How not to fall for modern news propaganda


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Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist yesterday posted a very cogent and honest essay entitled, “Here’s Why I Didn’t Fall For The Russia-Trump Conspiracy.”

To preface, during the past two years Hemingway, along with a small cadre of honest Washington reporters, maintained their objectivity and did not fall for the Russian collusion scam. Instead, they documented the absurdity of the mainstream press’s claims and its never-ending “bombshells” (all of which ended up to be duds).

Hemingway outlines how, living deep within that Washington press culture, she at first found it difficult to resist peer pressure to accept the anti-Trump claims. She then describes how she did come to resist, and concludes as follows:

I didn’t fall for the Russia hoax that CNN and other media outlets did because I worked hard at understanding the appeal of his candidacy even before the Russia narrative started. At the same time, I recognized how disruptive he was to the established order and the livelihoods of those who had grown comfortable in D.C. Unlike many reporters, I knew and loved many people who voted for Trump. My background as a media critic made me aware of information campaigns and how to resist them. My dislike of the interventionist foreign policy made me less susceptible to scaremongering about realist foreign policy.

Her essay is worth reading because it provides a nice summary of the dishonesty rampant the past two years in the leftist press and Washington culture.

Reading her essay, however, made me wonder why I never fell for the Russia-Trump conspiracy. The answer was obvious. Hemingway, seeped in that mainstream press culture, as a Washington reporter, found increasingly she had to check what that press was telling her, and repeatedly found what it was saying was a lie.

I however long ago realized how dishonest and untrustworthy that mainstream press is, and thus have not relied on it for information, in the slightest, for about two decades. When a news source routinely gets its story wrong and then does nothing to correct the problem, I then decide that news source is not a source I will rely on for information.

For the past two years I have routinely ignored the anti-Trump claims and “bombshells” put forth by the NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, and all the other mainstream news sources. I simply don’t go to them for information. I knew from much experience that information would be wrong, and not worth the electrons that broadcast it.

Thus, I found it easy to dismiss as hogwash their claims that Trump was an agent for Russia. I already knew the people making the claim were clowns not to be listened to.

Does that make me uninformed or close-minded? No. Instead, I avoid being misinformed, as the facts I dig up from many other news sources, checked against each other, generally turn out to be trustworthy.

Everyone in the U.S., going forward, should keep this in mind. These leftist news sources are merely propaganda operations for the Democratic Party. If you rely on them for information you will definitely not know what is going on. Instead, you will be a puppet for that political party, someone unfit to call themselves a free citizen of a free nation.

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22 comments

  • Max McByte

    Hi Bob,

    “I avoid being misinformed, as the facts I dig up from many other news sources, checked against each other, generally turn out to be trustworthy.”

    INDEED!

    I recently called a progressive radio talk show in KGO San Francisco and challenged the statements were being made to puff up John McCain as a hero and in doing so make others who disagree or dislike him as twisted evil right-wingers.

    I pointed out some of accounts of the USS Forrestal disaster and what some of his Hanoi prison mates had to say about him. I stated that I dig up info from numerous news sources.

    Then on-air, the talk show host went to SNOPES which is a “fact checking site” and read out loud what they had to say which was the complete opposite of my information.

    I was then accused of being a right-winger conspiracy nut.

    I asked the host how she could possibly believe a “fact checking site” and my call-in was terminated .

    I immediately turned on my car radio to hear the rest of her comments. She stated that she could not possibly relate to someone who could not believe a fact checking site.

    I call them fraudcastors in the Misledia.

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    PS, Love The John Batchalor Show and his outstanding guests, including you!

    Keep up the great work!

  • Max McByte

    I forgot to add how much I appreciate your broad knowledge of the Space Industry (not sure if that’s the right term) and keen insights you present on TJBS!

  • Steve

    I’m 60 (Gaaa!). Since my early 20’s I discovered that when ever I read/saw a news story which I had expertise in or personal knowledge of they either got it wrong or not quite right. Which led me to ask how they did with things I knew nothing about. I have since then taken it all with a grain of salt. Of course, it has only gotten much worse.

  • Wodun

    Yes, the only way to not get suckered is to rely on the source material rather than someone’s interpretation of it. This doesn’t mean you can’t be wrong in your interpretation, but it does mean you are thinking for yourself.

    As a non-technical space nerd, I have found that it is important to be skeptical of even people I trust to provide a more technical interpretation than I can do on my own. Looking at source material and opposing views is important.

    It is important to cut through all of the sensationalism, distortions, and even reasoned viewpoints to get an accurant account of what is going on.

    BUT! No one has time to do it! We all have our interests that demand our limited time and no one has time to drill down into everything they read. Gell Mann is real.

  • K.

    Steve,
    I never thought about it, but you are spot on. I am in the medical field and noticed the same thing, the agendas being pushed and truth buried, wrong questions asked. But, idk, ‘m the only one in my family who understood what the film “The Matrix” was all about, the allegory. I’m 64, and I’m jumping out of my seat, saying “How did they get this movie made?”. LOL. Some folks are natural questioners, see patterns others do not.

  • Phill O

    Seems I learned this before entering university in 1977. Yup, it got me in some hot water, but they could do nothing because I was getting As in chemistry math physics etc. Graduate top of the class. ACS entrance exams were well above the $90tile and even corrected a mistake on the analytical chemistry exam answer sheet, for which, the attending prof took the credit.

    Then, the sciences were not too biased compared to today. The other faculties were certainly well biased.

    To put it what I think are Bob’s words, “We need to be extremely skeptical on all fronts”.

  • Ian C.

    Steve:

    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gell-Mann_amnesia_effect

  • Matt in AZ

    Matt Tabbi at Rolling Stone has a recent article that touches on some of the same things as Mollie Hemingway’s. Despite his history of liberal views, even including writing an anti-Trump book, he’s been decried as a heretic for his collusion skepticism.

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/taibbi-trump-russia-mueller-investigation-815060/

  • Ian C: On this subject, do a search on Behind the Black for “Israel”. You will come upon a series of essays I wrote following my trips to the West Bank to visit family. You will find my description of that region far different than what is portrayed in the mainstream press.

    You don’t have to accept my description. I don’t want you to. My articles however will give you pause, and will highlight the Gell-Mann effect most clearly..

  • Like other ‘Senior Commenters’ here, at 75 years old I experienced first hand the bias of the press/media during Vietnam while in the Marine Corps and the destruction of Barry Goldwater.

    That experience has served me well throughout the following 55 years to always be skeptical and investigate EVERYTHING I hear and read from ANYONE. Whether it’s a movie review, a new medical ‘breakthrough’, ‘climate change’, financial and economic ‘prognostications’ by ‘experts’, etc, etc, etc.

    My wife and I live on six acres in a rural area of north San Diego County with Avocado & Citrus orchards on every hill. Out our kitchen windows we have a beautiful view of our neighbors goats (40-50 of them) walking around those hills.

    As we watch, a single goat will begin to wander away from the others, and soon a second, then third, then the whole tribe (herd) is on the move. Within a few minutes, another goat heads off in a different direction, then two, three, four, and they’re all on the move again; perhaps, looking for ‘greener grass’?

    Inevitably, my wife and I look at each other, “Isn’t ignorance great, following those who haven’t got a clue.” Unfortunately, I believe the current state of our educational, judicial, media, and political establishments reflect the actions of our neighborhood goats . . . now if we only had some lemmings.

  • Ian C.

    Rob: I just glanced over the 2013/14 and some later articles. Nothing to disagree with. Cast Lead gave me an excellent opportunity to contrast what I know with how a majority in media, politics, NGOs, and academia painted it.

  • Ian C. Yup, my perspective on the Middle East changed drastically once I realized that hitchhiking is one of the prime modes of transportation in the West Bank. Goes against everything the press has reported.

  • eddie willers

    Since it’s old guys telling stories, I’ll tell you mine.

    I was a typical liberal college student attending West Georgia College ’70-’74. There my girlfriend’s faculty advisor was a young (I thought he was OLD back then, of course) history professor name Newt Gingrich. Got to know him fairly well and viewed him as hip and an “ecology” type guy. Years later he runs for Congress (as a Republican, what a surprise!) but thought little of it. (I had moved back to Atlanta and so was not in his district). After a couple of losses, he won the seat.

    All was quiet until he started up in the ranks and the media took notice (and as I later learned, took aim as well). So I am watching the news and they say a few things that I KNEW to be untrue. OK. Could happen to anyone and since it was easy to research, I expected retractions to come any minute. I am STILL waiting.

    Since I had learned that “authority” voices could lie, and lie blatantly, I checked my premises and started reading those intellectual conservatives whose books somehow never made it to the required reading lists. Thomas Sowell slammed the message home to me with his “The Visions Of The Anointed”.

    Let me leave leave with Neal Boortz’s sage advice.

    “Don’t believe anything you read or hear unless it is consistent with what you already know to be true, or unless you have taken the time to research the matter to prove its accuracy to your own satisfaction.”

  • eddie willers: Heh. Good story.

    I would love to reach Gingrich. I think he will like my next book, a history, and will want to give me a blurb. I just haven’t been able to find a way to get to him.

  • Edward

    From Ian C.’s comment: “Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward

    This occurred with the reporting on the Challenger explosion. The reporting was that waivers were written in order to hide deviations from NASA’s accepted practices, but the exact opposite is true. I was involved in two waivers on NASA instruments. One waiver was accepted, and for the other one, NASA said that they believed we could still find a better solution, which we eventually did.

    Waivers are written in order to request NASA for permission to deviate from accepted practices or solutions. Waivers document the problem to be solved, document the effort already tried in order to solve it, document how and why that effort does not solve it, document the requested deviation and why it should work in the specific case, and document NASA’s response. Rather than hide anything, waivers are possibly the most documented of engineering efforts.

    But this is not what the journalists of that time reported. They reported conspiracy and shameful behavior, and I still come across people who truly believe things that they have read or heard about Challenger that are documented as untrue.

    News propaganda is an old problem, but way back in the good old days (when polio walked the earth) we believed that our news was unbiased and trustworthy — especially if it came from the mouth of Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America.”

    Unfortunately, many people continue to believe this, even when it does not come from the mouth of Walter Cronkite.

  • Garry

    Mr Z (and anyone else who would like to chime in) – what alternative media sources do you use / recommend?

    On the phony collusion story, I can’t imagine that anybody’s done a more detailed, fact-based analysis than The Conservative Treehouse https://theconservativetreehouse.com/ Be forewarned: there’s an awful lot to digest; i’m particularly glad that a lot of posts are essentially repeats of old posts, with updates, and over time I’ve gotten a very clear picture of what actually happened.

    Of course, I’m grateful for the news that I read here on Behind the Black, and I’m also partial to John Batchelor, especially for foreign news, but I haven’t listened in a while (I’m a student for the first time in 30 years, and my assignments require more brainpower than I can give while listening to anything other than music).

    Other than those, I don’t know of many good alternative news sources, and would love to hear recommendations.

  • Garry asked, “Mr Z (and anyone else who would like to chime in) – what alternative media sources do you use / recommend?”

    I am planning a short post on this subject. I also might add a link section in the website’s right column.

  • Edward

    Garry,
    You asked: “Mr Z (and anyone else who would like to chime in) – what alternative media sources do you use / recommend?

    I think you may have missed the point. It is not that there is a “correct” news source but that we must be cautious and skeptical of all our news sources.

    Mollie Hemingway’s Collusion conclusion:

    Because a few of us weren’t so foolish to fall for the first theory, we were able to look at the leak operation that gullible media outlets were engaged in with a more critical eye.

  • Cotour

    THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE IS RUNNING FULL BORE (?, I put a question mark because it appears that possibly because it is Friday the story is being dialed down?)

    Scanning the internet “news” pages on Friday 4/5/19.

    Politico: “Barr’s legacy on the line as Mueller team fumes”. “Barr shaped cloud over the justice department”.

    AP: “Barr DEFENDS handling of Muellers Russia report”

    Daily News: Amazingly no story on Barr for Friday 4/5/19. I suppose they do not want to Friday dump the Barr story?

    New York Post: Same as Daily News, nothing on Friday related to attorney general Barr?

    NY Times: “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed”. This article was found way down the page on Friday. The NYT’s has once again asserted that some “Anonymous” sources, not the actual lawyers in the Mueller special council investigation are unhappy with Barr’s interpretation of the report but people once removed from the lawyers involved in the Mueller special council investigation who were told that they were unhappy with the interpretation. Desperation thy name is The New York Times.

    Huffington post: “BARR: I HAVE MY REASONS
    Attorney General William Barr Defends Handling Of Mueller Report”.

    National Review: “DOJ Defends Barr’s Summary of Mueller Report from Critics”.

    Daily Caller: No Barr story.

    The Atlantic: No Barr story.

    WSJ: “The Mueller ‘Coverup’ Gambit, Why Barr is right to release the report with redactions and publicly, all at once.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mueller-coverup-gambit-11554420235?mod=hp_opin_pos1

    The WSJ brings out that this entire Barr strategy is exactly that, a strategy that is being thrown out by the Democrats in their efforts to discredit anything that might support Trump and anything that might bring doubt into the minds of the public related to the veracity of the Mueller report.

    The Democrat leadership and the Media are attempting to craft the thinking that Barr is “protecting” Trump and is doing things within his power to pervert justice. This is the narrative and there are many in the public that are happily eating and digesting this strategy.

    Politics, the dirtiest game in town, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The only thing to be done? WINNING!

  • Cotour

    ITS NOT A CRIME BERNIE

    But what exactly did you do with all of that dirty filthy capitalist money after you made it Bernie?

    https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/438773-sanders-on-millionaire-status-i-didnt-know-it-was-a-crime-to-write-a-good

    What you did with it after you made it tells the tale of what you actually believe, taxation aside.

    I strongly suspect that you just like anyone else who did well and pocketed significant monies from a book would first secure your and your family’s financial future. The question is what did you do with it after that point?

    I hear you have three houses Bernie (Just like Stalin and Hitler had). Is at least one of them filled with illegal immigrant family’s and all of their basic food and financial needs are met by you in perpetuity as is your proposed political policy regarding our Southern border?

    I strongly suspect the answer is a resounding NO and absolutely NOT.

    They would be soooo personally indebted to you.

    And that is the problem with being a Communist political leader who aspires to be the president of the United States, what you say you believe in for everyone is absolutely NOT what you believe in for yourself. Bernie Sanders, American Communist, just like every other Communist.

  • wayne

    Mark Levin comments on Bernie Sanders CNN Townhall
    “a dangerous old man with fascistic ideas”
    {excerpt 02-26-2019}
    https://youtu.be/_NqvmLkxxyM
    15:18

  • Cotour

    If I were to be able to ask a question of either Bernie Sanders or “The Boss” Alexandria Ocassio Cortez it would be thus:

    Q: Can you please explain the virtues of a command economy as in the “Green New Deal” and Communism?

    I am certain the answer would be monumental in its complexity and content of bovine effluent.

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