Charles Hugh Smith
We’re all against “fake news,” right? Until your content is deemed “fake news” in a “fake news” indictment without any evidence, trial or recourse.
When propaganda is cleverly engineered, people don’t even recognize it as propaganda: welcome to the USSR, the United States of Suppression and Repression. The propaganda in the U.S. has reached such a high state that the majority of people accept it as “pravda” (truth), even as their limbic system’s BS detector is sensing there is a great disturbance in the Force.
Inflation is a good example. The official (i.e. propaganda) inflation rate is increasingly detached from the real-world declines in the purchasing power of the bottom 80%, yet the jabbering talking heads on TV repeat the “low inflation” story with such conviction that the dissonance between the “official narrative” and the real world must be “our fault”–a classic technique of brainwashing.
To give some examples: healthcare is over 18% of the nation’s GDP, yet it makes up only 8.7% of the Consumer price Index. Hundreds of thousands of families have to declare bankruptcy as a result of crushing healthcare bills, but on the CPI components chart, it’s a tiny little sliver just a bit more than recreation (5.7%).
Then there’s education, which includes the $1.4 trillion borrowed by student debt-serfs–which is only part of the tsunami of cash gushing into the coffers of the higher-education cartel. Yet education & communication (which presumably includes the Internet / mobile telephone service cartel’s soaring prices) is another tiny sliver of the CPI, just 6.6%, a bit more than fun-and-games recreation.
As for housing costs, former Soviet apparatchiks must be high-fiving the Federal agencies for their inventive confusion of reality with magical made-up “statistics.” To estimate housing costs, the federal agency in charge of ginning up a low inflation number asks homeowners to guess what their house would rent for, were it being rented–what’s known as equivalent rent.
Wait a minute–don’t we have actual sales data for houses, and actual rent data? Yes we do, but those are verboten because they reflect skyrocketing inflation in housing costs, which is not allowed. So we use some fake guessing-game numbers, and the corporate media dutifully delivers the “pravda” that inflation is 1.6% annually–basically signal noise, while in the real world (as measured by the Chapwood Index) is running between 9% and 13% annually. How the Chapwood Index is calculated)
As the dissonance between the real world experienced by the citizenry and what they’re told is “pravda” by the media reaches extremes, the media is forced to double-down on the propaganda, shouting down, marginalizing, discrediting, demonetizing and suppressing dissenters via character assassination, following the old Soviet script to a tee.
(Clearly, the CIA’s agitprop sector mastered the Soviet templates and has been applying what they learned to the domestic populace. By all means, start by brainwashing the home audience so they don’t catch on that the “news” is a Truman Show simulation.)
In 2014, Peter Pomerantsev, a British journalist born in the Soviet Union, published Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia which drew on his years working in Russian television to describe a society in giddy, hysterical flight from enlightenment empiricism. He wrote of how state-controlled Russian broadcasting “became ever more twisted, the need to incite panic and fear ever more urgent; rationality was tuned out, and Kremlin-friendly cults and hatemongers were put on prime time.”
Now, he’s written a penetrating follow-up, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality that is partly an effort to make sense of how the disorienting phenomena he observed in Russia went global. The child of exiled Soviet dissidents, Pomerantsev juxtaposes his family’s story — unfolding at a time when ideas, art and information seemed to challenge tyranny — with a present in which truth scarcely appears to matter.
“During glasnost, it seemed that the truth would set everybody free,” he writes. “Facts seemed possessed of power; dictators seemed so afraid of facts that they suppressed them. But something has gone drastically wrong: We have access to more information and evidence than ever, but facts seem to have lost their power.”
“Facts” are a funny thing when the data sources and massaging of that data are all purposefully opaque. Again, inflation is a lived-world example of how “official facts” are clearly massaged to support an essential narrative–that inflation is so low it’s basically signal noise, while in the real world it has impoverished the bottom 95% to a startling (but unmentionable) degree.
This is the reality as inflation has eaten up wages’ purchasing power: Families Go Deep in Debt to Stay in the Middle Class Wages stalled but costs haven’t, so people increasingly rent or finance what their parents might have owned outright Median household income in the U.S. was $61,372 at the end of 2017, according to the Census Bureau. When inflation is taken into account, that is just above the 1999 level.
We’re all against “fake news,” right? Until your content is deemed “fake news” in a “fake news” indictment without any evidence, trial or recourse. This is what happened to this site in the bogus PropOrNot propaganda campaign of 2016, in which every alternative-media website that questioned the “approved narratives” was labeled “fake news” in a classic propaganda trick of labeling dissenters as propagandists to misdirect the citizenry from the actual propaganda (PropOrNot), which by the way was heavily promoted on page one by Jeff Bezos’ propaganda mouthpiece, The washington Post. (Who’s your daddy, WP “journalists”?)
Meanwhile, back in reality, the primary source of data here on oftwominds.com is 1) the Federal Reserve data base (FRED) 2) IRS data and 3) content and charts posted by the cream of the U.S. corporate media Foreign Affairs, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Fake news, indeed. Those individuals who support the “approved narratives” and orthodoxies win gold stars, and so virtue-signaling is now the nation’s most passionate hobby. (Shades of the Stasi…)
In the wake of the 1976 Church Committee revelations on the institutional lawlessness and corruption of the FBI and CIA, the idea that former CIA propagandists and spy masters would be on TV as “commentators” would have been laughed off as a bad joke. Yet here are Clapper, Brennan et al, the “most likely to lie, obfuscate, rendition and propagandize” individuals in the nation welcomed as “experts” who we should all accept as trustworthy Big Brother. (Ahem)
What if every employee in the corporate media who was paid (or coerced) by the FBI, NSA, CIA etc. had to wear a large colorful badge that read, “owned by the FBI/CIA”? Would that change our view of the validity of the “approved narratives”?
Welcome to the USSR: the United States of Suppression and Repression, where your views are welcome as long as they parrot “approved narratives” and the corporate-state’s orthodoxies. “Facts” are only welcome if they lend credence to the “approved narratives” and orthodoxies.
For example, corporate earnings are rising. Never mind estimates were slashed, that was buried in footnotes a month ago. What matters is Corporate America will once again “beat estimates” by a penny, or a nickel, or gasp, oh the wonderment, by a dime, on earnings that were slashed by a dollar when “nobody was looking.” Meanwhile, back in reality, the bottom 95% have been losing ground for two decades. But don’t say anything, you’ll be guilty of “fake news.”