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The Propaganda Multiplier - How Global News Agencies and Western Media Report on Geopolitics - Longer Detailed Reading

By anonymous following x   2019 Mar 8, 2:43pm 195 views   3 comments   watch   nsfw   quote     share    

This study by Swiss Propaganda Research was first published in 2016, it is presented here in English for the first time. Translated by Terje Maloy.

Therefore you always have to ask yourself:

Why do I get this specific information in this specific form at this moment? Ultimately, it’s always about questions of power.”
—Dr. Konrad Hummler, Swiss banking and media executive

It is one of the most important aspects of our media system – and yet hardly known to the public: most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.

The key role played by these agencies means that Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.

A study of the Syria war coverage by nine leading European newspapers clearly illustrates these issues: 78% of all articles were based in whole or in part on agency reports, yet 0% on investigative research. Moreover, 82% of all opinion pieces and interviews were in favor of the US and NATO intervention, while propaganda was attributed exclusively to the opposite side.

Introduction: “Something strange”

“How does the newspaper know what it knows?” The answer to this question is likely to surprise some newspaper readers:
“The main source of information is stories from news agencies. The almost anonymously operating news agencies are in a way the key to world events. So what are the names of these agencies, how do they work and who finances them? To judge how well one is informed about events in East and West, one should know the answers to these questions.”
—Höhne 1977, p.11
A Swiss media researcher points out:

“The news agencies are the most important suppliers of material to mass media. No daily media outlet can manage without them….So the news agencies influence our image of the world; above all, we get to know what they have selected.”
—Blum 1995, p.9

In view of their essential importance, it is all the more astonishing that these agencies are hardly known to the public:
“A large part of society is unaware that news agencies exist at all … In fact, they play an enormously important role in the media market. But despite this great importance, little attention has been paid to them in the past.”
—Schulten-Jaspers 2013, p.13

Even the head of a news agency noted:

“There is something strange about news agencies. They are little known to the public. Unlike a newspaper, their activity is not so much in the spotlight, yet they can always be found at the source of the story.”
—Segbers 2007, p.9

“The Invisible Nerve Center of the Media System”

So what are the names of these news agencies that are “always at the source of the story”? There are now only three global agencies left:

•The American Associated Press (AP) with over 4000 employees worldwide. The AP belongs to US media companies and has its main editorial office in New York. AP news is used by around 12,000 international media outlets, reaching more than half of the world’s population every day.

•The quasi-governmental French Agence France-Presse (AFP) based in Paris and with around 4000 employees. The AFP sends over 3000 stories and photos every day to media all over the world.

•The British agency Reuters in London, which is privately owned and employs just over 3000 people. Reuters was acquired in 2008 by Canadian media entrepreneur Thomson – one of the 25 richest people in the world – and merged into Thomson Reuters, headquartered in New York.

In addition, many countries run their own news agencies. However, when it comes to international news, these usually rely on the three global agencies and simply copy and translate their reports.

Full Article: https://off-guardian.org/2019/03/08/the-propaganda-multiplier/

#News #WesternMedia #MSM #Propoganda #Power #Politics #Geopolitics

1   Ceffer   ignore (1)   2019 Mar 8, 3:53pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Multiply, intensify, and bring the agitprop to crescendos of howling, stentorian, bullhorn tornados of bug-eyed cant! Don't let the slightest voice of truth or opposition in edgewise! Repetition, hammering, repetition, hammering! Any falsehood can be made to appear real, and can be inserted like a swarm of ticks into the subconscious of the doltish masses! Hem them all with emotional appeals, grandiosity, noble vindictiveness, and righteous entitlement! Turn the soft brains and useful idiots into martyrs for your cause!
2   anonymous   ignore (null)   2019 Mar 11, 12:49pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Fox ‘News’ doesn’t deserve a seat at the table...

Last week, the Democratic National Committee, citing a recent story in The New Yorker that painted the network as a propaganda machine for the Republican Party and its lamentable leader, said no. It pointedly disinvited Fox from hosting any of the forthcoming Democratic primary debates.

That decision raised howls of protest from some observers. NBC’s Jonathan Allen tweeted that if Democrats boycott Fox, maybe it’s because they “don’t have good answers.” Jack Shafer of Politico wrote, “Any politician who can’t hold his own against a journalist from the other team should be disqualified from running.” And CNN’s Anderson Cooper said the decision “seems shortsighted.”

But all this hand-wringing is precious, if not downright naive, because this one isn’t even close. In being banned by the DNC, Fox is getting what Fox deserves. And here, let us stipulate two things:

The first is that the DNC’s critics are right in calling the party disingenuous for tying its decision to The New Yorker piece. Though the story supplied new color and detail, it told us little we didn’t already know about Fox’s incestuous relationship with the GOP and Donald Trump. It’s worth noting that Fox hasn’t been allowed to host a Democratic debate in more than 15 years.

The second stipulation is that the critics are also right in pointing out that Fox does have some talented, tough-minded journalists, Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace prominent among them.

But those two rights don’t make a wrong. And to pretend the DNC’s disingenuousness and Smith’s journalistic credibility are mitigating factors here is to miss the point. Namely, that Fox does not deserve to be treated as a legitimate news organization because it violates journalistic norms daily, almost hourly.

Real news organizations frown on their reporters or pundits being cozy with political leaders. Fox doesn’t. They do not allow themselves to be used as platforms for racists, misogynists and cranks. Fox does. And no real news organization would ever – as The New Yorker story alleges (and Fox denies) – kill a scoop because it embarrassed a candidate.

No, Fox is not – as CNN’s Rick Santorum argued – simply the conservative analog to left-leaning MSNBC. How many times has that network’s Rachel Maddow campaigned with a president, as Sean Hannity did in November? The answer is, she hasn’t. You see, MSNBC, for all its liberal tilt, is a news organization. Fox is a propaganda machine that pretends to be a news organization when that suits its purposes.

Yet these critics are implicitly asking the DNC – and, by extension, us – to forget all that, to legitimize and normalize Fox and to ignore what a bizarre outlier, what a clear and present danger it is. To which, the only patriotic answer is no.

That answer is given advisedly. Every day that passes only proves again how prescient Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson was 10 years ago when he wrote of Americans as a people undergoing “a kind of spiritual secession from one another.” To deny Fox, viewed by millions of mistaken Americans as a journalistic enterprise, the right to render this prestigious service to democracy can only exacerbate that sense of secession.

But the alternative is to pretend the network is what it is not, to give it an imprimatur of respectability it manifestly does not deserve. So the DNC is right. And if Fox wishes to be treated like a legitimate news organization, its mandate is simple.

Act like one.

3   anonymous   ignore (null)   2019 Mar 12, 3:39pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

What’s New About Fake News?

The apparently falling standards for what people are willing to believe in seems to be the topic of the day. We have immense, well-capitalized media outlets like Fox News just making stuff up, crazy conspiracies on the internet, a refusal to accept scientific expertise on matters, like climate change, where it is as well established as it’s ever been. What’s up with all this?

I was provoked into thinking about this by a dreadful book review in The Nation: David Bell on Sophia Rosenfeld’s Democracy and Truth. I haven’t read Rosenfeld, and maybe she’s pretty good, but it’s clear Bell is confused about the very starting point for thinking about the problem. He talks about “regimes of truth”, which he cribs from Foucault: there is no capital-T truth out there, just different views on it which possess more or less power/authority. We happen to suffer from elites or at least some portion of them, writes Bell, who have particularly dismal standards regarding what should count as true. The solution is to replace the bad authorities with good ones, more or less.

The error, which ought to be obvious, is that capital-T truth is irrelevant. It’s the wrong reference point, and it doesn’t matter that no one really knows (for sure) what it is. The real question is, what are the standards we hold ourselves to in learning about the world and minimizing error? For instance, do we honestly engage with those who disagree with us? Do we maintain a modicum of self-doubt and face up to the evidence that could show us we’re wrong about something? Do we respect logical consistency? These standards don’t guarantee we’ll arrive at the Truth, nor even that we’ll know it if we stumble on it by accident. They do reduce the risk of error, and that’s about all we can ask. By not centering the discussion on standards for argument and belief, Bell can’t even pose the relevant question.

So what’s distinctive about the current situation? I don’t think it’s the extent of dishonest and otherwise wildly erroneous argument and pseudo-facticity; there’s been an abundant supply of that over my lifetime (I’m on in years), and from what I’ve read it was abundant long before that. I can remember being furious at the Walter Cronkites and David Brinkleys of my youth for purveying news that was blatantly false.

Here’s a hypothesis. What has changed is not the amount of falsehood but the willful disregard for standards of error detection in order to disseminate it. We live in a world of greatly increased information flows, where a false news report can and will be contradicted within minutes by someone in a position to recognize it, document its falsity and post it on electronic media somewhere. A higher proportion of the population is college-educated than ever before, and even many reporters can understand budgets, follow basic statistical analysis, and make sense of scientific arguments. In other words, as standards have risen, standardlessness stands more exposed than it did in the past. It’s simply more blatant, because it has to be.

Take an example: the Gulf of Tonkin “incident”. This was, as all sides now agree, a direct, calculated lie. The administration of Lyndon Johnson wanted a free hand to wage war in Indochina; to get it they fabricated a fake attack by North Vietnam on a US navy ship. (The actual attack was us against them.) But it wasn’t transparently false. There was a tiny trickle of evidence from Hanoi and only much belated information from US sailors. It was a fog of war thing. Today, on the other hand, when Trump issues a lie, the counterevidence is in front of our eyes within minutes. To maintain his lie, Trump has to discard elementary standards of truth-seeking and reveal himself for what he is. LBJ had the luxury of being able to keep up appearances.

I don’t mean to come across as so cynical as to say there’s no difference. On the contrary, standards matter enormously. Both presidents lied, but only one directly and openly flouts the standard that evidence should count. My claim is that we’ve arrived at a point at which transparent disregard for logic and evidence is the only way to continue lying.


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