Want to destabilise a country, a region or an entire planet? No biggie. Inspire terrorism, distribute vast amounts of false news and wreak general havoc.
Living in times of great uncertainty, as we do, most find it hard to decide what and who to believe anymore, as fake news and general disinformation fills our social media feeds, in part spread by trolls, but also by the traditional media themselves, often staffed by journalists lacking not only the ability to write properly, but the ability to tell truth from lies – possibly due to the financial situation, forcing media corporations to maximise production at a minimum of costs, inevitably resulting in a quantity surpassing quality by tenfolds. Online, that is.
Eager to cut costs, online newspapers have spent huge resources on user involvement, included third-party independent groups and individuals, regardless of their funding and/or motivations, such as these fine gentlemen:
Both of whom in the receiving end of much journalistic praise, as the media had a field day, nay, field days and years, basking in the glory of their “findings”, “leaks” and “revelations”,
Personally I never really bought into it, as posts thusly tagged will show (please feel free to go back in time):
I suggest that not only has the press fallen victim to Assange, Snowden and the likes of them, but has in fact acted as an accomplice, some news outlets more than other, but nevertheless.
The subject has been among this blog’s recurring topics for years and years, resurfacing after a brief Twitter conversation on former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s recent escapades yesterday:
Currently hailing from the news and commentary website The Intercept, Greenwald is launching an attack on his former employer, whence he once spread the gospel according to Snowden and Assange, wildly throwing accusations at The Guardian, for reasons unknown to you and me, just as we were kept in the dark with regards to his motivations for distributing their disclosures, be they lies, facts – or mere instruments in the grand scheme of things.
With the destabilisation of the west among Vladimir Putin’s more or less expressed intentions, it should come as no surprise that the Kremlin is responsible for at least the better half of all known fake news operations, as well as innumerable hacker attacks and, possibly, leading an unprecedented number of refugees to Europe, which we all know has brought about political discord, including the outset of the European Union’s dissolution, starting with a Brexit motivated, among other things, by fear of the refugee influx.
All while we witness NATO lying in shambles, as a new “Warsaw pact” emerges.
Most of it, of course, orchestrated by the Kremlin, where, by the way, Putin’s and western media’s golden boy, Edward Snowden, resides. Must be the climate and the pretty girls, huh?
You may of course ask yourself how it is that WikiLeaks and Snowden focus on what they present as US violations, whereas Russia, according to them, is perfectly immaculate.
Because Russia is immaculate, perhaps …
Despite my disgust for Mr. Putin’s intentions, there’s no denying that he’s been carrying out what he set out to do with great success, masterfully, with the west sidelined as helpless bystanders, probably out of fear for escalating a conflict Vladimir Putin tries his best to … well, escalate.
But I can tell you this much. As a journalist, mostly a former journalist, I’m deeply ashamed by my one-time colleagues’ conduct – and active part in introducing fake news as the basis of our collective “knowledge”, and the fear we all harbour.
Which all bodes well for the age of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
We can only hope that, since the objective has been an attack on “the establishment”, the media one day wakes up to the realisation that the two afore-mentioned gentlemen in fact are the establishment.
With the invaluable help of our eminent press.
As Donald J. Trump utters his compulsory “So help me God” on Friday 20 January, I’ll whisper a quiet addition to myself:
God help us all.
Please read this recent post on same subject:
Who to trust in post-factual times? 18 December 2016