So the corporate media have gone and done it again. As they have, repeatedly, for the last two and half years, they shook the earth with a “bombshell” story proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton, or at least committed an impeachable felony in connection with something to do with the Russians, or Ukrainians, or other Slavic persons … which story turned out to be inaccurate, or not entirely accurate, or a bunch of horseshit.
This time it was BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold, “a reporter with a checkered past” (i.e., a history of inventing his sources) who broke the “bombshell” Russiagate story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit. Leopold, and his colleague Anthony Cormier, reported that Trump had directed his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about plans to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow, thus suborning perjury and obstructing justice. Their sources for this “bombshell” story were allegedly “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.”
Approximately twenty-four hours later, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office (i.e., the office “involved in an investigation of the matter”) stated that the BuzzFeed story was “not accurate,” which is a legal term meaning “a bunch of horseshit.” BuzzFeed is standing by its story, and is working to determine what, exactly, Mueller’s office meant by “not accurate.” Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief, has called on Mueller “to make clear what he’s disputing.”
Liberals and other Trump-obsessives have joined in the effort to interpret the Special Counsel’s office’s cryptic utterance. French hermeneuticists have been reportedly called in to deconstruct the meaning of “accurate.” Professional Twitter semioticians are explaining that “not accurate” doesn’t mean “wrong,” but, rather, refers to something that is “accurate,” but which the user of the word doesn’t want to disclose publicly, or that legal terms don’t mean what they mean … or something more or less along those lines.
Glenn Greenwald, in August 2018, reporting on another “bombshell” story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit, compiled a partial list of Russiagate stories that the corporate media had published and promoted over the course of the previous eighteen months which turned out to be a bunch of horseshit (i.e., the stories did, not Greenwald’s list). In the wake of this latest horseshit story, Greenwald revised and renamed this list “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump/Russia Story.”
But Greenwald’s list is just a small sample of the Russiagate stories that have turned out to be horseshit. For the record, here are several more:
- “Seventeen intelligence agencies” confirm Russia interfered in the U.S. elections (New York Times)
- Russia interfered in the Brexit referendum (The Guardian)
- Russia interfered in the German elections (Reuters)
- Russia hacked the French elections (Politico and numerous other outlets)
- Michael Cohen conspired with the Russians in Prague (BuzzFeed)
My personal favorite remains the one about how Hillary Clinton may have been poisoned by Putinist operatives back in 2016. And then there’s the pot-smoking, prostitute-banging, incompetent Novichok perfume assassins, the African American-brainwashing memes, the Putin-orchestrated Yellow Vest rebellion, the brain-eating Russian-Cubano crickets, and various other bunches of horseshit.
I am using the terms “horseshit” and “a bunch of horseshit” (as opposed to terms like “failures” and “errors”), not just to be gratuitously vulgar, but, also, to try to make a point. One is not supposed to use these terms in connection with “serious,” “respected” news outlets. Which is why journalists like Greenwald and Aaron Maté (who have extensively reported on the corporate media’s ongoing production and dissemination of horseshit) do not use such terms in the course of their reporting, and instead use less inflammatory terms like “false,” “inaccurate,” “mistake,” and “error.” Principled journalists like Greenwald and Maté are constrained by (a) their journalistic ethics, (b) their integrity, and (c) their belief in the idea of a “free and independent press,” which is one of the pillars of Western democracy.
Being neither a respected journalist nor a believer in the existence of an “independent press,” I am under no such constraints. Because I’m not trying to get or keep a job, or maintain a “respectable” reputation, I’m free to call a spade a spade and a bunch of horseshit a bunch of horseshit. I am also free to describe “journalists” like Leopold, Luke Harding, Craig Timberg, Franklin Foer, and many of their corporate media colleagues (not to mention TV clowns like Rachel Maddow) as the liars and rank propagandists they are. I don’t need to pretend their fabricated stories are simply the result of “shoddy journalism,” or “over-reliance on official sources,” or any other type of “error” or “failure.” These people know exactly what they are doing, and are being extremely well paid to do it. They went to school to learn how to do it. Then they butt-sucked and back-stabbed their way up the ladder of establishment power to be able to do it.
Yes, of course, there are still principled journalists working for the corporate media, but they are doing so by walking a very fine line. No one has to tell them where it is. Every professional journalist knows precisely where it is, and what it is there for. Though they are permitted to walk right up to it, occasionally (to keep them from feeling like abject whores), one step over it and they will be cast into the Outer Darkness of the Blogosphere and excommunicated from the Church of Respectable Journalism. If you don’t believe me, just ask Seymour Hersh, or John Pilger, or any other journalistic heretic.
If Russiagate serves no other useful purpose, it is at least exposing the corporate media as the propaganda factories that they are. Given the amount of obviously fabricated horseshit they have disseminated during the last two years, you’d have to be a total moron or a diehard neoliberal cultist not to recognize the function they perform within the global capitalist ruling establishment (which is essentially no different than the function the establishment media perform in any other society, namely, to disseminate, maintain, and reify the official narrative of its ruling classes).
Sadly, there’s no shortage of morons and cultists. I don’t blame the morons, because … well, they’re morons. The cultists are another species entirely. These are people who, no matter how often the corporate media feed them another “explosive,” “bombshell” Russiagate story that turns out to be a bunch of horseshit, will defend the concept of the “independent media” like head-shaven, bug-eyed Manson followers. Confront them with facts contradicting their beliefs and they close their eyes and start chanting and humming and repetitiously babbling banishing spells. The notion that the Western corporate media may serve the interests of the ruling establishment (just like the media in every other society serve that society’s ruling classes) is unimaginable and tantamount to heresy.
This fetishization of “the independent press” is a phenomenon unique to Western capitalism. Basically, it’s a childish fairy tale, like believing that Santa Claus is an actual person or that voting in elections in a corporate oligarchy has anything to do with actual democracy. Think about it dispassionately for a minute. Why would any ruling establishment permit a genuinely “independent” press to disseminate ideas and information willy-nilly throughout society? If it did, it wouldn’t last very long.
Most people understand this intuitively, which is why the corporate media relentlessly repeat the mantra-like phrase, “free and independent press,” over, and over, and over again. Seriously, switch on NPR, or have a look at The Guardian or the Washington Post, or any of the other corporate media repeatedly reminding you how “independent,” “free” and “democratic” they are. It’s essentially Neuro-linguistic programming.
So let’s not be shocked when the corporate media continue to bombard us with “bombshell” stories about Trump and Russia that turn out to be horseshit. Personally, I welcome these stories. The more corporate media horseshit the better! Who knows, if they dish out enough blatant horseshit, more people might lose their “trust in the media,” and begin to investigate matters themselves. I know, that makes me a Nazi, right? Or at least a Russian propagandist? I mean, encouraging folks to distrust the corporate media? Isn’t there some kind of law against that? Or have they not quite gotten around to that yet?
January 21, 2019
Photo: Michael Omoniyi
DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, which we understand is pretty gosh darn funny, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.
10 thoughts on “The Fetishization of the Corporate Media”
“I am afraid that the experiments you quote, Mr. Pasteur, will turn against you. The world into which you wish to take us is really too fantastic.”
–La Presse, 1860
” I don’t blame the morons, because … well, they’re morons. The cultists are another species entirely.” – Spot on C.J. – couldn’t agree me.
Oh, happy days are here. As you say too.Bunkered down in their corporate fortresses, the faux progressive elite apologists hurl abuse at the angry masses. Furious they are at having to fight a two-front war against their traditional conservative rightist opponents. They dream of shouting down the insurgents with invective. But, they are generals without an army. Those in whose name these liberals claim to speak for see them instead as traitors.
‘Journalists’ are just hack propagandists. Der Sturmer or Der Angriff, makes no difference. Though they try, they do not have the power to shut down their critics. They just provoke and infuriate. Good, very good. In a war of attrition the whole edifice of privilege is at risk to the death of a thousand cuts.
What else do we have to do? The thing about being squeezed down by austerity, the gig-economy, debt, cops, war is we all have no distance to fall down more. But you guys can fall a long ways. Bring on the collapse of the debt bubbles! More yellow vests! Brexit everywhere! “Their names are prick’d”
Role model for how to write and express about the criminal elite, for how to think about the battle lines and where one stands. I swear this scares people, it stands so outside their comprehension. Or maybe it scares them when they get the faint glimmers of understanding. But I quote and quote away (on my FB geopolitics group) hoping to build an audience that will one day be receptive and participate. One day, my own version, my own voice as to what you’re on about. A class war. Enough with the identity politics and the political ideology battles (the identity politics of political identity) other than a focus on the criminal elite versus all of us working class folk across the ideological spectrum.
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Being neither a respected journalist nor a believer in the existence of an “independent press,” I am under no such constraints. Because I’m not trying to get or keep a job, or maintain a “respectable” reputation, I’m free to call a spade a spade and a bunch of horseshit a bunch of horseshit.
Ah, freedom. I know it.
Yet if you don’t place reins of your need for it, you find it mate-less friend-less.
I mean, Hopkins, you have a circle of friends, and some of them are phenomenal, world-class peddlers of falsehoods, and you don’t just never call it “horseshit”, you even tweet and blog to their defence periodically.
Because we all have to live a life, I guess.
As far as I am concerned, anyone who has ever made a living from the corporate media is suspect. Seymour Hersh spread his narcissistic, entitled fantasy BS all over the Seth Rich case. Forgetting that in the age of the internet, non corporate human beings can answer him back.
“According to the NSA report, he also shared this DropBox with a couple of friends”.
Here is a situation where I agree that Rich leaked the emails (not the Russians), but like Greenwald he is a deeply suspect character. The establishment have uses for so called alternative facts. For example, the US government wanted out of Vietnam ; the media were happy to promote Hersh and the dodgy Daniel Ellsberg . How can you tell a real whistleblower from a phony one ? The phony ones are promoted by the corporate media and never go to jail.
See also Julian Assange and Edward Snowden promoted by The Guardian and NYT. Still free. No, the Americans don’t want to arrest Assange and the hidden ‘leak’ was ludicrous.
There is more real journalism in this one Scottish tabloid article than in the entire history of the Guardian and NYT.
“Secret Scottish-based office led infowars attack on Labour and Jeremy Corbyn
Explosive leaked documents passed to the Sunday Mail reveal the organisation’s Integrity Initiative is funded with £2 million of Foreign Office cash and run by military intelligence specialists.
THis is what bothered me about Hersh’s involvement in the Rich affair. This is the classic limited hangout. Hersh goes along with the Rich/Wikileaks angle which is hardly a secret, but shuts this door using his so called credibility to push an assertion about something he has no knowledge of.
“But Hersh threw cold water on a theory that the murder was an assassination in retaliation for the leak. Instead, Hersh concurs with the D.C. police who say the murder was a botched robbery”.
Worth reading for more of Hersh’s ‘inside info’, including the fact that Rich demanded money from Wikileaks.
The bastards no longer need to ask for permission in order to prosecute war(s) in our name. Similarly, they don’t ‘need’ us to vote or to pay for their horseshit media corpaganda. They ‘do’ need us to buy the narrative, though. So we’ve parroted our ever-diligent imperial masters, who remind us… ’whatever’… they ‘mean well’.
But when was the last time they asked if it’d be OK for them to go and bomb a bunch of brown folks? So as to ‘intervene all humanitarian-like’ and ‘be protective, responsibly’? Well, they don’t need our consent… for they own the means of producing whatever quantities of currency are required to do whatever it is they intend.
So… their central bankers Ctrl+P requisite quantities of keyboard-ca$h, electronically disseminate it to confederate ‘assets’ and Presto! — big psychopathic parasites make BIG shit happen! Bubbles benefit the already obscenely wealthy — while effectively screwing les miserables to a white-heat. Minds get altered. Votes get suppressed. Folks get suicided. Wars get fought. Results get distributed. (5G?).
The new digital fascists of surveillance capitalism, on behalf of The Owners — are IN2WIN. Until they are apprehended, that is, as we do with pedophiles.
So… Here’s To Blowback! Better get organized.
“In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.” – Howard Winn
#Gefälschternachrichtenblitzkrieg Mein Gott!
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… fekkin spell-check… Howard “Zinn”
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