It was back in the nineteen-seventies that the third world began to formally demand a New world Information Order (NWIO), due to the lack of objective information, especially in the West, with regard to both the second world -- or socialist camp -- and the third world. Had this project come to fruition, it would have required journalists to be trained and licensed by their governments, like doctors or lawyers.
The idea was seen in the West as a threat to 'freedom of speech' so of course it didn't happen. Instead, technology ensured that the standard model became an unchallengeable behemoth. Corporate-owned media across the neo-liberal world does not protect the journalist's freedom of speech: rather it ensures that commercial messages get across to a largely gullible public. (The behemoth simultaneously complaining about the public's lack of basic knowledge about the world.)
Today, it's difficult to imagine what 'information' the Western media bases its stories on, but to hear Ann Applebaum claiming as fact that Russia 'invaded Crimea' or the BBC's Katy Kay stating that Russia is "massing its troops along its borders with Europe", shows that we are living, not in Alice's Wonderland, but in a Strangelovian dystopia. How do seasoned journalists like the two just mentioned live with their consciences? Are the pay checks beyond their wildest dreams? Have these bright people allowed themselves to be convinced by their governments' propaganda -- as if fact-checking had ceased to exist? Or is something else at work here: the fear of being dubbed a black sheep and ending up without work? (Nowhere does 'conforming' matter more to a career than in the world of journalism, in which the 'best' are those who adopt an almost prosecutorial manner when conducting interviews, a talent that can be easily turned on colleagues.) Reports of US journalists working for RT imply that they are committing treason, when in fact, they are refusing to betray their commitment to truth telling in order to keep a job in the US media.
You don't need to fact check whether Russia is massing troops on its European borders: NATO has officially pushed so far up against them that according to Professor Stephen Cohen it could hit St. Petersburg with ordinary weapons. And how to keep repeating the story that Russia invaded Crimea, when in fact, Russia has had a naval base there since the time of Catherine II! Were a few soldiers sent there to back-up the sailors at the time of the referendum? Big deal! Crimea has always been a majority Russian peninsula, and the inhabitants tried several times to hold referenda that would return them to Russia. What guaranteed their success this time was the US directed coup against their country's elected pro-Russian president in February, 2014, backed by Neo-Nazi club wielding militias. (Russians --including those in Crimea -- lost 26,000,000 to Hitler's army and even second and third generations are viscerally anti-Nazi.)
For Washington, Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east and in Crimea who fail to appreciate the benefits of US-brokered 'democracy' are Putin's pawns. As the accusations pile up, it would appear that even the most indifferent voter should begin to wonder what is behind the 'blame Russia' meme. But what is most disturbing is the appearance of so-called 'fake news' on websites like Facebook. Will the US government's version of the facts be used to tag real facts as fake news, and would this be the inevitable outcome of its refusal, in the nineteen seventies, to accept the world's call for a new information order?
It was in 1973 that the organization of Non-Aligned Nations, (a group that included over a hundred nations at its founding in 1961) first formalized its media concerns. In 1978, a 'Mass Media Declaration' calling for a New World Information Order was submitted to the MacBride Commission, a 16-member body created by UNESCO to study communication issues. (At that time, Soviet support ensured a more significant role for the UN's cultural organization than it has had since")
In brief, the NWIO called for government licensing of journalists, which the US saw as a priori censorship, incompatible with 'freedom of expression', opposed satellite broadcasting of television signals, widely perceived as a threat to national sovereignty and an unfair division of the radio spectrum in Third World countries. (A small number of developed countries controlled almost 90% of the radio spectrum, much of which was for military use.) The call protested the effects of the developed world's advertising on the developed world as well as an unbalanced flow of mass media from the developed world (especially the United States) to the underdeveloped countries. (The entire world watches American movies and television shows.) Last but not least, the emphasis on natural disasters and wars rather than on daily realities, so that people in the developed world have an idea of what life is like in faraway lands. (At the time four major news agencies controlled over 80% of global news flow.)
The United States saw all these things as potential barriers to the 'free flow of information' and especially, to the interests of American media corporations. (The Macbride Commission, a 16-member body created by UNESCO to study communication issues, questioned the role of the private sector in communications.) Officially, the US saw the NWICO (New world Information and Communication Order) as dangerous to 'freedom of the press' because it put an organization run by governments in charge of information, potentially allowing for large scale censorship. (Although there were also accusations of corruption among the UNESCO leadership in Paris, it was over the issue of communication and press 'freedom' that in 1984, the US withdrew its membership, causing a great stir in the international community. It did not return until 2003, during the George W. Bush presidency, and since that time UNESCO has ceased to be in the news").
Fourteen years after the US defection, 'news' in the West, has become unrecognizable. Is it the 'breaking news' trumpeted by television every ten minutes (between ads); is it the information carefully doled out by White House and the State Department press attaches (whose responses to journalists' questions are relayed by RT, but almost never by most US news channels). Is it what the presidents of important countries announce in their speeches (only those of the US president are given wide coverage in the US, with excerpts graciously offered to our allies). While President Putin is currently mentioned 'every hour on the hour' on US media, his speeches are NEVER featured, (not even in the alternative media, for fear of being black listed).
In the run-up to World War II, Hitler made many speeches, spelling out precisely his gripes and his plans to remedy them. The chanceries across Europe -- and in America -- knew that he was preparing for war (but hoped that soothing rhetoric such as that dispensed by British Prime Minister Chamberlain at Munich might alter his plan). Populations who will be incinerated if there is war against Russia are not privy to the Russian President's views about anything: they are fed images of him riding bareback on a horse -- or coming down a chimney as a bareback Santa on Saturday Night Live. Americans are repeatedly told that Vladimir Putin does not allow 'free speech' because his judiciary sent the p*ssy Rioters to jail, but they are not told that the bedrock of his international policy is cooperation rather than confrontation.
That knowledge would be inconvenient to our arms manufacturers and our military. (American foreign policy is not based on 'the national interest' but on the theory developed by Professor Carl Schmitt, godfather to the Neocons, that to rule successfully, governments must always provide their people with an enemy.)
The biggest purveyor of fake news, after all, is the US government and those who post 'fake news' on websites are merely taking their cue from the highest authority in the land.