Down the Memory Hole

During the next four years reality will be more elusive than ever before. Fortunately we have media we can trust. The corporate state knows this and has declared war...
Corporate Media
Photo by Dina Boyer via Flickr

During the next four years reality will be more elusive than ever before. Fortunately we have media we can trust. The corporate state knows this and has declared war against non-corporate media.

In late November, the Washington Post ran the headline: “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during the election, experts say.”

Who are these “experts”?  They call themselves PropOrNot. The Washington Post described PropOrNot as “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.”  Not one individual is named. PropOrNot launched their Twitter account in August; their web site in October. They’re new and they refuse to identify themselves or their funders.

“We’ll consider revealing our names when Russian reveals the names of those running its propaganda operations in the West????” states PropOrNot.

They claim that ‘fake news’ sources should be dismissed as either “Russian propagandists” or “useful idiots”.  These ‘fake news’ sites include Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Naked Capitalism, the Ron Paul Institute, Antiwar.com and WikiLeaks. Time magazine listed Naked Capitalism as one of the twenty-five best financial blogs. Nonetheless, PropOrNot wants a “formal investigation” to shut down any news source that doesn’t reflect the corporate view. According to PropOrNot, good sources, include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Buzz Feed, BBC and NPR.  PropOrNot claims Russia released ‘fake news ‘on WikiLeaks which led to the defeat of Clinton.  WikiLeaks claims two sources, a DNC employee angered about how Sanders was cheated and the Podesta File, containing Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches. Of course we can’t believe WikiLeaks; they’re Russian agents.

Then, on December 23rd, Obama signed the “National Defense Authorization Act of 2017” which contains the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act”.  This law gives the federal government 180 days to create a Global Engagement Center “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the federal government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining  United States national security interests.”

The federal government will attempt to suppress any news and analysis that doesn’t support the corporate state (national interests). They can dominate news narratives so thoroughly that all other voices are drown out. They can vilify publications and journalists, plant false stories that discredit us and more. $160 million buys a lot of media content providers and think tanks.

The historic record is also under attack. For example, G. W. Bush’s announcement from the deck of an aircraft carrier that “combat operations in Iraq had ceased’ changed a few months later to read, “major combat operations in Iraq had ceased.”  A year or so later, the press release was removed. Never happened.  Down the memory hole it goes.

Multiple secured copies, hard copies and thumb drives are necessary steps in preserving the historic record.

To this end, scientists, researchers and others have launched the Data Refuge Project to store decades of studies on climate change, as well as highly valued software, securely in Canada.

One source that protects U.S. government websites from changing or disappearing is The End Term Web Achieve. A good source for fact checking candidates’ claims is Political TV Ad Archives. The gold mine is the Wayback Machine. This is where Vice President Pence’s 2001 Congressional site has been preserved. Here, Pence denounces LBGTQ rights and said that federal funds should be used for conversion therapy. You won’t find this on his current official site. The Wayback Machine continues to grow and is moving copies of its archive to Canada for security against cyber-attacks from the right.

Libraries are important. The burning of the western world’s first great library, the Alexandria Library, illustrates just how much despots fear the truth. They know that, in the end, truth will out.

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Op-Ed

Rebel Fagin is a writer who has been politically active in Sonoma County since the 1970’s. He writes regularly for the Sonoma County Peace Press and the Global Critical Media Literacy Project (gcml.org). He has a book documenting nearly forty years of street activism in Sonoma County called Tales from the Perpetual Oppositional Culture – a Journey into Resistance. He lives in Santa Rosa, California and is active with many activists’ organizations.
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