information war

A Bit of Media Ranting… and Beef

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After reading some problematic posts today, I decided I needed to write up some things I know about the media and why—I feel—we’ve gotten to the place we have with all of the fake news/media.

For many years I’ve been paying attention to the media and hopping back and forth between news sites and shows to get the actual truth. The reason for this is that no news station is going to give 100% truth. At least not the mainstream media. In fact, for corporate-owned stations, the actual truth coming through is closer to 3%. Maybe 10-20% for non-corporate owned stations.

The reason for this is that many considerations go into what is aired. In written word, this can vary quite a bit more. But visual and audio media has gotten so competitive over the years that at some point things shifted from ‘we are informing the people’ to ‘we are entertaining the people’. Thus was born entertainment media.

This new design in reporting had to catch the viewers eyes and ears over all else. This meant sensationalizing events. Blowing a tiny fact into a large fact in order to gain more viewers. And what did all of this boil down to?

Money.

Advertising.

The more viewers you have, the more your station makes on advertising.

It’s common sense. And when your sister companies are drug companies that pay your salary, are you really going to air an attack on the same company for covering up a botched drug trial resulting in the loss of many lives? Nope. If the drug company is your largest paying advertiser, you’re going to gently skip over this.

What I’m sharing is only touching the surface. The only way to really illustrate what I’m saying is to do the research yourself. That’s what it took for me to get it. No matter what I’d learned, no matter what I saw, it wasn’t until I spent six months researching Disney and Pepsi and all their affiliates (for a college paper) that I realized just how little the mainstream media actually told the masses.

Almost nothing…

My instructor warned me, but I’m a stubborn gal. I had to research and find out for myself. I was horrified. And truthfully, it’s in our faces all the damn time. All the corporate sponsors, all the hidden advertising… It’s right there for us to see, plain in our faces. We just aren’t looking.

So how did this get us to where we are now?

Some years ago many of us began seeing what was happening and we took to our own form of reporting. We opened social media sites. We started YouTube channels. We blogged and opened our own media outlets via the web. But this ended up being just as problematic. There were no checks and balances. Unlike the mass media that had corporate sponsors to answer to, us little folks had no one to answer to. Thus was born fake news.

Sure it wasn’t all fake. A lot of people were doing the best they could to report the truth. But when the average person suddenly sees themselves as this all powerful media reporter, things can get out of control fast.

I feel this new wave of media was both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, I was able to access information as to what was actually happening overseas. Things that the US media was not reporting. People I knew were on the ground during protests, videotaping the actual events. I was able to compare these things with what the mainstream news reported and the media was lying.

So at first, this new wave of at home media was fantastic. It got people like me—and others interested in actual events—real information. Not corporate owned information, but on the ground information. This was brilliant and helpful. But in doing this, those making their money off of controlling information, lost.

This is where things got hairy for me. I began seeing problems arising. I began seeing people claiming to be ‘real people on the ground’ leading people astray. And it wasn’t accidental or just some crazies wanting attention. It was the opposition pretending to be something they weren’t to lead people astray. I first noticed this with the Egypt protests some years back.

What people at the time didn’t know is that I had a YouTube channel myself. I was keeping up with these folks. And… I had an actual friend taking part in protests. Someone I knew personally. So when their sites and contact suddenly went away, I knew something was wrong.

New videos popped up with the same tag words but they were different. They were sharing information that supported the Egyptian government’s side of things. Yet they were appearing as ‘at home YouTubers’ recording protests. It was set up. The instances being reported were fake. But very few people were able to understand that because they hadn’t been in contact like I had.

Whether or not the protestors were in the right isn’t what I’m getting at here. The issue is large and complex, just as those here in the US right now. But what I do know is that some of the Egyptian government workers got caught spreading false information about the protests.

Because I saw this play our first hand and witnessed people being censored by their government, I’ve paid closer attention. And as we approached the November 9th election, my worst fears began to surface. Because all of these people I’d known to be followers of free media, were suddenly shouting that Trump was the next best thing.

Their reason? Because he wasn’t republican or democrat.

They began using the same words. This was a tactic used by some of these same free media folks I knew. At first, it was statements that were inspiring. Things like the ‘free thought’ movement. Or the great awakening. But just as those words were hijacked and suddenly appearing in movies and mainstream media, I began to see the same things happening with Trump followers.

I began seeing the same attack words, like Killary and Obam’bomb’a. Name calling without the backing of fact. The truth seekers I knew back when I was doing my channel wouldn’t have made those kinds of claims without giving proof. Though the ‘tactic’ was the same, the backing with this Trump movement lacks all proof of any claim made.

Then I began seeing words like anarchy and revolution, but all from Trump supporters. I was floored. While the mainstream media—as these folks claimed—attacked Trump for his misogyny and his racism, they didn’t realize they’d been duped into following a fascist simply because he wasn’t like the others. Trump’s crew revealed what some of these anti-media folks already knew, that the mainstream media couldn’t be trusted, so when he said they were attacking him, these people didn’t bother to check the facts.

It was the small bit of truth that led them to believe Trump was on their side… That he was being unfairly attacked by the media.

They forgot one VITAL thing…

Trump is that media.

Not only is he a celebrity and very much tied to the very media issues I’m talking about, but he also bought his way into the White House.

Forget Cambridge Analytica, though. Because no matter how much they played a role in Trump being elected; the real issue is this twisting of facts and information. It’s lies upon lies and it’s designed to wear people down until they don’t know up from down. And it was done with intent. They can data-mine all they want, but it’s the spreading of lies that is the real issue.

And I can’t even blame these racist, misogynistic, homophobic, fascists because they are only half the issue. They are the demon baby born from our corporate lifestyle. If we hadn’t had all of this control and blatant lying to begin with, then it wouldn’t have been so easy for these power-mongering, money-loving fascists to get into power.

But all of this matters little at this point. Because we’re already here, fully immersed in this mess of lies and deception no matter where we turn.

There are ways to fact-check. There are also still news outlets that are reliable. That give far more fact than most. But remember, all writers are also human and we all have our opinions. Just as I have mine here. So our only way to be good citizens is to question all we hear and see and read. It’s the only way to get out of this mess. But we must do this in intelligent ways…

For years I’ve also gotten flack for making these claims. Despite having a degree in media. Despite having one of the most brilliant instructors in college that worked all over the world. Despite me showing people my research to back up my claims. People didn’t want to believe they were being lied to. That they are being lied to…

Why would we want to believe that?

No one wants to be seen as an idiot. As being duped.

But we’ve been duped. ALL of us. From the most ignorant and uninformed to the smartest minds in the world. We’ve been duped because we allowed corporations to take over our communication. And this touches on far more than just media.

There are things we can do. Like, talk to actual people that are involved in events. We can also watch for tags that say, “According to the source,” or tag lines that say entertainment media. The tags are key! And anytime anyone says, “According to the source…” unless they’re doing an undercover piece, they source isn’t credible. Otherwise, they’d name the source! But soooo many people miss this…

You will also find a lot of by watching the tags on extremists’ sites and accounts. The people spreading false information know how to get their word spread. They know how to tag. But those tag words are the vital component in learning the kind of media we’re following. If we want Trump-haters reading our post, we’ll tag that. If we want Obama-Haters reading our post, we’ll tag that. What we tag says it all.

While we—as individuals—may not be as savvy as the corporate data-mining for profit Cambridge Analytica, but we can read taglines.

This brings up one last issue with our current media choices…

Right now, we’re being bombarded with bullshit. With lies. And they are designed to keep us tired and confused. I’ve seen so much bullshit lately that I can’t even believe these people that I used to align with are now spreading propaganda that climate change is a myth and thinking that somehow making abortion illegal will actually lead to less abortion. These are ignorant arguments. They have no backing. And the worst part is that these people actually think they’re intelligent for not believing in climate change. Really people???

My head is spinning with the ignorance…

If people bothered to research climate change at all, they’d realize that cars are only a small portion of the problem. One of the biggest issues?

Fucking beef.

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Once again taking us back to corporations…

Our need for cheap beef and milk in mass quantities is worse than gas. So what’s this nonsense about Gore and making up global warming to control oil prices??? It’s what I keep seeing from these anti-fact folks and it’s BS. If one of the biggest leading contributors to global warming is beef ranches, then why all the oil talk?

Again, we get lied to and this creates room for doubt. I wanted to be angry at these ignorant people–some I used to know personally–for denying this, but then I look at where the big focus is again. And it’s never on the beef.

It’s the lies that are the problem… One small lie revealed and it’s so damn easy to manipulate people afterward.

We have a responsibility to do research. And not just the typical mainstream information. We need to look at all of it. Even the things that seem like complete and utter BS. Because if we don’t, then we can’t discern what’s real information and what’s not. My brilliant instructor told me this many years ago as I was a bubbly and excited youngster ready to dive into the media field.

I was quickly let down upon realizing the truth.

This isn’t a left or right issue. This is an information control issue. And all sides will manipulate and push their views.

Take what I say or leave it.

All that matters is that we look all around. That we stop believing something just because the left or right says it’s so. Just because a company or person says it’s so. Discernment is a thing and we must use it.

One last note, as this is what spawned this post, there is a few groups of propaganda spreaders that are meeting via places like Reddit or hidden behind Twitter messaging that are using other peoples’ feeds or large Twitter followings to spread their messages of hate. It’s a super shady practice by these people with smaller followings to get larger followings to pay attention to them.

The fact they’re using others’ feeds to spread their hate is all the reason I need to disregard anything they say. But we need to be on the lookout for this just as much as we do false news. All of these instances of spreading false information are wrong because they ‘use’ others.

This is all I’ve got for tonight. Stay tuned. Because I just might be opening my YouTube channel back up. This nonsense has gotten out of control and I’m done being quiet.

Cambridge Analytica, Russia, and Taking Action

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For years, my friends in other countries have been protesting injustice. I’ve watched their feeds. Seen private images. Read messages sent at times when they weren’t being censored by their countries. It’s been brutal… and all along I’ve known in my heart that one day this would come to my doorstep.

That day has arrived.

Watching my friends in other places fighting for one another, fighting against oppressors, and standing up for what’s right has given me strength. It’s shown me that the military can suddenly switch sides and protect the people, not the oppressors. It’s shown me that taking action matters and makes change. It’s shown me that we’re often lied to, and it’s up to us to be vigilant and seek the truth… Mostly, though, it’s shown me what everyday, ordinary people can do when they believe in something.

So when this day arrived, I was only partially afraid. Because I’ve been doing things behind the scenes for about ten years now, I’ve had more prep time than some of my US peeps have. And while I never thought trump would be elected–especially by the EC, since they were put in place to keep people like trump out–once he was elected, I knew it was going to be bad. And I began preparing myself for the worst.

I suspect that’s why I was so angry and sensitive the first month after his election. Because I knew that no matter how many people told me, “Just wait and see…” that waiting and seeing wouldn’t matter. I knew where we were heading because I’ve been watching this in other countries for ten years.

These last eight years with Obama have been good for the most part. There are certainly things he’s done that I’m not okay with. That I didn’t align with. I’m very much against war, so all the bombing… not good. I also had issues with Bush, and Clinton, and even the recent Clinton, though I did vote for her, and this is because I honor who I am. I also understand that the President isn’t a dictator. Or at least, they aren’t supposed to be. So even if a President doesn’t want something or is against it, they may be powerless to change it. That is how our system works.

The big danger now is that dangerous people have all the power. While there are always bad people in places of power, we’ve never had a situation like we do now. Trump isn’t only dangerous himself, but he’s put people equally as bad in places of power too. And he cheated his way in. He literally bought the Whitehouse.

At first, I read Motherboard’s article and thought, no way. No way this is true. I knew it could be and likely was, but I didn’t want to believe it. Despite seeing the evidence.

To fact check, I went to Cambridge Analytica’s website. In the article, I’d read that the CEO of the company was proud of his accomplishments, which included Brexit. I was horrified when I got to Cambridge’s site to see the video pop up on the homepage announcing their accomplishment for the trump election too.

For those of you that don’t know what Cambridge Analytica is, I suggest you find out. It’s fucking terrifying. I’m not joking in any way here.

This came after I’d already read all of the horrible shit trump and his posse passed or proposed in his first few days in office.

This list of horror keeps growing and I don’t think it’s going to slow down anytime soon. We are in for a shitshow, a ride of our lives, BUT…

Tonight, I saw people come together once again, to protect the people being detained at the airport. For those that don’t know what I’m referring to, trump put an immigration freeze on people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This actually affected a lot more people than just those from these countries, but this was where it began.

The claim was that it was to keep terrorists out. But according to NPR, the ONLY countries that received the ban were ones that trump didn’t have businesses in. Despite the fact that many of the countries he’s got businesses in have much higher rates of terrorism.

People are saying it’s a Muslim thing, but as NPR also points out, “The 19 terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, Myre points out. They are among the Muslim-majority countries not affected by Trump’s immigration freeze, but where Trump does business.”

So what is it then? Is it a Muslim thing? A terrorist thing? Or is it business?

No matter the reasoning, people went out on their Saturday night and protested at the airport. They played live feeds–I watched the one in Seattle so I can send my complaints in on how some officers handled it poorly–and this happened all over the country.

While Facebook played a role in the Cambridge issue, they also allowed for a million of us to take part in the protest from home tonight. Then FB (as if I couldn’t have predicted this) suddenly slowed own, wouldn’t show me the feeds of any friends that posted the live feed, and stopped functioning for a while. Hrmmm, am I surprised? No, but still, it served its purpose for the live feed.

All this being said, we really need to be more aware. It’s our responsibility to be knowledgeable and act.

If you still don’t believe Russia had anything to do with trump being elected either, you’d better start fact-checking. We are at war, but not a war many of us would recognize. Politico Magazine is calling it a non-linear war. The information age has changed everything. We’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

Control, yes. Censorship, yes. News stations only printing or sharing news that didn’t make their affiliates look bad, yes.

But never anything like what we’re facing now. In their article, Putin’s Real Long Game, author Molly K. McKew says, “information warfare is not about creating an alternate truth, but eroding our basic ability to distinguish truth at all. It is not “propaganda” as we’ve come to think of it, but the less obvious techniques known in Russia as “active measures” and “reflexive control”. Both are designed to make us, the targets, act against our own best interests.” In essence, they are working to create an unstable environment for us where we turn on one another.

We must call these things out. We must not make trump’s abuse commonplace, but we must make this knowledge. The more people hear that they are being manipulated, the easier it will be to see the manipulation.

The more we point out lies, and call them lies, the easier it will be to see them.

The more we call out racism, fascism, narcissism, misogyny, bigotry, the easier it will be to see it.

In these terrible times, I also see things that I never have before. I’m seeing people leave the comfort of their homes and go out and protest. The people at the airport tonight are refusing to leave until those being detained are released. And by released, they mean to freedom.

I’m also seeing people speak out on all social media platforms that are usually quiet and nonpolitical. They’re using their voices. In person as well.

I’m reading things like this, “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a message for refugees rejected by U.S. President Donald Trump: Canada will take you.

I refuse to allow these abusive people in power–no matter which country they’re from–make abuse the norm. Abuse and hatred are not the norm. That’s what they want us to believe, though. These types don’t want us to see our power or embrace it.

These abusive people are gaslighting us. We must keep our eyes open to these tactics. **See The Washington Post on Trump and Gaslighting.**

What would have happened tonight if the airport officials refused to detain people? What would have happened if the police actually protected the people and *joined in* the protest? What would happen if our military protects us against our domestic enemies… our current leaders?

We have the power. I’m using mine however I can.

Are you?