They claim to be the “tip of the spear” in the “information war”, but are they really?
Perhaps I am the only person in media who has perceived it. Have the boundaries between alternative and traditional media been blurred?
Dominance from traditional corporate and government financed media has certainly declined in the last 10 years and so has their credibility. The question is, what have they been replaced with?
Everyone has heard or read the terms “alternative media”, “tip of the spear in the information war” and many other labels that some alleged alternative media operations adopted as their slogans to attract news consumers. But are they really that alternative?
I have personally discovered that in doing their work as “alternative media”, some information outlets have blurred – intentionally or not – the lines between what is truly alternative and what could be considered as the mass spread of propaganda.
Let’s take as an example news aggregation. There is nothing wrong with cutting and pasting links from news outlets whose headlines are considered relevant by someone at the top of the news aggregation business. Of course, no one should be expected to consider this practice a form of journalism.
The problem arises when a news aggregation endeavor such as the DrudgeReport is seen as a major, extremely influential participant of the alternative media movement even though most of its content is fed by corporate media.
Do we need to be aware of mainstream media propaganda? Absolutely. Do we need a news aggregator to do so. Not likely. Corporate news can be easily followed through news feeds, social media and many other tools.
I personally do not see news aggregation as true journalism, since the news gathering, research and writing efforts are minimum to say the least. Today, news aggregation can be as simple as subscribing and directing news feeds to a blank page. In fact, smaller alternative news websites do exactly that.
The difference is that those smaller news operations show preference for well produced alternative news, as supposed to corporate news. Could it be that major alternative media do not recognize smaller alternative news websites as worthy? If they do, it is without any justification, because most quality news are produced by alternative news websites.
The other aspect of news aggregation is the perception that because a news aggregator is not related to a traditional news outlet, it means it is alternative. But what happens when most of the information aggregated on a blank page is originated at traditional corporate media headquarters?
News aggregation cannot be glorified for being alternative while 80 or 90 percent of the links direct readers to corporate media websites, can it? Neither can it be considered alternative media when news sources include many of the same gatekeepers who appear on corporate media outlets.
Why aren’t news aggregators linking to more than a handful alternative news websites instead of traditional corporate news sources? That is for DrudgeReport to answer.
The other side of so-called self-proclaimed alternative news outlets includes news gathering operations that actually do the research; at least some of it; who claim to have inside sources, but who many times end up reporting and repeating the same talking points regurgitated by mainstream media.
Could it be that propaganda has any more value when it is reported by alternative media? Not likely.
With so many great alternative news websites, blogs and independently produced content out there, it is not crazy to ask why is it that we hear the same government talking points and find the same links on some “alternative news” websites.
Take for example Infowars.com. Alex Jones and his news operation was born out of the need to have hard hitting news in a non-existent alternative news market.
He succeeded in “removing the veil” from the face of hundreds of thousands of people. However, Infowars.com has become, at least temporarily, a mouthpiece for the establishment by providing legitimacy to government claims about the seriousness of the Ebola outbreak, for example.
It is fair to say that in the last week Infowars.com has also provided the means for people to understand that Ebola may be one of those ‘crisis’ used by government to justify its policies. My questions is, couldn’t Infowars.com provide such opportunity for its readers without replicating the same fear-mongering tactics used by mainstream media and the American government?
Well-known alternative news websites, perhaps in an effort to keep up with the rapidly evolving news cycle, have chosen to inject a dose of government-fed propaganda into their news stream. That is why it is not uncommon to read propaganda-infested articles from government officials, political parties or health agencies that were originally published by say, the UK Mail, or the WSJ, on a website that proclaims itself as “alternative”. This happens a lot on the weekends.
The main problem with this practice is that the alternative news outlets that use propaganda as a source to feed their news stream, sometimes pass propaganda as “news” instead of dissecting it and countering it with factual information.
The practice of using corporate propaganda as news gives mainstream media content a degree of credibility among alternative news readers, which ends up undermining the success of the so-called information war. One thing is to take a propagandist’s claims to debunk them with facts and another very different one is to echo government propaganda to fill in space.
One of the main differences between alternatively produced news and what is produced by the CNN, for example, is that alternative media are supposed to do what mainstream media don’t do: incisively investigate and report the news with historical, factual perspective.
Alternative media should not be in the business of filling ad space or racing against tight deadlines. They certainly should not race to be the first to report on anything without having done their homework. There are already plenty of mainstream media that occupy their time doing that.
When you read news headlines that intend to create self-fulfilling prophecies such as this one: “Disaster of our Generation”, a titled copied by the DrudgeReport from an article produced by EFE, ask yourself this question: Why is the media, corporate or alternative, attempting to tell us that a disaster is imminent when the odds of such outcome are so small? Why does the media want to be known for their capacity to predict outcomes instead of for providing incisive reporting, analysis and perspective?
How much news worthiness is there in an article produced by the Russian government-funded RT.com that was pasted on Infowars.com titled: “British Big Pharma warns Ebola vaccine will come ‘too late’ to halt spread“? Are we supposed to believe what the pharmaceutical companies say? Are we supposed to believe what the pharmaceutical companies say because their claims are published on RT.com or on Infowars.com? Haven’t we had enough lies disseminated by corporate media about what the pharmaceutical companies say?
I am far from implying that the alternative media cited above purposely deceive people with their news reporting. What I am pointing out is that some alternative media outlets are far from what smart readers expect them to be.
What is more worrisome is that the difference between what is alternative and what is not seems to be disappearing. That is why people who follow some alternative media do not know what to believe anymore. A good example is the case of Glenn Beck, who left Fox News to become an “alternative” for his growing audience. Today, everyone knows that Beck has never been a friend of the people who watch his show. He is nothing else than another corporate hoax.
Diversity in news is important, however, how does anyone explain that RT, a news operation that fancies itself as an alternative to western media, opposes the abuses of western governments and corporations in many of its shows, but endorses the lies and the liars behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming hoax? By the way, I have never seen RT reporting in depth on aerosol spraying as it is used to artificially modify the weather and the climate, but they jumped on the UN-sponsored propaganda that attempts to bamboozle people by presenting non-existent global warming as being the same thing as Climate Change. They even go on to blame Climate Change on humans!
Promoting corporate lies has nothing to do with freedom of the press, if that is the justification to reject US-led wars, Monsanto’s GMO and Jewish control of the US government while treating AGW as a true issue.
As it is the case with corporate media, whose credibility has collapsed in the last decade, some self-proclaimed alternative media run the risk of losing credibility themselves, and in doing so, they will drag other alternative media down with them. Real alternative media are not those who report truthfully 70 or 80 percent of the time, while spreading propaganda when it has nothing important to say about current affairs.
True alternative media must distinguish themselves for their loyalty to fact-based reporting as it used to be 20 years ago, not news reports based on rumors or corporate hoaxes.