Breaking Free From The Captured Media

In its panicky rush to demonize the independent media via baseless accusations of "fake news," the mainstream press has sunk to spewing "fake news" of its own.

Here's The Washington Post's criminally false "fake news" article in case you missed it: Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.

So-called "fake news" was perfectly acceptable to the mainstream media when it was the exclusive purview of the central state. The infamous Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August 1964 that was used to justify a massive escalation of the heretofore limited war in Vietnam was heavily promoted by the mainstream media of the day.

Within hours of the incident, Navy commanders had notified the Pentagon that the entire incident was very likely illusory, a "fog of war" error.

Decades later, the mainstream media swallowed the Executive Branch's "weapons of mass destruction" justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq as well. Even more egregiously, the mainstream media parroted the central bank/state's narrative about the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008, missing the systemic fraud and embezzlement at the heart of America's financial system.

Why is the mainstream media freaking out right now? The MSM had bet all its diminishing chips of credibility on Hillary Clinton winning the Presidency. Leading newspapers such as The New York Times ceaselessly undermined Bernie Sander's campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton, a bias visible throughout the mainstream media. (When Bernie won a primary by a substantial margin, the smallish NYT headline would read something like "Sanders edges Clinton." When Clinton won a primary by a slim margin, the NYT would declare in large typeface "Clinton regains momentum." Do you see the not-so-subtle bias?)

The same was true regarding Donald Trump. Of the 100 largest newspapers in the nation, not one came out in favor of him -- a one-sided media bias that is unprecedented in recent U.S. history.

The MSM has awakened to the reality that the monopoly they once held on a captive audience has eroded to the point of ineffectiveness.

  • In 1964, the media could easily convince the American people that the Vietnam misadventure was "necessary."
  • The media could still sell the American people that the Iraq misadventure was also "necessary" in 2002.
  • In 2016, the media went "all-out" to sell the inevitability and rightness of a Hillary Clinton presidency. What should have been a slam dunk ended up in defeat.

The fundamental dynamic here is the transition from a captive audience in thrall to a handful of media corporations to a radically democratized media. In 1964, Americans had essential zero alternatives to the three TV networks and the mainstream magazines and newspapers.

A few hardy souls subscribed to newsletters from muckrakers such as I.F. Stone, but independent journals and journalists were marginalized.

Any journal that published investigative journalism that called the dominant narratives into question (for example, Ramparts magazine in the late 1960s and early 1970s) attracted the ire of the C.I.A. and the central state's other organs of security/repression.

If you don't know anything about this, I recommend reading Site Behind Washington Post’s McCarthyite Blacklist Appears To Be Linked to Ukrainian Fascists and CIA Spies (

Increasingly, the media is becoming more of a Wild West than the homogenized, centralized media with a captive audience. With the advent of digital publishing, a lot more voices can be heard. But it takes effort to find them, and separate the wheat from the chaff. As I explain in my short video (1:21 minutes) recorded for Max Keiser, Comments on being on the "Russian propaganda" List, democracy implicitly imposes a responsibility on the citizenry to sort out who benefits from whatever narrative is being pushed.

Simply put, democracy requires citizens to be skeptical and street-smart. Chumps who can't figure out when they're being played will lose their democracy.

The mainstream media is attempting to demonize the independent media by lumping us in with "fake news" click-bait farms and "conspiracy" theorists. Notice what this says about the MSM's view of its viewers/listeners/readers:

"You are mindless sheep who are easily led astray, you are incapable of sorting wheat from chaff and so you should only listen to your betters--us."

The MSM's frenzied obsession with "fake news" (but not its own "fake news") is the gravest possible insult to the American people. The MSM is implicitly declaring that the American people are incapable of grasping the difference between click-bait headlines such as "What dangerous secret did Obama tell Trump?" or "You won't believe how these child actors have aged" and actual journalism.

Some people believe the moon landings were faked, and the rest of us have been duped. An entire cottage industry has emerged to provide evidence of the faked landings. Look, this is a democracy. People are free to believe whatever they want, or whatever seems persuasive to them. Lumping everyone outside the six corporate media behemoths into the same pot as click-bait farms won't work.

Just to refresh your memory: LIBOR rate rigging was dismissed as a wacky conspiracy, until it was shown to be true. Rigging of the silver market was a "conspiracy theory" dismissed as the equivalent of flat-earthers -- until it was shown to be true.

No wonder Americans' Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low (Gallup)

The mainstream media is apoplectic that their captive audience of inmates is now exposed to a cacophony of alternative narratives and opinions. In the good old days, the MSM's blanket promotion of Hillary Clinton's candidacy would have yielded a landslide victory for their chosen candidate.

For the first time in American history, the entire weight of the corporate mainstream media failed to persuade the citizenry.

With advertising revenues sliding along with the citizens' trust, the MSM is flailing about in a self-destructive fit of hubris: This makes no sense! There must be an external reason for our failure, because it can't be anything we did!

Wake up, Big Corporate Media. The enemy that's destroying your power and income is your own hubris. You can't put the Internet genie back in the bottle. Your reporting and narratives are now in open competition with a thousand other narratives, many of which (such as those of this site) are based on readily available data published by government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the I.R.S., US Census Bureau and the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

For example my analysis Endangered Species: The Self-Employed Middle Class relies on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and I.R.S. data. Similarly, my analysis on Why We Keep Getting Poorer: High-Cost Housing is based on data drawn from the US Census Bureau.

In a democracy, trust must be earned. It cannot be imposed. The days of captive audiences are over. The monopoly on "news" and propaganda has been broken for good.

In Part 2: The Future Of Truth, we explore what this new media landscape means for seekers of truth going forward. How can you improve your ability to identify trustworthy information in the current landscape of controlled mass media & wildly fragmented alternative voices?

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

It's been about 10 years since I unplugged from the MSM. It was right around the time of the 2008 Financial Collapse when they were trying to sell the so-called "Great Recession" to the global public. When in reality the world entered a Global Depression, which is probably why the World's Central Banks are doing their best to kill deflation before it gets out of control.
Isn't it funny how General Motors and Chrysler made it thru the 1929 Great Depression but needed to be bailed out by the "Great Recession". :wink:

Now all my news I get from the alternative media which includes this site, James Corbett,,, Zero Hedge and others.

Another site I follow pointed out that St Loius FRED chart for the adjusted monetary base shows the dollar in a slow deflationary process over the last few years. So all this talk about tightening the dollar is smoke and mirrors unless the FED is so anti Trump that they want to cause a recession/depression on his watch. Sneaky, sneaky.

It is true that mainstream media support of weak candidates has often succeeded in getting them elected. It is also true that the major metropolitan newspapers and older TV networks were heavily one-sided in their support of Ms. Clinton. But that is not the same as saying that Mr. Trump lacked significant media support.
During the campaign period I noticed that in many places where a TV runs continuously while customers wait, such as doctors offices, auto service shops, restaurants, etc, the choices were pretty evenly split between CNN and Fox News. While CNN was heavily biased in favor of Clinton, Fox pundits were generally supportive of Trump. Love 'em or hate 'em, maybe what really happened here is that Fox has become a much more important source and a counter to the MSM.

Quite a while back, I started to sample non US news sources to get news not readily available in the US, as well as reports with a different bias.  The idea is if, I read news on a particular topic from US, Europe and Eastern news sources, hopefully the individual biases will cancel themselves out.
The situation in the US brings this qoute to mind:


The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."


I think we failed to keep it.

The ultra wealthy won the Election and insured that Bernie did not !

The largest “fake news” story was run by the msm in 2003. The story of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to persuade people to support enforced regime change in Iraq was shown to have been totally fabricated, with devastating results that are still being felt to this day. The msm has never recovered in my view. When they tried it again with their Assad chemical attack fake news, enough British people were skeptical for the British parliament to vote down direct military intervention in Syria. Without Britain’s support, the US also backed down. People in the West have wised up to the fact that the msm is just the propaganda arm of the government when it comes to geopolitics and is no different to the state run media in Russia, China etc.
When the elites realise that they have lost control of the narrative they will either get rid of the independent media, not possible in this internet age, or try to get rid of any pretense of democracy. It’s up to all of us, not to let either happen.

"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable!"  -  James A. Garfield

Charles, any idea why our faith in the MSM took a hiding in 2004, and then recovered quickly? (your chart). I remember 2004 being relatively quiet, with most of us sharing cocktails among one another on the back verandah & singing Kumbayah (proverbially speaking).

I'm wondering if the blip in media credibility was due to Abu Ghraib, with a severe setback to our trust in the "authorities". If so then the media may have suffered by association.

                  - Excerpt from "The boy who cried wolf"

Look, I am a real fan of Amazon's services, but Jeff Bezos is beginning to worry me.  
First his WaPo runs with the dangerously inflammatory and inaccurate "Russian Dupes" fake news theme and then only grudgingly prints a half-assed retraction of sorts which was really more of a clarification ("hey, probably we'd run the article slightly differently if we could do it over again, but we'd still do it").

Now Bezo's company is pimping one of its original series with a large Times Square billboard.  The series is a "what if" plot asking how America would have been if we'd lost the war against Hitler's Germany.

Take one quick peek at that billboard and you cannot help but guffaw at the rank anti-Trump propaganda on display.

Look, I know that Bezos is still unhappy about the election and all, as are many others, but I do think this level of moral demonization is dangerously over the top.

Disagree all you want, but make your points openly and with careful dialog.  

This underhanded psychological manipulation is really unflattering and seems unhinged even. After all, what would be the desired effect of subtly undermining Trump by associating him with Hitler…or Russia?  

To get people to turn against him and withhold support?  Okay, then what?  What does that buy you?

Because whatever you gain by that route seems to be substantially less important or useful than the danger that comes along for the ride, which is a morally divided populace…aka the seeds of actual rebellion and civil war.

He's playing with fire is what I'm saying, and I wonder if that's actually appreciated?  

An interesting bit of information that has largely flown under the radar for the past 2 years…

How the CIA Partnered With Amazon and Changed Intelligence

The intelligence community is about to get the equivalent of an adrenaline shot to the chest. This summer, a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the Central Intelligence Agency over the past year will begin servicing all 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. If the technology plays out as officials envision, it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. For the first time, agencies within the IC will be able to order a variety of on-demand computing and analytic services from the CIA and National Security Agency. What’s more, they’ll only pay for what they use.
Intelligence community loves its new Amazon cloud

U.S. intelligence agencies moving from legacy systems to new cloud computing infrastructure built by Amazon AMZN -0.02% Web Services are pretty happy about it thus far, according to a report in NextGov. Speaking at an AWS-sponsored conference Friday, Alex Voultepsis, chief of the National Security Agency’s Engineering and Planning Office said the new cloud is helping agencies “stuck in heritage systems” start moving to the new C2S cloud, according to the report. C2S is shorthand for the commercial cloud services contract that resulted in the new cloud which started going live last August


For the record, I don't actually condemn the notion of Amazon Web Services for offering this service, because from what little I know the intelligence community as a whole badly needed to revamp their approach and use of IT services (as to whether Amazon is the most competent vendor and whether this particular cloud services approach is best, I can't really say).  But I do have concerns with such a very large company growing to be a critical player in that field, when it just also happens to be heavily invested in mass media, AND is rather heavily involved in politics.  Has the stench of an empire being formed.

For me the MSM died when Obama became POTUS, policies stayed the same and some more, but MSM criticism stopped!  Then I knew it was ALL B.S.

and anti Trump vandalism.

Which all makes you wonder; in a city with so many anti-Trump protests, and with violence so commonplace, wouldn’t most of the vandalism and graffiti come from anti-Trump protesters, and not pro-Trump supporters who are likely scared to even be on the streets at all?

Apparently not, because the night after Trump’s election, when protesters were out in force, it was alleged that a pro-Trump supporter sprayed racist and pro-Trump graffiti all over the city.  The NY Daily News, a paper known to cover hoax pro-Trump attacks as reality, commented on the incident, stating the following:

Donald Trump’s unexpected rise to the presidency coincided with the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht — and Nazis in Philadelphia appeared to revel in the fact as police there discovered the President-elect’s name spray-painted alongside swastikas on a storefront window Wednesday morning.

And, as Metro Philadelphia covered, reporter Alexis Sachdev and Philadelphia residents were convinced the graffiti came from a Trump supporter, despite their notation of the obvious fact that Trump supporters spray painting the streets of Philadelphia would likely face assault and injury for doing so.

“To feel comfortable doing this means that you think that you have some sort of entitlement or sayso to this neighborhood,” Palladino, a South Philly resident said.

“This s— happens in South Philly, whoever the f— this is, they’re gonna get their teeth knocked out,” she added.

Palladino blamed the hateful graffiti on Trump, the “monster that’s now our president.”

Another young woman, Amy Schiowitz, struggled to hold back tears.

“This is a f–ing hate crime,” she said, adding that she expects City Hall to respond. “This is not the type of city we want to live in.”

So, who was the “pro-Trump” supporter look like, that sprayed Nazi, pro-Trump, and anti-black graffiti all over Philadelphia?  He was finally arrested almost two weeks after the attack, though it took the police another two weeks to release his photo.  Notably, the SUV he defaced belonged to his ex-girlfriend.

Not exactly how you would picture a Nazi supporter who hates black people, is it?  Also, how is this a hate crime, when the hoax itself could have easily been all a ruse to get away with vandalism in a domestic dispute?  Chalk the whole incident up to yet another hoax crime against Trump supporters, falsely reported, instigated and perpetrated by the mainstream media.

At least they (finally) caught the person responsible, and he will face charges for his crimes, unlike the mainstream media, who will still continue to push false stories of Trump attacks.  But what about all those who sprayed anti-Trump graffiti all over Philadelphia, that also cost time and money to remove?

There's more.
Same kind of story.

So as a user of AWS (Amazon Web Services), I have to say, it really is the coolest thing ever.
If I want to spin up a server pretty much anywhere in the world, I can - it takes me about ten minutes (mainly because I'm not very good at it - if I had a template already set up, it would probably be two or three minutes) and presto I have as small or as large a server as I want.

If they aren't using something like AWS, they are idiots.  It is just too well done.

You too can play with AWS if you like.  Anyone can just sign up, and they can have a "t2 micro" server, sited anywhere in the world, free for a year.  Although its a "micro" server, it is actually a reasonably beefy box.  You just get allocated about 10% of the total CPU-minutes of that server per day and when you run low, your jobs just slow way down.

Sorry for the digression, and to sound like a commercial, but AWS really is pretty nifty.