- During The Atlantic’s “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference, two college students challenged the panel for their hypocritical and selective media coverage
- The panel members deflected the questions, refusing to address their failures and lies
- Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, was forced to address the two viral moments, which he did by stating that his disinformation conference was a victim of disinformation campaigns
- The Chicago Thinker fired back at Goldberg’s comment, “First rule in the corporate media’s playbook: Dismiss truthful reporting as ‘disinformation’ to avoid accountability. A fitting end to the conference!”
The power behind the corporate media industrial complex is collapsing, but they continue to maintain a powerful façade, Saagar Enjeti notes in the “Breaking Points” video above.1 Numbers of cable news viewers are on the decline, traffic is down to mainstream media websites and popularity of independent platforms has exploded — but mainstream media still have control over Americans and are reaping billions in dollars of profit.
Enjeti explains that the reason mainstream media survive is because they are insular, fervently protecting their narrow viewpoints and burying viewpoints outside of their own narrative.
“If you never invite anyone on who is a dissident, then you will never have to contend with real failure. If you have enough money in the short term, you can use it to try and buy market share in the future. The system’s power depends on it never being challenged,” Enjeti says.2
Two noteworthy challenges did recently occur, however, ironically during The Atlantic’s “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference.3
College Students Take on Mainstream Media
Daniel Schmidt, a freshman student at the University of Chicago and writer for the university’s student-run newspaper The Chicago Thinker, confronted Anne Applebaum, a staff writer for The Atlantic, stating:4
“In 2020 you wrote, ‘Those who live outside the Fox News bubble do not, of course, need to learn any of the stuff about Hunter Biden,’ referring to his laptop, of course. A poll, later, found that if voters knew about the contents of the laptop, 16% of Joe Biden voters would have acted differently.
Now, of course, we know a few weeks ago that The New York Times confirmed that the content is real. Do you think the media acted inappropriately when they instantly dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation and what can be learned from that in ensuring that what we label as disinformation is truly disinformation and not reality?”
Schmidt is referring to evidence found on Hunter’s laptop that confirms he helped secure “millions in funding” for Metabiota, a U.S. contractor in Ukraine “specializing in deadly pathogen research,” which is what the Russian government had claimed during a March 24, 2022 press conference.5 In addition, one of Metabiota’s investors is Rosemont Seneca,6 an investment fund co-managed by Hunter Biden.7
Metabiota is also a core partner in the USAID PREDICT program, which funded laboratory equipment for the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China through grants to the EcoHealth Alliance, and Shi Zhengli, a top coronavirus researcher at the WIV, also worked with PREDICT.8 In response to Schmidt, Applebaum deflected the question, instead stating:9
“My problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop is, I think, totally irrelevant. I mean, it’s not whether it’s disinformation,” Applebaum said. “I mean, I didn’t think Hunter Biden’s business relationships have anything to do with who should be president of the United States. So, I don’t find it to be interesting. I mean, that would be my problem with that as a major news story.”
David Axelrod, the founding director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, also skirted the question, stating that they’d talk more about it tomorrow but, for now, they were out of time.
Enjeti points out the hypocrisy in the exchange, particularly Applebaum’s statement that Biden’s laptop is irrelevant, stating, “It took me five seconds to find a tweet from November of last year, when Anne was criticizing Jaren Kushner for cashing in on the connections he’d made during his time in the Trump administration.”10
Applebaum tweeted, “Oh look, Jared is cashing in,”11 in turn referencing a tweet by Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who tweeted:12
“As a senior advisor to then-president Donald Trump, Jared Kushner focused on the Middle East, developing close ties there. Now he is attempting to raise billions from Middle Eastern states for his investment fund, raising all manner of ethics issues.”
The Problem With Selective Coverage
While the Applebaum’s criticism of Kushner isn’t necessarily unwarranted, Enjeti adds, the duplicity is a problem:13
“Anne is fine with dismissing and calling the Hunter Biden laptop story completely irrelevant when it’s somebody she supports, but not when it’s somebody she doesn’t … that’s the problem with selective coverage … it diminishes and actually aids propagandists on the other side, who can deflect with your hypocrisy to cover up their misdeeds.
The only way out is to just be honest. Acknowledge your failings. Have some humility. Try to bring intellectual honesty to your coverage. But that is simply impossible whenever you depend on the system never failing in order to propagate your career.”
In another viral exchange, Christopher Phillips, also a freshman student at the University of Chicago and writer for The Chicago Thinker, questioned CNN’s Brian Stelter about the news outlet’s spreading of disinformation:14,15
“You’ve all spoken extensively about Fox News being a purveyor of disinformation, but CNN is right up there with them. They push the Russian collusion hoax, they push the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smear Justice Kavanaugh as a rapist, and they also smeared Nick Sandmann as a White supremacist. And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as pure Russian disinformation.
With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime, is it time to finally declare that the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative? All the mistakes of the mainstream media, and CNN in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction. Are we expected to believe that this is all just some sort of random coincidence or is there something else behind it?”
Stelter responds, “Too bad, it’s time for lunch,” then continued on with a speech for which Enjeti quipped should earn him “a medal in deflection”:16
“I think my honest answer to you, and I will come over and talk in more detail after this … I understand that that is a popular right-wing narrative about CNN … I think it’s important, when talking about shared reality and democracy, all these networks all these news outlets have to defend democracy. And when they screw up, admit it.”
Stelter then described how CNN assisted Fox News in Ukraine, working together, and continued:17
“And with regards to the regime, I think you mean President Biden? The last time I spoke with a Biden aide, we yelled at each other. So that’s the reality of the news business that people don’t see, that people don’t hear. They imagine that it’s a situation that simply is not. But I think your question, it speaks to the failure of journalism to show our work and show the reality of how our profession operates.”
Ultimately, Stelter avoids answering Phillips’ questions and instead dismisses them as propaganda, a common tactic in the mainstream media’s disinformation campaigns. Enjeti explains:18
“In both of those instances, you saw a glimpse of how flimsy this entire edifice is, why it relies so much on censorship to do its bidding for them.
Without the ability to cover up dissenting views, which predominantly are pointing out the failures of the mainstream establishment elite, it crumbles instantaneously, which is exactly why the corporate media, the main purveyors of the most powerful disinformation, are dead set on using disinformation standards against their opponents.
And, in fulfilling a prophecy, that is exactly what happened at The Atlantic’s Disinformation Conference …”
Corporate Media Are Main Purveyors of Disinformation
Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, was forced to address the two viral moments during which college students called out the hypocrisy of mainstream media, attracting a host of negative attention on social media. In another moment of deflection, Goldberg states that his disinformation conference was a victim of disinformation campaigns:19
“I think one darkly humorous but inevitable measurement of our success is that our disinformation conference has been the subject of disinformation campaigns on social media already.”
The statement is demonstrative of the mainstream media’s ability to twist reality and make those who attempt to reveal their failures appear as the real criminals, Enjeti says. “All you can do is fight back. At least reveal their lies, reveal how flimsy they are when they’re pressed, and spread it as far and wide as we can. Because that is the last remaining power that a dissident has in this society.”20 Even The Chicago Thinker snapped back at Goldberg’s comment, writing on social media:21
“And just like that @JeffreyGoldberg proved our point! First rule in the corporate media’s playbook: dismiss truthful reporting as ‘disinformation’ to avoid accountability. A fitting end to the conference!”
People are being censored in unprecedented ways, deplatformed and banned from social media for the crime of spreading misinformation or disinformation, the meaning of which can change from day to day and from platform to platform.
It’s a modern-day witch hunt, whereby even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security lists promulgating “false narratives” around COVID-19 as a top national security threat, which basically puts a “domestic terrorist” target on the backs of those of us who have been identified as the most prolific “superspreaders” of COVID-19 misinformation, whatever that “misinformation” happens to be.
Seeing Through the Real Disinformation
At The Atlantic’s disinformation conference, ironically, leaders in mainstream media labeled college students as disinformation spreaders because they called out the real hypocrisy and failures that are apparent in the mainstream press. That’s how far down this rabbit hole the mainstream media has gone. This is occurring not only what you hear on the news but also what you see online.
Because of their monopoly, Google controls what you see by manipulating search results and censoring websites or labeling them “misinformation.” If you want to find out how to truly get healthy, for instance, the information exists on the internet — it’s there — but you won’t be able to find it easily if you don’t know where to look because of the way Google controls information.
By manipulating information, they can shape and alter reality about any topic — from COVID-19 to Ukraine — in order to fit their agenda. It’s not only Google’s search engine that’s tracking what you do but also your browser. Google Chrome browser, for instance, tracks everything you do online, while Gmail captures every character you type — and saves it on its servers indefinitely.
For those who want to take action, a mass exodus from mainstream social media platforms is a good start. Knowledge truly is power, so in your search for the truth, look beyond fact-checkers’ and mainstream media’s “disinformation” labels.
In fact, words such as misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theory, debunked, quackery and antivaccine are examples of terms that are being used as propaganda tools; if you hear them, it should make you pay attention and dig deeper for the truth.