Yves here. The fact that the media employees at the New York Times are attacking real journalists like Ben Norton is a yet another proof of how intent the officialdom is on crushing any deviations from its storyline. As much as Norton has a following, it’s not as if he has Tucker-Carlson-level reach.
In comments yesterday, DonCoyote cited a germane quote by Chris Hedges from Is free speech a casualty of the Ukraine war? America’s commissars crack down on dissent:
Shutting down critics in a decayed and corrupt society is equivalent to turning off the oxygen on a seriously ill patient. It hastens mortality rather than delaying or preventing it. The convergence of a looming economic crisis, fear by a bankrupt ruling class that they will soon be banished from power, the growing ecological catastrophe and the inability to thwart self-destructive military adventurism against Russia and China have set the stage for an American implosion.
Those of us who see it coming, and who desperately seek to prevent it, have become the enemy.
Lee Camp is a bit amped up in this video, but I might be too if I’d had my day job suddenly shut down as a result of the propaganda war and was anxious about building up a replacement audience.
IIRC, my parents was on the periphery of, and certainly some of their families and friends were a part of UC Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement and the waves of activists coming out of it; maybe I should look up and ask the few elderly survivors I know/knew about the time and what they think of the current censorship. I know that my Dad would have been really angry, but probably not surprised at all. Heck, he would be ready for battle.
It would have been the same old, same old. It does shows serious unawareness and missing wisdom to think that mass censorship especially on problems like a possible nuclear war, likely hunger or even famine in the United States, probable economic collapse, probably a runaway pandemic, and certain environmental chaos, if not collapse, can prevent regime change or even civil war. It is all too much and the perpetrators are too exposed.
The more they attempt to use control of the narrative to save themselves, instead of being honest and working on the problems, the more likely that they (and us) will lose it all. They just keep shooting at their feet and if they miss with the revolver and the rifle, they will look for the shotgun.
But it’s weird knowing that when I first went to college everyone was all pro free speech with the liberals and old school leftists being the leaders. Now we have those people who are supposedly liberals and leftists, quite often being in college, being minions for the establishment’s Neo-McCarthyism, censorship, and Red Baiting. Same tactics, same goals, different verboten ideas.
I had wondered in college then about how I would have acted if I faced classical McCarthyism with Hoover’s FBI or even the possibility of a trip into the nacht und nebel. Of course, back then as now, much of the trouble for those labeled as having bad thoughts was in being canceled by your community, employers, friends, and even family or to happen to them, if they did not. Then there was always a visit by men very conservatively dressed in dark suits to you, family, friends, work, and neighbors. Just for some questions, you understand? And perhaps, your name would somehow be mentioned…. And now we have the internet. Makes it much easier to reach out and hurt someone.
Funny, I happy to think that unlike my family, I would never have to face it, if I had the courage to deal with such things. Not that you can do much when it is the entire community against you although people’s participation is sometime out of fear for themselves and others. Unlike thirty years ago, I worry about being canceled at school, if it was found that I had committed thoughtcrime. College has gone from a relatively safe place for unorthodox thinking, thinking that was obvious to everyone, to relatively unsafe place for unapproved thinking that is not always obvious. The forbidden words are not always clear anymore. The Censorship Gods often do not deign to inform us of what is ungood speech or the latest list of approved terms.
Fortunately, my teachers are generally old school and I can say anything halfway reasonable if I do it politely. From what I can tell, the students are mixed. Many, maybe most are reasonable themselves, but some are grenades wanting to go boom, and how can you read a mind? Even if the teachers defend you, being on someone’s enemies list for even just a semester is just not what I need. Life is difficult enough for me. I would have a hard time getting too mad at them because they really don’t know how ignorant they are. So now, I try to keep my mouth shut unless it either completely innocuous like the weather or something like a math problem.
This is a good way to neuter the intelligentsia and its potential leadership for fighting the establishment. It also cripples the creation of new ideas and organizations outside of the web of control of the establishment and the approved social organizations. My grandparents’ generation, then my parents’, and now me. Second World War, McCarthyism, the 60s and 70s, and now all of the 2000s so far and getting worse. Maybe we can have something fix before the youngest have families of their own. What is the possibility for that? A cold day in Hades? I do not like getting a better understanding of history by living in yet another iteration of it.
Usually, if censorship and propaganda is not effective enough, more drastic methods are used. I’m fairly certain that no one will try for the end of the tactic of the Jakarta Method, but there are plenty of options before that. Framing, blackmail, goon squads, assassinations, and death squads are all tactics used in the United States. All of it done during the life of Americans still living.
> I do not like getting a better understanding of history by living in yet another iteration of it.
I have consoled myself, when contemplating the recent follies of US rulers (specifically their management of the public health crisis) with the thought that “they’ll be writing about this disaster for centuries”; we’re living through an historic crisis.
That was before the most recent crisis, with its potential for escalation to a nuclear exchange. Now, I hope that “they’ll be writing about this disaster for centuries”, that enough civilization will survive that there will be people with the interest and time to think about the past.
Catastrophe Capitalism metaphorically; now BEGINS each 70s disaster movie by “mining the comet” for rare earths, value added, whatever? Our “Intresting Times” quotients seem a matter of perspective; where thermonuclear exchange is simply another aspect of Climate Catastrophe. Guessing, the denouement isn’t a chain-reaction, set off by some unreported kid shooting a $78K anti-tank round at a LNG pipeline or knocking down the wrong plane; where some other kids turn their keys, while seriously ill, without a phone signal?
Some of us here are old enough to remember the first Cold War. People took it very seriously indeed and coming after WW2 it was a lot easier to convince the public that the US was facing an existential crisis. Perhaps I’m living in my own bubble but I don’t think this is the same and is more of a re-enactor cold war. BoJo wants to play Churchill and our PMCs feel they need some heroic cause to validate their luxurious existences.
But the public in general are not signing on. One poll now has Biden’s approval at 33 percent. The MIC portion of our establishment is eager to sell weapons but not to actually fight Russia. The people pushing nuclear are think tankers and chickenhawks. I think Putin sees us a lot more clearly than we see ourselves and he has made the calculation that our threats are a bluff. I think, from my bubble, that is right.
I see parallels between publications like the NYT and the United kingdom, for both the heydays of massive unchecked power and influence are now only a memory. What to do when you’re clinging on for dear life and barely treading water? Pivot of course, and pivot they have by coalescing around the same strategy I.e. riding the coattails of the US by becoming the loudest “poodles in the kernel” (hat tip Yves) in their own respective niches (geopolitics and media) and uniformly attacking anyone that dares to stand up to the empire. They’re like celestial bodies that have no light of their own and must stay in the orbit of a large star to be nourished and sustained by its rays.
“Loudest poodles in the kennel”
“Loudest poodles in the kernel” — I assume that would be the political activists who have been forcing controversial “Codes of Conduct” on Linux and other open source projects?
“Inclusivity and diversity” are usually trotted out to lay the groundwork for a powergrab by radical activists, and once they’ve sequestered said power for themselves, there’s no getting it back. Tech feudalism is clearly no longer the sole preserve of Big tech, activists have joined the fray and are now turning their attention to opensource projects, which they’ll turn into digital gulags in short order.
They don’t have to be “radicals” at all, it’s just a straight power grab available to anyone who wants to play the part.
If anything they are being spurred on by big tech, because they will be targeting the likes of RMS who has been a thorn in the side of big tech ever since the dot-com days made FOSS the go to web platform.
I have a new version of the old chestnut.
“The beatings will continue because we enjoy inflicting pain.”
The West has entered the ‘decadent’ phase of societal decline.
That’s American exceptionalism. AMerica and the west have always been like that.
The powers that be are apparently doing more than just “hatchet jobs”. Take a look at the case of Gonzalo Lira, a journalist who was living in Kharkov Ukraine. Lira was very critical of the Ukraine government and Zelensky. He produced daily podcasts but has since gone recently silent. It has been reported by several sources that he was picked up by elements of the Azov Battalion (far right ultra-nationalists suspected of having many neo-nazis as members) working for the Ukraine SBU (secret service), and subsequently tortured and then murdered. This occurred shortly after a hit piece on Lira published by the Daily Beast. Several of Lira’s fellow independent journalists have accused the Daily Beast of helping to have him captured. Lira himself published a short audio clip where he said that if he disappeared the Daily Beast was to blame. Apparently the Chilean embassies in several countries (Lira is a Chilean and US citizen) are trying to find out what happened to Lira. So far the US State Department has been completely silent on Lira.
Sadly the title of journalist has become meaningless in modern times.
Far too many liberal arts grads running around claiming to be just that, while acting more like influencers for the powers that be.
I’ve just noticed that the Wikipedia page for Gonzalo Lira has been one may say “adjusted” to present political realities.
We witness a beautiful confluence of legacy media resorting to market power to strangle competition because the general public doesn’t actually wants their crap content, combined with our Tsarist elites who don’t want to encounter anything that hurts their feelings while they sit around in their castles. Censorship and propaganda can play a role in constructive state building, and can be threatening to someone who doesn’t like the direction of the state, but what we have here is an attempt at insulation from reality in the style of Nicholas II or Charles the XVIth. What exactly is wrong if pampered elites want to make themselves feel good or bad about themselves by telling themselves fairy tales? What is the problem if the MSM wants to play the role of courtier flattering the powerful with lies? It only represents an acceleration of a natural process of decay, and frankly, you can’t improve the fates of people who don’t want to help themselves, much as you can fear the Jacobins or the Nazis or what might come after. [Sure, it would be nice to have a source that could reliably provide true, justified beliefs about external reality, but American elites aren’t all that curious anymore.]
I find it remarkable this hatred of indie journalists by the main stream media itslef. Do those reporters hate them because they know what they are themselves? Are they so insecure that they cannot tolerate anybody speaking against the narrative what soever? The number of independent journalist is few but the truth that they speak cannot be ignored. People like Aaron Maté, Patrick Lancaster, Glen Greenwald, Eva Bartlett, Gonzales Lira, Vanessa Beeley, etc. But I came across a video recently that shows what our media really think. It was in relation to Musk trying to take over Twitter but listen to what that woman says-
“. . . that’s our job!” Said she, shaping what I think!
How funny. I wonder what these “journalists” would think of Edward R. Murrow?
Because MSM these days is a branch of Hollywood, and thus has the same mechanisms for climbing to the top.
the independent ones are doing it the old fashion way, similar to how say Hunter S. Thompson earned his reputation, and in the process putting a spotlight on how close to “influencers” those big names on the TV news etc are.