Sunday, May 17, 2009

The mask comes off

If you read this article: New York Times Considers Two Plans to Charge for Content on the Web by John Koblin, and especially the reader comments, you'll notice that nobody has either the courage or the insight to call a spade a spade.

What is the reality here? It's that the Internet has unmasked the mass media for what it really is: a political/propaganda instrument that has been selling people on an alternate reality for far too long now. Since 9/11 the gulf between reality and the editorial positions of virtually all (which amounts to a handful of barons) major media players has grown into a towering inferno of the deceit at their core.

To see this, you have to stand far back - pretend you're on the moon looking at Earth - asking yourself questions like "of all the countries, people and events in the whole world, why did America bet it's farm on a military invasion of the Middle East?" and "looking at the whole world, do I think Iran should be at the top of our list of things to do?" ... and the list goes on, but the point that becomes clear as you think about it is that the real world is a very different place then the picture the newspapers have been painting of it.

America stands alone in the world when it comes to "news", with it's own points of view and priorities that collide with others around the world, and as more and more people become aware of the contrast - and gravitate towards other views, the situation only hastens the doom of these "operators'.

The Internet has been around long enough to have already served as a breeding ground for writers and contributors with different points of view, and today I could list at least 25 significant writers who are already emerging to the top of my (and others) reading lists. I haven't given the NY Times more then a cursory glance in many years now. I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal for years, but then 9/11 happened and the editorial position that newspaper took was so adverse to my beliefs that I unsubscribed and haven't even looked it since then.

It was a conspiracy, and I can call it that because it was detailed, outlined in the PNAC Statement of Principles that was acted out. Perhaps it was thought that the act of publishing this manifesto gave it legitimacy, or perhaps it was never intended to be published for the general public, but the Internet got in the way). In any case, that conspiracy took place, was acted out, and today we are just starting to feel the tragic consequences of that mentality.

Not only are we in the middle of it's consequences, but the perpetrators are now caught between the rock and the hard place. Now people have an easy choice in front of them: continue to believe in their crumbling vision or listen to people telling the truth. Until now they dominated the news-scape because newspaper publishing has always been a capital intensive business, and it was never imagined they could possibly lose their dominance - until the Internet came along.

I can personally attest to the surprise that was the Internet, that nobody saw it coming, because I was an analyst at Prodigy in the beginning of it all. Prodigy was IBM and Sears' centralized concept of the proposition, which, after hardly a fight, was sold off as scrap when the decentralized option (the Internet, a la AOL at the time) won the battle. Very specifically, one year nobody knew about the Internet, the next year it was an unstoppable force.

What the Internet did was make it possible for other points of view, written by a growing number of very capable, informed and reasonable people, to share thoughts with a growing number of interested readers. The low cost eliminated the barrier of entry to media publishing which had propped up, surrounded and protected the empire, and now anyone with something to say could say it to the masses.

Sure, the incapable, uninformed loud-mouth wannabees that also came pouring out of the woodwork appeared, had their 15 minutes, and then fell by the wayside. But enough people who did matter were left standing, and today, while the Internet is still in it's infancy, we're already seeing this "new breed of writers and editors" coalesce around websites with names like,,, the American Conservative, Bill Moyers, truthdig, the nation, wired, etc.

Left unchecked, this breed will grow and flourish. It's collided head-on with the old breed and already we're seeing articles like this, talking about the plight of the poor newspapers. Don't you think it just a bit curious that not a word in the article itself or the feedback from readers even hints at this point of view? Does this make you wonder about what gets into reader feedback and what gets filtered?

Once unmasked, the propaganda machine becomes exposed for what it really is, and in the age of the Internet, it cannot survive - because people do ultimately tire of the distortions, puffing, spinning and other machinations, and they tend to go in the direction of the truth. That is, the propaganda machine cannot exist when exposed to the light of day - and that's exactly what's happening with newspapers across America and the world.

So what does the NY Times do? It's choice is really simple: start following the truth, wherever it leads (as Socrates taught), or stay in the propaganda business, collect whatever it can from a shrinking readership, and watch itself shrivel and die, as did the centralized version of the Internet.

While the newspapers are between a rock and a hard place, we who depend on the Internets growth are in a very delicate position: specifically that all bets on the Internet saving us from their clutches are off if they find a way to control or disrupt it. Most unfortunately for us right now, one more attack here and you can bet your bottom dollar that the newspapers will claim "without the Internet they couldn't have attacked us, and now clamping down and controlling it is a matter of national security".

If you recall the pump-up preceding the invasion of Iraq, you'll recall how the handful of barons at the top of the media empires acted in concert to promote and sell the American public on supporting that invasion. We now know more about the truth being the invasion, and it's true intents. While very sadly this knowledge hasn't translated into action yet - but lets us make no mistake about it: Bush, the neocon gang and the media barons behind that scheme should be on trail for war crimes. The big lesson here is that if that gang pulled off a conspiracy that large, then seizing control of the Internet is not only something they want to do, but something they believe they can do. The only thing that can stop them is us and what's left of our democratic society.

The Internet has given us this new breed of editors, this alternate information system, and here we are today. What it hasn't done for us yet is provide the means to implement democratic control of our government. Technically, it can be done. Even I could do it. Why it doesn't exist yet is a matter of consternation, but as a technical proposition it is as inevitable as death and taxes. The real question that only the future will answer is whether what's possible will happen - or be crushed.

If it's crushed, it will stay that way for a very long time. If it's not crushed, it will defeat them and push their evil mentality to the sidelines, and open the doors to a future that we've all been waiting to hear about.

- a model government, truly of/by/for the people
- top priority given to the plight of the world's poor and suffering
- a reinvigorated United Nations and World Court
- housing and health care safety nets for all people
- opportunity for the gifted and hard workers to earn more if they choose
- embracing the concept of space as our destiny. We don't have population problem, there will never be enough people for this enterprise.
- furtherance of the Internet and technology as an information source freely available for all people
- automatic language translators that will enable people around the world to speak a common language

Today there is a guy in jail for 10 years because he burned a dipsy dumpster behind a store, while this gang remains rich, powerful and free. A third of the world's population doesn't have ready access to potable water. We're fighting a war in two countries against an enemy we can't even recognize - that we can't possibly win - and this last week our so-called representative in Congress authorized another 100 billion dollars to wage for the next few months. These are staggering examples of what's so wrong on such a vast scale. And at the heart of all this is our information supply, the poor, struggling newspaper reaching out to be saved.


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