Misdirection: to distract from reality and create illusions.
Misinformation is all the rage, but misdirection is a real danger.
Last week social media was in a frenzy about Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s reveal that the US had blown up the Nordstream pipelines. Without commenting on the content or the politics, one should laud the fact that investigative journalism is still alive and well.
At the same time we should note that the US is an easy target: it plays well to your audience and you don’t risk your life.
Pushing up the Daisies
Meanwhile AI generated content is starting to appear. But hasn’t killed journalism. Proper journalism had already shuffled off this mortal coil. This sad passing can be traced back to the rise of social media, the death of the classified ads revenue, and specifically to the deliberate embrace of progressive agendas. Reporting became activism.
…that around 2011-2012, liberal outlets that had gone digital—New York Times, NPR, Washington Post—these outlets started to use woke terminology with skyrocketing frequency. …
That Great Awokening in 2015 actually came from the media from 2011-2012 starting to inundate affluent white liberals with these ideas and these words, to where it really actually shifted their opinion. I think that you really see it in terms of what’s covered, how it’s covered, and then what’s not covered.
“Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy” by Batya Ungar-Sargon is a recommended but depressing read.
Ironically, social media and citizen publishing is providing alternate outlets. Indeed, even Seymour Hersh published his piece on substack.
NGOs vs Big Oil: David vs Goliath
This week, another bit of investigative journalism didn’t create a media storm – but it should have. Robert Bryce has dug into the funding of the “Anti-Industry Industry” – and to the surprise of no one who studies energy politics, it turns out that David is Goliath and Goliath is David. The environmental NGOs have funding that outstrips pro-energy lobbies by 4x. This won’t get reported.
We learned after the fact that Russian money was channeled to anti-fracking movements in the West when it was apparent that the technology would crash the price of Russia’s main export.
So what of the funding for these NGOs? Some is from entitled, wealthy, useful idiots searching for meaning in their lives… some is genuine grass-roots donations. But is there more to it than that? Countries don’t have fiends, they have interests, and whose interests would be furthered by the hollowing out of western energy security?
Maybe Seymour Hersh, or some brave successor to the noble tradition could investigate the origin of the $4.5 Billion in the Anti-Industry Industry? Asking for a friend.
Then again, it would be easier and be better click-bait to just do another piece on Big Oil and their unconscionable profits.
But even that gets old quickly, so how about extra-terrestrial UFOs being shot down? Oh look, a squirrel!! Oh look a balloon!!
“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” Juvenal, Satire X c. 100AD