Tag Archives: news media

Fixing the News: Blockchain-Powered Solutions for Media in Crisis

Editor’s Note: Does blockchain technology offer a potential solution to often misleading, censorial, and even fraudulent corporate news media that plagues the Western world? As the author notes in his conclusion, such projects may seem far-fetched at present, yet it was not that long ago that few believed Wikipedia would ever gain traction. Today’s real news and analyses are coming from citizen journalists who remain vulnerable to YouTube, Google, and social media gatekeepers. What if they were given the means to form their own “ecosystems” for news and commentary?

“Creating comprehensive community-powered marketplaces for production, distribution, and verification of news”

Kirill Bryanov
CoinTelegraph
(May 19, 2018)

In the US and around the world, quality journalism is going through difficult times. Against the backdrop of steadily declining trust in the mainstream press, systemic issues like the ever-intensifying political polarization of the media, proliferation of fake news, and asymmetric power relations between platforms and publishers, among others, stand in the way of the press striving to fulfill its crucial societal functions. The central role of the media in the society is, at least normatively, to provide the public with essential knowledge of the state of the world that would enable people to make informed choices. In a democracy, both institutional and social media are also supposed to facilitate an open arena for public discussion and deliberation where the wide array of voices and ideas are represented. However, the reality seems to be drifting away from this ideal in dramatic ways.

A longstanding critical tradition has an extensive list of claims to lay to the US media system’s structural deficiencies. Even in the pre-digital era, some scholars of communication were uneasy with the growing concentration of corporate ownership in media industries, seeing this trend as threatening the democratic process. Proponents of this intellectual current advocated for as wide a distribution of communication power as possible as a safeguard against power abuse at the hands of big corporate and state actors. The advent of digital news has seen yet another wave of similar criticisms, as it had soon become apparent that, contrary to early internet enthusiasts’ expectations, the new media ecosystem does not quite eliminate the disparities in communication power. Instead, it seemed to be reproducing the old patterns of power concentration, as well as giving rise to some new problematic trends.

Most of the contemporary media criticisms converge around one point: the digital news economy. The ad-based online business model often proves to be inadequate for sustaining certain forms of journalism that rely on specific and narrow audiences for financial backing. These forms happen to be the ones of social importance, like local news or investigative and issue reporting. Labelled the “attention economy,” the incentive system that social media news feeds have engendered rewards content that attracts eyeballs and generates clicks. Facebook and Google, which derive the bulk of their profits from selling targeted ads, have apparent reasons to stimulate as long user engagement with content as possible. Here’s where algorithmic newsfeeds come in handy, facilitating users’ selective exposure to content they will likely enjoy. Extrapolated to the political arena, this logic results in people getting locked up in ideological information bubbles, where partisan views become amplified and biases get confirmed. These bubbles also provide fertile soil for the spread of politically charged misinformation.

Aspiring media reformers have proposed multiple cures to these maladies. Among alternative models are philanthropic foundation-supported nonprofits, issue-specific donation-funded media outlets, and various forms of collaborative citizen journalism. Albeit sustainable in certain contexts, such solutions have so far failed to demonstrate flexibility and scalability needed to achieve any degree of mainstream adoption. Besides, these models mainly rely on goodwill of those people whose motivations are purely altruistic, which makes it difficult to ensure a steady flow of contributions.

A handful of blockchain-driven media startups that aspire to revolutionize the news economy are different in this important sense. They hope to not just draw in people longing for good journalism, but also provide them with economic incentives to contribute their efforts to sustaining the ecosystem for substantive news. Using the versatile incentive-building tools made available by crypto economy, combined with game-theoretic behavioral modelling and principles of decentralized governance, these projects aim at nothing less than creating comprehensive community-powered marketplaces for production, distribution, and verification of news.

A defining feature of each of these platforms is that they are all powered by the principles of the token economy. Unlike traditional fiat currencies or even a general-purpose cryptocurrency that could be used for any manner of transaction, crypto tokens are usually designed in a way that programmatically restricts the range of their uses to a certain set of roles and functions within a given system. Tokens therefore reflect the purposes and values of a certain platform, and can be used in order to align the economic interests of its individual users with the interests of the community at large. As a vehicle for transactions, such tokens are no longer a content-neutral instrument that simply enables transmission of information or value; rather, they entail the shared interests and values of those who subscribed to use them within a specific economic ecosystem.

Within the broader ecosystem of emerging blockchain-powered media startups, there is a wealth of platforms that use crypto-economic models to redefine the system of monetary exchanges between creators and consumers of information goods. The most common focus is on user-generated content and the ways in which regular folks in social media contexts are rewarded for their work: some examples include Steemit, Sapien, or Po.et, to name a few. The following review, however, focuses on a more specific set of projects, which explicitly address some problematic institutional aspects of the current news media system. As such, the projects in the list recognize the independent social value of news, and offer fixes that are designed to produce a better informed public.

More…

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #94

A lengthy prosecution of teachers and owners of the Manhattan Beach California-based Virginia McMartin Preschool for allegations of sexually abusing their students dominated news headlines and broadcasts throughout the 1980s. An initial investigation involving interviews with hundreds of McMartin students by an experienced child therapist found a majority of students affirming such abuse.

Despite abundant evidence and blanket media coverage the defendants were acquitted in 1990 after six years of trial proceedings costing $15 million. Defendant Raymond Buckey was retried shortly thereafter and again exonerated.

The observations of students included a number of tunnels existing underneath McMartin classrooms and bathrooms connecting to external exits, through which students passed to be taken to other locations where they attended and partook in occult rituals. Following the McMartin students’ allegations reports of similar abuse began to emerge at preschools throughout the US.

Despite abundant evidence gathered by prosecutors supporting the allegations the defense attorneys eventually turned the tables and put the children and their families on trial, arguing that anxious parents and the appointed child therapist used “leading questions” to instill and capture children’s “false memories” that contributed to unreliable if not wholly erroneous testimony.

Several nationally-recognized psychologists, journalists and news outlets took this cue to label the students’ claims as groundless and absurd, and condemned the parents of creating a “Satanic panic” out of their children’s fertile imaginations. It was further contended by the defense and its supporters that ritual abuse of children was not a genuine social phenomenon. The McMartin defendants’ storyline explaining away the accusations has been echoed in recent years by such CIA-linked news outlets as the august New York Times (here and here.

“The hysteria thesis, promoted by a small group of pedophile defense psychologists, mostly, has appeared in publications of stature including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Harper’s, New Yorker and Newsweek,” notes author Alex Constantine, who contends that CIA infiltration of news media played a key role in mitigating public belief and concern over McMartin and similar events involving such potential ritual abuse.

Media boosters of the defense neglect to acknowledge the most damning evidence in the McMartin case. Instead, they explain away superficial, carefully sifted pieces of the case. In preparation for the trial, 380 toddlers were interviewed–nearly all of them described abuse at the preschool, and do to this day. Some 80 percent had physical symptoms, including blunt force trauma of sexual areas, scarring, rectal bleeding and sexual diseases …

Ritual abuse “skeptics” with CIA connections are covering up the latest phase in Agency-sponsored mind control experimentation. For thirty years Agency scientists have collaborated with cults (many of them founded by the government) to conceal the development of mind control technology. Jim Jones and the People’s Temple were one product of the alliance. McMartin was another. Both episodes have been buried in disinformation. The campaign to mislead the public about ritual abuse is ambitious, rivaling the campaign to conceal facts in the murder of John F. Kennedy.

In 1993, as the second trial of Raymond Buckey proceeded, McMartin parents and former FBI officer Ted Gunderson oversaw an excavation of the McMartin School grounds conducted by a team of geologists and archaeologists from LA area universities accompanied by a professional photographer and carbon-dating specialist. After several weeks the group discovered and carefully documented the very tunnels described in the toddler-students’ numerous testimonies, in addition to various occult objects. The prosecutor in Buckey’s second trial appeared at the excavation site refused to acknowledge this crucial find.

“Until the tunnels were found,” notes Constantine,

the L.A. Times covered the dig–with a smirk. The parents and scientists involved were portrayed as crack pots until the existence of the tunnels was substantiated by experts, at which time the newspaper abruptly stopped reporting the story. The public was left with the false impression that the search had failed.

Alex Constantine, Psychic Dictatorship in the USA, Los Angeles: Feral House, 1995, 77, 81, 84.

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Corporate Media Promote “World Press Freedom Day”

“Read and Watch” Mainstream Peers

Several corporate news media recognized the “World Press Freedom Day” on May 3 with promotional messages in the pages of their respective publications and via social media.

The occasion is in fact sponsored by the United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a vital arm of the UN that has overseen a multitude of social engineering projects since its founding in 1948 by individuals including eugenicist Julian Huxley.

From UNESCO’s site,

In 2018, UNESCO will lead the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. The main event, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will take place in Accra, Ghana on 2 – 3 May. This year’s global theme is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’, and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. The Day will also examine contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online. (Emphases retained)

In celebration of UNESCO’s observation the New York Times, which has had a historic information-sharing and censorial relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency instructs its audience on examples of the vaunted Western “free press.”

The fact that such entities are promoting “Press Freedom” is especially noteworthy in the wake of the recent court decision that legally codifies the CIA practice of selectively disclosing select information to journalists and news outlets of its choosing.

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"Don’t just read The New York Times." Look at the front page of NYT today! #WorldPressFreedomDay from Journalism

The event is also recognized by US Senator Diane Feinstein, who encourages her followers to “fight fake news” by reading quality journalism. In 2013 Feinstein proposed legislation that would effectively define “journalism” as being only something practiced by individuals drawing a salary, thus eliminating a broad array of independent, citizen journalists from the information gathering, sharing, and analyzing equation.

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Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

What Would Fair and Balanced Journalism Have Looked Like?

By James F. Tracy

The Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s overall coverage of the December 2017 TracyvFAU trial looks as if it could have been written by the Defendant University’s “Department of Media Relations.” Post and Sun-Sentinel managements recognize how FAU’s multitude of advertising dollars is a key  support in their erroneous and uncritical reportage of complex public events and broader operations. With the trial each outlet skewed its reportage and editorial commentary to heavily favor the school, thereby securing for their client a positive verdict in South Florida’s court of public opinion.

One need look no further than the Post and Sun-Sentinel‘s article titles to gather an overview of the TracyvFAU’s editorial thrust:

-“Trial To Begin for Fired FAU Professor, Conspiracy Theorist James Tracy,” Sun Sentinel, November 27, 2017

-“Ex FAU Professor, Conspiracy Theorist James Tracy, Testifies about Firing in Free Speech Case,” Sun Sentinel, November 30, 2017

-“FAU Professor James Tracy Claims School Fired Him for Sandy Hook Rants,” Palm Beach Post, November 30, 2017

-“Ex-FAU Prof on Trial Tries To Downplay Attack on Sandy Hook Parents,” Palm Beach Post, December 1, 2017

-“FAU Prof Wasn’t Fired Because of Sandy Hook Blog, FAU Official Testifies,” Sun Sentinel,December 4, 2017

-“Christie: Tracy-vs-FAU More about Arrogance Than Free Speech, Insubordination,” PalmBeachPost.com, December 5, 2017

-“FAU Prof James Tracy’s Firing ‘Wasn’t a Surprise’ to Him, University Officials Say,” Sun Sentinel, December 5, 2017

-“What It Was Like in the Class of FAU’s Conspiracy-Spinning Professor,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Claims against FAU by Sandy Hook Denier Headed To Federal Jury Monday,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Jury Rules against Fired FAU Prof James Tracy in Free Speech Case,” Sun Sentinel, December 11, 2017

An editorial by Palm Beach Post opinions editor Rick Christie, arguing that the content of Tracy’s speech and disbelief in government-endorsed conspiracy theories make him “arrogant.”

In fact, the papers pulled their reporters from the courtroom entirely when crucial testimony was given by Professor Tracy’s colleagues and fellow union officers giving the lie to the central argument of FAU’s million-dollar defense—that Tracy consciously violated a school policy rigorously adhered to by all other faculty and employees.

Continue reading Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

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The Boston Unbombing (Video Documentary)

New Liberty Times

This detailed feature-length analysis of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing utilizes primary sources (still photographs and video) to argue that the event was a carefully-coordinated drill presented to the US and global public as a genuine terrorist attack.

Part-time actor Carlos Arredondo in cowboy hat accompanies one Jeff Bauman in wheel chair during April 15, 2913 Boston Marathon bombing mass casualty event

View the documentary’s Reddit page here.

Downloading is recommended. The document could soon be recognized by YouTube censors as more accurate and compelling than the company’s “community standards” will permit.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #52

Editor’s Note: In August 2015 MHB published, “The CIA and the Media: 50 Historical Facts The World Needs to Know.” The present series seeks to augment this initial article with several dozen additional facts and observations on the relationship between the US intelligence community, the mass media, and public opinion. One historical fact will be released each day over the next month and beyond.


The CIA’s integration with mass media is especially insidious because it operates as a secret organization with its own rules and is answerable to no one. “’The National Security Act of 1947,’” in the words of Allen W. Dulles, “’…has given Intelligence a more influential position in our government than Intelligence enjoys in any other government of the world.’” As journalists David Wise and Thomas B. Ross wrote over a half-century ago,

The American people have not been in a position to assess these changes. They know virtually nothing about the Invisible Government. Its employment rolls are classified. Its activities are top secret. Its budget is concealed in other appropriations. Congress provides money for the Invisible Government without knowing how much it has appropriated or how it will be spent. A handful of congressmen are supposed to be kept informed by the Invisible Government, but they know relatively little about how it works.

Overseas, in foreign capitals, American ambassadors … are told they have control over the agents of the Invisible Government. But do they? The agents maintain communications and codes of their own. And the ambassador’s authority has been judged by a committee of the United States Senate to be a “polite fiction.”

At home, the intelligence men are directed by law to leave matters to the FBI. But the CIA maintains more than a score of offices in major cities throughout the United States; it is deeply involved in many domestic activities, from broadcasting stations and a steamship company to the university campus. The Invisible Government is also generally thought to be under the direct control of the National Security Council. But, in fact, many of its major decisions are never discussed in the Council. These decisions are handled by a small directorate, the name of which is only whispered. How many Americans have heard of the ‘Special Group’? The name of this group, even its existence, is unknown outside the innermost circle of the Invisible Government.

David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, The Invisible Government, New York: Random House, 1964, 4, 5.

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The CIA and the Media: 50 *More* Historical Facts the World Needs to Know

By James F. Tracy

Editor’s Note: In August 2015 MHB published, “The CIA and the Media: 50 Historical Facts The World Needs to Know.” The following series seeks to augment this initial post with several dozen additional facts and observations on the relationship between the US intelligence community, the mass media, and public opinion. One historical fact will be released each day over the next month and beyond.

Since the late 1940s the Central Intelligence Agency and its military intelligence counterparts have successfully manipulated American public opinion on an array of issues via its direct influence over corporate mass media. Understanding the historical facts substantiating this claim is particularly essential in an age of so-called “fake news”, alleged “Russian meddling” in US elections, and overt censorship of alternative voices by Google and YouTube proceed as a thinly-veiled psychological warfare operation against the domestic US population.

In theory the CIA and its military intelligence counterparts are restricted from carrying out maneuvers on US soil, including propaganda efforts. Yet the historical record is unambiguous: Psychological operations know no boundaries whether in terms of national borders or the fabled editorial firewall between the newsroom and objects of reportage. The intelligence community’s permeation of the film-making, book publishing, and social media industries only bolsters the influence it exerts over the institution that write the first drafts of history—the news media themselves.

Continue reading The CIA and the Media: 50 *More* Historical Facts the World Needs to Know

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VIDEO: School Security Expert Makes Video About Florida Shooting; FBI & Secret Service Want it Banned, Silenced

Via TruePundit

This is literally one of those videos with viral potential … if it can stay online long enough before it is banned by FBI and friends, including the Secret Service.

It’s a race against the clock, so to speak.

If the video, which drops bombs on the Florida school shooting. goes viral it will certainly face doom on YouTube.

Entire archived link available here. This is how Twitter seeks to divert attention from Mr. Bouchell’s remarks:

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Trump Dresses Down Media Moguls, Anchors

“I’m in a room full of liars.”

Noland D. McCaskill
Politico
(
November 21, 2016)

The media figures arrived at Trump Tower on Monday afternoon for off-the-record meetings with the president-elect, who spent much of his campaign bashing the “dishonest” media — including deriding CNN as the “Clinton News Network” and repeatedly attacking the “failing” New York Times via Twitter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgRwfIzFcdM

According to a transition pool report, the media personalities are as follows: NBC News President Deborah Turness; MSNBC President Phil Griffin; CNN President Jeff Zucker and network anchor Wolf Blitzer; Fox News Co-Presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy and Executive Vice Presidents Jay Wallace and Suzanne Scott; and CBS News anchors John Dickerson and Charlie Rose.

“@realDonaldTrump more gracious and magnanimous than I would be,” Fox News host and Trump ally Sean Hannity tweeted. “Meeting with network execs that tried hard to defeat him @CNN @NBCNews.”

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Don’t Trust Corporate Media: Trump’s Presidency is Legitimate

Keith Labella Esq.

Trump Is the Legitimate President Based on Constitutional Principles of Federalism and States Rights

Any first year law student should be able to tell you that we have 51 sets of laws, one for the federal government, and 50 for each state.

constitutionFederalism is a fundamental principle of government, in the United States, that defines the relationship between the federal government at the national level, and its constituent units at the state and local levels.

Trump won the majority of states, and he won the majority of electoral votes. We live in a shared system of government. Those citizens who do not like the laws or political make-up of their states are free to move to another state per the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Commerce Clause as well as other federal statutes and Supreme Court Constitutional interpretations.

Continue reading Don’t Trust Corporate Media: Trump’s Presidency is Legitimate

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