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The Misinformation Mess


The Misinformation Mess

Robert Parry

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman marvels at the right-wing extremism prevalent in the Republican presidential race not just from the “outsider” candidates but from the “establishment” favorites as well, doubling down on President George W. Bush’s economic prescriptions and foreign policies despite their record of disaster.


Suggest changing title to "The Disinformation Mess".


Another superb piece by Parry.

Can you imagine what it would be like if MSM still had honest journalists and editorials that didn't support one side or other of the neocons argument (We need to get rid of Assad now!" "No, we need to get rid of him yesterday!")

We'd be seeing Parry on the front page. He'd make appearances on "Meet the Press".

We'd get actual news.


What is wrong with identifying as unConstitutional what is clearly and blatantly unConstitutional?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Even our best writers seem afraid of re-reading the Preamble. What a sad shame.


Because the Constitution was set aside as 'just a god-damned piece of paper' by the 'I am in charge' George Bush (Cheney's left hand boy), and Bomba concurs.


ABC,CBS,NBC are the three old public airwaves that provided the news through tv. These three news mediums are no longer providing news. Its time to take these airwaves back and make them places of information and discussion of issues for the public. Also the internet should be a public utility provided at low or no cost at all.


I do not believe that the mis/disinformation is going to have the effect it has had in the past, after all it has been perking along ever since Reagan tried to sell trickle down economics. The Bush administrations both moved it along but the anti Obama faction has pushed it to the artform it has become. If you are not in the thrall of those who believe the wealth of a nation is better used by a few than the many then there is No quandary as they ar not listening to the politics of fear or the republican diatribes on what is wrong with the country, We already know that it is the Republican'ts themselves that are causing the problems they are bitching about.


Ugh. This article is a striking example of the liberal spin that prevents a legitimate discussion about why Obama is likely to be the last Dem president in the foreseeable future. It has nothing to do with a discontented (whiny) middle class.Like the rest of us, they have to live with the consequences of the political/policy choices they made in recent decades. Fact: Right now, the rich are doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor. There's nothing we can do about it.

As for the Democrats, the party's over. It's impossible for Dems to win any elections with only the votes of a portion of middle class Dems. In that realm of reality beyond the cozy living rooms of the middle class, we have a hell of a poverty crisis. The masses of poor, and those who get why unrelieved poverty is sinking the economy/nation, voted for Obama on the chance the he could launch a legitimate national discussion about our poverty crisis. Dems and liberals aren't interested.

We have a poverty crisis, made dramatically worse by Democrats, that continues to phase out the middle class, increasing poverty. For these masses, Democrats have become the greater of the evils. As our attention began turning to 2016, Dems made a very clear statement of their priorities by agreeing to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled (cut monthly allotments from roughly $115 to $15). Could have learned from Gore vs. Bush. Clinton/Gore targeted the poor. In Gore vs. Bush, the poor (and those who get why it matters) voted third party or withheld their votes, and the middle class picked Bush. Twice.


Mr. Perry is of course absolutely correct, but the problem -- the USian press corps and its function as a de facto propaganda machine for the people who own and control the Empire -- is much older than Iran-Contra or the Reagan Administration. My 2013 essay "Censorship: Lessons from Nader and a Knoxville Atrocity," describes two incidents that typify the (identical but less obvious) state of the USian press in 1963.


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► He probably never said that, but it fits his attitude


I like the way you think, illusion. The internet has become indispensable to democracy.


Obama has embraced trickle down since he convinced his lame duck Democratic majority to voluntarily extend the Bush tax cuts.


It isn't only Rubio and Jeb Bush refusing to acknowledge the catastrophes under Dubya Bush. It's the entire media and all the presidential candidates.

I don't think I've even heard a whole lot of Bush criticism from my candidate of choice Bernie Sanders.

Of course the candidates are also failing to adequately criticize the media.


Oversimplification is. ... BUT:

IF Climate Consequence of our exploiting nature is substantially a result of unintended petrochemical 'progress', it needs to STOP. The resultant reconfiguration of our concept of wealth and power must END.

The resultant "Western" exploitation of Middle East "Old" oil, with its paternalistic military and political manipulation and domination, would diminish WAR and OIL as oligarchy ' s twin levers of power.

ALL CHANGE IS PAIN! But the 1% represent the "smallest" NUMBER of human beings that would have to 'take it' for everyone else to enjoy sharing in a world and humanity engaged in.progress rather than destructive defensiveness and blame.


Your disenchantment with humanitarian progress has been clearly stated.


lorenbliss, could you provide a link to your essay? It looks very interesting.


Thanks, joboost, good comment.


Norcal -- CD apparently won't allow comment-thread posts to include links. But if you Google the title, it should get you there. (In either case please let me know..).


The article raises a great question. I wonder how we might answer it. Past that first insight that one is lied to, a useful answer might be complicated. I would not pretend here to have resolved it, but I wonder what you-all think of the following observations:

1) Americans are subject to the most extensive and probably the most sophisticated propaganda campaign in history, given that we should probably include what is called "advertising."
2) Propaganda is not, generally, wielded by an informed group who would disinform as by variously disinformed and misinformed parties who would, largely, disinform.
3) Disinformation and misinformation are not new. (I will guess that this is obvious and omit the examples that come to mind).
4) As an FYI, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's 1989 Manufacturing Consent has been most useful in this.
5) There is also a lot more to be examined, particularly given the complexity of human intentionality and self-deceit.

Now I want to float here a notion. Feel free to correct it.

Human discourse involves cues beyond and apart from what we regard as declarative statement. We take those cues into account constantly and generally without much being aware of it. With them, we alter our impressions, and over a period of learning form a conception of the world. As this happens, over and over, we attempt to determine the truth of one and another statement by checking to see whether it is consistent with whatever we imagine that we know. This is a subjective impression at this point, but a strong one: leaving aside whatever inadequacies are in my description, I doubt that there is any other way.

Therefore, it is dangerous that bad information be presented repeatedly, particularly to young people. I doubt that speaks well for censorship, but I also suspect that it means that we cannot with impunity leave media-driven discourse to for-profit entities, and that this is a major factor in the general disinformation. I do not particularly mean to rail against violent or prurient content in this, though; sex and violence are major human interests, and people must engage them somehow. I do mean that the persistent projection of the notion that commodity is closely related to value and to satisfaction has crippled a lot of human thought. This projection is at least largely intentional: it is a centerpiece in the ideas of propaganda espoused by Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann and the Creel Commission and so forth, and it is central to current "public relations" that the propagandist create a conflation between what an audience desires and what it is to be sold (the bill of goods, the pig in the poke). But it is also carried out a good bit by converts: the deaf blinding the potentially sighted.

Now, I do mean that the commodification shot through the whole thing is damaging, and partly because of what it does in terms of what is casually called "content," but mostly in terms of what it does to form and what is sometimes called "subliminal message," though I suspect that the latter conjures a far less domestic and familiar image than what I have in mind. By the time one gets to an ad for whisky or bathroom products, it's a funny nest of notionry, but that's the sort of thing I am talking about, although presidents are sold more or less the same way.

Let me preface an example by pointing out that as a group and subject to the usual weaknesses of broad generalization, Westerners are critically alone and uncertain of our roles in relation to others and our value to others--what we call our "identities." We want acceptance and various gestures of acceptance and love. We seek this, generally, in sex or the appearance of sex, in status or the appearance of status--the latter including ownership and the appearance of ownership. Advertisers therefore do well by implying to us that we get acceptance, status, love, and approval--coolness or whatever--by purchasing.

After a couple decades of that and of identity-formations that involve branded things--like the Kevin Kline character in A Fish Called Wanda, I am smart because I read Nietszche, right?--an argument that eternal growth and fantasy economy is broken appears to cut through flesh. And it also appears to be inconsistent with all sorts of observations that have sort of soaked up through the Pampers and been elucidated on cereal boxes, sparkling with sugar.

I don't suppose I can conclude something that I have yet to work out in anything like appropriate detail, but if anything here has been food for thought, feel free to regard the following as parsley:

  • "Work" can refer to the force to physically move an object, to suffering, or to acting in conformance with the will of another party for money (guess which is "good"). It can also be related to bringing about "value."
  • That which we value most we call "priceless," but money is said to be a measure of value instead of, say, iniquity.
  • Money is said to be material
  • Ownership is material, but makes no material change in an owner or a possession
  • Sex and status are and are not acceptance; respect is and is not fear