Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 24, 2020

Lying With Headlines

'Lying With Headlines' should be a special classification category in propaganda studies.

This one, from the Washington Post, is a great example:

Hong Kong police arrest activist Joshua Wong for wearing a mask as repression deepens


bigger

Those 90% of the readers who only skim headlines and look at the pictures will now believe that the Hong Kong rabble rouser (and friend of the neocons) Joshua Wong was arrested for wearing a medical protection mask during the pandemic.

That is however far from the truth. As the South China Morning Post correctly headlines:

Hong Kong opposition activist Joshua Wong arrested over illegal assembly and anti-mask law:

Hong Kong opposition activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung was arrested on Thursday for allegedly taking part in an illegal assembly last year.
...
Wong said police had also accused him of breaching the anti-mask law, which banned people from covering their faces during protests.

The laws under which Wong is accused were enacted in Hong Kong before China stepped in and amended the local constitution to tighten security legislation. The arrest has thereby nothing to do with the "deepening repression" the Washington Post alleges. 

Manipulative headlines are usual for tabloids to increase their sensationalism. Serious papers should refrain from such annoying manipulations. 

Posted by b on September 24, 2020 at 15:00 UTC | Permalink

Comments

WaPo can not be considered a serious paper since several years.

Posted by: mac | Sep 24 2020 15:06 utc | 1

@ b who wrote
"
Serious papers should refrain from such annoying manipulations.
"
Those manipulations may be annoying to some but are very effective it has been shown so are used regularly.

Your reference to "serious papers" makes it sound like there are some or were some that are/were not always pushing a meme. I think all serious papers are pushing a meme and one doesn't see it if it reflects that person's reality.

And furthermore, I have no doubt that there is coordination among the serious papers within empire to push current important memes. Do folks think that the Washington Post is the only rag that will misrepresent this event?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 24 2020 15:28 utc | 2

in all fairness...what a f_cking stupid law. they did that in the states and canada ("no guy fawkes for you!") and it was dumb then but during a pandemic it's quite stupid and short sighted; especially for the usually "chess not checkers" chinese. then again the hong kong protestors (and anti-maskers in the west) are the exact people i'd like to see infected.

Posted by: the pair | Sep 24 2020 15:58 utc | 3

WaPo isn’t known as Pravda on the Potomac for nothing.

Posted by: Patrick Walker | Sep 24 2020 15:59 utc | 4

So old hat.
Headlines are always used for lying and exaggeration - now referred to as click-bait.
Goes along with quotes out of context.
The over-reaction to this foundational technique strikes me as curious.

Also in defense of us skimmers, we scan headlines until we find something which suggests information that is somehow useful or interesting or somehow adds to our understanding. I think that is the purpose of headlines to allow reader to select articles of interest. Even if I read the article I generally skim it - blah, blah, blah ... corruption, torture, lying, beheadings ... I think there is a problem with written communication - it promotes hysteria rather than understanding or something like that.

A method I find more troubling and widely used is pictures which show a particular facial expression as if reacting to the subject of the article or in a contrived context which would seem to support the subject of the article. Visual dishonesty is difficult to combat psychologically.

Posted by: jared | Sep 24 2020 16:28 utc | 5

Might that misleading headline have some relation to these from today's Global Times: "Deployment of US forces to Taiwan means war: Global Times editorial" and "Returning US forces to Taiwan will ‘trigger reunification-by-force operation’"? (Links, excerpts and brief analysis are at Open Thread.)

As psychohistorian notes, coordination of memes and overall Narrative is what has made the Outlaw US Empire's propaganda machine so powerful over the years--over 100 years of practice. Who encouraged the writers at Military Review, "the professional bimonthly journal of the US Army," to write their papers given the fact that they propose crossing China's Red Lines regarding Taiwan, which are no secret?

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2020 16:53 utc | 6

psychohistorian @2 - Well, I do not indulge in most MSM and can only (barely) tolerate the two forms that, since my husband's death, I still - sorta - pay attention (gotta know what the latest Orwellian shit is, in order to steel oneself against it) to NPR and the BBC World Service (WS). And they - give or take the odd word - repeat WaPo (NPR thus far; but doubtless the Beeb WS will fanfare the same Lies, Newspeak).

How can anyone with two halves of a brain to rub together believe *anything* that these self-called "impartial news" spreaders (I'm minded of muck spreaders - sorry agricultural analogy, but actually appropriate) disseminate. Dreadfully, all too many among the well-educated (thus making starkly apparent that university ain't all it might be cracked up to be) believe the rubbish.

Posted by: Anne | Sep 24 2020 16:55 utc | 7

@ Anne

I think you have it about right - we need to move beyond the amazement that the msm/government are lying to us. Rather use that knowledge to aid understanding and for educational purposes.

People are easily manipulated and prone to believing what they want to believe. And the internet is the perfect medium for reaching and stimulating the mentally weak. We've got to take it up a notch.

Assume everyone is lying and manipulating.

Posted by: jared | Sep 24 2020 17:10 utc | 8

psychohistorian | Sep 24 2020 15:28 utc | 2

And furthermore, I have no doubt that there is coordination among the serious papers within empire to push current important memes. Do folks think that the Washington Post is the only rag that will misrepresent this event?
I think I would go further and say that it seems that all the members of the MSM coordinate their "News", "serious" and frivolous alike.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Sep 24 2020 17:36 utc | 9

jared | Sep 24 2020 16:28 utc | 5

A method I find more troubling and widely used is pictures which show a particular facial expression as if reacting to the subject of the article or in a contrived context which would seem to support the subject of the article. Visual dishonesty is difficult to combat psychologically.

Yes, I would agree with that! A further example is: the frequent use of a picture of a prison at the start of an article about re-education in Xinjiang.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Sep 24 2020 17:45 utc | 10

The first half of today's Keiser Report is all about memes and intangibles, and is fascinating and terrifying simultaneously when the consequences are considered. Just 12 minutes of your time!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2020 17:47 utc | 11

Headlines are an interesting example of the medium affecting the message. It's not so much about the intent to deceive (lying) but about communicating the cliches, the most stereotypical interpretation.
The effect is that it magnifies the deceit and the job tends to attract people who want to create a catchy title and see no problem in this kind of distortion.
The article tells us that good guy Joshua Wong is arrested by bad guy China for reasons which are totally unfair. The title emphasizes that.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Sep 24 2020 17:50 utc | 12

Many countries have Anti-mask laws:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-mask_law

Posted by: Keith McClary | Sep 24 2020 18:00 utc | 13

The New York Times, the Washington Post, mainstream TV -- the leading propagandists for the newly-coined 'Vichy Press'.

Posted by: chet380 | Sep 24 2020 18:11 utc | 14

What continues to amaze me is how gullible the Western public is, or perceived to be by the ruling elites. The corporate media lie openly and yet the public still seems ready to take their words for it. If there is a population truly oppressed, it is the West.

Posted by: Steve | Sep 24 2020 18:24 utc | 15

While I can’t condone arrests of political opposition, particularly a full year after the alleged offense, I do understand why the Chinese government would decide to just rid themselves of this foreign-supported problem, criticism be damned. The “ 5 demands not one less” crew seriously damaged the short term interests of their city and its people, and did so without a viable political program other than sabotaging the status quo. They were nihilists rather than activists.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 24 2020 18:49 utc | 16

"as repression deepens" . . .It's all a part of Sinophobia Inc: Understanding the Anti-China Industrial Complex.
-- from Qiao Collective - excerpt:
The fact that Western public opinion on China is marching in lockstep with the State Department’s call for Cold War aggression reflects the convergence of state, military, and corporate media interests which monopolize our media ecosystem. . .In order to mount a sustained challenge to the New Cold War on China, the anti-war movement must develop a critical media literacy with which to see through this imperialist media machine. . .h/t Pepe

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 24 2020 18:50 utc | 17

Manipulative headlines are meant to serve a greater purpose. Use to be to sell papers. With this story it seems about fostering a hate China agenda for its DC establishment readers. I thought that was just a Trump thing. Guess not.

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Sep 24 2020 20:15 utc | 18

Psychohistorian @ 2, Foolisholdman @ 9:

It's easy for the so-called serious news media to coordinate their reporting when they all rely on the same sources as dictated by their owners or the intel agents embedded aming their reporting staff.

For example much if not most of the reporting in the Western MSM on China's supposed repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang traces back to a small number of sources, usually "human rights" groups with Washington DC or Los Angeles addresses or a fervent born-again End Times / Rapturist Christian (Adrian Zenz) who believes he's been tasked by God to expose Chinese human rights violations and help gwt rid of the CCP?

In Australia (where I live), the serious news media get all their news from the BBC, the NYT and WaPo. They don't send their own people overseas as foreign correspondents any more. All part of a vicious circle: losing readership, money and advertising revenue, they are cutting costs and cutting staff, and relying on overseas news outlets instead of doing their own work.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 24 2020 20:25 utc | 19

We have to remember that protest masks evolved as a direct result of police survalance tactics, the same as hoody’s also black bloc. They are a counter measure to misused or over use of survalance. We had the —- infringement of public libertys s debate years ago. We were against survalance as it was one more step in the direction of fascism, dictatorship, police state. Those reasons still stand ! More so now than ever before. Repression doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly so you get used to it, accept it, it becomes normalised. Masks are defenceve.
China is facing a western destabalisation attempt in Hong Kong from the west. Protesters in the west mostly are activists protectecting civel libertys, ther are clear distinctions to be made. A nicety the press tend to overlook deliberately. Don’t trust the press.
Put it another way ——
What b said.

Posted by: Mark2 | Sep 24 2020 20:34 utc | 20

What's new...the WaPo got it wong.

Posted by: Jason | Sep 24 2020 21:00 utc | 21

I'll take your word for it, B. I refuse to visit the Neocon Post or any of its mainstream friends as a matter of principal.

Posted by: Nick | Sep 24 2020 21:59 utc | 22

Here's another example:

"Warning US Democracy Under Threat 'Like Never Before,' Sanders Outlines Plan to Stop Trump's Authoritarian Takeover: 'This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy—and democracy must win.'"

Lots to deconstruct. First, is the Outlaw US Empire a democracy? If so--and then, even if it isn't--is it really "under threat like never before"? Which entities are more authoritarian, Trump or the DNC that prevented Sanders nomination which ensured Trump's 2016 victory? Is Joe Biden the embodiment of democracy as implied? And that's just a beginning.

And we must also ask about the underlying aim of those directing the action from behind the curtain. I see multiple possibilities there.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 24 2020 22:13 utc | 23

Ambigous, misleading and biased headlines have become the norm of news outlets to attract reader's attention. Most readers don't bother reading the details and never read page 9 where the editor apologizes for the previous days wrong headline.
This is a case of opinion manipulation that is normally associated with a dictatorship. But we are in a democracy where freedom of speech is abused and unpunished. News have become the disguised manipulator allowed to propagate fiction and lies in total impunity.
Where is Judith Miller? In jail or still writing more lies?

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 24 2020 22:48 utc | 24

Another example of headline quick shots:

"Chinese tycoon who called Xi Jinping a 'clown' and ripped his coronavirus response gets 18-year sentence"

"Ren Zhiqiang has been an outspoken critic of Chinese leadership"

https://www.foxnews.com/world/chinese-tycoon-who-called-xi-jinping-clown-prison-sentence Jeez even the link!

L@@K below:

Ren, 69, was convicted Tuesday of corruption, bribery, embezzlement of public funds and abuse of power, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court announced on its social media account. It cited Ren as saying he wouldn’t appeal.

The court is claiming Ren took $19 million in bribes between 2003 and 2017 and caused around $17 million in economic losses to unspecified state-owned companies, Bloomberg reports.

But some of Ren’s supporters are casting doubt on the allegations, saying an audit of him when he left the Huayuan Group in 2011 found no wrongdoing, the website added.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Sep 25 2020 0:17 utc | 25

Yes, clickbait is unfortunately very effective. You'll be amazed at these 14 Ways China's Repressing Hong Kong!!

Posted by: Wer | Sep 25 2020 0:29 utc | 26

These aren't "serious" papers. They're not papers at all. They're full time propaganda channels disseminating misinformation.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 25 2020 0:46 utc | 27

"Serious papers should refrain from such annoying manipulations"

There are no "serious papers". Unless you mean by virtue of their budgets, which is irrelevant to their quality.

The news media in most countries has been recognized at one time or another as being mouthpieces for those in power. Even Hitler denounced the "Jewish media" in Germany in "Mein Kampf" - and rightly so. His criticism was not even oriented around the Jewishness of the owners - merely the media's propensity for toeing the party line of whoever was in power.

Media are by nature toadies and enforcers of society and the state. They are dependent on the powerful and their actions for the media's "news" and access to same and thus dependent for their survival and their own social power. This is also true on the Internet, for the most part. All the major Internet media toe the social and cultural line. Those that don't get demonetized and censored if they don't own their outlet. Even The Intercept has lines it dare not cross.

This is not to make the mistake that everything reported is a lie or a hoax. People who make that mistake fall into the same error as those who believe everything they read: lack of understanding how social lies and taboos are constructed. I suggest viewing that Intercept podcast I posted a link to in the open thread where Greenwald and Back Channel analyze the influence of Joe Rogan which touches on how cultural and political influences are reflected in media. Apparently, as Greenwald cites figures, Rogan is *way* more influential than the MSM at this point and this is driving the neoliberals insane.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 25 2020 1:04 utc | 28

Biswapriya Purkayast @27--

Yes, you're 100% correct; unfortunately, they are taken seriously.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 25 2020 1:04 utc | 29

There you go. “Serious papers should refrain from such annoying manipulations.” Is also replace “annoying” with misleading.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Sep 25 2020 1:29 utc | 30

Wong's an idiot. He somehow doesn't remember how the British and Americans treated the Chinese before the handover. No rights. Treated them like dogs. Forced opium on China. Stole HK. And he wants to go back to those good ole days. He needs to look in the mirror and convince himself he is not white.

Posted by: Toxik | Sep 25 2020 1:30 utc | 31

@17 Don Bacon
Thanks for that link, interesting collection of essays there

Posted by: ptb | Sep 25 2020 1:51 utc | 32

Toxik @31--

As you just proved, people can be made to be "white" in the mind, an affliction akin to Stockholm Syndrome.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 25 2020 2:00 utc | 33

@ daffyDuct #25
"Ren Zhiqiang has been an outspoken critic of Chinese leadership"
China leadership draws on Confucianism, where the leader and his followers work in concert for a common goal. Someone who can't accept this strong-leader concept, and is a usurper, is a danger to society.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2020 2:11 utc | 34

@ptb #32
You're welcome.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2020 2:20 utc | 35

The WaPo worsened after Amazon took the paper over, sure.
It is similar for the SCMP after Alibaba took it over from Robert Kuok who got it from Murdoch. https://www.wsj.com/articles/alibaba-to-buy-south-china-morning-post-1449840881
In CCP China the government's grip on private players - domestic or foreign - is tighter compared to the Anglo stockholder states.

Posted by: Antonym | Sep 25 2020 2:39 utc | 36

Thanks b,and also karlof1 @ 23 (sigh). I think your comment says it all. I went to the link within the article, to see what Sanders was foaming about, only to discover that Trump simply had said in answer to a rather hostile question, "We will have to see what happens." He doesn't want to suggest that he will lose is all that I could see him saying. There's nothing unConstitutional there; it's simply Trump being Trump. Everything else is sheer innuendo. And I begin to question the site you linked to as far as comments beneath; irrational as all get out.

My take on his noncommittal answer was simply an indication that as we ourselves, many of us, have occasion to think, the system isn't foolproof. This is the US, after all.

I'll be sad if either one wins, but we should remember on whose side the mainstream press is on and judge accordingly. And it looks like the press is out for blood. Which is not a good look!

Posted by: juliania | Sep 25 2020 2:47 utc | 37

The commonly accepted definition of Democratic Government is:
"Government of the People, by the People, for the People."

Therefore, in a Democracy, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that the People ARE the Government. In other words the terms "Government" and "People" are interchangeable and mean the same thing.

So how and when did it become OK for the Government to keep Secrets from the People in Western Democracies? In theory, at least, a Democratic Government's agenda is determined by the People and only the People. So if a Government isn't listening to the People, or following the People's agenda, then it is not the People's Government and is doing the bidding of "other" people.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 25 2020 3:20 utc | 38

karlof1, juliania

It seems to me that we are being prepared for a CRISIS! that results in a strengthened police state and anger toward internal and external enemies.

Anonymous Antifa violence followed by a hyped threat of election manipulation? Pull the other one.

<> <> <> <> <>

I've been warning that a connection will be found to Russia and/or China that "unites the country" in a jingoistic frenzy.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 25 2020 3:20 utc | 39

One year ago the CCP began embedding more party cadres into "private" companies active in mainland China; Hong Kong should be next.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-23/china-steps-up-government-presence-at-alibaba-priv.ate-giants

Still Michael Bloomberg managed to publicly praise Xi Jinping a week later - in the SCMP. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3030970/xi-jinping-no-dictator-american-businessman-michael-bloomberg
Imagine the amount of invested money on the line for some business tycoons depending on the CCP's whims!
Not fake news a la present WaPo but to be taken with a billion pinches of salt.

Posted by: Antonym | Sep 25 2020 3:28 utc | 40

More WaPo fake news: "In India, engineers and MBAs are turning to manual labor to survive the economic crash" https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/india-coronavirus-jobs-economy/2020/09/23/6aab7d9c-f859-11ea-85f7-5941188a98cd_story.html

Posted by: Antonym | Sep 25 2020 4:00 utc | 41

Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 25 2020 3:20 utc | 38

"Government of the People, by the People, for the People." Therefore, in a Democracy, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that the People ARE the Government. In other words the terms "Government" and "People" are interchangeable and mean the same thing.

A pleasure to read that!

Excellent, workable criteria...workable bec any form of government can thereby be easily measured by its citizens. Who else should judge what works for them...in their particular geographic, climate, body types and historical circumstances?

As long as "will of the citizens" dominates in their sovereign country, the word "Democracy" and its obsession with "voting" can be ignored.

Then, without coercion from outsiders, justice might work its peculiar magic.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 25 2020 4:59 utc | 42

The nazi experience is one of the clues to what is happening with media everywhere now. One of the ongoing themes in William Shirer's Berlin Diary was that after 1933 and Goebbels got complete control of the media including censorship of amerikan radio news sent out from within Germany, there were no dissenting voices, so Shirer as well as others, German and foreign who did travel and had seen news reported from other points of view, found they could not get ordinary Germans to consider any issue differently than the standard Nazi Party nonsense.
People who have had lies repeated endlessly cannot deal with challenges to the worldview they have created.

Some of the Stalingrad survivors tell of how demoralised they became when they heard a pretend interview of "Xmas 1942 with the 6th Army on the Volga" at time when the 6th had lost radio transmission ability. They heard the lies and for many that was when the penny dropped they realised they were listening to what they knew to be a lie about this, how many other lies had they been fed?
A lucky few managed to get out before the Soviet anti-fascist brigades closed the last airstrip, Paulus & co selected those who got out, they were mainly young officers with families to take care of - as per usual too bad if you're just a normal shitkicker - anyway when they got back no one believed what they were telling about what was really happening. A few staff officers knew but they were too indoctrinated into following orders and/or scared of the nazis to do anything. Manstein promised to break through the encirclement & free the hundreds of thousands of fascists trapped in the kettle but when Hitler forbade it ("the wermacht does not retreat") he saluted and did what he was told.

Just about every comment in this thread about the current state of western media was made by someone, Shirer or one of his colleagues about the media under Nazi rule, in Berlin diary.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 25 2020 5:04 utc | 43

Lying headlines, along with reams of click-bait have all but eliminated the intertubes as a reliable source for anything except a perverse form of entertainment...
These days one must be very, very cautious about information from any but trusted, proven sources.
Getting good, accurate information from the intertubes is become a high art form...

Posted by: V | Sep 25 2020 5:23 utc | 44

@ jared

I think you have it about right - we need to move beyond the amazement that the msm/government are lying to us. Rather use that knowledge to aid understanding and for educational purposes.

Quite so.

Posted by: bradinski | Sep 25 2020 5:42 utc | 45

Posted by: juliania | Sep 25 2020 2:47 utc | 37 Trump simply had said in answer to a rather hostile question, "We will have to see what happens." He doesn't want to suggest that he will lose is all that I could see him saying. There's nothing unConstitutional there; it's simply Trump being Trump.

This is what Trump actually said:


“We’re going to have to see what happens,” he told a reporter during a news conference at the White House. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

“I understand that, but people are rioting,” responded the reporter, Brian Karem of Playboy magazine, who repeated the question.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” the president said. That was an apparent reference to mail-in ballots, which for months he has railed against, without evidence, as rife with fraud and likely to produce a delayed, tainted or outright illegitimate election result.

What Trump said could be interpreted two ways: 1) that if there are no mail-in ballots, there won't be a problem because he'll win, or 2) if you allow mail-in ballots, "there will be a continuation" - of his Presidency. In other words, he's either not going to accept the election results or he's going to win. He doesn't allow for the sensible option that he might lose due to legitimate mail-in ballots and simply accept that.

The New York Times also references his previous statements on that issue:


Mr. Trump’s remarks are a continuation of a long series. During an interview with Fox News in July, Mr. Trump similarly demurred when pressed by the network’s anchor, Chris Wallace, to “give a direct answer” about whether he would accept the election results regardless of the outcome.

“I have to see,” Mr. Trump said. “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time, either,” he added, referring to his similar equivocation before the 2016 election, which he warned might be stolen from him.

Even after his election that year, Mr. Trump falsely insisted that he had lost the popular vote only because millions of immigrants ineligible to vote had cast ballots for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

In this campaign, Mr. Trump has primed his supporters to believe his defeat is possible only through what he has called a “rigged” or “stolen” election. “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election,” Mr. Trump said last month during the Republican National Convention.

Mr. Trump has also long joked about retaining power beyond legal limits, making frequent mention of serving beyond January 2025, when the Constitution — which limits presidents to two terms — requires that he leave office.

In 2018, after China’s Communist Party announced the end of a two-term limit for its presidency, Mr. Trump said at a closed-door fund-raiser that China’s authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, would be “president for life.”

“I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Mr. Trump said, to cheers from his supporters.

In July, Mr. Trump even floated the idea of delaying the November election — a suggestion that lacks legal authority — although he dropped the notion after Republicans criticized it.

Now you can sit there and just dismiss that as "Trump being Trump." I disagree completely. "Trump being Trump" is precisely the problem. As I said before, he has nothing to lose by causing a Constitutional crisis. As long as his attorneys can produce some plausible legal reason for not giving up power - one that will have to be adjudicated in the courts, and, regardless of the court's decision, does not subject him to a charge of treason or other Federal crime - he can't lose. And if the result of a Constitutional crisis is major riots in the streets, a call for martial law will not be far behind - he was almost ready to do that just for the summer riots.

I don't see him trying to impose dictatorial rule - there are too many people who would oppose that for their own agendas and it would leave him open to a charge of treason. As I've said before, I also don't see anything resembling a true "civil war" resulting. But a major Constitutional crisis is most definitely in the cards. The question is what will shake out from that in the near future, either economically or in terms of further erosion of civil liberties.

Personally I don't give a damn. The sooner the US government implodes into an outright fascism, where even the pretense of being "democratic" is dropped, the better.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 25 2020 7:04 utc | 46

In other news, you can be sure that for a man in his "job" the publicly stated "reasons" for his removal are almost certainly not the real reasons .. one wonders if the Navalny frame-up was actually a joint German-Russian counterintel "op" to expose Uncle Sam's agents in Bavaria... if so, who got played by who? lol... hmm one wonders

Posted by: Maximus | Sep 25 2020 8:38 utc | 47

"I have no doubt that there is coordination among the serious papers within empire to push current important memes."
Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 24 2020 15:28 utc | 2

I think I would go further and say that it seems that all the members of the MSM coordinate their "News", "serious" and frivolous alike.
Posted by: foolisholdman | Sep 24 2020 17:36 utc | 9
...

I believe that would be the "Associated Press News" cheerleaders for the CIA Operation Mockingbird and Operation Gladio overlords of mis- and dis-information.

Go ahead and dig deeper- Who Owns the MSM outlets? What members are on their "Board of Directors" from which MIC Corporate profiteers. It's really not that complicated or difficult to research. Who and where do the "news outlets" receive their advertising dollar$ from?

Posted by: CitizenX | Sep 25 2020 8:39 utc | 48

As I wrote elsewhere with regard to this whole set-up:

One might ask: Where were these so-called "pro-democracy" bods or their ilk while under UK rule, especially post 1945-1997?

Do they - such as Wong (these "protestors," i.e., rioters were/are all c. 30 and younger)- have any bloody idea HOW the UK came to grab and keep Hong Kong for as long as they did? What the Brits (with the French just behind) engineered in mainland China in the 19thC? That the much vaunted western powers , i.e. UK, (much vaunted by such as Wong and Lai), were deliberately and illegally introducing and distributing Opium (precursor to Heroin) into China and its population in order to weaken the Chinese, its govt and people....

The Brits grew the stuff - a sort of Afghanistan poppy agriculture along the lines of present day US controlled Afghani poppy agriculture - in the sub-continent (all India at the time), I think in Bengal, and then they shipped the product to the Chinese mainland...

then war ensued betwixt the Brits and China...the Brits grabbing HK was a result..

Why would any person with any respect for their history (assuming, that is) be so anti-Chinese even as they are falling over themselves to be pro-US-UK? $$$$ are definitely a profoundly integral part. Along with an ignorance that astounds, despite (once again) being highly educated (indoctrinated?).

One can be profoundly anti-whatever one's cultural history (and present) - but to worship the very society/ies that deliberately engineered the destruction, via addiction in this case, of your people, society, culture????

Posted by: Anne | Sep 25 2020 12:49 utc | 49

But who told you the media is to inform you? It never was, it is just a advertisement with some eye catching headlines. It purpose is to make money for the owner. These days it can make money for the owner indirectly, by starting a war or distract the people from life threatening products.
The truth is just inconvenient, very annoying that bloggers keep talking about it. Fortunately most people just don't care or are afraid to smash their bubble, they are even inventing russian conspiracies to keep believing.
Self-censorship is the orwellian maturity of 70 years of brainwash.

Posted by: gary | Sep 25 2020 13:06 utc | 50

@gary #50
But who told you the media is to inform you? It never was, it is just a advertisement with some eye catching headlines. It purpose is to make money for the owner.
Yes. It's like getting "news" from a candy wrapper, which is why I haven't had a boob-tube for thirty years, nor a "newspaper."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 25 2020 13:35 utc | 51

RIP vltchek. after zeese and cohen...maybe there's something to the "dying in threes" cliche?

Posted by: the pair | Sep 25 2020 14:51 utc | 52

The media used to be engaged in the activity of teaching in a good way, but like politics itself, the motivation of the teachers is paramount. Socrates taught us that when he defined the difference between a philosopher and a sophist. The difference is money. Money isn't speech, but it is power. The US curtailed that power when it was formed, and as WW2 was ending, we had a mighty fine president who spoke so eloquently about the four freedoms and during whose presidency the United Nations was formed. Such integrity attracts the animosity of greed, and once that has a foothold it is difficult, but not impossible, to defeat.

FDR's integrity was such a powerful force that even after his death it took decades of inner aggression before the world gave up on the US. The world has given up now, and the speeches at the UN this 75th anniversary of its founding reflect that -- both the speeches given by all other nations, and the one given by our president himself. Which was a travesty inflicted upon the memory of perhaps the greatest president this country has had or will ever see again, at least in my lifetime.

So, the instrument still teaches, but these days it teaches as Socrates did, as one voice among many discordant ones. It is up to each of us to find that one voice and make it known. The followers of Socrates did. Plato's school lasted for 500 years and gave birth to numerous academies in its wake. My own Christian Orthodox faith is deeply indebted to him for stimulating our ability to think carefully about what we are told by our own sophists, and to love wisdom for its own sake.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 25 2020 15:03 utc | 53

Antonym@40 wrote:
"One year ago the CCP began embedding more party cadres into 'private' companies active in mainland China; Hong Kong should be next.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-23/china-steps-up-government-presence-at-alibaba-priv.ate-giants

Still Michael Bloomberg managed to publicly praise Xi Jinping a week later - in the SCMP. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3030970/xi-jinping-no-dictator-american-businessman-michael-bloomberg
Imagine the amount of invested money on the line for some business tycoons depending on the CCP's whims!
Not fake news a la present WaPo but to be taken with a billion pinches of salt."

Look, if party cadres are embedded in trade unions, they are engaged in a two way action. One is to persuade trade unionists, not just officials but rank and file, with all carrots and sticks at their disposal---which may be very limited by the way---to support state policy. The other, indispensable, is to report to the party center on the goals, dispositions, grievances, national aspirations of the masses and officials. The image of party apparatchiks simply barking orders and shooting innocent people and whipping slaves etc. is mere redbaiting. It wasn't quite true even of the direst days of the Yezhozhschina, much less the early days of the Cultural Revolution.

The thing is, the plan to insert cadres into business may be aimed at creating the equivalent of political comissars in the armed forces. Given that it is not clear that political comissars are still a thing even in the PLA, then doesn't seem to be the plan. Or this may all be an approach meant to incorporate "business" as a separate constitutency into the party, for those cadres who earn the support of business for government policies (suitably modified in accordance with the business cadres reports!) becoming the "successful" cadres, the high-flyers who are deemed leadership material. To become the links between the new bourgeoisie and the central government. As such, it can be a way for party bureaucrats to become the equivalent of lobbyists. Official government salaries would no longer be the real remuneration, any more than a general's army salary is his real wages, rather than a seat on an arms company board.

So, no, Bloomberg may be quite aware and quite correct even by Bloomberg standards.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Sep 25 2020 15:05 utc | 54

Richard Steven Hack @ 46:

"... And if the result of a Constitutional crisis is major riots in the streets, a call for martial law will not be far behind - he was almost ready to do that just for the summer riots..."

He did do that. It failed. He had to withdraw. We should not forget that. The one positive aspect of Trump's presidency is that his actions are so blatant that they draw opposite and powerful reactions which produce positive results even as they have negative side effects. He is like the roadside bomb that misfires, catching only the innocent stragglers and not the central forces of freedom from tyranny. He warns even the inattentive that something is very wrong with this country's former leadership and fixing it is going to take an immense amount of sagacious cooperation.

Listening to the UN speeches at this time, I think the world is up to the task. And I pray that they succeed.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 25 2020 15:28 utc | 55

I used to think that Trump was like Yeltsin; he isn't. He is like Kruschev. It may be we will have to suffer further under Biden before we reach the end of the tunnel, the end of the Reagan era, the old men syndrome of ineffectual rule, as happened to Russia, as happened to Rome. How is rebuilding possible?

It does happen.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 25 2020 15:36 utc | 56

juliana @56

I doubt that "we will have to suffer under Biden" for more than a month or so...THEN Other peoples will most definitely have to suffer under HARRIS as she demonstrates her strength, forwards the US presumed "right" to world dominance. The tools: bombs, missiles, drones, siege warfare (sorry, economic sanctions)... She will (as the blue faces intend) reproduce her inhuman DA and State Attorney actions in the international arena.

Nothing will change. The presumption that there is ANY difference between the red faces and blue faces is misguided: it is ALL cosmetic, literally. The Strumpet merely makes overt what those in power want hidden: the grotesquerie, obscenity, inhumanity, unimaginable greed and blood soaked imperial grasping that is DC and the MIC in all its forms.

The US-UK corporate-capitalist-imperialist elites RULE, OK. (Well, not, definitely not OK but who among them and their lackeys gives a flying fuck?)

The dollar needs to be demoted and now.

Posted by: Anne | Sep 25 2020 16:16 utc | 57

ironiclly, there is laws in France that state that wearing a mask during a demonstration is illegal, and punishable by the police.
On the other hand, wearing a mask is an obligation during these times of pandemy, and punishable by heavy fines...

The Yellow jakets learned it the hard way. And unfortunatly the Washington Post doesn't seem to make great case of them. Such a shame. ^^

Posted by: Nakor | Sep 25 2020 16:22 utc | 58

What continues to amaze me is how gullible the Western public is, or perceived to be by the ruling elites. The corporate media lie openly and yet the public still seems ready to take their words for it. If there is a population truly oppressed, it is the West. by: Steve @15 <= yes steve, but what can you do about it?

That is the question.. the American Audience Mass has been schooled to headlines and worse to images and taught to use the image to understand the words, unless the AAM member is seeking a Phd in the subject.. listen in a physicians office to the patient physician dialog.. <=after the visit the patient has retained may five words in the entire conversation. Listen to conversations between those willing to explain and those who must listen.. the must listen side will shut the explain side out within 30 sections. A single image making clear the meaning to be conveyed explains the AAM.

The entire USA led American Audience mass [AAM] is turned to random access dips at 1/2 of 30 seconds spots.. they will listen for 30 seconds but attention time during listen time is less than 15 seconds.. depending on hearing and whether or not an image or the recall of a picture image comes to the mind of the member of the AAM.. and also depending on available time to listen, and competing upcoming interest.. If the AAM is in disagreement with the explain side narrative, the entire 29 seconds of the 30 seconds is taken up with but or hum ho..or change the subject..

It is necessary to develop a set of keywords and easy to recall images that can serve to enhance AAM abilities to concentrate and in order to force AAM member memory to recall and to inspect more closely the content made available in the typical 30 second conversation between an explainer and a member of the AAM. One word they all recognize is democracy, but fewer than 1 in 10,000 understand its meaning, and fewer than 1 in 100,000 understand its meanings and fewer than 1 in a million know what it will take to return America to a democratic society. The AAM has been taught to merge the words America and USA and to think of themselves as USAers instead of as Americans. Few understand America is not a government, in fact America has no say in the governance of Americans, and Americans are not members of the USA, the USA is a government, like a corporation, and it has included in its span of control Americans. So the USA governs America.. I think this distinction is extremely important because it allows thinking people to ask why has the government not done this or that..

Posted by: snake | Sep 25 2020 16:37 utc | 59

I no longer would call people gullible. People are never gullible towards what they distrust. It is also ok to be gullible towards whom you consider trustworthy. If a friend tells you to jump off a bridge you should take that seriously.

Mainstream as by whom they find trustworthy and because trustworthiness is contagious you get a large network with 'influencer' nodes having the most weight. The groupthink in this network can be huge, in part because most effort goes into maximizing groupthink and almost none towards dampening it(it woudl be a bad idea to get rid of it completely, that would be like abolishing trust).

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Sep 25 2020 20:02 utc | 60

Journalists lie, usually by omission.

Posted by: passerby | Sep 25 2020 21:07 utc | 61

Obviously there is enough dishonesty to go by but accusing journalists of lying generally overstimates their ability to escape their groupthink. The same with the 'hardened' realpolitikers. They know there are some lies and they pride their own 'realism' in accepting that propaganda and lies are part of the game. And then your jaw drops when you find out what they think is true.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Sep 25 2020 21:36 utc | 62

Posted by: passerby | Sep 25 2020 21:07 utc | 61

That, or/and the intentional rampant use of loaded words such as "authoritarian", "freedom", "democracy" etc to mask actual context in order to build misleading narratives.

Posted by: J W | Sep 26 2020 13:22 utc | 63

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