I “sample broadly” when it comes to news. I find the “compare and contrast” highly informative. For this reason, I sometimes subject myself to MSNBC CNBC CNN et. al. along with Fox, Fox Business, Bloomberg, BBC, DW and RT (German and Russian news in America). Frankly, just about any news on the satellite, I’m gonna watch it sometime. Then very sporadically the local news [as it is largely just the Police Blotter “bleeds it leads” and local Political Promotion (Mayor leading parade -news?…) and such].
FWIW, I miss Al Jazeera, as they had great video out of the Middle East. Even if the commentary was often clearly biased, it was easy to catch and filter the bias and the camera gave very good insight into the ‘facts on the ground’. Oh Well.
Oh, and it looks like RT has a youtube channel, for folks not getting the satellite feed:
Now, the current hot button among the Talking Heads Of The Left is that, Oh Horrors!!!, Donald Trump was interviewed by Larry King!!!! Oh, sorry, interviewed on “Russia Today Sponsored by RUSSIA!!! and Puppet of Putin and Horrible People!!!!” (as a paraphrase…)
So what does that make me? Stooge of pMSNBC? Dupe of CNBC? Controlled by evil GE Driven Corporate News on NBC local? Perhaps a Neo Nazi in the making since I watch GERMAN news? (Or would that be a Good Globalist Citizen as I watch modern German News?) Or perhaps it makes me Enemy Of The State for watching Communist Russian News on RT? Oh, wait, they aren’t communists anymore… but Nationalists… so that must make me a Russian Stooge? Perhaps watching Bloomberg means I’m a Closet Limousine Liberal (in which case, please send a limo by about 3 PM and have the bar well stocked…) Or maybe that I watch Fox means I’m a rabid frothing Right Wing Nut? (Then again, Fox Business would mean I’m a Rabid Frothing Right Wing Billionaire Wannabe. In which case, stock the Limo with a few hundred $Thousands… German Bearer Bonds preferred, if any are still in circulation…) /sarc;
It’s just so blatant and so galling.
No, I watch them all so I can catch the bias and lies they all have and tell. Not only does each “call out” the other with “gotcha” blurbs from time to time, but simply having the same straight story on each of them marks it “probably true” and when they are cutting-for-effect the other often has the whole statement and the lie is obvious.
Chopping & Twisting Lately
What has gotten crazy obvious lately is that the more “Progressive” the network, they more they are acting as a clear Propaganda Ministry. There are several techniques used, but I’m only going to describe one here (lest things get so long I never finish the article ;-) That technique may have some proper name that I don’t now (not being formally schooled in Propaganda), but I’ve taken to calling it “Chop and Twist, then 4 Wall”. It’s easy to spot.
So first off, you watch what Trump says. He will say something that is a bit vague, but only with some effort could be turned to The Dark Side. Now the Propaganda Ministry “chops out a juicy bit”, then they “twist it”, then it is projected everywhere at the same time (called “4 walling” pointing a projector at all 4 walls so you must see it somewhere).
It is easily spotted by simply watching somewhere that is NOT chopping, so you get the whole statement, then see if it means something else to you. (You must do this with an open mind, not after already buying in to the chopped and twisted version…)
So Trump says something like, in response to a question about Putin being an able leader, “Yes, I think Putin has been able to manage his complex country and lead it for the Russian nation. He’s a tough guy, but you have to respect him”. That is a pretty simple statement of the facts about Russia and Putin.
It’s a big, complicated place with sometimes lethal political rules of engagement. It takes a tough guy to survive in it, and Putin has. He has also acted to keep Russia working for Russians and NOT under the thumb of the west or the globalists. Managing a place the size and diversity of Russia his damned hard, and he’s done it. It is also important to respect your potential adversaries and it is a Very Bad Idea to pick a fight with other world leaders with whom you may need to work. Note that NONE of this says Putin is a good guy. If you asked me if Al Capone was an effective manager, I’d have to say yes, because he ran a difficult and complex operation and did it effectively. That doesn’t mean I like gangsters or think he was a good guy. Those are different questions.
Now, the Chop. The answer gets reported as “Trump praises Putin, calls him ‘able’ and says he ‘respects him'”. (Usually the chop isn’t that extreme, but you get the point. Single words, or small phrases. Occasionally a whole sentence out of context. That, then gets spun up into things like Trump is a Russian Puppet or Trump Loves Dictators or a dozen other sets of spin.
Finally, the same story shows on ALL of the major “Progressive” outlets at the same time (the 4 Wall). MSNBC / CNBC / CNN especially seem to run in close contact. Then there are all the “progressive” blogs and news papers that run with it too (starting with the New York Times as “ministry leader” in the print world.
Then you turn on Fox and hear the whole thing, question and answer, and see that Trump is just choosing to answer the question accurately. Putin IS an effective leader for his country and IS managing it effectively. He is also a Nationalist who thinks his country ought to act in the interest of Russian People (which offends the Globalists to no end). He is also calling B.S. on human induced Global Warming (so not buying in to their other Propaganda Power Play) and has the audacity to think that as leader of one of THE largest nations and powers on Earth, maybe he ought to get a bit of respect. He is also well skilled at Real Politik and Power Politics, so knows how to use an Army, and do Deception almost as well as the British…
Oh, and he undid the (likely illegal) gift of Khrushchev who split off a chunk of Russia and gave it to Ukraine when he, a Ukrainian, was running the USSR. Putin just took back what had been Russia for a few hundred years and was full of ethnic Russians who were being forced to become Ukrainians. Now I may think his methods a bit despicable, but if you ask me “Is Putin an effective leader for Russia?” and “Can Putin manage an army well?”, I’d be forced to say yes. Oh, and if asked “Can Putin lie like a rug, use deception to gain whatever he wants, makes Machiavelli look naive and has likely got a list of State Murders longer than this article?”, I’d also have to say “Yes, I can agree to that, too.”
Recognizing a Reality is NOT endorsement of it, nor the actors who implemented it.
Watch carefully for that one, it is used nearly daily. Questions of the form “What do you think caused…” or “Do you think (bad person) was effective in…” get twisted to “You ENDORSED what was done”, when no such endorsement was made. It’s one of the better Propaganda Flags out there, and it’s easy to spot. Watch MSNBC, then Fox, compare and contrast the same leading story and look at who has the long quote, and who uses a Chopped Soundbite with Spin. This is an “Endorsement Bait And Switch” IMHO.
I don’t know how or why Larry King got a gig on RT. But he’s still the same old Larry King. He does decent interviews, but I rarely watch his show. Just don’t like looking at him and the gravely voice, frankly. Yet he draws an audience and gets Name guests. I’m going to make an exception for the Trump Interview if I can find it. (The Satellite feed has the wrong tittles and times compared to what’s showing for RT. Been months now. You would think someone would have noticed and fixed it… but RT News comes on when it ought to be some other show, and then under the RT News heading it’s often some cultural dance / opera stuff… Oh Well.)
Now just how in hell the Loony Side Of Left thinks they can spin Larry King into a Russian Stooge story for Trump is a bit beyond me. Ether CNN or MSNBC had some (supposedly) Republican guy on saying the only way out of this for Trump (note the implication he is ‘in’ something… “Assumption of Guilt By Statement w/o Facts”) is for Trump to, every time he mentions Putin, start the statement with ~”Putin is a very bad person and does bad things” or something like that. FWIW, I call that strategy the Knight Fork. If Trump DOESN’T Do That, he will be accused of being a Russian Stooge, or worse, and not patriotic. If he DOES do that, at best he is picking a fight with a very effective street fighter with nukes and a lethal set of assassins. Someone with whom he might need to make deals. So far, Trump has been bright enough to not take that kind of bait, and call out the Stupid Slander instead of taking the Real Damage To Relationships.
All this because Trump is being interviewed by Larry King on a program for American audiences on a channel owned by Russia.
Somehow I thought the end of the Cold War, the end of the USSR, the sending of huge delegations to Russia to teach them Capitalism, and a generation of peace between us was supposed to make it OK to do business with Russian companies… Didn’t Bill Clinton work with the Russians? Hmmm? Didn’t Madam Hillary approve sale of 20% of US Uranium to a Russian Company? Hmmmm? So what is it, are Russians GOOD or BAD? (yes, a Knight Fork of my own ;-)
Why I often choose to answer such questions with “Mu! The Question Is Ill Formed!” (Something Mr. Trump might find useful…)
One simply answers “Some Russians are good, some bad, like everybody”.
Now in my well founded opinion, having watched thousands of hours of all sorts of news programs, RT is a very credible news outlet for just about anything not directly of importance to the Kremlin. They are especially good at turning up American Folly and shining light on Euro-Globalist machinations. For that, I cherish them. On other things, like, oh, their coverage of the Ukraine, you have to sort out the Official Spin. The good thing is that isn’t all that hard to do and like Al Jazeera, you get great video from places you would otherwise never see. Even on Ukraine, you get a different POV on things that can often be useful; just that you need to double check the fact checking.
So does that put me in the “I Love Putin” camp? Or the “Mole For Russia” camp? Nope. No more than saying that DW gives a great view of the Official German Globalist POV makes me a Globalist. No more than watching Fox Business makes me Pro Open Borders Cheap Labor. It only means I am comfortable using “compare and contrast” to filter out the Propaganda Pieces and appreciate the real news and alternative POV around it. Besides, knowing what Putin is hot about and what they are willing to risk reputation to push is itself enlightening…
Sidebar on Me And Russia:
I had one Russian Language class. I did horribly in it (that alphabet was a challenge and about 1/2 the class, IMHO, spoke Russian at home and were looking for an easy A as exchange students…). I can puzzle out a few words still, and “someday” would like to get good at the language, but it is highly unlikely to happen unless I live to 200… I have no “issues” with Russia or Russians. They are basically culturally “European” people, living in a hard place. They have been traumatized by a thousand years of horrible governments and invaders, so I can appreciate some of their tolerance for a Strong Man who is mostly keeping the worst of it away. Accepting “I hate it but it is good enough”. (Hmmm… rather like I feel about Obama…) I’ve never been there, but would love to go. IMHO, they are more like the sailors in “The Russians Are Coming!” than they are typically presented. Do remember we were allies in W.W.II and they got the worst end of it. That’s my bias.
Somehow I suspect Larry King and Trump have a similar “OK, I guess” attitude toward Russia and the Russian People. Why Hillary and the Loony Side Of Left want to Demonize them and pick a fight with Putin is a good question… I can only figure it is because Putin isn’t on board with the Globalist AGW bundle.
The thing that galls me most is the way it gets 4 Walled. Just shouting “coordination”.
I like my news sources diverse and independent. When they all pick up the same Leader Board Talking Points with the same Spin and the same chop, well, it just stinks of Ministry Of Propaganda. Then when they all run the same day, or at most one day off, it is confirmation of at least an Echo Chamber, and more likely Dear Leader-ship.
Now I know that in the present age a lot of this comes from rapid communications. Someone at HuffPo or NYT Tweets out a spin chopped into 140 char and all their fellow traveler news creators get a flutter deep in their Progressive Socialist Conscience and decide a Me Too! Piece would be easy to pop on the screen as they Virtue Signal to The Flock what to think. No real Ministry, but still a swarm of followers being lead…
The result, though, isn’t News. It’s still propaganda.
As real news has become ever more absent from The Tube and Print media, I, and it looks like millions of others, have taken up a new habit.
I leave The Tube running in the background while I do other things. WHEN I’ve detected a 4 Wall happening, I’ll channel hop a bit to get a wider view, then go to the internet news sources to get the rest of the story and the real news.
Now this has one good effect, I get a lot better news in depth. It also has the bad effect of encouraging even LESS news on the Tube as I’m not looking to if for news anymore, just the hot topic du jour. We’re in a feedback loop. They turn news into more stories of The Strange And Exciting, and I stop looking to them for news… so they give even less, so I look to them even less, so…
I do long for the days of Walter Cronkite and the old BBC sometimes. I got started in Short Wave Listening with the old BBC. Mum loved to hear it, and they did global straight news back in the day. Somewhere around the time they went from blue to the present hideous sort of orange on their sets, the actual news content was made smaller than the political spin. Now the BBC America news is down to 30 minutes of Puff and Nonsense, and I rarely watch much of it. Even CNN has cleaner news. Sad that. (Though I watch a lot of Star Trek on it ;-) What it has to do with Britain escapes me though …)
I suspect my news habits were set with that old (War Surplus!) shortwave tube radio. I’d listen to Radio Havana and Radio Moscow and just laugh at some of it. Then the BBC for the strait story, and Voice Of America for our propaganda spin. Ah, the good old days. It’s become harder to get good shortwave news lately. The internet has killed a lot of it, and living in an Electronic Smog Jungle squashed the smaller stations for me. I still travel with a SW radio, but the pickings are often slim. Yet listening to all sides sharpened the discriminator (in the radio detector / BS detector sense…)
Hopefully this little missive will help folks to sharpen their own news discriminator and BS detector, and encourage a bit wider sampling of sources. Don’t be afraid, listening to a bit of RT or DW or even Fox won’t corrupt your brain. On the contrary, in conflict their is information. Who is NOT covering a story that’s on another. What is missing from that quote here? Who is spouting opinion and calling it news? Where is emotion being used to wash away facts? It’s a pretty darned good education…