Propaganda is about controlling what people think. The truth is, you cannot just tell people what they are suppose to think. You have to give them a justifiable reason to think what you want them to think. The easiest way to do that is to confirm their preexisting biases. And yes, EVERYONE has preexisting biases.
The two easiest ways to confirm any individuals preexisting biases are, a) to write history and b) to rewrite history. For hundreds of years the Fourth Estate had a monopoly on the first writing of the historical narrative on just about every significant historical event. What for the most part kept the Fourth Estate accurate and honest was simple straight forward competition.
Up until the invention of electronic communications every News Paper and Magazine had their own stable of investigative Journalists/Reporters. These investigative Journalists/Reporters were well versed in the 5 W’s. They went to wherever a event of significance either had occurred or was occurring and beat the bushes so to speak asking anyone and everyone the six questions associated with the 5 W’s.
The Five Ws, Five Ws and one H, or the Six Ws are questions whose answers are considered basic in information-gathering. They are often mentioned in journalism (cf. news style), research, and police investigations. They constitute a formula for getting the complete story on a subject. According to the principle of the Five Ws, a report can only be considered complete if it answers these questions starting with an interrogative word:
Who is it about?
When did it take place?
Where did it take place?
Why did it happen?
Some authors add a sixth question, “how”, to the list, though “how” can also be covered by “what”, “where”, or “when”:
How did it happen
Each question should have a factual answer — facts necessary to include for a report to be considered complete. Importantly, none of these questions can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.
In British education, the Five Ws are used in Key Stage 3 (age 11–14) lessons.
With tens of thousands of reporters writing for thousands of News Papers the competition to get the facts not just first, but accurate was staggering. If a reporter or journalist wrote an article where the facts reported were wrong it jeopardized their career because every other publication was also covering the story and they were all fighting each other for eyeballs. Get the facts wrong, and all of the other publications covering the story made damned sure that everyone knew you got it wrong. If the public didn’t trust your ability to get the facts right, they quit reading you.
The origins of today’s media propaganda fest can most likely be traced to Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst’s circulation war during the 1880’s and 1890’s. Pulitzer believed that newspapers were public institutions with a duty to improve society, and he put the World in the service of social reform. William Randolph Hearst’s ambition was to outshine Pulitzer as a publishing magnate. Between the two of them they more of less created the concept of “Yellow Journalism“.
They were however held in check because while they were fighting over readers, they were not the only news papers in New York City or the US or even the rest of the world, covering the events of the day. When they got the facts wrong, their competitors mocked and ridiculed them mercilessly.
With the advent of electronic communications the number of journalist/reporters began to seriously decline. Due primarily to the fact that with electronic communications the first reporters on the scene could investigate, write and file their stories while the other reporters were still in transit to the place where the incident was or had taken place. This led to what is known as “Station Reporters” in other words, reporters who were stationed in large metropolitan area’s that did not carry the publications that they wrote for. To supplement their incomes, they freelanced for other publications as well. From this came the concept of “Pool Reporters”. A Pool Reporter was an individual who took notes and did investigations for multiple other reporters because of a limitation on accessibility to events of significance.
Another major trans-formative aspect of the introduction of electronic communications were the News Services. Reuters, Associated Press (AP) Associated Press International (API) Knight-Ridder, Inc are a few examples. These types companies played their part in reducing the number of investigative journalists/reporters by providing first telegraph and then teletype and finally internet news updates to every major news media outlet on earth.
Combine these factors with relaxations in the FCC regulations regarding media corporation ownership and the inevitable took place. (It used the be that you could not own News Papers, Radio Stations or Television Stations in more than one market place. This prevented any communications/media company from gaining a monopoly on the information that the general public had easy and ready access to.) The news increasingly became concentrated into the hands of fewer and fewer individuals.
The fewer independent sources of information available to the general public the more difficult it became for the general public to discern when highly biased spin was being introduced to the supposedly factual information they were being fed. By 1968 this concentration had become so pronounced that when Walter Cronkite (the most trusted man in America) interjected his own socialist leaning bias into his reporting, virtually no one in the general pubic was even remotely aware that he was manipulating them and deceiving them.
In 1968 Walter Cronkite engaged in one of the most deceitful and egregious acts of propaganda to ever take place in America. He reported a false and socialist biased account of events that had just transpired in the Vietnam Conflict, “the Tet Offensive“. High ranking North Vietnamese officials years later admitted that if it were not for Walter Cronkite’s false socialist biased narrative in his reporting on the Tet Offensive that the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces were prepared to surrender as a consequence of their losses and defeat during the Tet Offensive. Walter Cronkite’s false narrative stirred up public outrage in America, fueling anti-Vietnam war protests which breathed life into the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong allowing them negotiate a peace treaty rather than the full on surrender that they forced into by their defeat during the Tet Offensive.
Enter Gonzo Journalism…
Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word “gonzo” is believed to be first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. The term has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavors.
Gonzo journalism involves an approach to accuracy through the reporting of personal experiences and emotions, as compared to traditional journalism, which favors a detached style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more personal approach; the personality of a piece is equally as important as the event the piece is on. Use of sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common.
Among the forefathers of the new journalism movement, Thompson said in the February 15, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone, “If I’d written the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.“
As you can clearly see, by 1973 all of the crucial pieces were in place, the control over information had been concentrated into the hands of just a handful of people. Those people were no longer constrained by competition in the market place to avoid inaccuracies or subjective bias in their reporting. More importantly, they were increasingly interjecting both themselves and their personal political biases into the stories they were reporting to the point and degree that they simply ceased to be the Fourth Estate and became noting short or less than a Fifth Column.
However… Something unexpected happened in the early 1990’s. A small and arcane aspect of the electronic communications revolution went mainstream. The Internet was transformed into the World Wide Web. Suddenly not only could anyone with a personal computer at home access this brand new, wide open, world wide web, but everyone with a personal computer at home demanded access to the world wide web.
With the advent of the world wide web, the Fifth Column Treasonous Media lost almost overnight their ability to do what Walter Cronkite had done in 1968. They lost the ability to write the first version of any significant event. They lost the ability to write an unchallenged first version of history. With that loss went the ability to place their own political narrative in the place of the truth as a historical record.
Now, because of the Internet and the World Wide Web they are forced to attempt to rewrite history rather than write the first version of it. Lacking the capacity to set the narrative from the onset, the Fifth Column Treasonous Media is now reduced to rewriting history in order to control the narrative. Here is a perfect example of someone attempting to do exactly that.
You Are Not Trayvon Martin
Trayvon Martin is dead, George Zimmerman has been acquitted, and millions of people are outraged. Some politicians are demanding a second prosecution of Zimmerman, this time for hate crimes. Others are blaming the tragedy on “Stand Your Ground” laws, which they insist must be repealed. Many who saw the case as proof of racism in the criminal justice system see the verdict as further confirmation. Everywhere you look, people feel vindicated in their bitter assumptions. They want action.
But that’s how Martin ended up dead. It’s how Zimmerman ended up with a bulletproof vest he might have to wear for the rest of his life. It’s how activists and the media embarrassed themselves with bogus reports. The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns. The problem was assumption, misperception, and overreaction. And that cycle hasn’t ended with the verdict. It has escalated.
I almost joined the frenzy. Yesterday I was going to write that Zimmerman pursued Martin against police instructions and illustrated the perils of racial profiling. But I hadn’t followed the case in detail. So I sat down and watched the closing arguments: nearly seven hours of video in which the prosecution and defense went point by point through the evidence as it had been hashed out at the trial. Based on what I learned from the videos, I did some further reading.
The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman on the fatal night didn’t tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, “We don’t need you to do that.” Chief prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conceded in his closing argument that these words were ambiguous. De la Rionda also acknowledged, based on witness and forensic evidence, that both men “were scraping and rolling and fighting out there.” He pointed out that the wounds, blood evidence, and DNA didn’t match Zimmerman’s story of being thoroughly restrained and pummeled throughout the fight. But the evidence didn’t fit the portrait of Martin as a sweet-tempered child, either. And the notion that Zimmerman hunted down Martin to accost him made no sense. Zimmerman knew the police were on the way. They arrived only a minute or so after the gunshot. The fight happened in a public area surrounded by townhouses at close range. It was hardly the place or time to start shooting.
That doesn’t make Zimmerman a hero. It just makes him a reckless fool instead of a murderer. In a post-verdict press conference, his lawyer, Mark O’Mara, claimed that “the evidence supported that George Zimmerman did nothing wrong,” that “the jury decided that he acted properly in self-defense,” and that Zimmerman “was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. I’m glad that the jury saw it that way.” That’s complete BS. The only thing the jury decided was that there was reasonable doubt as to whether Zimmerman had committed second-degree murder or manslaughter.
Zimmerman is guilty, morally if not legally, of precipitating the confrontation that led to Martin’s death. He did many things wrong. Mistake No. 1 was inferring that Martin was a burglar. In his 911 call, Zimmerman cited Martin’s behavior. “It’s raining, and he’s just walking around” looking at houses, Zimmerman said. He warned the dispatcher, “He’s got his hand in his waistband.” He described Martin’s race and clothing only after the dispatcher asked about them. Whatever its basis, the inference was false.
You can see how Slate Propagandist William Saletan set’s up his rewrite of history in this article about George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin. First he offers up a false Mea culpa to disarm anyone who might dare to fact check him. “I almost joined the frenzy”, well no Bill, you most assuredly did join the frenzy. What you did was to wade into the story in full Hunter S Thompson Gonzo journalism style and right off the bat interject yourself into the story. Thus opening the door to reject the absolute facts of the story and replace them with personal subjective emotional values rather than the facts of what transpired.
After first admitting that he made his mind up on what transpired between George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin over a year ago, without bothering to consult with the facts William Saletan asserts that he carefully weighed the evidence as presented in the closing arguments, all seven hours of them as William is very careful to inform us. He admits that he was flat out wrong about the fact of the case. And then, William Saletan very carefully lies right to everyone’s face as he rewrites history regarding George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin.
Zimmerman is guilty, morally if not legally, of precipitating the confrontation that led to Martin’s death.
There it is. William Saletan is telling you what to think, he is attempting to do so by reaffirming your preexisting bias, a bias that was false right from the start. Treyvon Martin was not a innocent 12 year old who was gunned down by a crazed White Supremacist exclusively for the crime of being a Black person in the wrong neighborhood. When the jury acquitted George Zimmerman that false narrative fell like a stone. Now, the rewriting begins with the notion that George Zimmerman was morally wrong even if the Florida Prosecutor couldn’t get a legal conviction.
George Zimmerman in this new rewrite of history had a moral if not legal responsibility to cower away from a public place because his merely being there might have provoked a Black/African-American man to violence. Never mind that the public place just happened to be a gated community where neither Treyvon nor his father lived (they were visiting his father fiancée). Never mind that this gated community was clearly marked and designated as a “Neighborhood Watch” community or that the gated community in question was in the midst of a plague of burglaries.
The only thing that matters in this new and pathetic attempt to rewrite history is that George Zimmerman be found morally guilty of failing to cower, of failing to run away when in the presence of an unknown individual who just happened to be Black/African-American who was behaving in a suspicious manner. George Zimmerman had a moral responsibility to not question whether Treyvon Martin, an unknown individual in a gated community might possibly be engaging in criminal activities, and George Zimmerman had this moral responsibility for the sole and exclusive reason that, Treyvon Martin was Black/African-American and his being confronted with questions regarding his presence in a gated community might provoke him to violence.
No. Treyvon Martin is dead for one reason and one reason only, and George Zimmerman bears absolutely no responsibility what-so-ever. Treyvon Martin is dead because Treyvon Martin and a very large segment of the Black/African-American community thought and think that it is morally acceptable for a Black/African-American man to assault any old “Creepy ass cracker” they want to any time they want to. Treyvon Martin is dead because Treyvon Martin attacked and beat on a man who just happened to be carrying a concealed weapon.
The only way that William Saletan or anyone else protesting the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial are right in their assertions that George Zimmerman is morally guilty of murdering Treyvon Martin, is if the basic underlying assertions that they are making are true, that anyone who even remotely might be mistaken for being white is under a moral and legal obligation to retreat from any confrontation or any public place where their presence might provoke any Black/African-American to violence.