On November 15, U.S News and World Report released an article by Rachel Dicker providing a list of “fake sites” to “avoid at all costs.” On the list, Activist Post was prominently noted as being “fake” or, more accurately to the point of the article, a “propaganda” site.
This article comes shortly after an announcement by Google that it would be prohibiting “fake” and “misrepresentative” sites from using its AdSense program. The company stated to Reuters that,
Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property. This policy includes fake news sites, the spokesperson confirmed. Google already prevents its AdSense program from being used by sites that promote violent videos and imagery, pornography, and hate speech.
And, of course, the definition of the Orwellian-named “hate speech,” violence, misrepresentation and “fake news” is all going to be determined by Facebook and Google. War, for instance, is extremely violent but there is a necessity to cover it and even produce images from the battlefield in the process. Police shootings and other forms of violence against citizens is also violent but a necessary issue to cover. “Hate speech” is incredibly subjective and, in 2016, speech has come to be labeled as “hate” even when it merely respectfully disagreed with a protected identity group.
But the new Google policy and the intent to remove what is for many websites a main source of revenue has obvious political implications and is about much more than a desire to prevent unpleasant images, violence, and hate from being shown to Americans. That is, it is obvious that the intention of Google is to starve out the source of revenue for the alternative media, thereby crashing the alternative media as a competitor for mainstream outlets and eliminating any sources of critical thought and competing narratives.
The mainstream media is a dying institution. This much is clear. Fewer and fewer people are paying attention to CNN, FOX, U.S. News and World Report, and the rest of the corporate press, while more and more people are tuning in to independent and alternative broadcasts and visiting alternative media websites. This is posing a major threat not only to the very survival of the corporate news but also to the narratives being peddled by the U.S. State Department, Wall Street, and Corporate America via their media mouthpieces. The cat is coming out of the bag for the U.S. oligarchy and the only way to put it back is to ensure that the alternative media goes away and that the American people will only be able to consume the garbage shoveled out by major corporations from here on out.
But back to Dicker’s article. We should note that the categorization of the flagged sites is interesting indeed. The “fake news” sites are listed into three groups – satire, hoax, and propaganda. As Activist Post has pointed out, satire is a legitimate form of literature. Perhaps the writers and editors of stuffy and irrelevant media organizations like U.S. News and World Report are unaware of the art of sarcasm or irony, which is apparent by the fact that U.S. News and World Report has the audacity to call another outlet a “propaganda site.”
Dicker also mentions hoax websites. I must confess much irritation over constantly seeing actual fake news websites often even listed as satire but which are, in reality, hoaxes, floating around the Internet and social media and being shared by well-meaning people who cannot take the time to investigate their own source of information. Sites with headlines like “Hillary Clinton Shoots Puppy After Election Loss” or “Donald Trump Vomits Demon On Israeli Prime Minister” are unfortunately clogging up the works for legitimate news organizations (and by that I mean many alternative outlets) but such is the risk in a free society where people are free to choose what they read and think.
That being said, I wonder how many lives would have been lost as a result of a number of Americans believing that Hillary Clinton shot a puppy or Donald Trump is possessed versus believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? I guess we will never know the stats for the former, but perhaps we should ask the editors of the “trusted” New York Times, CNN, CBS, and their ilk for the numbers on the latter.
Indeed, for U.S. News and World Report to label Activist Post as propaganda whilst disseminating unproven allegations and obvious pro-war propaganda is hypocritical to say the least.
Remember, it was U.S. News and World Report that published “The Liberal Case For Intervention In Syria,” which was a pathetic attempt to justify yet another American war of aggression against a country that did nothing to the U.S. nor posed any threat to it. The author, Eric Schnurer, attempted to make the case that invading Syria and slaughtering civilians directly (as opposed to the proxy method being used currently) was actually the moral thing to do. Or perhaps we should mention the countless interviews with military-industrial complex “Think Tanks” and “foreign-relations strategy firms” that are consistently promoted by US News And World Report (USNAWR) in order to add to the cheerleading squad of pro-war/anti-Russia commentators designed to create a false-consensus, i.e. that the “experts” all agree that Assad is a “brutal dictator killing his own people” and that Putin “wants to control the world.” We must also mention the constant braying over “chemical weapons” being used in Syria, being blamed on Assad, all the while these news organizations are aware that there is virtually no evidence to back up their claims.
USNAWR even saw fit to post an editorial by an individual claiming that WMDs were found in Iraq and that “Bush was right” all along, a separation from reality if ever there was one.
The saddest part about the journalistic quality of USNAWR is that, bad as their articles often are, the really bad ones are actually the most interesting. Looking at USNAWR’s website, the corporation seems to be nothing more than a bigger version of those “ranking” sites advertised under so many news articles. You know the ones I’m talking about with headlines like “10 Hottest Athletes” and “30 Actors That Are Actually Gay.” The difference, however, is that USNAWR throws in several articles to give their readers the false impression that visiting the site is not an incredible waste of time.
Rachel Dicker’s articles themselves are evidence of the irrelevance of USNAWR. Take a look at her history and you will see articles full of incredible journalistic sleuthing – a Golden Pheasant that looks like Donald Trump, what’s trending on Chinese social media, a letter written by a creator of a television show, and, of course, a musical performance by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Riveting stuff.
Interestingly enough, Dicker did not mention the New York Times and their coverage of the non-existent WMDs in Iraq. Shouldn’t that organization be labeled propaganda? Not only that, NYT’s information managed to kill a million Iraqis and over 3,000 American soldiers. Not even an honorable mention?
There was also no mention of CNN for its infamous “Syria Danny” fiasco where the corporation was caught red-handed staging a propaganda video against the Syrian government, ultimately to draw Americans in to having pro-war sentiment despite the weariness of foreign adventures enabled by “real” news organizations like the New York Times and CNN. This outright lie was exposed by the alternative media, highlighting the reason why corporate news organizations, Wall Street, and the military industrial complex want the alternative media silent.
Likewise, Dicker did not mention NPR and its “Gay Girl In Damascus” ordeal where the organization promoted a storyline designed to demonize the Syrian government despite the fact that the “Gay Girl In Damascus” was neither gay, nor a girl, nor even in Damascus.
Indeed, we can make many lists of many different things when discussing the mainstream and alternative media but I suggest we begin by making lists of the actual consequences of their work. Perhaps a list of the dead civilians who were killed as a result of the malfeasance and deception of the corporate media would be a place to start. Perhaps a list of dead military personnel would also make for an interesting list. But while CNN concerns itself with Beyonce and U.S. News And World Report must first report on birds that look like Trump, the alternative media will continue to cover real news which, of course, includes the epic fails of the corporate press.
While Zuckerberg and Schmidt attempt to deal a lethal blow to the alternative press, rest assured that AdSense will not be the end of alternative media. America’s favorite dorks may deliver a decent punch to many outlets but, in the end, the alternative media and the “propaganda” sites Dicker is so worried about will have the opportunity of watching the corporate press decay and disappear into the dustbin of history.