Disinformation is power : Navigating the 5th Estate
Navigating the 5th Estate
[Image: from Wikipedia]
Publication date: 2021-08-25
Update 2022-04-26: An update is appended describing this article’s admission into information control systems.
Update 2022-04-29: An independent running of the experiment provides a slightly different result.
Update 2022-05-01: Change of logo. The Disinformation Governance Board takes the lead. Why do some people take “1984” as an instruction manual?
Navigation Primer: The Fourth Estate
The "press" has such a mythical status in "liberal western democracies" that it is elevated with parallel status to the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. Edmund Burke reportedly said that:
there were three Estates … but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all.
Thomas Jefferson wrote from Paris to Edward Carrington, his delegate at the Continental Congress of 1786 to 1788:
... were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
Through a series of technological innovations of cunning design and often scientific discovery we have seen a radical reduction in the cost of publishing information, culture and opinion. This progression from scribes to the printing press, producing newspapers, to audio recordings producing radio, then to the Internet has been an evolutionary revolution in the density of information delivery. (If you are interested in information theory, look up Claude Shannon.) Now in the "digital revolution" which Shannon theorized and Alan Turing’s vision extended, one can publish text, imagery, audio and video in a single "article" at zero cost with a potential audience of billions.
The Fifth Estate
The explosion of "independent" media is a natural outgrowth of this publishing revolution. It also signals a public dissatisfaction with existing media. That dissatisfaction has a very solid foundation:
We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.
That statement may be a little hyperbolic but as Herman and Chomsky outline in their book "Manufacturing Consent" and is enforced by the CIA's Operation Mockingbird, they are strong indicators of the enmeshing of the USA's government and its "dominant" media. This journal uses the term FCM, another McGovern term, to describe this enmeshed, established state of affairs: the Fawning Corporate Media.
The new "independent" media can be viewed as a fifth estate, while also understanding that it is full of disinformation and muddied waters created by both the ill-informed, and paid government operatives like Bellingcat or the UK's 77th Brigade. There are troll armies for hire because some organisations are willing to hire them, market demand.
How can one choose where to apply one's attention in this menagerie of ideas, opinion, information, disinformation, misdirection and outright trolling?
An Industrial Estate
The FCM is an industry. It is funded by advertising, dominantly by large corporations, since the "classified" (such a quaint term now) section was rendered obsolete by internet search engines and market places. The corporate funders buy advertising, not for sales, but to remind politicians of the control. The FCM sources are largely "anonymous government officials". The industry term for this is "access journalism". In the USA the FCM are now the PR wing of lobbyists and political operatives. Thus, consuming FCM "information" is to learn of what political operators in the USA want you to be thinking about. FCM output is largely opinion, either labeled (good), or embedded in "news" (not so good).
As for "events", that topic is controlled by a higher level, less known and very influential media triopoloy of Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse; the Brits, the Yanks and the French. Their on-the-ground reporting is very useful, and rarely incorrect, but it does influence which events "reach the news". This is a very powerful position. Jane Stanley narrated a Reuters report on BBC News live on 9/11 about the "collapse" of WTC7, while it is visibly standing in the background (see Sources) 20 minutes before it is destroyed, gave the game away.
To find curious, independent reporters one can look at journalism awards. The utility of using the recipients of an award to identify independent thinking journalists is inversely proportional to the praise placed on the issuing organisation or recipients by the FCM.
I cite the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism. I know of 75% of the recipients. I regularly consume media by about 50% of them.
Moving along the spectrum from "totally not approved" to "permitted with caveats" we meet the Izzy Award by the Park Center for Independent Media. Here, my knowledge of and engagement with, drops to 50% and 25%, respectively.
Examine the two lists. Has anyone received both awards?
Progressing to the far end of the spectrum, the “FCM endorsed awards”, there is the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism awarded by Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The hint is in the last two words. I would not touch anyone on this list with a barge pole. The recipients are either fawning or paid narrative control operatives.
There is a largely unknown award which is issued by a collection of principled and knowledgeable persons. Mr McGovern with some associates created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. A parallel organization, Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, issues an annual award to persons who have worked in intelligence or related fields who speak out against the misuse of intelligence. A subset of their largely unknown recipients are: William Binney, Katherine Gunn, Thomas Drake, Larry Wilkerson, John Kiriakou, Colleen Rowley, Annie Machon and the late Stephen Cohen. The most recent is Daniel Hale.
When you find a journalist quoting or interviewing any of these recipients take a little time to look at their work.
The stories, the news, the narratives that you hear influence not only what you think, but also the way in which you think. Curation of media sources is integral to one's intellectual and political life.
At the top of this article is its publication date as reported by the site, 2021-08-25. I have also manually added my own publication history, a practice which I later adopted.
At the bottom of this article is the Culture section in which Stevie Ray Vaughan's cover of Hendrix's "Little Wing" is included, and is textually named. Literally:
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Little Wing
Coverage of increasing censorship of counter-narrative publications in western media has become more prominent. I figured I'd get hit eventually, and today I saw it.
I offer you an experiment in information control. I give you the search, and you execute that in the three search engines I ask you to use. You look at the results, and make your own conclusions. I offer what I observed, below.
"Little Wing" site:yesxorno.substack.com
Copy this. Then use it in each of the following three search engines:
Observe what you see. Its your experiment. Consider and conclude.
I just wanted to find my article with Ray Vaughan's masterful cover of "Little Wing". I purely wished to reference my statement about every great band needing a great rhythm section.
I've published about 150 articles. Publishers at Substack get a "sub-site", which allows one to limit searches to it, and only it. Great! Where is my article in which I referenced "Little Wing"?
Duckduckgo.com and google.com will give you search results, but none of them are to this page, which is the ONLY time I have referred to "Little Wing". I can't remember my article publication dates or their titles accurately, but I know what I have written.
My Search Results
Yandex.com: this article
I also searched for Stevie Ray Vaughan etc. in the two upper search engines and achieved the same result of results that lead nowhere.
Now, obviously, "Little Wing" is not the problem. What do you believe is included in this article which requires Gurgle and Duckygo to ban it from their search? A better question may be who is demanding that they do this?
I'm guessing that BBC video below causing offense. As for who, one can only make informed guesses.
Information control is real. It is running and you are subject to it. Recognize this and then begin the difficult process of choosing how to respond to it.
My recent announcement of The Torrible Toolset presents a brief overview of the use of RSS. One of RSS’s properties is that it just goes straight to the site and asks "what is new?" No search engines are involved at all.
PS: I've been listening to Vaughan's "Little Wing" while composing this. It seemed appropriate. The drumming! Life evolves from a search for meaning into a search for beauty and connection.
An Independent Result
One of the most important parts of scientific publications, are not just the results, but the description of the experiment itself so that others can independently perform the experiment and results can then be compared.
A friend recently re-ran the experiment as described above with no difficulty. Their results were:
Google: One hit, this article
Duckduckgo: No results
Yandex: One hit, this article
I also re-ran the experiment and have exactly the same results. I attribute this change to the methodology of the experiment using a quoted term, “little wing”, which narrows the scope of results, as does the site specifier.
The key observation is not that duckduckgo have banned the article from search. It is the value of describing an experiment so that it may be independently run.
Thanks to my friend for their “contribution to science”!
The Fourth Estate As The Final Check, Delbert Tran, Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, 2016-11-22
Jefferson’s preference for “newspapers without government” over “government without newspapers” (1787), (no published author or date), Online Library of Liberty referring to The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 5.
Claude E. Shannon: Founder of Information Theory, Graham P. Collins, Scientific American, 2002-10-14
Alan Turing, (no author), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (revised) 2013-09-30
CIA: Mission Accomplished; Americans Believe What We Tell Them, Ray McGovern, his website, 2019-07-04
CIA'S USE OF JOURNALISTS AND CLERGY IN INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS, US Senate, 1996-07-17
Inside the British Army's secret information warfare machine, Carl Miller, Wired, 2018-11-14
9/11 - Did You Know: BBC Reports on Building 7, Lauren Robb (youtube), BBC News
Serena Shim award background, Wikispooks
Izzy Awards, Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca College
Memos by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, VIPS, Consortium News
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Little Wing, American Blues Scene, youtube, (no publication date). This is the best cover of Little Wing of all time, and its damn hard to beat Hendrix at his own game.
Every great band, especially those lead by soloists, needs a solid rhythm section driven by masterful percussion and base lines. Listen to the drumming in this.
RIP Charlie Watts.
Copyright the wisdom of those before and those that will come after; CC0.