Time to reverse engineer what’s going on with the media class both here in Australia and overseas with their fake news and associated beat ups.
1..The media creates and beats up a totally false narrative as they like to call it, or conflates a couple of unrelated issues or picks up on a germ of something someone says. (The latest at the link below, is that Donald Trump is in the pay of Putin.) They then workshop it and decide who best, which expert de jour to interview to build the story, to give it credible legs and move the story along in the desired direction. This is bias by commission whilst at the same time seeming to be seen as even handed and unbiased. The ABC does this all the time. They have their “pet” guests and commentators, and obscure professors who know their lines and can be relied on to say the right thing. Will Stefan on the Adani coal mine on The World Today on the ABC is a case in point. I knew his position and what he would say before he said it. As you would expect there was no countervailing point of view.
2..The conjured and confected beat up will start with one outlet as an exclusive leak (The Washington Post or NY Times) or something from another obscure university report. After a short while the cable networks pile on with their own angles, ideas and pet guests and commentators to further inflate and distort. Pretty soon they are believing their own confected and contrived story and self righteously believe that they’re on to something.
Something that was never there to begin with.
3..After a day or two or even sooner they start throwing around words like “crisis” and “chaos” to further fuel and fan the “unfolding drama” of their own handiwork. What they’re in fact doing at this stage is reporting on their own reporting.
And so it goes..
What we’re dealing with here is the equivalent of an information arsonist who, in the first instance brings the fuel to the scene of the crime pours on the accelerant then ignites the story. As others pitch in they also add to the fire and further fan the flames into an all out conflagration.
Why does it work? The entire exercise is based on the premise that most people, because they’re time poor or just not that interested, simply don’t listen or read beyond the headline on their way to work. If it’s on the radio or the internet or in the paper, it must be true.
The link below is a classic example of how it works and how gossip built on gossip built on a joke becomes a serious scoop. Note the video featuring the journo with the right lighting, gravitas etc, in front of the WaPo sign and a whole lot of still images fading in and out of focus to add further arty gravity to the non story. No supporting documentation or vision. This is exactly the kind of thing a lot of the media traffics in. An accusation in search of a crime. A headline in search of a story. This is not reporting or journalism, its barracking. ‘Putin Pays’ Trump: lame joke or serious charge?