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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/5/19

Manufactured Consent: Media Impeachment Drumbeat and Russiaphobia

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As the corporate media lurch from one created political crisis to another in an endless parade of jazzed up, repetitious manufactured, and embroidered entertainment-as-new events, the American public is being led by the nose down pathways that it normally would balk at.

Consider the following:

· The mainstream American media gave then U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump, over $3 billion in FREE advertising, called "earned (free) media," fully understanding and exploiting his many, many character flaws, and painting him as "a dealmaker, political maverick, and successful real estate businessman." All of which proved to be untrue and Trump was in fact a horrible businessman.

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· The same media hounded former President Barack Obama, who was called a liar ON THE FLOOR OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES by a Republican political gadfly and gave oxygen to Donald Trump's scurrilous and baseless claim that he [Obama] was not born in America. The political environment, egged on by the corporate media, became so radioactive that the president had to produce his birth certificate. Yet Americans are not complaining even as President Trump did not make his tax return public, and is actively fighting in the court to keep them secret.

· The corporate media has been beating the drums of the Russian bogeyman long before the 2016 presidential elections but intensified them to an obscene, unfounded, and fanatic level for 2 YEARS NON-STOP, with EVERY PRIME TIME news cycle dominated by attacks against Russia for "trying to undermine American Democracy and the U.S. elections." But has remained mum over the course, hegemonistic, arrogant and bellicose statements and threats from President Trump and people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ultra-hawkish neo-conservative warmonger National Security Advisor John Bolton.

· The corporate media has fallen in line with the U.S. Administration's adventurist posting when it comes to Venezuela and continues to call the country's elected president Nicolas Maduro a "dictator," while singing the praises of the presidential imposter who never won a election Juan Guido - as "interim president" in a shameless mischaracterization and deliberate obfuscation of the facts.

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· Finally, it is the mainstream corporate media that's is today, in 2019, fanning the unrealistic, and baseless flames about impeaching Donald Trump. The media keeps egging on the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to impeach the POTUS KNOWING FULL WELL THAT SUCH A MOVE IS GOING NOWHERE and is unpopular. It is the U.S. Senate that will try any impeached president and this Republican controlled body will not even consider that when it comes to President Trump.

Surprised? Don't be.

This is the golden age of manufactured consent. To "manufacture consent" is to deliberately create a system where citizens become willing and obedient, consenting and unquestioning, obeying certain principles and paradigms, all by way of corporate-sponsored propaganda through the mass media and commercialism, as opposed to obedience achieved through strongman tactics. It derives its name from the book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman and famous political critic Noam Chomsky. Here's how Chomsky explained it:

"A propaganda model focuses on this inequality of wealth and power and its multilevel effects on mass-media interests and choices. It traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public." That was 30 years ago and it still reverberates in arguably a new era of manufactured consent. Today, the media is significantly more commercialized and has developed the technique of targeting information to specific demographics , constantly feeding people with content an algorithm has determined they will agree with.

To understand really how manufactured consent works and its danger we turn to that favorite American TV pastime professional wrestling. Lots of Americans drink the doctored and spiked Kool-Aid of this billion- dollar television event, especially younger impressionable Americans, believing that it's real. The pro-wrestling term for what it does is "kayfabe."

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Yes, I know it's not a word that you know. In fact, the vast majority of you are hearing it for the very first time. Kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true", specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or predetermined nature of any kind. Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this "reality" within the direct or indirect presence of the general public.

See what I mean? This is the EXACT behavior of the mainstream TV media that feeds a doctored, spiced up version of news packaged as entertainment. So now let us turn to the Russian Bogeyman a long practiced and nuanced U.S. media tactic that banks and counts on the general ignorance of the populace and its intellectual laziness, even in the Internet Age. It is, in the context of manufactured consent, important to start with the facts and not the doctored and biased reporting designed specifically to create mass political hysteria and anger towards Russian and any "newly minted American adversary."

Again, consider the unimpeachable, pardon the pun, facts:

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Actually, the reporting about Nicaragua over this last year or so has been worse--but then again so have been the so-called human rights reports.

This said, I don't think there's any conspiracy by some corporate media to manufacture consent or anything like that. In fact, the biggest media liars are the small non-corporate outlets.

I'm convinced that two things are going on. One is that the funding for serious journalism has dried up because Google Ads and the like are now funding any blogger with a laptop spewing out clickbait. True, journalists are by disposition as lazy a breed as those in other occupations, but with their resources diminishing, they can't afford to engage in even the original reporting they used to do. I have personally tracked several instances in which a dubious story originally "reported" in a small outlet has been picked up and "reported" by mainstream media with no fact-checking at all. A little lie therefore becomes a big lie.

The second thing going on is deference to narrative. People like narratives, and they especially like narratives of victims and villains. If you watch, as I have, stories evolve from their original sources, you will find that nuances and equivocations disappear while the facts that fit the narratives are emphasized and exaggerated. It's as if the narrative is more important than the facts.

It's all a serious problem, but actually blaming "corporate media" is part of the problem. Once again, this becomes a victim/villain narrative.

Submitted on Thursday, Jun 6, 2019 at 2:43:52 AM

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