Sharyl Attkisson is an award-winning investigative journalist with uncompromising integrity. Her newest guide, “Slanted: How the Information Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism,” is scheduled for launch proper round Thanksgiving, November 24, 2020.
On this, her third guide, she addresses one in every of essentially the most urgent problems with our time: media bias and the deterioration of goal journalism — a subject on which she has first-hand expertise.
A former anchor at CNN and CBS Information, Attkisson now produces her personal Sunday tv information program, “Full Measure,” in addition to two podcasts: “Full Measure After Hours” and “The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast,” in which she covers the sorts of tales that mainstream information not touches.
Propaganda by media definitely isn’t a brand new factor. Beginning within the late 1940s,1 the CIA ran a well-documented however on the time covert marketing campaign known as “Operation Mockingbird,” wherein they recruited journalists as belongings to unfold propaganda — information slanted in a technique or one other. Whereas this system is all the time referred to prior to now tense, as it’s mentioned to have been ended within the 1970s,2 proof suggests it by no means actually stopped.
“There are all types of how the Intel group has, and may, manipulate the information,” Attkisson says, “however we reached a brand new stage in 2016, 2017, as a result of they do not even must whisper in our ear to get us to report stuff. We employed them. That means, Brennan, Clapper, Comey — all of them had been employed as consultants. They had been invited on the information straight.
You did not have to place them by a filter and nameless sources, though loads of nameless sources had been additionally used. However day by day placing forth their propaganda, a lot of which, clearly, was confirmed false, notably on the Trump, Russia narrative.
However daily, we allowed them to plaster the airwaves, even after they had been confirmed admittedly mistaken … After two years of spewing this false info, they’re nonetheless consulted by the media. They’re nonetheless used. So, it is really easy for an Intel operation in the event that they want to use the media in the direction of no matter aim they might have …
I firmly consider that there have been ongoing [propaganda] campaigns that proceed in the present day. Perhaps separate operations by intelligence companies and officers to control the information, and positively have issues reported a sure strategy to attempt to push for sure outcomes in politics right here at house and internationally.”
Large Business Additionally Influences the Information
Multinational industries, the drug business in explicit, additionally has an identical stage of affect over content material regarding their explicit pursuits. In 1996, direct-to-consumer drug promoting was legalized, and as drug promoting grew to become a significant revenue stream for media firms, their reporting on well being and medication grew to become more and more biased.
The reason being easy. They can not afford to “chunk the hand that feeds them.” If an advertiser doesn’t need the general public to find out about a selected discovering, all they must do to affect the reporting is to threaten to withdraw its promoting, which is able to harm the media firm’s backside line.
Drug firms have additionally turn into main sponsors of medical training; thus, docs are taught to prescribe medicine for all ills, however they’re not taught in regards to the unwanted effects and disadvantages of these medicine.
At present, the drug business additionally controls fact-checking organizations resembling NewsGuard, as it’s funded by Publicis, which is supported by drug firms. When feeding from the Large Pharma trough, how might they probably be goal of their fact-checking? Actuality exhibits us they can’t as a result of they aren’t.
Large Tech — Grasp Manipulators of Minds
Large Tech firms, in fact, are additionally masters of censoring something that may harm themselves or their technocratic allies. As simply one in every of numerous examples, you possibly can no longer submit a hyperlink to Mercola.com on Twitter.
First, they added a false warning that made it seem like my web site contained harmful malware when readers would click on on a posted hyperlink. After some time, they merely blocked the power to submit hyperlinks to our web site altogether.
“This began, and I traced this in my second guide, ‘The Smear,’ to Media Issues … the left-wing propaganda group that supported Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and is an enormous smear group,” Attkisson says. “They acknowledged going to Fb in regards to the time once they had been anxious that Donald Trump was going to get elected.
They actually felt that the one factor giving him a leg up, and so they nonetheless consider this in the present day, is his social media outreach. They tried to think about a strategy to management, with the form of social media and information individuals might get, so Media Issues lobbied Fb and tried to persuade them — and did so efficiently — to taking a fact-checking brand-new function that no one had ever requested for.
We’re not begging for our info to be curated. That was a faux demand created by the propagandists who needed to manage the info. They needed to make us assume that we would have liked a 3rd social gathering to step in and inform us what to assume and kind by the data … The faux information effort, the fact-checking, which is normally faux fact-checking, which means it is not a real effort, is a propaganda effort …
We’ve seen it explode as we come into the 2020 election, for a lot the identical purpose, whereby, the social media firms, third events, tutorial establishments and NewsGuard … they insert themselves. However in fact, they’re all backed by sure cash and particular pursuits. They’re no extra able to fact-check than an bizarre particular person strolling on the road …
They’ve pursuits. They be certain sure issues will not be seen, even when true. And I feel that is essentially the most critical menace that I am taking a look at proper now to our media atmosphere.
I am afraid that our youngsters will likely be telling their youngsters of a time when you used to have the ability to go on the web and discover most, any, info you needed, as a result of we’re more and more being pointed solely to that which they, individuals who management the data, want for us to see.”
Presidential Therapy Takes on a New That means
In her guide, Attkisson additionally spends a whole chapter dissecting the highly-biased remedy of President Trump, and the way the media have, by their very own admission, suspended conventional journalistic ethics just because they contemplate him “uniquely harmful.”
“Due to this fact, you do not have to comply with the conventional guidelines and pointers in terms of honest and correct reporting, which I feel is one of essentially the most absurd issues I’ve ever heard in my life, from somebody in our career, as a result of the requirements exist exactly in order that we report on all people the identical approach,” she says.
“In different phrases, utilizing the identical requirements, whether or not we like them or not. Notably, maybe, if we do not like or agree with the candidate — that is when the requirements turn into most essential. However you want solely take a look at Politico, for instance, over the past election.
I interviewed them shortly afterwards. Somebody in control of some of their protection … in virtually each reply to a query, she introduced up President Trump and one thing unfavorable about him.
One of many issues she mentioned was what number of lies he tells per minute. She mentioned, ‘We truly had a staff that calculated the variety of lies per minute that President Trump informed.’ And I requested the apparent query, ‘Properly, what was that in comparison with Hillary’s supposed lies per minute?’ And he or she truly mentioned, ‘Oh, we did not have the staffing to do Hillary too.’
Are you able to think about a nationwide information group that purports to cowl one thing pretty and we’ll fact-check the lies per minute of 1 candidate and never the opposing candidate and faux that that qualifies as honest information?
I additionally interviewed some famous liberals who’ve seen the identical factor: That they take a look at issues from a fair-minded viewpoint and are not any fan of President Trump, but are appalled at how the media has dishonestly handled sure subjects and knowledge, which ought to make all people surprise, ‘Are we getting the reality in terms of issues that do not have to do with President Trump?
If the media can report so many issues out of context and incorrectly in terms of someone they do not like, what else are we getting that is not in context or that is not totally true?’”
The Invention of Mendacity
Previous to President Trump, nearly nobody in the media would accuse somebody of mendacity. The usual was to query a person’s assertion or level out a discrepancy to a different supply, however not name it an outright lie, as a result of it’s straightforward to get confused on specifics. A lie is a really particular allegation that implies an intent to deceive. Simply since you misremember a reality does not imply you lied.
“[In the book] I speak about the truth that … I do know I’ve most likely been lied to many instances, however I do not consider I’ve ever reported that someone lied to me in a tough information report. Why? Properly, a lie is a particular factor that requires you to know the thoughts of the particular person. And also you as a journalist must withhold, even for those who assume one thing is true with out the proof, you actually cannot say it is true.
I am going to use the instance I used within the guide: Ford and Firestone tires. The executives constantly mentioned there was no proof that these tires had been harmful previous to the scandal across the 2000 time interval the place there have been a lot of deaths. I had paperwork from a supply that confirmed this very hazard many years earlier than.
It appeared that they had been mendacity, however I did not name it a lie as a result of there are numerous different explanations somebody might give. They might say, ‘Properly, these guys weren’t there on the time. So, they did not know that these discussions had been had. They did not have entry to the emails, their subordinates did not inform them.’ So, you do not know whether or not they’re mistaken or mendacity.
And from a journalistic standpoint, we used to all the time take the goal street and say one thing like, ‘Their testimony contradicts the documentary document.’ That is adequate. Folks at house could make up their very own thoughts.
However there was a flip taken, particularly, to focus on President Trump, whereby, the media began incessantly calling issues that he mentioned, lies — even when there was merely one thing that was a matter of opinion, or might not be confirmed, or a mistake, none of that are lies.
The New York Instances was pleased with this when it did it. And I recount within the guide the primary time they made a headline the place they talked about President Trump mendacity, and the way that was cheered on by others within the media who then adopted go well with.
They had been even cheered on by a journalism professor who wrote a huge op-ed about the way it was time to cease doing this goal reporting and that we would have liked to name out President Trump’s lies incessantly and sometimes. It is simply, once more, from a journalistic standpoint, ridiculous … I feel this can be a new and harmful tactic that has actually destroyed our objectivity within the eyes of the public. And rightly so.”
Massaging COVID-19 Messages
By way of well being, COVID-19 reporting has taken censorship and media manipulation to model new heights, eclipsing nearly all earlier efforts. They don’t even cover the bias anymore.
All social media platforms are brazenly censoring dissenting views in regards to the virus, notably its origin and remedy. Even well-respected docs and scientists have been axed for talking in opposition to the specified narrative dictated by the World Well being Group.
August 26, 2020, the CDC had launched information3 displaying 94% of people that had died in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. died “with” the virus, not “from” it. Solely 6% had COVID-19 listed as the only reason behind demise on the demise certificates. Therefore, the true demise toll, those that unarguably died as a direct results of the an infection, is just round 10,000.
“For deaths with situations or causes as well as to COVID-19, on common, there have been 2.6 further situations or causes per demise,” the CDC said. This is a crucial distinction. But mainstream media continues to report that almost 200,000 have died “from” COVID-19 within the U.S, thereby growing nationwide worry to allow them to implement their lockdowns and different methods to restrict our private freedoms and liberty.
“I feel we’d like each numbers, in a separate sense, to have perspective and understanding of what is actually occurring,” Attkisson says. “And it is one thing that only a few individuals have proven curiosity in … Early on, it was clear … that the first victims had been these with the comorbidities and the aged inhabitants in nursing properties and so forth.
However then we kind of misplaced observe of that. After which there appeared to be a propaganda effort to persuade those who, initially, after understanding younger individuals had been at little or no threat of great sickness and demise, there gave the impression to be an effort to persuade those who the youth should be very cautious. That extra younger individuals are dying and getting sick.
I can solely guess as to why that is essential to some pursuits, however I believe it has one thing to do with the truth that when the vaccine comes out, the market must be aimed.
You’ll be able to’t rule out younger individuals, it’s essential to make them consider they want it, or else you’ve got dominated out an enormous part of the vaccine market. And they definitely do not wish to make a vaccine that is not utilized by a large share of the inhabitants. I feel they must create a market. Why do I feel this?
Properly, I used to be truly informed by a high immunization official for the authorities, once they discovered flu photographs are ineffective within the aged … that the best way round that was to not take flu photographs away from the aged — who would assume that was dishonest as a result of we have been telling it was needed for thus a few years — however to persuade mother and father to get their youngsters and infants flu photographs in order that they would not ‘carry flu to the aged.’
I bear in mind him saying to me, ‘The trick goes to be to persuade mother and father to offer a vaccine to their youngsters who do not actually need it themselves.’ In different phrases, for a secondary supposed profit for the aged. And darn it, for those who did not see within the subsequent season, they really useful flu photographs for infants and kids.
And so they did not inform anyone on the time that they had been doing it as a result of flu photographs do not work within the aged. They only began telling individuals that your youngsters want flu photographs.”
When a ‘Case’ Is Not a Case
The media are additionally grossly misusing the time period “case,” in reference to the COVID-19 case load. A case is a medical time period for a affected person with a symptomatic kind of an infection. It’s not somebody who assessments constructive for antibodies or items of viral DNA. By referring to all constructive assessments as “circumstances,” they’re in a position to fire up panic, making the scenario sound far worse than it truly is.
Many nonetheless don’t perceive that the majority of these who check constructive for SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic. They assume these are sick individuals within the hospital and that rising “case” numbers imply there will likely be an increase in deaths. Statistics reveal this merely isn’t true, and that there’s not a linear correlation between constructive assessments and deaths.
“There are simply so many issues which might be misreported,” Attkisson says. “However for those who attempt to report them precisely and factually, you get known as out by these within the media who both did not perceive, or are just so blinded by the propaganda narrative.
The New York Instances did this. They really known as me and several other different individuals out as ‘coronavirus doubters,’ though I had by no means mentioned or written something that even remotely denies coronavirus or denies the chance of it. However they had been working very onerous to silence voices who’re merely reporting extra precisely and with context on what’s actually occurring.
By the best way, after I spoke to some scientists … and I mentioned, ‘Why do not you communicate out or right what you assume is the misunderstanding?’ Individually, a number of of them informed me they feared talking out publicly as a result of they had been afraid they’d be labeled a coronavirus doubter, and for worry of contradicting Dr. Fauci.
So, I mentioned, ‘We’re at a reasonably scary time when scientists who’re specialists on these points worry talking what they consider is the scientific reality as a result of they’ll be controversialized.’”
Seek for Reality and Unbiased Information
The clear take-home message I received from studying, “Slanted: How the Information Media Taught Us to Love Censorship and Hate Journalism,” is that there’s a profoundly major problem with most mainstream typical media.
The plain query is: The place are you able to go to get the reality? We want to be told, however we additionally need the reality. We do not have time to waste to be brainwashed by propaganda. On the finish of her guide, Attkisson lists a wide range of sources she’s come to belief. It might be value getting the guide for these suggestions alone.
“I did not make a complete listing,” Attkisson says. “I am certain I left many individuals out, however I attempted to level to some shops and folks, and I consulted a few of my colleagues for his or her suggestions. It’s not a simple reply. There is not a spot you possibly can go. I am unable to say, ‘Watch this information daily or learn this publication.’ It is extra granular than that.
It’s important to discover a reporter that you simply belief on a subject after which chase that reporter round … That is the place I feel you will discover a section of reality. And it is not all the time, sadly, going to be goal reality.
A few of the reporters I title are coming from the left viewpoint or coming from a proper viewpoint, however they’ve confirmed themselves to be courageous reporters of a selected subject or controversy that I feel you possibly can depend on. Nevertheless it’s simply not as simple as it was the place you possibly can simply level to a particular person or an outlet and say, ‘Watch that, and you will get your honest shake on the information’ …
I might say, in closing, that I do assume a brand new paradigm will develop in terms of information reporting. There are individuals taking a look at how information and knowledge could be reported in a approach that it can’t be censored by huge tech giants, political figures and nonprofits and so forth …
I am informed there is a strategy to develop a social media platform the place you possibly can submit freely and in addition not be topic to censorship. I feel issues will evolve as a result of individuals are bored with what they’re seeing. And I hope one thing actually constructive, being an optimist, develops out of all of this down the street.”