FreeSpeech and Censorship: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Sun Jul 4 02:17:50 PDT 2021

The Horrifying Rise Of Total Mass Media Blackouts On Inconvenient News Stories

Two different media watchdog outlets, Media Lens and Fairness &
Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), have published articles on the complete
blackout in mainstream news institutions on the revelation by
Icelandic newspaper Stundin that a US superseding indictment in the
case against Julian Assange was based on false testimony from
diagnosed sociopath and convicted child molester Sigurdur Thordarson.

FAIR's Alan MacLeod writes that "as of Friday, July 2, there has been
literally zero coverage of it in corporate media; not one word in the
New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, Fox News or NPR."

"A search online for either 'Assange' or 'Thordarson' will elicit zero
relevant articles from establishment sources, either US or elsewhere
in the Anglosphere, even in tech-focused platforms like the Verge,
Wired or Gizmodo," MacLeod adds.
Twitter avatar for @FAIRmediawatchFAIR @FAIRmediawatch
Key Assange Witness Recants—With Zero Corporate Media Coverage Key
Assange Witness Recants—With Zero Corporate Media Coverage - FAIRA key
witness against Julian Assange has recanted his testimony, but this
blow to the US case has received zero media

July 2nd 2021
239 Retweets339 Likes

"We have not found a single report by any ‘serious’ UK broadcaster or
newspaper," says the report by Media Lens. "But in a sane world,
Stundin’s revelations about a key Assange witness – that Thordarson
lied in exchange for immunity from prosecution – would have been
headline news everywhere, with extensive media coverage on BBC News at
Six and Ten, ITV News, Channel 4 News, front-page stories in the
Times, Telegraph, the Guardian and more."

"For those who still believe the media provides news, please read
this," tweeted Australian journalist John Pilger regarding the Media
Lens report. "Having led the persecution of Julian Assange, the 'free
press' is uniformly silent on sensational news that the case against
Assange has collapsed. Shame on my fellow journalists."

As we discussed the other day, this weird, creepy media blackout has
parallels with another total blackout on a different major news story
which also involved WikiLeaks. In late 2019 the leak outlet Assange
founded was publishing multiple documents from whistleblowers in the
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) revealing
that the organisation's leadership actively tampered in the
investigation into an alleged chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria in
2018 to support the US government narrative on the allegation, yet the
mass media wouldn't touch it. A Newsweek reporter resigned from his
position during this scandalous blackout and published the emails of
his editors forbidding him from covering the story on the grounds that
no other major outlet had reported on it.

Make no mistake, this is most certainly a new phenomenon. If you don't
believe me, contrast the blackout on these stories with the mass media
coverage on WikiLeaks revelations a few short years earlier. The press
eagerly lapped up the 2016 publications of Democratic Party emails and
actively collaborated with WikiLeaks in the publication of the Chelsea
Manning leaks in 2010. Even the more recent Vault 7 leaks published in
2017 received plenty of media coverage.

Yet now every WikiLeaks-related story that is inconvenient for the
US-centralized empire is carefully kept out of mainstream attention,
with a jarring uniformity and consistency we've never experienced
before. If the media environment of today had existed ten or fifteen
years earlier, it's possible that most people wouldn't even know who
Assange is, much less the important information about the powerful
that WikiLeaks has brought to light.
Twitter avatar for @johnpilgerJohn Pilger @johnpilger
For those who still believe the media provides news, please read this.
Having led the persecution of Julian #Assange, the "free press" is
uniformly silent on sensational news that the case against #Assange
has collapsed. Shame on my fellow journalists. A Remarkable Silence:
Media Blackout After Key Witness Against Assange Admits LyingAs we
have pointed out since Media Lens began in 2001, a fundamental feature
of corporate media is

July 2nd 2021
1,759 Retweets2,678 Likes

We also caught a strong whiff of this new trend in the near-total
blackout on the Hunter Biden October surprise last year, which only
went mainstream because it stood to benefit one of America's two
mainstream political factions. After the New York Post first broke the
story we saw mainstream media figures publicly explaining to each
other why it was fine not to cover it with reasoning that was all over
the map, from it's a waste of time to it's just too darn complicated
to it's not our job to research these things to the Washington Post's
notorious "We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a
foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren't."

Anyone who dared publicize the leaks anywhere near the mainstream
liberal echo chamber was bashed into submission by the herd, and
without any legitimate reason it was treated like a complete non-story
at best and a sinister Russian op at worst. And then, lo and behold,
in April of this year Hunter Biden acknowledged that the leaks could
very well have come from his laptop after all, and not from some GRU

And I think that whole ordeal gives us some answers into this
disturbing new dynamic of complete blackouts on major news stories.
Last year The Spectator‘s Stephen L Miller described how the consensus
formed among the mainstream press since Clinton’s 2016 loss that it is
their moral duty to be uncritical of Trump’s opponent and suppress any
news stories which might benefit them.

“For almost four years now, journalists have shamed their colleagues
and themselves over what I will call the ‘but her emails’ dilemma,”
Miller writes. “Those who reported dutifully on the ill-timed federal
investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server and spillage of
classified information have been cast out and shunted away from the
journalist cool kids’ table. Focusing so much on what was, at the
time, a considerable scandal, has been written off by many in the
media as a blunder. They believe their friends and colleagues helped
put Trump in the White House by focusing on a nothing-burger of a
Clinton scandal when they should have been highlighting Trump’s
foibles. It’s an error no journalist wants to repeat.”
Twitter avatar for @MattGertzMatthew Gertz @MattGertz
1. NY Times reporter Amy Chozick says she became an “an unwitting
agent of Russian intelligence” in covering hacked Democratic emails
during the 2016 election.… Image

April 25th 2018
217 Retweets300 Likes

Once you've accepted that journalists have not just a right but a duty
to suppress news that is both factual and newsworthy in order to
protect a political agenda, you're out in open water in terms of
blatant propaganda manipulation. And we saw the mainstream press
shoved into alignment with this doctrine in the wake of the 2016

This shove was never the biggest story of the day, but it was
constant, forceful, and extremely dominant in the conversations that
mainstream journalists were having with each other both publicly and
privately in the wake of the 2016 election. Even before the votes were
cast, we saw people like Vox's Matt Yglesias and Axios editor Scott
Rosenberg shaming mass media reporters for focusing on the Hillary
Clinton email scandal, and after Trump hysteria kicked in it got a
whole lot more aggressive.

In 2017 we saw things like Clinton insider Jennifer Palmieri
melodramatically lamenting the media's fixation on WikiLeaks
publications despite the Clinton campaign's desperate attempts to warn
them that it was a Russian operation (a claim that to this day remains
entirely without evidence). Liberal pundits like Joy Reid, Eric
Boehlert and Peter Daou (prior to his leftward conversion) were
constantly browbeating the press on Twitter for covering the leaks at

It ramped up even further when mainstream reporters like The New York
Times' Amy Chozick and CNN's Jeffrey Toobin stepped forward with
degrading mea culpas on how badly they regret allowing the Russian
government to use them as unwitting pawns to elect Donald Trump with
their reporting on newsworthy facts about completely authentic
documents. It was like a cross between the confession/execution scene
from Animal Farm and the walk of atonement scene from Game of Thrones.

Bit by bit the belief that the press has a moral obligation to
suppress newsworthy stories if there's a possibility that they could
benefit undesirable parties foreign or domestic became the prevailing
orthodoxy in mainstream news circles. By mid-2018 we were seeing
things like BBC reporter Annita McVeigh admonishing a guest for
voicing skepticism about Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's
culpability in the Douma incident on the grounds that "we're in an
information war with Russia." It's now simply taken as a given that
managing narratives is part of the job.

Again, this is a new phenomenon. Mainstream media have always been
propaganda firms, but they've relied on spin, distortion, half-truths,
uneven coverage, and uncritically parroted government assertions;
there weren't these complete information barricades across all
outlets. You'd see them giving important stories an inadequate amount
of coverage, and some individual outlets would neglect inconvenient
stories. But you'd always see someone jump at the chance to be the
first to report it, if for no other reason than ratings and profit.

That's simply not how things work now. A major story can come to light
and only be covered by media outlets which mainstream partisans will
scoff at and dismiss, like RT or Zero Hedge.

The way the mass media have begun simply ignoring major news stories
that are inconvenient for the powerful, across not just some but all
major news outlets, is extremely disturbing. It means any time there's
an inconvenient revelation, mainstream news institutions will just
pretend it doesn't exist.

Seriously think about what this means for a moment. This is telling
whistleblowers and investigative journalists that no matter how hard
they work or how much danger they put themselves in to get critical
information out to the public, the public will never find out about
it, because all mainstream news outlets will unify around blacking it

You want to talk about a threat to the press? Forget jailing
journalists and whistleblowers, how about all news outlets of any real
influence unifying to simply deny coverage to any major information
which comes to light? This is a threat to the thing the press
fundamentally is. More than a threat. It's the end. The end of the
possibility of any kind of journalism having any meaningful impact.

The journalist who worked on the Stundin report says he spent months
working on this story, and he would surely have expected his
revelations to get some coverage in the rest of the western press. The
OPCW whistleblowers would surely have expected their revelations to
get enough attention to make a difference, otherwise they wouldn't
have leaked those documents at great risk to themselves. What's being
communicated to whistleblowers and journalists in these blackouts is,
don't bother. It won't make any difference, because no one will ever
see what you reveal.

And if that's true, well. God help us all, I guess.

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