Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 02, 2016

Special Interests Create The "Good", The "Bad" And The "Compelling" Story - The Media Tell It

A thoughtful analysis by Amanda Taub of the New York Times describes why some wars get more "western" public attention than others:

Conflicts gain sustained American attention only when they provide a compelling story line that appeals to both the public and political actors, and for reasons beyond the human toll. That often requires some combination of immediate relevance to American interests, resonance with American political debates or cultural issues, and, perhaps most of all, an emotionally engaging frame of clearly identifiable good guys and bad guys.
Yemen’s death toll is lower than Syria’s, and although Al Qaeda does operate there, Yemen’s conflict has not had the kind of impact on American and European interests that Syria’s has. There is no obvious good-versus-evil story to tell there: The country is being torn apart by a variety of warring factions on the ground and pummeled from the air by Saudi Arabia, an American ally. There is no camera-ready villain for Americans to root against.

Those are good observations. But they themselves are part of the process they describe. They artificially create "good" and "bad" and are driven by "interests". (Side note: I doubt the sweeping claim "Yemen’s death toll is lower than Syria’s". The famine in northwest Yemen is very severe. The number of dead is simply not known yet but like in the hundred-thousands.)

Reporting does not depend on the existence of good and bad or the existence of a compelling story. Such thinking is just idealized nonsense. It is the media that creates the (often artificial) sides of a war on behalf of the interests. Good and bad are not inherent, they are constructs. A real compelling story is not needed. One can be created any time though it will likely not be a true one.

It is the "interests" that designate the "good" and "bad" labels and inject the "compelling" story - specific economic interests, like the oil business behind The Syria Campaign Ltd, but also pursuit of personal power or tribal advantages. The public relation firms and politicians working for the "interests" feed the reporters with the stuff they need to skillfully write the stories down. The well domesticated reporters of main-stream media will intuitively understand when the "interests" are on a roll. They will do their best to support them - or lose their lucrative jobs.

In the mid of of 2000s al-Qaeda in Iraq was the "bad" and the U.S. occupation force was the "good" that "saved the poor Iraqis". But this was only a fake differentiation and "compelling" story the U.S. military wanted the media to tell. It provide this story to hide the rather obvious: Genuine Iraqis of all stripes were rising up against the occupation.

The U.S. military payed over $540 millions to the British public relation firm Bell Pottinger to create gruesome al-Qaeda videos:

Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.

The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.

For $540 million one could create two Oscar winning movies in the most expensive films list. It is an enormous amount of money, enough for thousands of short, low budget "al-Qaeda terror" clips. In the Iraq war those clips created the new "bad" actor in the war and the "compelling" story that needed to be told to keep the military occupation "good", justified and going.

"Western" governments pay more than 70 million dollars to the "White Helmets", the fake "Syrian Civil Defense" created by the New Yorker PR company Purpose Inc., to make and distribute pictures and movies that show the Islamic insurgency in Syria as "good" and the Syrian government and its allies as "bad". (Additional billions(!) per year go to weapon supplies and mercenary pay for the Jihadi side.)

The "western" media understand what the "interests" want. They eat the PR product up, digest it for form and spit it out towards the consumer. The "outrage" created by the daily "compelling" stories is then used by the "interests" to further their aims.

Below are recent examples of such manipulations picked from the daily diet the "western" public is fed.

Lousie Loveluck, a "reporter" for the Washington Post, is stenographing "moderate Jihadi" propaganda from east-Aleppo: Bombing in Aleppo puts another major hospital out of service

The largest hospital in eastern Aleppo was bombed Saturday for the second time in a week, killing and wounding more than a dozen patients as they recovered from earlier attacks.

Doctors at the facility, known as M10, said the assault involved cluster munitions, barrel bombs and incendiary weapons, prompting mass panic and appeals for help.

She tweets:

Louisa Loveluck @leloveluck

Attack on Aleppo's main trauma hospital killed 2 patients, injured 13. 7 strikes, incl cluster munitions, barrel, incendiary & vacuum bombs.

8:38 AM - 1 Oct 2016

It seems that the "doctors" (likely all pediatricians, some "the last" and dead) are the only sources in Aleppo Loveluck has.

Seven attacks with cluster munitions, barrel bombs, incendiary weapons and vacuum bombs together (note: no nukes yet) "ON" an allegedly filled hospital and only two people dead??? There is still a recognizable building standing??? That is a bit curious. Putin and Assad are really bad at hitting their targets. Or maybe the hospital was not targeted at all. Maybe some Jihadi military headquarter or artillery position nearby was the real target. Mrs Loveluck shows no interest in finding that out. The "doctors", paid by U.S. PR organization SAMS Foudation, are all she needs. "Good", "bad", a "compelling" story - all is already there, provide to her to "report".

The National from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is generally a good newspaper. Its recent report on the background of the propaganda scam the "White Helmets" are is way better than the usual mainstream media piece. Its reporting by Phil Sands on south Syria is excellent. But sometimes it has to do its duty as a state subsidized outlet and ends up publishing "funny" stuff: Passengers rescued from Emirati aid ship targeted by Yemen rebel fighters:

Civilian passengers were rescued from an Emirati aid ship carrying medical and relief supplies to Yemen after it was targeted by Houthi militias.

A rescue operation was launched in the early hours of Saturday after a civilian vessel owned by the UAE’s National Marine Dredging Company was intercepted in the Bab Al Mandab Strait during a journey to deliver emergency supplies to Aden.

The "aid-ship" was the fast military supply catamaran HSV-2 Swift. It is doing runs between Eritrea's Assab port and Aden in south-Yemen transporting UAE military and mercenaries as well as their heavy weapons. Last year Janes analyzed satellite pictures of Assab harbor:

The 7 November image also shows that the high-speed roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) catamaran Swift 1 (IMO: 9283928) was also present.

(Janes errs with the name. The IMO number is of HSV-2 Swift which is the one the UAE leased.)

Last month War on the Rocks took a deeper look into the UAE war on Yemen for which Assab port, rented from Eritrea, is the main base:

Over the last year, this port was built up from empty desert into a modern airbase, deep-water port, and military training facility.
By late July 2015, the buildup at Assab airfield was complete, with the base serving as a logistics support area and staging hub for the brigade-sized Emirati armored battlegroup that would spearhead the Aden breakout. This was composed of two squadrons of Leclerc main battle tanks, a battalion of BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, and two batteries of G6 howitzers. The Emirates also shipped a 1,500-man strike force of U.A.E.-trained Yemeni troops mounted in U.A.E.-provided armored vehicles after they were trained and equipped at Assab.

The obviously military ship was hit on September 28 at night. Yemeni army forces allied with the Houthis used a land launched, Chinese made C-802 anti-ship missile. The Houthi media published an excellent video showing the launch and the hit. The ship, a high powered large aluminum can, went completely up in flames. The "aid" and many "civilian passengers" have likely not survived.

Today the UAE military, led by the Australian general Mike Hindmarsh and his men, bombed Yemeni fishing boats along its western coast. The fishing boats, one of the few sources left for food supplies in Yemen, had nothing to do with the successful attack. The C-802 was launched and radar-guided from land. But no "western" main stream media will tell you those facts. "Good" and "bad" are not well assigned for them in this war. They probably would like to speak of the "good" underdog Yemenis and "bad" Saudis but are not allowed to do so. The "compelling" point of the story is not provided. The National tries to support its guiding "interests" but fails.

Another example of very biased "good" "bad" reporting, if not outright lying, comes from today's Independent: Syrian swimmer and her 12-year-old brother killed by shelling in Aleppo

Student and sportswoman Mireille Hindoyan was seriously injured and later died after bombs fell on the Villi district of the city

"Bombs fell", the Independent writes. Nowhere in piece does it says who's "bombs fell" and killed the swimmer But the readers already know that only the Syrian and Russian forces have aerial bombing capabilities over Aleppo.

Villi is the Armenian quarter of Aleppo. Here is what Armenian media write:

ALEPPO. – Three Armenians are killed as a result of the shelling of the densely Armenian-populated Villi district of Aleppo, Syria.
Terrorists are shelling the densely Armenian-populated [..] Villi districts of Aleppo, since early Friday morning.

Villi district lies in the government held western parts of Aleppo. The swimmer were killed by shelling by U.S. supported Jihadis in east-Aleppo. But the Independent won't tell you that. It insinuates that the "bad" Assad and Putin killed the swimmer. That the "good" Jihadis kill civilians on the government side is not a "compelling" story. It is not allowed to be told. Unless they are swimmers with a trophy such daily casualties do not exist.

Similar reporting, then with regards to Libya, was all over "western" media in early 2011. Gaddafi speech threatens to trigger "genocide" in Libya was one of the decisive headlines. Ghaddafi of course never threatened such. He only wowed to defeat the bloody, armed insurgency led by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda aligned Jihadis financed by Qatar. They occupied Benghazi, suppressed its inhabitants and threatened the Libyan state. But the false reporting and "western" outrage created by it was the basis for a large scale NATO attack which then destroyed the Libyan nation. A British parliament inquiry now confirms that there never was any threat against civilians by Ghaddafi and all such assertions by the media and by "western" politicians were false and made without any evidence. Back then it was a "compelling" story told by the ruling "interests" - and a complete lie.

The "compelling" Ghaddafi genocide story only sold well with the "western" public because the media played the game on the side of the warmongers. It projected the Libyan government as "bad" and the Jihadis as "good". Real reporting would have unveiled the facts, which prove the opposite, with very little efforts. But the "reporters" never tried. That hasn't changed as we can see with regards to Syria. All claims by the "good" opposition are repeated as truth without any challenge. Attacks by "good" Jihadis on the government side, perceived as the "bad", are not "compelling" and get no or only obfuscated reporting.

In the war on Yemen the media is on the side of the U.S. supported attackers from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Only few stories can be found about the raging famine in north Yemen caused by the Saudi/U.S. blockade of all vital imports to the country. While that is really a compelling story driven awaking human interests and which could induce a public discussion it is not made "compelling". Likewise the daily Saudi and UAE terror bombing of the Yemeni capital Sanaa finds no echo in "western" papers. The successful Houthi attack on the military ship will be sold as "terrorism" and justify a further escalation of the war.

It is only "interests" driving this. Not general "American interests" or the idealized "human interests" but way more specific ones. Amanda Taub and other "reporters" are working for those. But often they delude themselves and believe otherwise. The evidence though does not support such faith.

Posted by b on October 2, 2016 at 19:34 UTC | Permalink


MSM gets very excited about the build up to the Iraqi forces liberating Mosul from ISIS. The Times of London recently did a double page spread on what forces were arranged where and how the battle would be won. Can no-one see the glaring hypocrisy when Aleppo, also a battle against jihadi terrorists, is described as an obscenity of slaughtering civilians ? People are so dumb. They have such short memories.

Posted by: anitele'a | Oct 2 2016 19:58 utc | 1

The widespread phenomenon of modern Propaganda

Posted by: nmb | Oct 2 2016 20:10 utc | 2

Loveluck or Breedlove,

all succors for Hollywood and Madison Avenue...

the mother of all Madrasas.

Posted by: john | Oct 2 2016 20:21 utc | 3

Dear B: the style of reporting the Western MSM engages in isn't intended to appeal to people's intelligence, it's designed to appeal to their emotions. It's all part of a package that includes Hollywood films and TV shows, and their followers in other countries (the current British film industry engaging in historical revisionism of aspects of modern British history is a good example) reinterpreting news events as dramatic stories with a simplistic narrative of good versus evil. The propaganda follows the pattern set by notorious PR spinmeister Ed Bernays who wrote a book "Propaganda" in the late 1920s based on his manipulations of his uncle Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theories about the unconscious mind. The book was later a favourite textbook manual of Joseph Goebbels.

Bernays switched from advertising to shilling outright on behalf of the US government in the 1950s by selling the US public the idea that a tiny country called Guatemala posed an existential threat to the US and had to be invaded. When the US invaded Guatemala in 1954 and threw out the government there, it had full or near-full public support.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 2 2016 20:42 utc | 4

I've never seen this level of pure propaganda and almost complete avoidance of facts, reality, reason or whatever on the part of the mainstream media--and I go back a long way. Even during the Iraq lead-up, I did not see quite this level of very obvious BS coming out of the mainstream. Even though many people know how corrupt the media is they will still accept the basic Narrative because humans need a conceptual framework no matter how deficient and the moguls and oligarchs know this so there is almost no chance this will change until a tipping point is reached and we're still a ways off of that time.

Posted by: Banger | Oct 2 2016 20:44 utc | 5

During Lam Son 719, the U.S. planners had believed that any North Vietnamese forces that opposed the incursion would be caught in the open and decimated by the application of American aerial might, either in the form of tactical airstrikes or airmobility, which would provide ARVN troops with superior battlefield maneuvering capability. Firepower, as it turned out, was decisive, but "it went in favor of the enemy...Airpower played an important, but not decisive role, in that it prevented a defeat from becoming a disaster that might have been so complete as to encourage the North Vietnamese army to keep moving right into Quang Tri Province."[86]

The number of helicopters destroyed or damaged during the operation shocked the proponents of U.S. Army aviation and prompted a reevaluation of basic airmobile doctrine. The 101st Airborne Division alone, for example, had 84 of its aircraft destroyed and another 430 damaged. Combined U.S./ARVN helicopter losses totaled 168 destroyed and 618 damaged.[87]Wiki

Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy. ... Henry Kissinger

Empire hides it's crimes by sneaking Coffins in to Andrew's AFB at night with no press.
Since retreat from Chosin Korea.....Empire has turned media coverage into
Rally the Flag. ....or don't ask don't tell.

Some Veterans from the past and some at present do present the real
On goings of conflicts....which regular MSN will not.
If one does access the world Media. ..say on Syria.
It is pushed back as being biased propoganda.

Posted by: Brad | Oct 2 2016 21:06 utc | 6

Someday I'll be telling my grandkids about the way the MSM operated and they'll be laughing at me: "Oh, grandpa... Nothing that stupid could ever existed. Why would anyone listen to anyone like that? Have you been drinking again?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Oct 2 2016 22:01 utc | 7

There is no doubt that the media (MSM) is propaganda. To pretend that this is something new is little more than assuming the past was something other than what it was.
Propaganda stimulated participation in the colonization of the world by Europeans ... and the history of the US is rife with examples ... at the outset of each war we've ever been involved in, the role of propaganda is manifest: the alleged revolution; war with the Barbary pirates; 1812; the so-called Mexican War ... even the Civil War ... to say nothing of the on-going 'Indian Wars' ...

What all of our wars have had in common is hubris and justification for expansion. We, as a nation, still believe in manifest destiny. We us a newer set of code words, but the concept is the same from the first 'settlers/colonists' to the present.

Whether western imperialism (

or the techniques of empire

the goal has always been the same: Take what we want and to hell with any people in the way!

And, please, don't give me that crap that there is good along with the bad. Of course you can find some good ... but the issue isn't good vs evil ... it is greed, pure lust.

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 2 2016 22:16 utc | 8

But why are people so easily manipulated? Consensus of course. And group think. Everybody wants to belong.

For a simple test try saying something like 'Maybe Assad isn't so bad' at the water cooler.

Posted by: dh | Oct 2 2016 22:26 utc | 9


Utterly brilliant and concise statement:

Reporting does not depend on the existence of good and bad or the existence of a compelling story. Such thinking is just idealized nonsense. It is the media that creates the (often artificial) sides of a war on behalf of the interests. Good and bad are not inherent, they are constructs. A real compelling story is not needed. One can be created any time though it will likely not be a true one.

Would that journalists learn it. The old ones did but they're not working anymore.

Posted by: MRW | Oct 2 2016 22:32 utc | 10

@dh | Oct 2, 2016 6:26:41 PM | 9

Sorrie, rephrase and direct to the Democrats

But why are people so easily manipulated? Consensus of course. And group think. Everybody wants to belong.

For a simple test try saying something like 'Maybe Hillary isn't so bad compare to Trump' at the water cooler.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 2 2016 22:39 utc | 11

@11 Well I wasn't referring to the typical MOA reader. We are a breed apart.

Posted by: dh | Oct 2 2016 23:08 utc | 12

@dh | Oct 2, 2016 7:08:45 PM | 12

Nope, I wasn't referring MoA either but in water cooler anywhere.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 2 2016 23:20 utc | 13

@13 Right. Best to avoid water cooler conversations altogether. Of course that can lead to accusations of being standoffish.

Posted by: dh | Oct 2 2016 23:25 utc | 14

This article is a well-researched keeper.

Posted by: MRW | Oct 2 2016 23:29 utc | 15

Reason it's ignored is the villain is a USA ally Saudi Arapia

Posted by: Brian | Oct 2 2016 23:47 utc | 16

Its only going to get worse as they shut down one side of the debate ...maybe a better word would be the other opinion as alternative views will be labelled as extremist views .

Posted by: Terry | Oct 2 2016 23:50 utc | 17

Jen @ 4

The campaign against Arbenz in Guatemala was conducted via radio broadcasts perhaps modelled on Welles's "The War of the Worlds" (Gee, thanks Orson) directed at a tiny mestizo, aspiring to be white, urbanised elite.

That was the template for Colour Revolution, I believe.

The complete disaster of the Bogotazo in 1948, witnessed by Fidel Castro, was a precursor to radicalisation of L America and later MENA.

Hey, and hey nonny no, "We Meant Well" as Peter van Buren puts it.

Posted by: Cortes | Oct 2 2016 23:59 utc | 18

*vowed now wowed.

Posted by: Julian | Oct 3 2016 2:06 utc | 19


The US 7-Day War with the nefarious dark-skinned Grenadians, (shudder), under Reagan yielded more than 1,000 service medals and countless ribbons, which goes towards higher service pay, which goes towards higher pensions for life. Naturally, the Pentagon was reluctant to state who got those medals.

"Army officials said today that about 50 of the achievement medals went to personnel who got no closer to the fighting than the Pentagon lawn.

Other awards were given to staff and rear-area support troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82d Airborne Division; at Fort Stewart, Ga., and Fort Lewis, Wash., bases for Army Rangers; and the headquarters of the Army's Forces Command in Atlanta.

Asked for an explanation, the Army defended its awards system as a ''valuable and effective leadership tool to build unit morale and esprit.''

Esprit is the reason for Syria. Esprit is behind Libya. Esprit drives Yemen. Esprit of the valiant Four Horsemen of Government, Military, Fed Bank and Corporate. Greed is good.

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 3 2016 2:32 utc | 20


Speaking of hiding coffins, of course, it's well known that nursing homes leave the corpse laying on the bed until the residents have been doped and roped, then sometime after the midnight hour, the hearse pulls up.

Nursing homes deaths from malpractice and/or abuse exceed all the US deaths due to 'terrorism' ... and do so every year.

"5,000 deaths in 1999 may be due to negligence: Red flags for nursing home negligence were listed on 5,000 death certificates of nursing home patients in 1999. These include starvation, dehydration, or bedsores as the cause of death.

Between 1999 and 2001, almost one-third of all nursing home facilities were cited for violations of federal standards that could cause harm, or that did harm elderly residents of those facilities;

Nearly 10% of those nursing homes had violations that posed a risk of serious injury or death, or that did cause deaths of elderly residents;

More than 40% of nursing home residents have reported abuse, and more than 90% report that they or another resident of the facility have been neglected;

Research from 2010 indicates that up to half of all nursing home attendants have admitted abusing or neglecting elderly patients;

More than half of all Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN’s) in elder care facilities have admitted verbally abusing, yelling at, and using foul language with elderly residents of care facilities.

More than 30% of all nursing homes experience some form of resident abuse: Nearly 1/3 of all nursing homes have residents that are subject to abuse, whether it’s by staff or other residents. These include malnutrition, physical abuse, psychological distress, exploitation, neglect, and sexual abuse.

In 2005, almost all nursing homes had at least one deficiency: Statistics show that in 2005, 91.7% of America’s nursing homes were cited by health inspectors for at least one deficiency.

90% of abusers are known: Nearly all of the time, those who abuse nursing home residents are not strangers. That means staff members, residents, or familiar visitors are almost always to blame for nursing home abuse. 30 incidents of aggression can happen in one 8-hour shift: In one investigation, 12 nurses observed aggression between residents 30 times in an 8-hour shift.

Only about 20% of abuse cases are ever reported: Many nursing home residents do not have the mental presence or confidence to report abuse for themselves, and it may go unnoticed by family and other caretakers, so often, nursing home abuse cases are not reported.

92% of all nursing homes employ at least one convicted criminal: Nearly all nursing homes open their doors to at least one convicted criminal, and there are no national requirements for background checks for nursing home employees.

One-third of all nursing home patients are forced to take antipsychotic drugs: It is suspected that older adults are overmedicated with antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes, used to prevent combative behavior, agitation, and outbursts by dementia patients.

There are not enough nursing home beds to serve the entire elderly population: In 2008, there were only 1.8 million total nursing facility beds, but there were 18.8 million people aged 65-74, and 14.7 million people aged 75 or older.

More than 50% of nursing home residents don’t have close relatives: Many residents of nursing homes are without family support that can watch out for neglect or abuse.
One nurse’s aid may care for up to 30 people: Often, the ratio of nurse’s aids to patients is 1:15, but it can go as high as 30. The recommendation is 1:3 during a meal and 1:6 during non-meal times.

90% of US nursing homes have staff levels too low for adequate care: Statistics on abuse and neglect are not so shocking when you realize that 90% of nursing homes do not have the staff levels available to care for their patients effectively.

One out of four nursing homes is cited for death or serious injury to a resident: In 2001, one of of every four nursing homes received a citation for causing serious injury or death to a patient.

Twenty complaints per nursing home were received in 2007: With 257,872 complaints relating to quality of care, facilities, staffing, and other factors, there was an average of 20 complaints per nursing home in 2007.

The average cost for a room at a private nursing home in 2003 was $66,000, but that figure may rise exponentially. The average annual cost for a private nursing home room may be $175,000 by 2021: "

Something to look forward to in the New American Century, after the Demise of ACA.

Stick a fork in it, America is done.

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 3 2016 2:46 utc | 21

"But why are people so easily manipulated?"

Yes, consensus matters. But that does not explain why people stick with Hillary (or Trump) when they know they are backing evil. Backing evil is really no more than a hope for the status quo, or that things won't get worse. Better the devil(s) we know than the devil(s) we don't.

Aside from that, most Americans think we are exceptional and therefore that the world should do as we say for our benefit because we are indispensable. In other words, we DESERVE it and those that won't give it up simply don't deserve to keep it from us.

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 3 2016 2:57 utc | 22

Citing a semi-confession from a NYT scribe was a brilliantly inspired way to introduce the subject of MSM complicity in Judaeo-Christian Colonial-style malfeasance, mass murder, and profiteering, b.

When I read your headline and intro, I couldn't help speculating on whether Ms Traub is the tip of an iceberg - made up of ppl who have woken up one morning and realised that MSM Cloud Cuckoo Land may not be the best vantage point from which to detect, anticipate, and escape from, the Backlash when the patience of the deceived "consumers" expires.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 3 2016 3:14 utc | 23

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 2, 2016 10:46:03 PM | 21

The Nursing Home Industry, and the politicians who are either shareholders in it, or OWNED BY shareholders in it, are the Main Opponents of the growing movement to introduce loop-hole free and well-supervised Voluntary Euthanasia Laws. The same opponents are working overtime to marginalise Public Debate on the topic as "un-Christian" (extended Living Death for warehoused oldies being far more "humane" and infinitely more profitable).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 3 2016 3:36 utc | 24

@rg the lg | Oct 2, 2016 10:57:38 PM | 22
@dh | Oct 2, 2016 6:26:41 PM | 9

"But why are people so easily manipulated?"

Many a time urban words blow my mind, ie "breed apart" and "standoffish" What the hell dh toking? Check online dictionary, OK it's harmless.

Being a retired, breed apart and standoffish, at time in public can't understands what ppl toking!

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 3 2016 3:39 utc | 25

I have been wanting to share this book review I did in 2009 and I guess now is as good a time as any....


What is Agnotology? What does the Agnotology book say about it? What does Agnotology have to do with capitalism?
Agnotology [The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance] is a book (collection of essays) edited by Robert N Proctor and Londa Schiebinger

What is Agnotology? It is defined as a term to describe the cultural production of ignorance (and its study)

This term is being forwarded by Robert N. Proctor and others interested in the timely study of ignorance with focus on the manufactured sort. The book begins with a preface by Robert N Proctor who is a professor of History of Science at Stanford University. The subsequent essays are grouped into three Parts:
I ) Secrecy, Selection, and Suppression
II ) Lost Knowledge, Lost Worlds
III ) Theorizing Ignorance

Professor Proctor's prime example of agnotology centers on the tobacco industry. He touts a quote from an internal 1969 Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company memo saying, "Doubt is our product." when showing how this industry had the audacity to spend profits from its customers to brainwash them into believing that there was doubt that smoking causes cancer.

The 4 essayists in part I of the book provide similar manufacturing of ignorance insights in areas of censorship, environmental science, public health and women's orgasms.

The 3 essayists in Part II of the book focus on showing how western society has suppressed medicinal plant knowledge for abortions because they were against them, how the American white man trivialized and ignored the indigenous fossil knowledge of the American Indians and lastly about ignorance in Archeology.

The 4 essayists in Part III of the book expand on the theories of ignorance in ways that are daunting to understand completely let alone summarize. Suffice to say that terms like bounded rationality, confirmation bias, patriarchy, ethnocentrism, social memory, and the evolution of the Precautionary Principle in relation to Risk Management are discussed, analyzed and postulated about.

While much ignorance is really the absence of knowledge, ignorance can also be produced by warriors in ongoing economic, political and cultural battles.

Other examples of agnotology are “intelligent design” or faith based political economies, resistance to global warming, the car centered transportation culture...and of course whether unregulated investment banking is toxic or not.

Pride of ignorance is the biggest impediment for critical thinking individuals to overcome with efforts that appeal to simplistic economic euphemisms like free markets good/ govt regulation bad. The biggest lies are that totally unrestrained corporatism and “free” markets are best and bigger is better. Having faith that the economic fundamentals are supportive of the American dream is akin to so many individuals seemingly unable to evolve beyond Enlightenment understanding of the various religion myths.

One of the concepts that is missing in discussions is that the maximization of self-interest is rarely consistent with the maximization of social interest. A forum is need to reconcile the conflicts between self and social economic interests.

The unstated paradox of Agnotology is that it is the basis of more study of an obvious problem that rational people would consider antisocial behavior, which is what the big complaint is of agnotology claimants. The further frustration is that these studies do not include any proscriptions about making the efforts to propagate disinformation criminal.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 3 2016 3:57 utc | 26

#20 chipnik

Maybe it's time to go Bobbitt on that Esprit of the Obelisk.

Just don't forget a big umbrella - gonna need it!

Posted by: Quadriad | Oct 3 2016 4:38 utc | 27

psychohistorian@26 - Fascinating. Ponerology. Agnotology. So many books, so much evil, so little time. Proctor's book is now at the top of my wish list. Thanks for posting that.

You can find the complete Preface here

Posted by: PavewayIV | Oct 3 2016 4:43 utc | 28

The news coverage is appalling but the human interest stuff can be OK. It's like that everywhere nowadays.

Posted by: Secret Agent | Oct 3 2016 5:22 utc | 29

Worth watching - after a visit to Damascus -
(I never see this in the news reports - but I think it is important to note that Damascus is one of the oldest, continually inhabited cities on earth, at least four thousand years old. Leave it to the US to obliterate all remains of the cradle of the civilization.)

Posted by: GoraDiva | Oct 3 2016 6:04 utc | 30

Agnotology--"... term to describe the cultural production of ignorance (and its study)"

Indeed, that includes the compulsion to lie. The USG in 1972/3 sent out the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes with picture-drawings of male and female humans. The female genitals were erased because certain humans were ashamed of nudity. Have a look:

The idea of Pioneer 10 and 11 was demonstrate, should any intelligent beings in interstellar space discover the probes, what a lying civilization Earth had spawned?

Creating ignorance is often the result of fixed-ideas being implanted into infants by the age of 3. The child henceforth is blocked from rational thinking in many areas. Indeed, the child is unaware that notions and mental movies are doing his "thinking".

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 3 2016 6:07 utc | 31

Extrordinary article from B; a MOA is a necessary correction for understanding mind adjustment as practiced by MSM.

Posted by: euclidcreek | Oct 3 2016 6:26 utc | 32

That often requires ... perhaps most of all, an emotionally engaging frame of clearly identifiable good guys and bad guys.
Others commenting here at MoA have pointed up the nomination of ...
the "White Helmets", the fake "Syrian Civil Defense" created by the New Yorker PR company Purpose Inc., to make and distribute pictures and movies that show the Islamic insurgency in Syria as "good" and the Syrian government and its allies as "bad".
... for the Nobel Peace Prize (if the Nobel Peace Prize is not yet considered an albatross to be hung around the necks of frauds of the most cynical, worst sort since Obama mocked his) and the participation of Democracy Now (Amy Goldman), Code Pink (Medea Benjamin), and the Intercept (Glenn Greenwald) and Netfliks in pushing the nomination.

This is surely the creation of "good guys" (jihadist mercenaries) and of course corresponding "bad guys" (Assad and others who oppose the destruction and devastation of Syria).

There has got to be at least the whiff of being used to monstrously evil purpose at these organizations. There are no starry-eyed innocents here. And they are 'journalists' ... if they haven't discovered the truth about the White Helmets, what hope is there for the babes who suck their paps?

I can recommend Malooga's The Feckless Left, second from the top under 'Current Top Picks' on the title page at MoA for some treatment of ... well, the feckless left.

There is nothing new under the sun.

But why are people so easily manipulated? Consensus of course. And group think. Everybody wants to belong. @9

But I think there is a commercial/quasi commercial angle as well. To belong is profitable ton organization and so to its employees. The commercial angle is obvious for operations like Netfliks and the Intercept, and Democracy Now and Code Pink are NGOs, with their own little piglets nursing at their paps, just as do the employees of the commercial operations. Toeing the 'correct' line pays. Careerism is careerism, commercial or ngo no matter. Corporate structure is what counts.

I don't think the folks that patronize those four will be mailing b any contributions.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 3 2016 8:17 utc | 33

Inside the Shadowy PR Firm That’s Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria

Posing as a non-political solidarity organization, the Syria Campaign leverages local partners and media contacts to push the U.S. into toppling another Middle Eastern government.

Posted by: virgile | Oct 3 2016 8:47 utc | 34

I'd avoid talking politics in most professional contexts.

The MSM has lost power, young people stopped watching. But the Donald has managed to succeed in traditional media - by ratings and clicks.

Why Donald Trump is so outrageous

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2016 9:28 utc | 35


@74 gs, Al-Nusra Shariah spokesperson endorses White Helmets as mujahideen

In the latest video, an al-Nusra spokesman endorses the Nobel Peace prize candidates, the White Helmets, as mujahideen.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 3 2016 10:13 utc | 36

Any idea why India gets let off when it does worse in Kashmir and in their north East than Israel with the Palestinians? Rape is an interrogation tool for the Indian Army and they are legally protected by law.

Seems the Jews aren't all that powerful given the IDF take hits for what they do.

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Oct 3 2016 10:30 utc | 37

Our 'free press' - this institution has become so rotten I wonder if anything much can be done to redeem it at this point without some MAJOR social upheaval. I hate to take these nihilistic positions but even when the media is caught time after time pushing aggression and defending the indefensible, there is zero repercussions - monetarily, socially, legally or otherwise. Nor is there any gained perspective by the audience as a result, maybe that is what's most ironic. I have much more hope for the younger generation, they seem to have a slightly higher grasp as to the nature and mechanisms of power/control, but I fear their dissent and awareness will not manifest quick enough to avert the massive disasters the media are complicit in pushing. Scary and strange times surely

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Oct 3 2016 10:44 utc | 38

Be careful, the preservatives used in human vaccines for children are banned in animal husbandry. Concerns about them are part of the phenomena of agnotology(?). Might be mistaken.

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Oct 3 2016 10:48 utc | 39

Ponder the possibilities. It's certainly no accident - a decider (like Dubya) decides what gets reported, when, how, and with what intent. The decider is of course controlled by other deciders.

The People, meaning everyone, especially common people can learn ALL they want to know about Sports. Any sport. All the games, teams, stats, players, trades, salaries, owners, stadiums, and etc.

Yet, they know almost nothing about current US "activities" in the world.

The MSM is by design propaganda, disinformation, obfuscation and entertainment with a lot of information about sports (entities like war which also just so happens to make rich men richer).

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 3 2016 11:07 utc | 40

We, that is the USA, are not the "good guys". "We" wage war to enrich individuals and multi-national corporations which "act and plan in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state".

These ppl are so enriched with money and power that they are stateless insofar as they can live in any number of places in absolute comfort. They covet the world's resources and they use the state's military to kill to get these resources.

Nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. - Brzezinski in 1981

This is not to say that Russia or any other state is the "good guy". Russia also is interested in resources.

Of course, The US (NATO) has been antagonizing Russia for years.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Oct 3 2016 12:58 utc | 43

The biggest problem with Taub's article is that it assumes that "American interests" are the same as the interests of ordinary citizens.

The notion that the US is a classless, 'post-racial' society is a 'big lie'. The interests of "the 99%" differ markedly from the interests of "the 1%". Its the interests of 1%-ers that are threatened in Syria and that's why the media pushes covers it.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 3 2016 13:13 utc | 44

ff @43

Russia has most of the resources it needs for "expansion" within its own borders, unlike the USSA. In fact Russia stands to improve its Food Security while the rest of the world suffers from Climate Change.

Posted by: Enrico Malatesta | Oct 3 2016 13:48 utc | 45

The main reason why the propaganda is this time XXL compared to 2003 is that US/UK methods have been applied to many more countries. Add the financial crisis and you get why journalists are unanimous in their submission: they want to keep their job rather than ending up a new homeless in their own neighborhood.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 3 2016 14:09 utc | 46


"Aside from that, most Americans in Military, Government, Fed Bank and Corporate Technocracy of The Chosen think they are Exceptional ..."

There, fixed it for you. I can assure you that *most* Americans know they are royally fvcked, have no chance at retirement unless they expatriate to a 3W hellhole, and know
that 'elder care' is just MIC spox psyop for 'pharmaceutical for-profit bone grinder'.

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 3 2016 14:13 utc | 47

Posted by: Mina | Oct 3, 2016 10:09:51 AM | 46
Homeless might not be the worst of it.

To silence Wikileaks secretary of state clinton proposed drone strike on Julian Assange

The collective fear was the context of the secret cables would hamper U.S. intelligence gathering and compromise private correspondences and intelligence shared with foreign governments and opposition leaders. Splashing such juicy details on television news shows and the front pages of major newspapers in the country was great for the media but lousy for intelligence and foreign policy.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2016 14:16 utc | 48


To be entirely fair, the media and the medium should not be confused.

A 3-year old is being exposed to a dumbed-down pampered subset of reality by their loving parents unless they live on the street, slum shacks or in a landfill. Our children are exposed to a for-profit education institution populated largely by women with limited knowledge of STEM, history or politics, that just the actual teacher demographics/

Teenagers are scrambling around in a for-profit education and consumerist tidal wave, everyone stepping on everyone climbing the ladder up from the steerage compartment where the discarded elderly are starved, abused, tortured and drowned. We used to live across from an elderly couple and their adult son who was poaching their SS checks. One morning the mother scrawled 'HELP US' on the fogged-up airshaft window. There are millions like her, and tens of millions of stories like this, you can see it every day...if you look.

So it's really not about the 'media'. MSM is really tinsel and glitter bullshit for the Elites, just polishing the brass spittoons, and spritzing some cologne on their whores.

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 3 2016 14:25 utc | 49

Will we exist tomorrow & The US Constitution has been Murdered

Both extensive coverage current events where controlled media push
War and deception on the public.

Posted by: Brad | Oct 3 2016 14:41 utc | 50

b - Back in 2013, congress amended and passed under the NDAA Smith-Mundt Modernization of 2012 -

"The Broadcast Board of Governors, which produces programming like the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, has been prevented from aiming its programming at Americans since the 1970's when the Smith-Mundt Act (which authorized the State Dept. to communicate with foreign audiences via many methods, radio being one of them) was amended to prohibit domestic dissemination of the BBG's broadcasts. This was done to distance the State Department's efforts from the internal propaganda machine operated by the Soviet Union."

"Now, the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 (part of the National Defense Authorization Act) has repealed the domestic prohibition, allowing the government's broadcasting to be directed at/created for Americans for the first time in over 40 years."

What this amendment achieved is the fact that all of MSM may now use State's 'talking points' in their reports. Once upon a time, the press used field reporters to report the news. When was the last time anyone saw a CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS journalist reporting from say Syria or Yemen or Iraq or ...? The 'modernization' of the act has achieved one thing, that is, alt news, like MoA, are indeed taking the place of what journalism once used to be in this country b/c few who wish to truly know what is happening in a war theater do not want to read the same pro State Dept talking points from one mainstream outlet to another.

Posted by: h | Oct 3 2016 14:53 utc | 51


I think for the immediate future of US-EU, you're going to need a book on scatology, lol.

There isn't any doubt the Banksters worked to mark to market the financial system and pirate our lost savings, that much is self-evident. But saving the TBTF by transferring their fraudulent synthetic collateral debt swaps onto the public Treasury has clearly bankrupted the whole western world, not any different than the sinking of the Titanic.

I'm old enough to remember push carts, and apples and pencils for sale on street corners.
Look at the dashboards! WalMart profits falling, Amazon profits falling, the only surge left is the 'disruptor' pirates, crashing the last remaining franchised and unionized plays, ...then it's no different than 3W tuk-tuks and curb-side market stalls economy.

There are no firewalls for QEn and ZIRP. The debt, which is THEIR debt laid on OUR backs will be $25T by 2020, then increase sharply after that as MENA oil wars spike energy costs, as QEn continues to spike housing costs, as automation and offshoring leave a 'gigger' economy barely surviving on the Fifth Quintile spending by the last pre-warehoused retired elderly cohort. That's where the last wealth resides.

As the Ship of State sinks lower into the frozen sea and costs inevitably rise, those Chosen Elites will flee to their expat playgrounds with their untaxed retirement funds, Fifth Quintile left in US-EU will be matrixed-up in for-profit elder warehouses, then the consumerist spending economy will finally implode, and the Big Chill Hunger Games begin.

At that point, Agnotology has no significance. Just a squeezebox at an Irish funeral.

Posted by: chipnik | Oct 3 2016 14:54 utc | 52

In Jan 2014, the carefully vetted moderate headchoppers aka the FSA drove two large VBIEDs towards the Kindi hospital north of Aleppo. The two explosions more or less totally destroyed the hospital. The explosions were sufficently massive that they created mushroom clouds.

or via login bypass

There was total MSM silence over that.

Posted by: Yonatan | Oct 3 2016 14:57 utc | 53

22;Can't let the BS pass;Just what evil has Donald Trump committed?The HB has a documented trail of evil,lies and corruption,while Trumps biggest alleged crime is he had his tax returns illegally published by Zion,showing he had a billion dollar loss.
Really now.
Its all lies from Zion,gang.Saudi Arabia is an ally of Israel,which makes it bulletproof.Same with IsUS,Alciada,and Al nUSrA.
Which points to US being nothing other than their tool in hegemony,which is why Donald Trump is necessary for the world and US to escape this insanity of a minute % of the worlds population controlling and manipulating every nation into idiocy.
Nice article delineating the Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich at CP.
The Guardian;Brentwood LI NY teens killed because of gangs.
Saw nothing in the lying times(paywall?)as the news only boosts Trump,as the perps are MS 13.Same with the Turk Washington state assassin story,gone with the breeze.San Bernadino,Orlando and even the recent NYC bomb story,all non stories,except for that one about the 2 Egypt air guys finding the suitcase and leaving the bomb.
Actually I saw no follow up today to that disconcerting report.What were the odds of those 2 finding that in a city of 8 million?Like throwing pennies off the WTC(gone of course) and landing in a dixie cup.(Lotto odds)

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 3 2016 15:09 utc | 54

About MSM coverage and Russophobia.

here is a "debate of sorts" on Russian cyberattacks.:

What do you think of Kasparov? Can he ever be PM or President of the Russian Federation without outside Help?

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 3 2016 15:43 utc | 55

Posted by: jfl | Oct 3, 2016 4:17:29 AM | 33

"But I think there is a commercial/quasi commercial angle as well. To belong is profitable [to an] organization and so to its employees. The commercial angle is obvious for operations like Netfliks and the Intercept, and Democracy Now and Code Pink are NGOs, with their own little piglets nursing at their paps, just as do the employees of the commercial operations. Toeing the 'correct' line pays. Careerism is careerism, commercial or ngo no matter. Corporate structure is what counts."

This kind of comparison may not be just or correct. NGOs are, in the sense that counts, agents of the government, and willing conduits of governmental projects, psyops, and covert military actions within a foreign country. One has to go back to definitions and the meaning of words, in order to proceed correctly in an argument. Media Benjamin, Any Goodman, Glenn Greenwald are being slandered by such a comparison. Are you saying that based on their contributions, their participation in protest and journalism, they are acting on behalf of the government?

In person, I have seen Code Pink in action, in Dallas, at the protest of the opening of the hideous G. W. Bush Library and "Museum". These women are for real and I trust them and believe their motivations are sincere.

These people and their organizations have done a great deal to educate people, to expose acts of injustice, and have risked punishment and even their lives, in the process. Amy Goodman is someone who has stuck her neck out in the non-pixel world. It's people like her who sometimes get knocked around and detained, who are sometimes abused and beaten by uniformed goons, or who have run the risk of a government suppression that potentially could shatter their careers and their families.

Democracy Now is not the fucking NED, for crying out loud!

Posted by: Copeland | Oct 3 2016 15:47 utc | 56

@Carl D, 55

What do you think of Kasparov? Can he ever be PM or President of the Russian Federation without outside Help?

Even with the outside help, even if all US Department Of State budget will be spent on Kasparov's campaign, even with the help of 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, chances of Kasparov becoming PM or President of Russia are approaching zero.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Oct 3 2016 15:49 utc | 57

Kasparov ruined his chances to become president of RU by being an obvious puppet of the West, much like nobody in Syria would vote for whatever "opposition president" for the day is. Unless ofc US manages coup in Russia like in Ukraine and elsewhere, which is nearly impossible at this point.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 3 2016 16:02 utc | 58

@58, Harry

Kasparov ruined his chances to become president of RU by being an obvious puppet of the West

He never had those chances in the first place and it has very little to do with his support from the West. Western "liberalism" in the form it is preached by Kasparov or his ilk simply has no chances in Russia, period. And it is all for the better. Basically what is known as Russian "westernizing" liberalism is dead. Good riddance.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Oct 3 2016 16:37 utc | 59

The metastasizing expanding universe of lies is somewhat explained by the need to lie further to cover the lie, and so on. Here we use the word 'lie' broadly to include censorship - missing important information - and psyops.

More specifically, basic problems include: the CIA via its ambitious attempt to control global communications via operation Mockingbird and its progeny, which includes university texts and various 'alternative' media;

the disproportionate media domination - 'by way of deception' - by Talmudic warped minds, who revel in scamming and destroying 'the other', is death to integrity;

concentrated corporate media control that in any case disappears any effective oppositional narrative;

a conglomeration of financial, military and corporate juggernauts conjoined with political, media and institutional corruption (the latter includes FBI, FDA, etc) who have the financial means to concoct any manner of bs;

'reporters' who are schooled since birth in iniquity and bs and who place a paycheck above all else;

a massive paid-to-manipulate advertising industry that has spawned subsidiaries like the 'crisis actor' industry, though the flunkee Sandy Hook actors will not win any legit acting awards, but maybe if they work on it, tomorrow....?;

a public that is poisoned, demoralized, manipulated and lied to from birth.

But the omnipresent problem for the bs is this: the universe does not play let's pretend, and on the whole, by a wide margin, people still prefer integrity. The truth can be bitter, or sweet, or bitter-sweet. But it is not bs.

Posted by: canuck | Oct 3 2016 16:54 utc | 60

@ SmoothieX12 | 59

Your nationalism gets the better of you, Western liberalism in Russia isnt as dead as you would like it to be. It was very much alive not so long ago, and just because Putin swung scales the other way, doesnt mean its permanent, or without a danger of setbacks. There are still very powerful and influential politicians and oligarchs in Russia who like liberalism or West in general, and Putin isnt going to be in power forever either. Even today, Putin still has to pay attention to their interests and balance it with his ruling, his hands may be more free than Obamas, but not as free as some thinks.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 3 2016 17:26 utc | 61

MSM operates under certain rules. I'd recommend watching Colin Flaherty on youtube. You may or may not consider him racist, but he exposes the operating procedures when it comes to crime reporting (He focuses on Black on White/Asian/Hispanic crime.)

Posted by: bbbb | Oct 3 2016 17:40 utc | 62

Re Kasparov

I believe the Duma should strip him of Russian citizenship. In the debate of reference, he is siding with enemies of Russia and shows no patriotism at all. Ambition blinds him.

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 3 2016 17:41 utc | 63

Must have hit a nerve in my previous post (#22 above).

There seems to be a misunderstanding regarding the citizens of the US. It seems that something needs to be blamed for the way the American people react: poor leadership, the MSM, the education system ... whatever. I aver: is it not possible that leadership, the MSM and the education system ARE exactly what the people of the US want? That the greed and insistence on exceptionally indispensable is what we want to hear, and therefore our leaders, the MSM and the educational system are actually on target for the typical Americans interests and desires?

I suspect so ... doncha know?

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 3 2016 18:08 utc | 64

@61, Harry

Your nationalism gets the better of you, Western liberalism in Russia isnt as dead as you would like it to be. It was very much alive not so long ago, and just because Putin swung scales the other way, doesnt mean its permanent, or without a danger of setbacks. There are still very powerful and influential politicians and oligarchs in Russia who like liberalism or West in general, and Putin isnt going to be in power forever either

Situational awareness is a bitch, isn't it? The only barrier which stands between overwhelming majority of Russian people and so called "western liberals" hanging from the lamp posts or being strung on pitch forks is none other than Putin. What my "nationalism" has anything to do with the cultural reality of Russia where today a vast majority of people look at Europe and USA not only with disdain but with contempt. The fact of those "liberals" still being around in the corridors of power is not due to the will of Russian people but due to their executive appointments by powers that be. The combined West has committed a cultural suicide in Russia but than again, how would I know this. You also, evidently, do not understand the scale of what is happening in Ukraine and I mean "scale" as in much larger context than some economic or military numbers.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Oct 3 2016 18:56 utc | 65

@63, CarlD.

I believe the Duma should strip him of Russian citizenship.

No, it shouldn't. He has to be regularly shown on TV and has his views propagated. Not that he wasn't a freak before, let him completely discredit himself (I wonder if it is even possible) and meanwhile complete a cycle of immunization of Russians against "values" he preaches.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Oct 3 2016 19:05 utc | 66

Posted by: h | Oct 3, 2016 10:53:01 AM | 51

Interesting info. Thanks.

Posted by: MRW | Oct 3 2016 19:18 utc | 67

But why are people so easily manipulated?

We are social animals, live in groups, and must do so to survive. We get a huge proportion of our world-view, or information, simply from what other ppl tell us, and not directly from our senses (to take up a sorta old distinction), or our own experience - our actions, what happened next, i.e. from accomodation, adjustement to real-world perceivable interactions with other living beings and/or the physical world.

We are tribal members and follow laid-down, ingrained, agreed-on, beliefs and ideologies, or ‘theories’ - ‘interpretative lenses’ and so on.

Read some trivial study (bowlderized here) where older babies and dogs were shown how to use a lever and open a box to get a treat - as demonstrated by an adult human. The lever was purely for show, inoperative, the trick was to hedge off/up the lid of the box in xyz way. The dogs learnt quickly to open the box and ignored the lever, did not action it. The kiddos always pulled the lever and also went on to open the box with success: they adopted and performed a magical and arbitrary act without question, in a more complex 2-step process.

We live in a universe of stories, symbols, conventions, arbitrary ways-of-doing. We have to listen and integrate the narratives, the templates, the glorious aims, the way-forward. This is not primarily a question of belief in, and bowing down to authority (powerful of course; and coercion either violent or insidious works, as does ejection of refusniks, pariahs, etc.), but a matter of acting in concert, of being in tune, to dominate and exploit the plant/ animal/ various ressource etc. of Earth.

In a largely globalised world, where most of the information outside of the local, individual grasp of the person or tiny group, is regulated by the State (education .. ) and the Media, and comes in the form of prop speech / prose and shock / other visuals, which makes humans very vulnerable to, or even entirely dependent on, world-views that are engineered somehow for small-group or personal gain. Add in, when things go to sh*t, competition and rapine or just killing as some solution (war..) override collaboration and cooperation. Not ‘new’ but the scale (weapons, etc.) is.

Cheers! Drinks on me.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 3 2016 21:27 utc | 68

"The dogs learnt quickly to open the box and ignored the lever, did not action it. The kiddos always pulled the lever ..." Noirette @68

It reminds me when my son told something about his friend in preschool: "He speaks Polish at home". Except his friend was Chinese, so the reconstruction of the acquisition of this belief goes like that: we decided to raise our son as a bilingual one, for several reason, one being that expose to another culture has tangible benefits for kids. But you do not tell three year old "you will have tangible benefits from talking one language with your parents and another with teachers and friend". Instead, he learned that he is not a nice kid if he talks with us in English, so his preschool friend, assuredly a nice kid, assuredly also speaks Polish at home. And adults make similar inferences.

Thus kids early on learn to adhere to "useless conventions" to be part of a group, a group of friends in school, their family etc., and pulling the lever became a part of the proper convention to get treats. And in the society, expressing beliefs is an important type of "bonding convention". It is often the case that the "bonding beliefs" are inconsistent, and people who profess them are not stupid, so in some sense, they are "quasi beliefs". Like little children in the above example could be tempted to skip pulling the lever, but since the adults (responsible for replenishing the box) explained that step, they could loose the status of "nice children" with negative implications on the quantity and the quality of the treats.

Dogs also have their social conventions, but their interactions are much simpler, and also guided by sense of smell when they need to differentiate between friend and foe etc. An action like pulling a lever would never influence group acceptance.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 3 2016 22:22 utc | 69

A brilliant, devastating critique. Bravo.
I follow you regularly, comment occasionally. Nobody's doing Syria better. Keep up the good work.
Posted this on my FB page, at:

Posted by: The Polemicist | Oct 3 2016 22:28 utc | 70

Awesome take on what our media is feeding us. Yes, the way the Syrian story is told there's nothing going on in Aleppo but guys with white helmets and children who play in buildings. Russians and Syrians are (oxymoron alert) indiscriminately targeting hospitals and buildings with children in them. But Yemen? Nothing going on there. South America and the Colombian vote on FARC? never heard of it.

I read Amusing Ourselves To Death a few years ago. One major point Postman made was that when the news media becomes entertainment or newstainment, all bets are off on the people being informed.
Here's part of an interview.
and he's right. In the US, we throw insane amounts of money at the entertainment/media industry so we do have the best. But is it good for you especially when you intake so much of it or your news gets so skewed? A year or so ago, some journalist locked himself in a room to watch Russian TV networks for a long period of time. He skewered them. But Russians do not throw so much at what is produced on the tube - or as my mother once called it, "the idiot box."

Posted by: Curtis | Oct 3 2016 23:19 utc | 71

Well, chipnik is back and in good form I would say..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 3 2016 23:55 utc | 72

@56 copeland 'Media Benjamin, Any Goodman, Glenn Greenwald are being slandered by such a comparison. Are you saying that based on their contributions, their participation in protest and journalism, they are acting on behalf of the government?'

No, I'm saying that Code Pink, Democracy Now, the Intercept are all corporate structures and that Media Benjamin, Any Goodman, Glenn Greenwald are their employees. Let's say that each of them are better than the average corporate employee. That all of them are better men/women than I am. Yet none of them runs the corporation to which they belong, or are just associated with, but they each draw their sustenance from their respective corp.

All organizations take on a life of their own. If you are drawing your sustenance - financial, emotional, whatever - from a corporation, you are working in the interests of that corporation ... wily, nily ... whether that corporation is governmental, non-governmental, 'spiritual', or 'for profit'. Your present arrangements derive from the corporation: what's good for the corporation is good for you.

It is the corporate body in each case that has decided publicly to place its sympathies with the White Helmets in this particular case. I maintain that Media Benjamin, Any Goodman, Glenn Greenwald should be aware of the actual provenance of the White Helmets, if they are not. (b is, and he's not associated with a high-powered corporate NGO. Perhaps for exactly that reason?) Yet they all remain associated with the stance of their particular employer.

Complicit or incompetent? Take your pick. Or perhaps they're just 'too busy' ... doing good, or doing well? ... to check out the positions of the corporations they work for? are 'unwilling' dupes? "If I knew then what I know now ...".

It's not hard to imagine the incentives for a corporation to conform to the master corporate line of the US/NATO/the 'international community', nor is it difficult to imagine the disincentives for not conforming. People choose their battles.

The White Helmets 'save children's lives and are above the fray'. Not unlike your own corporation, no? No one - but b and other 'free lance' media - is rocking that boat, in fact your corporation will add critical mass to the popular misconception, sort of a self-fulfilling insurance policy. And you'll just be going along to get along.

Check out Malooga. I'm sure you have. Organization, the ongoing act, is our only means of effecting change. The organization, the fossilized embodiment of hierarchy and resources, our shoes of clay.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 4 2016 1:51 utc | 73


Posted by: sophi | Oct 4 2016 10:07 utc | 74

The post indeed a eye opener. I watched some expensive movies on one of my free movie apps This is a great application to watch movies and shows for free. This application is available for both android and ios users. This is a great companion to spend your time

Posted by: gerath | Oct 4 2016 10:11 utc | 75

64;Again,the MSM,the education system deciders of curriculum,and the politicians are all zionists or whores.
And Canada is worse,as they have more snow to work with up there.
As Chip says,Americans know they are being screwed,and the smarter ones,who want off the zionist squirrel cage,will vote Trump.
Purists and hopefully,please God,the zionists will be on the outs at last.
And if you don't think the scum know,watch the Trump assassination daily for confirmation.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 4 2016 12:16 utc | 76

One of your best articles B, thorough and convincing.

Posted by: Jim McKay | Oct 4 2016 12:35 utc | 77

Chipnik: The US 7-Day War with the nefarious dark-skinned Grenadians, (shudder), under Reagan yielded more than 1,000 service medals and countless ribbons, which goes towards higher service pay, which goes towards higher pensions for life. Naturally, the Pentagon was reluctant to state who got those medals.

NYT, March 30 1984. In response to questions, the Army said it awarded 275 decorations for valor, for combat deaths or wounds.

Beyond that, it said, it gave out 8,337 medals for individual performance. These included 4,581 commendation medals, 2,495 achievement medals, 681 Bronze Stars and a variety of other decorations.

''Many support and staff personnel received these awards for their support of the Grenada operation outside of the actual combat zone or for service in Grenada after hostilities had ceased,'' the Army said. Awards by Unit Commanders

It indicated that the decisions on awards were made by unit commanders. The 82d Airborne Division led with 6,708 individual awards.


Grenada invasion remains the finest hour of US armed forces. One could also add a peacekeeping effort in Lebanon, also under Reagan, where all participants were decorated, but, alas, posthumously. Lebanon remains a mess, while Grenada remains a stable ally. Thus I would recommend search for small island nations where most of the populations are Protestants, know English etc. Tuvalu was not supportive of American interests, so one could downgrade them to a "hostile regime".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 4 2016 14:48 utc | 78

Sorry for incomplete research. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps also participated in the Grenada operation (I am not sure about the Coast Guard and National Park rangers), so the total count of decorations is higher.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 4 2016 14:51 utc | 79

The Guardian has an article on Yemen. Somehow there is quite a bit more on the topic in UK than in USA, and more MPs oppose selling weapons to the "coalition".

Of course, I do not expect the starving Yemeni baby to be plastered on cover pages of newspapers around the world like "Aleppo boy" (not the boy whose decapitation was proudly taped by the moderate rebels). And given the magnitude of the human-engineered humanitarian crisis, the article is very scant on judgment, unlike articles on Syria. Not a word on the role of USA which provides full diplomatic support (UK too, of course) and pockets enormous amounts of blood money for weapons that cause and enforce starvation. Or what kind of "legitimate president" demands such fate on his ungrateful citizens -- the whole tragedy is allegedly upholding the principle of "legitimate government".

I often ponder the logic of such pieces. Is it a journalistic effort to provide "true news" within the straightjacket imposed by the media owners? Or from the beginning, the strategy of "brand maintenance", to mix utter propaganda with enough seasoning of "objectivity and facing inconvenient news" to improve digestibility of the propaganda? Kind of like "whole wheat bread" that is barely better than the nutritional and taste-wise wasteland of "sliced white bread" but nevertheless has a more interesting color, a bit more fiber and an occasional molecule of a vitamin. When you order "whole wheat" (or read The Guardian) you are sophisticated, health conscious etc as befits the member of the liberal tribe.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 5 2016 7:36 utc | 80

@80 nicely-crafted little piece, PB

Brand maintenance - exactly. Not just the Guardian, of course, they (NYTimes, WaPo, LATimes ...) all do it.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 5 2016 7:46 utc | 81


Interesting revelations from ZeroHedge today:

What a web we weave when …

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Oct 5 2016 11:21 utc | 82

After watching Monday's edition of's Media Watch, and the host's failure (along with the rest of the Jew-controlled Western MSM) to explain the Trump Phenomenon, I think I've figured it out.
Near the end of the program, Media Watch showed some screenshots of online comments citing Les Moonves, CEO of CBS (and a Jew). Les is DELIGHTED with Trump and has unlimited CBS space and airtime to devote to Trump stories because Trump IS NEWS and News makes MONEY for CBS and 2016 is going to be VERY PROFITABLE for CBS.

So here's the theory...
Zionist Jews are haters and are very good at dreaming up fatuous Identity Politics reasons to hate people, groups, countries, ideas and anything else that doesn't suit them (like Assad, Saddam and Qaddafi). Their lies are always laced with crocodile tears/ images/ fairy tales which cut through gullible people's bullshit detectors like a hot knife through warm butter (eg "Killing His Own People!" "Iran Is An Existential Threat (to the Shitty Little Country!"))

It is therefore no coincidence that Trump is being demonised (by the Jew-controlled MSM) in a manner similar to their demonisation of Saddam, Qaddafi and Assad. But there are several minor but important differences:

1. Trump can get publicity in AmeriKKKa and he's good at getting the publicity He wants. (Qaddafi, Saddam and Assad were denied access to the MSM, by the MSM, making it very easy to tell unchallenged, pro-Yinon/ Axis of Evil/ Fake War on Islam lies about them).
2. Trump is in AmeriKKKa and that makes it virtually impossible for the MSM to successfully lie about, or ignore him.
3. Ironically, gravy train issues, and Trump's uniqueness, versatility and curiosity value, have thus trumped anti-Trump ideology, mainly because ebullient & jocular Trump can't be portrayed as an EEvil Military-Security Complex-endorsed International Security threat, having been APPROVED as a kosher candidate by one half of the two-party political establishment.

These bizarre and contradictory (J-C) MSM conflicts of interest all but guarantee that Trump will be POTUS in 2017. Unfortunately, it won't be clear who outsmarted whom until President Trump starts keeping, or breaking, promises in 2017-18.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 5 2016 15:33 utc | 83

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