"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.
There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.
The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?
We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes." -- attributed to journalist John Swinton, 1880
"The media ... are corporations integrated into some of the major corporations in the country. The people who own and manage them belong to the same narrow elite of owners and managers who control the private economy and who control the state, so it’s a very narrow nexus of corporate media and state managers and owners. They share the same perceptions, the same understanding, and so on. That’s one major point. So, naturally, they’re going to perceive issues, suppress, control and shape in the interest of the groups that they represent ... ." -- Noam Chomsky, Chronicles of Dissent (1992), excerpt.
"One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there’s a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins. Namely, you have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions, and those assumptions turn out to be the propaganda system. As long as everyone accepts the propaganda system, then you can have a debate." -- Noam Chomsky, Chronicles of Dissent (1992), excerpt.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum -- even encourage the critical and dissident views." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 46.
"The experts in legitimation, the ones who labor to make what people in power do seem legitimate, are mainly the privileged educated elites. The journalists, the academics, the teachers, the public relations specialists, this whole category of people have a kind of an institutional task, and that is to create the system of belief which will ensure the effective engineering of consent." -- Noam Chomsky, Chronicles of Dissent (1992), excerpt.
"Union organisers... . The capitalist press denounces their cause as disorder, murder and revolution; public opinion is aroused against them." -- Anton Pannekoek, "Trade Unionism" (1936)
"You need something to frighten people with, to prevent them from paying attention to what's really happening to them." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 41.
"The West doesn't have to pretend anymore that it's interested in helping anybody." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 144.
"[A]s the modern science of advertising has demonstrated, people can be convinced that what is bad for them actually is good. It is all a question of how to frame their decision-making process." -- Michael Hudson, Global Fracture (2003), introduction.
"It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis." -- Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize in Literature 2005 Acceptance Speech.
"Assange, Manning and WikiLeaks, by making public in 2010 half a million internal documents from the Pentagon and the State Department, along with the 2007 video of US helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down Iraqi civilians, including children, and two Reuters journalists, effectively exposed the empire’s hypocrisy, indiscriminate violence and its use of torture, lies, bribery and crude tactics of intimidation. WikiLeaks shone a spotlight into the inner workings of empire—the most important role of a press—and for this it has become empire’s prey." -- Chris Hedges, "An Interview With Julian Assage", The Nation (2013)
"Assange is correct. The press of a nation at war, in every conflict I covered, is an enthusiastic part of the machine, cheerleaders for slaughter and tireless mythmakers for war and the military. The few renegades within the press who refuse to wave the flag and slavishly lionize the troops, who will not endow them with a host of virtues including heroism, patriotism and courage, find themselves pariahs in newsrooms and viciously attacked—like Assange and Manning—by the state." -- Chris Hedges, "An Interview With Julian Assage", The Nation (2013)
"The hard power can wage wars and overthrow governments. The soft power explains to bystanders why that was the right thing to do. The United States can get away with literally everything so long as it can tell the story to its own advantage, without the risk of being credibly contradicted. Concerning sensitive points in the world, whether Iraq, or Libya, or Ukraine, control of the narrative is basically exercised by the partnership between intelligence agencies and the media. Intelligence services write the story, and the mass corporate media tell it." -- Diana Johnstone, "France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface", CounterPunch, Feb. 17, 2017
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UDHR, Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
From the point of view of individuals who engage in critical thinking and analysis, so-called 'quality' mass or mainstream media (MM/MSM) such as The Guardian, The New York Times or The Washington Post or BBC, CNN or NBC have over large stretches degenerated into mouthpieces of what sociologist C. Wright Mills has referred to as "the power elite" or what one might today refer to as the 'global oligarchy,' with quite a few of the 'debates' happening within the narrow confines that were outlined by Chomsky.
Quality reporting can admittedly still be found in the MSM, but all too often only as long as those reports do not stand too much in the way of the interests of said powers. Otherwise and especially in those areas where it matters, the 'pen-prostitutes' or 'presstitutes' are often busy with manufacturing the sort of consent that is in line with the interests of the largely Western power elites (see media bias). In other words: The product that is generated by MSM is not simply the newspapers or (indeed) news 'shows' but the manipulation of people's opinions about certain matters by means of newspapers and news shows.
The sad and moreso dangerous twin prime example for this misreporting is the constant Russia- and Putin-bashing in Western MSM while at the same time turning a blind eye to Western (war) criminal activities: The West and especially the USA can do no wrong (e.g. when laying waste to countries such as Iraq or Libya or when helping to overthrow democratically elected governments such as in Honduras or Ukraine) but Putin = Hitler -- or so the Western MSM presstitutes and their handlers would have us believe.
To counter this Western power elite and MSM insanity that some say might be a grooming of the public for a potentially nuclear war of aggression against Russia as well as other misrepresentations of world events, a fourfold strategy has been employed in the global civil society cluster of (7) alternative media of exclusively international scope. First, links to high quality independent and investigative media such as Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept or the Goodman & Gonzalez hosted Democracy Now! are provided in order to show or to remind people what proper journalism and news look like. Secondly, there are links to good alternative media that may err a little bit in favor of pro-Russian reporting in order to provide a counterbalance to the dangerous anti-Russia and anti-Putin hysteria that is so prevalent in Western MSM. Note, however, that these media were also added since they do not fall short of much needed criticism of the Western power elites. Thirdly and in order to round off the selection of alternative media, there are also links to a few rare media propaganda watchdogs that can also help curious and critical minds understand what dirty games are being played by and in the MSM. Fourthly, there are also links to respective books and videos such as Chomsky & Herman's classic Manufacturing Consent which people can also use to enlighten themselves about this for a global civil society critical area.
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(personal top picks are in bold)
Activism "information that moves"
Clarity of Signal "Exposing Geopolitical Madness"
ColdType "Writing Worth Reading From Around The World"
Consortiumnews "Independent Investigative Journalism Since 1995"
Disobedient Media "Truth has no bias"
Dissident Voice "a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice"
INSURGE Intelligence "people-powered watchdog journalism for the global commons"
Grasping at Straws by Mike Whitney
Media Roots "Reporting From Outside Party Lines"
North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) "reporting on the Americas since 1967"
PeaceVoice "your peace and justice public intellectual US op-ed free distribution service"
The Ghion Journal "Fight Ignorance with Knowledge"
The Interdictor "We denounce war crimes, Human Rights abuses, & State assaults to privacy & Civil Liberties"
The New Cold War "Ukraine and beyond"
TomDispatch "a regular antidote to the mainstream media"
Truthdig "drilling beneath the headlines"
Z Magazine "The Spirit of Resistance Lives"
Qatar's Al Jazeera English (tw)
Venezuela's teleSUR English
Business, Economy, Finance
naked capitalism "Fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power"
* * *
Activism "information that moves"
CORRECTIV "Recherchen für die Gesellschaft"
Free21 "Credible news mounted on paper"
Kontrast Blog "Debatten beleben"
Makronom "Online Magazin für Wirtschaftspolitik"
N21 "damit das Richtige wächst"
Neue Debatte "Das Magazin für Menschen, Kultur und Gesellschaft"
Pressenza Deutsch "international press agency"
Rubikon "Das Magazin für die kritische Masse"
Unsere Zeitung "Die Demokratische"
* * *
Nation of Change "Progressive News and Activism"
News2Share "Sharing Your News with the World"
Pro Publica "Journalism in the Public Interest"
Project Censored "The News That Didn't Make The News"
Mark Curtis "British foreign policy declassified"
openDemocracy "free thinking for the world"
Politics and Insights "Public interest issues, policy, equality, human rights, social science"
Pride's Purge "an irreverent look at UK politics"
Redress Information & Analysis "Exposing injustice, disinformation and bigotry"
the Canary "fresh, fearless independent journalism"
The Skwawkbox "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations"
Vox Political "politics for the people"
* * *
Counter Propa "Using Their Words Against Them"
openDemocracy -> Our Beeb "The Future of the BBC"
Die Propagandaschau "Der Watchblog für Desinformation und Propaganda in deutschen Medien"
* * *
21st Century Wire "News for the Waking Generation"
* * *
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Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up", Rolling Stone, Oct. 20,
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Chomsky, Noam, 2002, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, 2nd edition, The Open Media Pamphlet Series.
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Chow, Mansour, 2018, "The Guardian: Accusers and Purveyors of Fake News, Part 4", Medium.
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Guys?: Reclaiming Your Mind from the Delusions of Propaganda, Zero Books.
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2007, Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East,
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Johnstone, Caitlyn, 2019, "Thirty-Two Tips For Navigating A Society That Is Full Of Propaganda And Manipulation", medium.com, June 3, 2019.
Johnstone, Caitlyn, 2019, "A New Narrative Control Firm Works To Destroy Alternative Media",
McChesney, Robert W., 2000/2015, Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times, new edition, The New Press.
McChesney, Robert W. & Nichols, John, 2002, Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media, Seven Stories Press.
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McChesney, Robert W., 2007, Communication Revolution: Critical Junctures and the Future of Media, New York: The New Press.
McChesney, Robert W., 2008, The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas, Monthly Review
McChesney, Robert W. & Nichols, John, 2010, The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again, New York: Nation Books.
McChesney, Robert W., 2013, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, The New Press.
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Mitchell, Greg (blog), 2008, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits—and the President—Failed in Iraq, Union Square Press.
Mitchell, Greg, 2011, The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond), blurb.
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2013, Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America, Nation
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Shure, Frances T., 2013, "Why Do Good People Become Silent -- or Worse -- About 9/11?, Part 1: Preface and Introduction", Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Nov. 24, 2013.
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Tracy, James, 2018, "English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?", offguardian, Jan. 8, 2018.
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Al Jazeera, 2017, Noam Chomsky - The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine.
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