MSNBC.

Here’s the more likely reason.

I am so looking forward to the end of the NZ government support for our local MSM. Perhaps we could even get the $110 million back?

Written by Tom Hunter

January 10, 2022 at 9:27 am

Posted in MSM, USA

Tagged with ,

The Pandemic ends when the polling says so

with 7 comments

Reading this Atlantic article I feel much as Boris Yeltsin did when he saw supermarkets in the USA for the first time.

In two previous posts, Faces are nice and numbers are boring and the earlier Fear Pornography, I looked at how governments around the world, and our government in particular, would only start slacking off on their Chinese Lung Rot restrictions when polls began to turn against them.

despite, you know, the “science” and scientists still demanding them – the government would start declaring victory and moving on.

That’s because sooner or later, the very numbers that had helped them, would start hurting them. That started happening when Ardern stopped fronting the podium each day with case numbers, followed by not having any government figure fronting them, the usual MOH press release being sufficient.

However, there is a certain chunk of the population who are addicted to this stuff, and when they get told that it is time to move on, they’re not happy, as the responses to this article in the Lefty mouthpiece The Atlantic, showed, Where I Live, No One Cares About COVID:

Outside the world inhabited by the professional classes in a handful of major metropolitan areas, many Americans are leading their lives as if COVID is over.

Ouch! That’s brutal for the Believers. But the writer really rubs it in:

Indeed, in my case, when I say for a long while, I mean for nearly two years, from almost the very beginning. In 2020, I took part in two weddings, traveled extensively, took family vacations with my children, spent hundreds of hours in bars and restaurants, all without wearing a mask. This year my wife and I welcomed our fourth child. Over the course of her pregnancy, from the first phone call to the midwife a few months after getting a positive pregnancy test until after delivery, the subject of the virus was never raised by any health-care professional, including her doula, a dear friend from New York.

Reading this Atlantic article I feel much as Boris Yeltsin did when he saw supermarkets in the USA for the first time.

He makes two points: One about the bizarre spectacle of outdoor masking, something you only see in Blue cities, which he finds especially strange as people put on their masks to go outside after not wearing them indoors at a restaurant.

Another good point is about the absurdity of “public health authorities,” who make pronouncements that no one takes seriously like “having one unit of alcohol per day” is dangerous to your health. He points out that almost all adults are capable of dismissing this crap as pure CYA bureaucrat busywork bullshit.

Except in the singular case of Chinese Xi Snot – where Blue State progressives take every similar hypercautious, ultra-alarmist claim about the perils of jogging maskless perfectly seriously and perfectly gravely.

One John Ekdahl tracked the Faithful reacting violently to the Science Priests issuing these new heresies. Here’s just some samples:

I mean, thanks for keeping us informed that people are still huge pieces of shit who will keep this pandemic going for far longer than it ever had to. What an utter “common man” fuckwit.

Please get this fake bible thumper moron off my timeline. He lives in a little uncaring bubble, good for him. Next.

What is this garbage? I expect articles like this in Redneck MAGA fan weekly, not The Atlantic. Seriously rethinking my subscription. Ew.

And this is precisely the type of BS garbage article why I don’t bother subscribing to this magazine. Its like those so-called antivaxxer conspiracy FB friends/acquaintances I’ve blocked & got rid of. Good F*@kg riddance.

Anyone who brags about blocking “friends” on FaceBook as one of his major accomplishments is totally Winning At Life.

Do better Atlantic. Publishing this Rightwing AstroTurf cult-driven propaganda only harms the vast majority of REAL Americans trying to save lives and mitigate mass death, at 800K dead and counting. Please take this down.

People just keep dying when you publish irresponsible, badly thought-out, badly written pieces like this from people who already have their own outlet. You should be ashamed of this kind of article. It’s beneath you. It’s dangerous.

Why the f*ck did you publish this drivel? Seriously, why?

Shame on @theatlantic for publishing this anti-science screed.

How the fuck can you publish incredibly insightful and clear-eyed pieces on COVID from the likes of James Hamblin and Ed Yong … and then run THIS wildly insulting and irresponsible take?

Note the ever-reliable justification for censorship and the stifling of debate: “It’s dangerous.” It “causes harm.” It makes people “feel unsafe.” In which case this NYT article must have been the killer blow.

Six months ago it would have been unthinkable that either MSM source would have published stuff like this. But in the wake of the New Jersey and Virginia elections, and with polls showing the Republicans with generic leads of 9-10% (in the 1994 and 2010 Red Waves they were polling about even with the Democrats), the terror is growing in Progressive circles of the coming electoral carnage of 2022, especially if the Democrats go to the polls with more Lockdowns Forever, Masks For Toddlers and Vaccine Mandate messaging.

Some Democrat politicians seem to be realising this. The New Jersey governor talked candidly about the reasons for his shockingly thin victory in a Deep Blue state, saying that it reflected that people had had enough of the restrictions. Colorado’s Democrat governor Jared Polis says he won’t mandate masks, because “the emergency is over.” Even the Michigan nasty, Gretchen Whitmer is now… criticising Biden’s vaccine mandates.

But judging by those reactions to the Atlantic piece it’s going to be tough to de-program their own cultists, and that’s true across the Western world, especially when you’ve got headlines like this, NSW records highest daily Covid-19 cases ever and one death:

NSW has recorded its highest Covid-19 daily cases ever with 2213 infections and one death in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.

There are 215 people in hospital, including 24 in intensive care.

As of last night, 94.8 percent of people aged 16 and over have had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 93.3 percent of the same age group have had two doses.

NSW Health believes transmission is being driven by the Omicron variant.

Oh noes! To normal people this will produce a shrug of the shoulders about the already known high infection rate and low sickness/death rate of Omicron, plus the vaccine saving most of the vulnerable (the old and sick) from sickness and death.

But that’s not how the vaccines were sold. To the low-information crowd they were sold like Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket to Freedom. Except, as this Lancet paper reveals:

High COVID-19 vaccination rates were expected to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in populations by reducing the number of possible sources for transmission and thereby to reduce the burden of COVID-19 disease. Recent data, however, indicate that the epidemiological relevance of COVID-19 vaccinated individuals is increasing.

In Germany, the rate of symptomatic COVID-19 cases among the fully vaccinated (“breakthrough infections”) is reported weekly since 21. July 2021 and was 16.9% at that time among patients of 60 years and older [[2]]. This proportion is increasing week by week and was 58.9% on 27. October 2021 (Figure 1) providing clear evidence of the increasing relevance of the fully vaccinated as a possible source of transmission. 

Bugger! Back to those Atlantic and NYT articles: we’re going to have to learn to live with Covid – and that doesn’t mean living with lockdowns, masks, or the hamster wheel of endless booster shots.

I’ve no doubt the porn merchants will continue to push the forecasts of models:

This weekend, under their most gloomy appraisal, LSHTM forecasters suggested the country could be hit by 492,000 hospitalisations and around 75,000 deaths by the end of April. This was based on the Omicron virus having ‘high immune escape’ – ie evading existing immunity to earlier Covid-19 variants – and a lower effectiveness of boosters. Under their most favourable estimate, there will 175,000 hospitalisations and 24,700 deaths.Doomsters’ prediction of 75,000 Omicron deaths by May,

– Daily Mail, 12 December 2021

Frankly they should have been ignored since the original models hysteria in early 2020 proved so wrong, with their tales of 2 million dead (USA), 500,000 (UK) and NZ (80,000). But some people just can’t let go, as the predictions for the Northern summer of 2021 show:

When making similar estimates in April as to how the country might suffer when lockdown restrictions were lifted in the summer, the school was the most negative forecaster in the UK, only to be proven wrong. They warned against lifting restrictions and predicted there would be ‘a resurgence in admissions and deaths comparable to the magnitude of the second wave in January’, when there were more than 1,000 deaths a day. As Freedom Day in July neared, the LSHTM significantly scaled back their forecast as more accurate data became available. Then, under their more ‘realistic scenario’, they predicted 1,000 hospital admissions and fewer than 200 deaths per day. On July 19 when lockdown was finally lifted, deaths numbered just 71 in England.

So, they predicted 110,000 deaths, then revised the prediction by reducing it 80 percent, and they were STILL off by 99.68 percent. Their original calculation predicted 1,549.3 deaths for every one that actually occurred.

This nonsense, pushed by the MSM, will continue with Omicron and whatever variant follows. But a combination of public weariness and politicians increasingly fearful that their helpful monster is about to turn on them at the ballot box, hopefull will see them ignored.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 18, 2021 at 9:50 am

Layers and layers of fact checkers

with 3 comments

Every day I find myself greatly bemused and also appalled at people who continue to refer to the MSM for news, opinion, “facts” and so forth.

My bemusement continues when people who really should know better express surprise about how they’ve been lied to – but then refuse to extend that new knowledge into other areas.

One such person is Uber Lefty Andrew Sullivan, an Englishmen who immigrated to America decades ago and is best known for his unflagging promotion of gay marriage in the USA, with a now much-regretted sidebar into supporting the invasion of Iraq. That last caused him to support GW Bush for a while, but he managed to clean his blotted copybook by going all in on Obama in 2008 and 2012, and then becoming one of the slightly less unhinged members of the NeverTrump brigade. Less well known was his definitely unhinged hatred of the Mini-Me Trump, Sarah Palin, a decade earlier; he was convinced that her last baby was actually the child of one of her daughters and he pursued that conspiracy theory relentlessly.

Never has any gay man been so obsessed with a woman’s vagina!

So, like all of us, he has flaws. But he’s been involved with the MSM for decades now and so knows of what he speaks when he says, When All The Media Narratives Collapse:

The news is a perilous business. It’s perilous because the first draft of history is almost always somewhat wrong, and needs a second draft, and a third, and so on, over time, until the historian can investigate with more perspective and calm. The job of journalists is to do as best they can, day by day, and respond swiftly when they screw up, correct the record, and move forward. I’ve learned this the hard way, not least in the combination of credulousness and trauma I harbored in the wake of 9/11.

But when the sources of news keep getting things wrong, and all the errors lie in the exact same direction, and they are reluctant to acknowledge error, we have a problem. If you look back at the last few years, the record of errors, small and large, about major stories, is hard to deny. It’s as if the more Donald Trump accused the MSM of being “fake news” the more assiduously they tried to prove him right.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the “narratives” that have proven wrong – and they all go in one direction, so we’re not talking about mistakes:

  • The Rittenhouse case
  • The Antifa/BLM riots
  • The Steele dossier
  • The Covington boys
  • The Covid lab-leak theory
  • The Jussie Smollett case
  • The fake rape allegations at University of Virginia
  • The Pulse mass shooting motivation
  • The Atlanta spa shooting motivation
  • Responsibility for the increased attacks on Asian-Americans
  • The Wi Spa exposure
  • The source of the Hunter Biden e-mails
  • Officer Sicknick’s death
  • Reporting on border crossings
  • The denial of critical race theory being taught, when it permeates everywhere
  • Vaccines and Covid-19

Just a quick note on that link about the BLM/Antifa riots: it’s a specific one about the Kenosha riots that led to the Rittenhouse case and it details a story that has just emerged from a former NYT reporter who was sent to the town, but whose story was pulled:

A note on Kenosha in light of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial: until quite recently, the mainstream liberal argument was that burning down businesses for racial justice was both good and healthy. Burnings allowed for the expression of righteous rage, and the businesses all had insurance to rebuild.

When I was at the New York Times, I went to Kenosha to see about this, and it turned out to be not true. The part of Kenosha that people burned in the riots was the poor, multi-racial commercial district, full of small, underinsured cell phone shops and car lots. It was very sad to see and to hear from people who had suffered. Beyond the financial loss, small storefronts are quite meaningful to their owners and communities, which continuously baffles the Zoom-class.

Of course they pulled the story – until after the election. The reporter does not say why, she treats the refusal to run the piece as a bit of a mystery, but to anyone who is not a Democrat the reason is pretty obvious: it would have hurt Biden and the Democrats to see the sort of people they were implicitly defending by attacking Rittenhouse as a White Supremacist and vigilante.

But here’s the thing: knowing what he now knows about the lies and deceit of the MSM, Sullivan is still not willing to explore the “Narrative” behind the reporting of the 2020 US election and the January 6 “Insurrection”.

Those are his narratives, and that’s not a Rubicon he’s willing to cross.

Yet.

Oh, and this…

Written by Tom Hunter

November 24, 2021 at 9:23 am

Posted in China, MSM, USA

Tagged with , ,