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‘Fake News’ in America: Homegrown, and Far From New


‘Fake News’ in America: Homegrown, and Far From New

Chris Hedges

The media landscape in America is dominated by “fake news.” It has been for decades. This fake news does not emanate from the Kremlin. It is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry that is skillfully designed and managed by public relations agencies, publicists and communications departments on behalf of individuals, government and corporations to manipulate public opinion. This propaganda industry stages pseudo-events to shape our perception of reality.


It's always sadly amazing as to how gullible many American's are. What gets passed around these days as "news" wouldn't be worth putting on a cereal box-top in the eyes of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, or Dan Rather.


When I read the book by Bernays on propaganda I was struck in particular as to how he used the media to create a market for something the people did not really want.

This was in response to being approached by a piano maker to help sell more pianos.

Mr Bernays went to home builders and real estate agents and convinced them to either build new homes with something they would call a piano room or have real estate agents refer to an empty room in a house they were listing as "the piano room"

In buying that home they new owner then felt the need to but a piano for the piano room.

In many ways this how modern news works. It creates a perceived need and then puts its best salesmen on it.


I find that behind these manipulations is a dynamic that needs to be brought into the light and discussed.
That is a virtual hypnosis maintained by the institutions of 'modernity' assiduously constructed by the most cynical dynamic of all: an addiction to never speaking about who and what suffers under the presumption of predatory capitalism being premised on "externalized costs".
We're up to our eyeballs in the consequences.


well, this one's definitely right in Hedges' wheel house. Drove him out of the Times.

As Suspiria mentions when referring to Bernays, manufactured "news" is as old as advertising itself. You'd think people never heard of Randolph Hearst. Well, probably entirely too many haven't, which is why some gullible dorks think this is something new.

There is a difference in the saturation of this method of disinformation, true, but the concept and consequences are largely the same.

Trust nothing if you can't verify who's paying for it. Nothing.

Not corporate press, not so-called "indie" press.

They all reflect the ambitions of their patrons and financers.


Only four commrents on this?


On the key issue of our time. Because without a free press, we have no hope for ever having a democracy. None.

As of a few minutes ago, Truthdig had almost four HUNDRED.


Fake news has been with us forever in this country, and several of our founding fathers used it against their opponents in the print medium. Adams and Jefferson hated each other and some of their claims against the other were ridiculous. In modern society there simply are more vehicles to distribute fake news.


Hello SuspiraDeProfundis,

Bernays was well paid for the results he delivered, and you give evidence for his insight.

The most popular "News" organizations and their employees are also well paid. CNN, Fox, and most of the rest are owned by a very small number of groups.


Hedges is, as usual, depressingly accurate. Until we take MSM back from the Billionaires, there will only be fake news and entertainment pablum. That anyone still gives credence to these blatantly biased sources astounds me. The scary times we've been experiencing are set to become even scarier.


Definitely agree that this is nothing new. To be sure, a propaganda machine is a necessary component of any empire and an element in the psychology of war. Only its style and nature has changed over the course of history. Objective journalism has, historically, always been the exception, not the rule, and, typically, those who must piously preach it are the ones least likely to practice it. Claims for objectivity and concern for the truth are now mostly a mass marketing ploy, the fake news hysteria being a good example.


Seeing how many Trump voters had never previously voted Republican confirms Hedges' assertion that Trump's victory is the result of the Democrats abandoning their base during the past four decades.


This is one of Hedges' more informative articles. Two supplemental observations: First, as a culture we are still learning about the power of electronic media to multiply its social effects. We are still in the wide-eyed dazzled stage, easily enticed and fooled. One can only can hope that our learning curve will not prove to be fatally lengthy. Second, our sense of truth is wedded, for better or worse, to the scientific method and its traditional concepts of validity. But we are in the throes of a climate change denial fostered by the corporate status quo that is weakening the grip of science on the culture. One of the unexpected side effects of climate change denial is to undermine categorically our ideas about, and commitment to, a standard of objective truth.


I'm sure glad the "liberals" are on our side, watching out for us plebs!


The difference this time Mr. Hedges: the fascists are already identifying outlets like Common Dreams, Media Matters for America, Democracy Now! and many other authentic, progressive high quality news outlets as purveyors of fake news, and they are working with Google and Facebook to suppress these last hopes for reality based awareness.


"...Hillary Clinton, contrary to how she was often portrayed during the recent Presidential Campaign, NEVER fought on behalf of Women and Children - she was an advocate for the Destruction of a Welfare System in which 70% of the recipients were Children. She is a Tool of the Big Banks, Wall St. and the War Industry."

Yet the Primary Debates, owned and operated by the very Deceivers themselves, and Broadcast on our Captured Media, allowed Millions of Viewers to falsely believe these lies, as they Conspired to Undermine the threat of an Actual Representative gaining Power for the 99%.

And we're supposed to Hope against Hope that The Electors save us from Trump, only to deliver us to Her?


Dan Rather, too? How was Rather a journalist more than a personality? (I just honestly ask, for my impression (from teenagehood) is him as a master gatekeeper for power, but I could be mistaken.)


The use of and willingness to believe fake news while fact, truth and critical thinking are thrown aside comes back to Al Gore's coined phrase inconvenient truth--The truth is seen as so inconvenient to self interest that otherwise intelligent people become willing to accept lies and fake news to create and maintain the fake reality they feel works best for their own self interest. This happens when the information sources like the news media both create their own fake news or report fake news without any fact check or comment- that in fact it is fake news. This was rampant is the mainstream media's collusion with the Trump lies and fake news. Now we all get to enter into the dark trump regime reality -- a dangerous fake reality.


That process that you indicate in response to the inconvenient truth is what we also call willful ignorance. Another way to put it is "sticking their head in the sand" or more vulgarly "sticking their head up their ass" because they prefer the smell of their own shit over the truth.


I don’t imagine that there are too many here that have not known about fake news for a long time. Hedges though puts it all in a neat short column which he is brilliant at doing week after week.

But although it may seem as if the elite have “full spectrum dominance” of the society it is still the economy 1% stupids, and capitalism is failing worldwide. Austerity will protect your obscene wealth for a while but a big collapse ahead seems obvious to intellectuals on both the right and the left. It could very well happen during a haphazard Trump presidency.

As I have written here before people do not demand change from knowledge or information. They will only act from fear and pain. The Trump election is proof of that. The revolution has started except in the fake news where one would never even know there were poverty or unemployment problems. But people may be full of fake news but in their personal lives they know all too well what the fake news ignores.

The majority of people down through the ages have never been that well informed. After a hard day’s work, or a hard day’s survival with no job at all, all most people want is a little entertainment and escape.

Knowledge and information are the domain of intellectuals. It is from them that leaders must come who can discern the growing areas of unrest, can unite and inspire those who are in pain towards a common goal of revolt.

Trump will do nothing for the ordinary person he will only serve himself and his fellow one percenters. I do not expect it to take long for the Trump supporters to become disillusioned. Where will they go in four years? How long can either of the big business parties keep their game going when the economic conditions can only worsen in capitalism’s dead end.

I see only great opportunity ahead for those who can reach across social divisions and unite people in a third, hopefully socialist, party movement.


The internet has accelerated this process. It, along with cable news
shows, has divided the country into antagonistic clans. Members of a
clan watch the same images and listen to the same narratives, creating a
collective “reality.” Fake news abounds in these virtual slums.
Dialogue is shut down. Hatred of opposing clans fosters a herd
mentality. Those who express empathy for “the enemy” are denounced by
their fellow travelers for their supposed impurity. This is as true on
the left as it is on the right. These clans and herds, fed a steady diet
of emotionally driven fake news, gave rise to Trump.

Take note.