by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Adebayo
Frustrated and outraged at how reality has turned out, the ruling class denizens of Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential tent are lashing out at truth-tellers. “Fake news” is whatever contradicts their lies, and Russia is their all-purpose boogeyman. “Google and Facebook have joined theri corporate media compatriots in an attempt to limit the public’s access to alternative news analysis and independent investigative reporting.”
The Second Phase of the propaganda Fake News War: Economic Strangulation. What Comes Next?
by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Adebayo
“The public has determined that the corporate media is actually the purveyor of “fake news” and turned to media organizations, such as BAR, Truthout and other outlets for information.”
Within the last 14 days, two phases of the “fake news” strategy has been rolled out for public consumption. Phase I of the fake news strategy was to demonize news organizations, such as Black Agenda Report (BAR) through McCarthy-era red-baiting and intimidation that included government officials pondering whether the FBI should investigate alternative media on “the list” or hinting that such organizations could be subject to legal prosecution under foreign espionage laws. The corporate media’s thinly veiled intimidation tactics are intended to depress readership of “fake” news organizations and to link these media outlets with an alleged Russian strategy to elect Donald Trump president of the US.
Corporate media gatekeepers determine which stories are labeled fake news dependent upon which stories serve US foreign and domestic interests and which stories expose US corruption. The corporate media obsession with “fake news” would be laughable if not for the individuals committed to truth-telling who will be sacrificed in the process. Where was the corporate news obsession with fake news when Secretary of State (General) Colin Powell beat the war drums for America’s war adventures in Iraq based on fictitious intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?
“Corporate media gatekeepers determine which stories are labeled fake news dependent upon which stories serve US foreign and domestic interests and which stories expose US corruption.”
However, anyone familiar with duopoly propaganda strategy against progressive news organizations would expect an escalation in their intimidation tactics. A covert strategy that would move from a campaign of mere words to direct and consequential actions with corporate coalition members poised to play their part. Phase 2 of this strategy would exact a higher cost to the intended progressive media targets and by extension to their supporters.
This week, it was revealed that the escalation to Phase 2 will be economic sanctions or economic strangulation. This will be the pressure point in an attempt to force progressive news organizations to heel. Two of the largest internet companies have joined their counterparts in government to squeeze legitimate investigative reporting into compliance.
Google was the first media giant to announce that it would ban websites that “peddle fake news” from using its online advertising service. In other words, media organizations, such as BAR, Truthout, Truthdig, etc could no longer advertise on Google in order to reach a larger audience or raise funds.
Hours later, Facebook, the social network, updated its policy and announced that “it will not display ads in sites that contains content considered by the duopoly as “fake news” according to corporate news gatekeepers.
The Facebook statement asserted:
“We have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news…Our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance.”
“Two of the largest internet companies have joined their counterparts in government to squeeze legitimate investigative reporting into compliance.”
What was “explicitly” clear was that Google and Facebook have joined their corporate media compatriots in an attempt to limit the public’s access to alternative news analysis and independent investigative reporting.
The bait and switch corporate media/government strategy recognizes that the public no longer trusts corporate media, such as the Washington Post and New York Times, to investigate government corruption. There is a growing public recognition that a conflict of interest exists between corporate media investigating government since these two groups are inextricably linked by class and economic interests. The public has determined that the corporate media is actually the purveyor of “fake news” and turned to media organizations, such as BAR, Truthout and other outlets for information.
This is not the first time corporate power has joined with the political duopoly to undermine the media’s ability to engage in truth-telling. Julian Assange accused right-wing US politicians of imposing a “death penalty’ on WikiLeaks after major US credit cards blocked its card holders from making contributions to the organization. Assange asserted that six US payment firms blocked WikiLeaks from receiving contributions at a cost of £30 million.
Visa and Mastercard started the financial stranglehold after WikiLleaks published some 250,000 secret State Department cables in December 2010. WikiLeaks presented documents that proved these financial decisions were made at the instigation of “right-wing” members of Congress. This attack against WikiLeaks forced the staff to take a 40% pay cut. However, the financial “war” was just the beginning. The unforeseen Phase III of this attack would eventually find Assange and Chelsea Manning incarcerated; Assange taking refuge in an Ecuadorian Embassy in London and Manning sentenced to serve time at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas.
“There is a growing public recognition that a conflict of interest exists between corporate media investigating government since these two groups are inextricably linked by class and economic interests.”
This is the time to support BAR, Truthout and other progressive media organizations under attack by forces that attempt to obfuscate and distort US domestic and foreign policy. Frederick Douglass during his 1857 address on “West India Emancipation” at Canandaigua, New York, on the 23rd anniversary of the event said:
“The general sentiment of mankind is that a man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others, and this sentiment is just. For a man who does not value freedom for himself will never value it for others, or put himself to any inconvenience to gain it for others.”
Phases I and II forebode a challenging Phase III for truth-tellers in the current iteration of a corporate “fake news” strategy. This is our time to fight for press freedom and the right to blow the whistle on government corruption. The future of our families and our planet depend on our uncompromising passion for justice.
Dr. Marsha Adebayo is the author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated: No FEAR: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. She worked at the EPA for 18 years and blew the whistle on a US multinational corporation that endangered South African vanadium mine workers. Marsha's successful lawsuit led to the introduction and passage of the first civil rights and whistleblower law of the 21st century: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act). She is Director of Transparency and Accountability for the Green Shadow Cabinet and serves on the Advisory Board of ExposeFacts.com.