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The Ministry of Truth Media: Watchdogs Became Lapdogs

The Twitter Files and the Ministry of Truth Media (full series)
The Twitter Files | Watchdogs Became Lapdogs | The Enemies List
Apologies Without End | Winston Enjoyed the Work

Watchdogs Became Lapdogs

Fifty years earlier, the hard news divisions of American Media firms were relentlessly exposing the government lies from the Vietnam War, publishing the Pentagon Papers, blowing open Watergate, and revealing decades of misconduct by the FBI and CIA.

Abe “A.M.” Rosenthal, a top editor at the New York Times during that era, is widely remembered for a colorful metaphor: “If you cover the circus, then don’t fool around with the elephants.”

The lesson was that the fourth estate shouldn’t be lovers, nor should they be friends, with the subjects they cover. They prided themselves on being the watchdogs over the national security state and the FBI.

The watchdogs have become stenographers.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together,” wrote Vadym Pozharskyi, a Ukranian energy firm executive (and obviously not a native speaker of English), to Joe Biden’s son Hunter on April 17, 2015. “It’s realty an honor and pleasure.”

In October 2019, Joe Biden claimed he had “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” and in the next breath said “I know Trump deserves to be investigated . . . “

One year after that, on October 14, 2020, a pre-election scoop from the New York Post revealed the Pozharskyi email. The note was genuine, as even the New York Times was willing to admit . . . 17 months after the election.

With the war in Ukraine pitting us opposite nuclear-armed Russians and accusations flying over who blew up a Russian natural gas pipeline, it’s important today to know whether our current president was lying about his son’s odd business ties to an Eastern European energy firm. It was no less important in mid-October 2020, as the clock ticked down to the election.

Instead, mere hours after the New York Post’s laptop report appeared, a trio of Washington Post reporters teamed up with “intelligence experts” to make it go away.

“Several intelligence experts also were skeptical of the report—and the stated origins of the hard drive purported to belong to Biden’s son—saying that it had the characteristics of a carefully planned information operation designed to affect an American election,” wrote the incurious WaPo reporters.

The quoted sources hinted that “Russian” might be the correct word to ram in front of “intelligence operation.”

The New York Times regurgitated similar misinformation from similar (perhaps even the same?) sources. “The intelligence agencies warned the White House late last year that Russian intelligence officers were using President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani as a conduit for disinformation aimed at undermining Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential run, according to four current and former American officials,” wrote three New York Times reporters covering the laptop story.

Politico stood out for refusing to let their coverage get corrupted by a mere handful of sources spewing nonsense. Instead, it went for the malarky motherlode, credulously quoting a letter from “more than 50 former senior intelligence officials.” The spooks wrote authoritatively that the laptop leak had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

The Twitter Files showed that Twitter responded by suppressing sharing of the New York Post story and—in the last weeks of a presidential election—locked the newspaper out of its account for two weeks.

It turned out the Washington Post was correct when it wrote of the “information operation designed to affect an American election.” What the WaPo didn’t reveal was its own direct participation as lapdogs rather than watchdogs.

Turning Point

The late journalist Christopher Hitchens distrusted his own profession, and once said he “became a journalist partly so that I wouldn’t ever have to rely on the press for my information.” He made a related point in a 2001 book, using the iconic New York Times motto as his target. He grumbled:

“All the News That’s Fit to Print,” it says. It’s been saying it for decades, day in and day out. I imagine most readers of the canonical sheet have long ceased to notice this bannered and flaunted symbol of its mental furniture. I myself check every day to make sure that the bright, smug, pompous, idiotic claim is still there. Then I check to make sure that it still irritates me. If I can still exclaim, under my breath, why do they insult me and what do they take me for and what the hell is it supposed to mean unless it’s as obviously complacent and conceited and censorious as it seems to be, then at least I know I still have a pulse.

“All the News That’s Fit to Print” was first used in February 1897. But a more recent masthead addition presaged the birth of the Ministry of Truth Media.

In February 2017, the Washington Post began using “Democracy Dies in Darkness” as its motto. According to the Washington Post report on the Washington Post motto, a group of newspaper employees had “brainstormed more than 500 would-be slogans” over the course of the prior year.

The report stated that “Dauntless Defenders of Truth” was among the rejected options. (Someone must have been wearing Superman pajamas the day that one was thought up.)

“Democracy dies in darkness” got in the mix because it was remembered by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of the newspaper, and somehow it eked its way through the heavily crowded field of options to become the winner. (Sometimes, you just make your own luck!)

The media mischief exposed in the Twitter Files and the Columbia Journalism Review analysis also began in early 2017. Twitter began its march into content moderation in 2017 in reaction to reports that agents of the Russian government had injected propaganda onto the platform during the 2016 election. In early January 2017 the mass media bit hard on the conspiracy theory—ultimately shown to be a hoax manufactured with Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign money—that the new president might be a Russian asset. He was supposedly Putin’s “puppet,” as Hillary Clinton never tired of saying.

A lot of important news became unfit to print, starting in 2017, and unfit rumors flooded in to fill the space underneath the masthead reading “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

The single party authoritarian state in Orwell’s novel doesn’t exist in our reality. As release of the Twitter Files demonstrated, we are fortunate to have an independent media sector that is growing in influence. And some of the conventional corporate media still operate outside the Ministry of Truth Media collective brain—the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and the aforementioned New York Post are two examples.

Born without dictatorial protection, our Ministry of Truth Media has been freed of the troublesome burden of coercion. This makes it more robust, albeit not as all-powerful, as Orwell’s fictional example. Its eager-to-please journalists don’t need explicit instructions to collectively parrot the same authority figures.

Winston hated the regime but loved his job. He knew without doubt he was comforting power rather than confronting it, spinning fiction into fact, and suppressing news rather than reporting it. His inability to ignore these contradictions—what the regime labeled “thoughtcrime”—created mental trauma for him and drama for the story.

The iconic slogan of the Party was meant to deter would-be dissidents by reminding them that even the most obvious facts were just as obviously false if the Party said so:

“War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.”

That motto was engraved on the outside wall of the headquarters of the Ministry of Truth.

Today’s corporate media also cheerfully either suppress or cook up the news in favor of certain authority figures. But they usually do so without Winston’s consciousness of the deeds and in offices with no dissidents left to deter.

They don’t need obvious warnings against thoughtcrimes they don’t know how to commit, so their mottos are rich with unintended irony.

“All the news that’s fit to print.” “Democracy dies in darkness.”

In the next installment, Twitter fell for the Hamilton 68 hoax, which falsely claimed to be tracking 600 Twitter accounts controlled by Russia or its stooges.

This post first appeared on Blog – Capital Research Center, please read the originial post: here

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The Ministry of Truth Media: Watchdogs Became Lapdogs


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