Mainstream, corporate media long ago lost any shred of integrity when the number of megacorporate owners of 90% of all the news outlets in the United States dwindled to just six — and the chance for any reporting not infused with propaganda from the corporatocracy narrowed even further. In other words, if you’re glued to the TV in search of pertinent, credible information on current issues, you’re going to be out of luck.
For the perfect example of this, you need go no further than the past week. When host Steve Harvey mistakenly named Miss Colombia, instead of Miss Philippines, the rightful heiress to the Miss Universe crown, corporate media immediately devoted the majority of their resources to every conceivable angle on the error. If nothing else of note had occurred during the previous week, then perhaps such an extreme focus on a narrow subject might be understandable. Yet the Miss Universe media blitz consumed the headlines — drowning out critically important news that happened both before and after Harvey’s Big Oops.
The following are five stories far more deserving of media saturation than an accidentally jilted Miss Universe.
After being gutted and emerging as its worst version yet, CISA — the nightmarish anti-privacy bill — managed to sneak its way into the $1.1 trillion omnibus budget passed by Congress on Friday, despite widespread condemnation by just about everyone. House Speaker Paul Ryan saw an opportunity to pass the Cyber Information Sharing Act by quietly tucking it into the folds of the 2,000 page omnibus bill — both because lawmakers had a scant 48 hours to peruse and understand the legislation before the vote, and because the government would have been forced to shut down had they failed to pass it.
Advocates of the hellish anti-privacy provisions claimed it aims to fight cyber threats, but its actuality is more akin to corporate immunity from prosecution for handing over consumers’ personal information to various law enforcement agencies without having to first go through the Dept. of Homeland Security.
“Unfortunately, this misguided cyber legislation does little to protect Americans’ security [….] Americans demand real solutions that will protect them from foreign hackers, not knee-jerk responses that allow companies to fork over huge amounts of their customers’ private data with only cursory review,” said Sen. Ron Wyden of CISA’s passage in the budget bill.
Representative Justin Amash likened the egregious CISA legislation to another that will go down in infamy: the USA Patriot Act. “Worst surveillance bill since #PatriotAct passes 313 – 116,” Amash posted on Facebook. “Sad day for liberty, privacy, and our constitutional republic.”
Frank Luntz hosted the CBS panel discussion with Muslim Americans — ostensibly to allow them to air their opinions on recent vitriol spurred on by Trump, and the resulting spate of hate crimes across the U.S. But when the segment aired, participants were livid to discover most of what they’d expressed had been edited into sound bytes — completely obfuscating much of what their actual grievances were in the first place. But the manipulation didn’t stop with the editing of comments, as participants noted those appeared “ambiguously Muslim” were both situated away from the camera’s focus area, and received less airtime.
“It’s not only censorship, but it’s manipulation for their narrative,” tweeted journalist and panel participant, Sarah Harvard after the event. “Luntz put all non-headscarf wearing Muslim women out of camera focus.” In a second tweet, she stated, “They put hijab wearing Muslim women front & centered. All the Arab/Desi ones in front & center. All ‘ambiguously Muslim’ off camera focus.”
CBS failed to air the panel’s numerous complaints about U.S. foreign policy and its part in terrorism, while attempting to direct the focus toward general condemnation by the Muslim population of terrorist acts.
Gunmen thought to be affiliated with Somalia’s al-Shabaab terrorist group overtook a bus in Kenya’s Mandera Province and attempted to separate Muslim passengers from believers in other faiths by demanding each recite the shahada — “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is his prophet.”
“They were trying to identify who were Christians and who were not,” Deputy County Commissioner Julius Otieno explained. “They told the non-Christians to return to [the] vehicle.”
Choosing compassion over safety while taking an awe-inspiring stand against terrorism and fear, the Muslim passengers “refused to separate from non-Muslims and told attackers to kill all passengers or leave,” said Mandera governor, Ali Roba. Eventually, on the approach of another vehicle, the terrorists were forced to withdraw. In taking such a stand of moral integrity and fortitude in the face of terror, the Muslim passengers broke down all barriers of religion and hate — and exemplified humanity at its best.
While the Obama administration touts the need for deposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff have been clandestinely feeding the Syrian government information about the Islamic State — flouting White House plans that “anyone” would be better suited to head Syria than Assad.
“Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,” an unnamed former JCS adviser told Hersh. “The Joint Chiefs believed Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration’s policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go, but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad’s got to go is fine, but if you follow that through — therefore anyone is better. It’s the ‘anyone else is better’ issue that the JCS had with Obama’s policy.”
The military apparently understood the futility in arming the same extremist forces the U.S. had just fought in Iraq and Afghanistan by labeling them “moderate rebels” and acting as if that somehow justified and solved the issue. Hersh’s revelations expose the deep rift currently widening in U.S. government — and call to question the ongoing “at any cost” foreign policy in the Middle East.
Epilepsy will affect one in 26 people at some point in their lives — and one-third of those cases will resist traditional treatment. So, the importance of a recent landmark study touting the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) cannot be overstated:
“Of 261 patients given CBD treatment, 45% experienced a significant reduction in seizure frequency, and 9% were seizure-free at 3 months. Some children continued to experience benefits after the trial ended, even one year after.”
The fact that cannabis remains a Federal Schedule 1 drug defies all logic, not just in comparison to problems caused by such “legal drugs” as alcohol, but particularly in the numerous — and sometimes miraculous — medicinal benefits it has to offer, as in the results of this study. The Last American Vagabond has previously reported multiple cases that anecdotally confirm this study’s results. This is yet more overwhelming proof of the absurdity — and utter uselessness — of the War on Drugs.
Each one of these stories independently has enough journalistic value to merit a show in and of itself. Yet, each was equally disregarded and intentionally kept from the public eye. As always, one must ask themselves why news organizations charged with informing the public would choose to highlight a reality TV blooper, rather than cover stories of genuine informational value that are vital to maintaining an informed electorate. Always remember, the one true sign of a real news story is the silence of the mainstream media.